Óscar Reyes-Matute
Philosophy, kabbalah, screenwriting...

I, who comes from the shadows

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Fear and confinement give way asymmetrically in the world. While leading nations such as Israel, England and the United States are rapidly vaccinating their populations, the European Union is lagging behind due to the atavistic bureaucratic hurdles of its continental countries, including Germany and France.

Of course, there is no reliable data from Russia, another vaccine manufacturer. And of China — creator of the monstrosity — nobody wants to know anything, neither for better nor for worse.

The two giants of Latin America, Brazil and Mexico, are reeling with thousands of infections and deaths daily.

And in my country, Venezuela, where there is no reliable information of any kind, it seems that we resist the onslaught of the original virus and the new variants due to the own immune system of a population accustomed to deal with diseases such as dengue hemorrhagic fever, Zika and the chikunguya without medicines or any kind of public sanitary system.

We already know for whom the vaccines that arrive to our country are.

I imagine that a Russian-style mafia capitalism will develop, which will allow the importation of vaccines privately. The citizens will sell grandmother’s last jewels, or their relatives will pay from Sydney and Miami, through Zelle, for the shipment of that vaccine.

Of course, we have to prepare our 500 US $, our 1,000 US $, our 3,000 US $, to get that passport and ticket back to the good life.

It seems that the world speaks in a very Marxist way: it is the economic condition that prevails over the political, ideological, labor, religious or any other, prima facie. Those who can pay for the vaccine, or who live in Tel Aviv or Fort Lauderdale, are saved.

However, there is something still diffuse there, in the tunnel of shadows that we come from, the one that we have walked over the last year.

We faced death, uncertainty, not knowing what each dawn held for us, biologically and economically.

Would we go to sleep alive when the long night fell? Would we wake up the next day? Who of our beloved ones would survive? Who would leave? Would there be bread in our house?

Faced with this existential drama, financial resources are not enough. You can have a lot of money, but it does not immunize you against fear.

And imagine if you are a poor inhabitant of the martyred Caracas and you have to take the crowded subway every morning to go out to get food for your family. In the latter case, fear is a luxury that you can no longer afford. You have to go out, no discussion.

What dark or light force kept us going through the tunnel? Our fear to die or the love to our children?

But above all, with what forces, with what beliefs, with what values ​​are we going to face the world to come, assuming we shall survive?

My master Rav Michael Laitman holds the belief — obviously messianic — that we have reached a point where Humanity seems poised for a Copernican turn.

To stop being predatory, selfish, wild, consumerist, violent, and begin to try new ways of interconnection, solidarity and the recognition of the value of the other, which in turn defines me as an inhabitant of this planet.

The belief is old, the Kabbalists of Padua in the 16th century, with Moshe Haim Luzzato (RAMJAL) as a leader, believed that if we reach a certain percentage or critical mass of people who study Kabbalah and its basic principle of “Love your neighbor as yourself “, that would accelerate the arrival of the messianic era, without wars, plagues, tyrants or hatred.

That is why they carefully watched over the discipline of their study groups, where at once they rehearsed the behavior of the Massiach era, taking care of each friend, and trusting that everyone would take care of them. Like in the desert, before the giving of the Torah, when 600,000 souls were one.

That is why the Kabbalah yeshivot progressed in all the cities where there were Jewish quarters.

At first, it was thought that the spiritual vanguard had to be Jews men, over 40, married and with children. But then the accounts were run again, and it turns out that Jews weren’t enough. The wisdom of Kabbalah should be opened to all nations.

That is why at the end of the 19th century the study of Kabbalah was opened to the general public, and books, newspapers and pamphlets on Kabbalah began to be published openly, first in Jerusalem, and later in the United States.

Baal HaSulam, Laitman’s spiritual grandfather (so I could assume that he is my great-grandfather), prophesied that around the 90s of the last century a tool would appear that would allow all Humanity to be connected and that it would be the signal to spread the wisdom of the Kabbalah around the world.

The Internet came up, and we already know what happened.

Phillipe Berg and Michael Laitman created the two most influential schools in the world, the Kabbalah Center and the Bnei Baruch Institute, which have introduced millions of people into the study of Kabbalah.

When I started studying at Bnei Baruch 11 years ago, I was amazed at the virtual campus that the group had developed in Petah Tikva.

I used to say to my colleagues at the university: “Look at this teaching model on the Internet, this is the way we shall connect soon…”

Of course, they made fun of me: “That is not going to happen yet, you are an utopian.”

The pandemic came, and the whole world was forced to live and connect with the Zoom tool, which we used “normally” every night to attend the classes with Laitman.

I say all this because it seems that yes, some of the predictions of Luzzato, Baal HaSulam and the decisions of Berg and Laitman have influenced the globalization of Kabbalah.

Of course, along with other spiritual disciplines, such as Buddhism, yoga, meditations with Hebrew letters onto the 72 names of God, or new scientific approaches to the cosmos, like quantum physics and quantum entanglement

Does this mean that the era of Massiach is coming soon?

Does it mean that we will come out of the tunnel and the shadows of the pandemic, out of fear and confinement, with a luminous aspiration for spiritual connection, with a strong desire to achieve equality of form with the Plan of Creation?

I believe that fear has been a trigger, that seeing how so many ways of life collapsed, so many old ways of connecting with others are over, all this has affected the perception and way of being of millions of people in the world, although I do not know if it means that we have reached a critical mass, the famous 1% that kabbalists have prophesied.

Yes, it is very possible, but there are no guarantees.

We can actually reach that critical mass of conscious people, but it that doesn’t mean they will change their attitudes.

Perhaps everyone still dreams the return to a life with trips, restaurants, shops, vacations, jobs outside home to physically interact with others, thanks to the vaccine … That is, to think only about themselves and not about the others, not about Humanity or about the destiny of planet Earth.

Of course, assuming a new behavior of the type that kabbalists propose is an act of bravery, of courage, in which you send half your being’s operating system to the recycling bin, or perhaps the entire operating system.

Who would dare to do such a thing?

I cannot deny that it has been a privilege in my life to cross the entire tunnel -until now — with that support, with that light the sages of the desert and Sepharad have transmitted to me, mouth to ear, master to pupil, during centuries.

At least, I have not felt fear, which means a lot.

I suppose it is my duty (our duty) to pass this torch to those who walk beside us in the tunnel, still blind in the shadows.

May we keep the strength.

The path continues.

About the Author
Óscar Reyes-Matute (Matu / מאתו), lives in Caracas. He's a philosopher graduated at Andrés Bello Catholic University, with a Master in Political Science at USB. He has been Fulbright Visiting Scholar at NYU on American Studies, and professor of political philosophy at UCAB and UCV. He has published academic papers in universities of Venezuela and Europe, and articles in several newspapers. Since 2008, he is dedicated to study Kabbalah at the Bnei Baruch Institute in Petaj Tikva, while works as writer of cinema and television screenplays. He's liryc tenor. Be aware, after a glass of wine, he suddenly can start to sing "Nessun Dorma!"
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