One of my students asked me about the possibility of global famine, citing a report where almost 90 percent of international food security and nutrition experts surveyed predicted that “without innovation and bold action, global hunger would continue to rise over the next decade.” It is indeed possible, and ancient Kabbalistic sources also state that in our era, we can reach states as horrible as mothers eating their own children. That is how severe it can become.
However, we should not relate to the idea of an impending famine simply in order to fill our storages and our barns with supplies. The fact that we can consider such terrible scenarios is in order for us to seriously concern ourselves with how to avoid such states in advance, and to learn about and deal with the base cause that brings about such crises.
If we investigate the core reason behind not just famine but any crisis that befalls us, then we will find that it is all due to imbalance in human relations, the fact that we are not behaving toward each other the way we should.
How should we behave toward each other?
We need to reach mutual understanding among each other, to establish ties that would help us reach a balanced state. Today, we are doing the contrary, regressing and thus rocking the boat we all share. The world thus naturally heads toward periods of famine and destruction.
The destruction that we can bring upon ourselves should very much frighten us so that we would change our attitudes to each other, and by doing so, change the world. That is the sole reason we can consider impending famine and other crises, and it is also the reason for our experience of crises and suffering in general: to bring about a shift in how we relate to each other, from negative to positive, egoistic to altruistic, and apathetic to mutually responsible.
What could be the catalyst for such a transformation?
I believe that there should be a leader that initiates and promotes it. Our world is tough without someone that human society would accept as their leader and follow, one who would discuss unification and how we could overcome famine and other crises. Of course, it would only work if people would listen to such a leader, and famine would emerge to open our ears to such a person.
Then, after a period of famine, we would be different. We would hold a different attitude to life and to its values. We would no longer underestimate the vast importance of our survival and what it means for us to survive in today’s trying times.
While there have been periods of great famine, wars and other crises in the past, today is fundamentally different because our current era is preparing us for mass awareness of the evil of our egoistic relations, which will spur in us the desire to change ourselves. In the wisdom of Kabbalah, such an awakening is called “the recognition of evil.” It takes an enormous amount of suffering for us to reach a state where we can sense our own nature as evil, to define it as such and to draw the necessary conclusions: that we need to put an end to our rat race of individuals competing against each other for material well-being, and shift to new positively-connected relations where we seek to benefit each other and nature, feeling ourselves as parts of an interdependent and interconnected whole where we each affect one another. We are still not there yet, but that time is nearing.