Warfare seems endemic to the human condition, but why? Why must we fight? Why do we feel the insatiable need to confront, engage, and struggle with ourselves and others? Can’t we all just live in peace? Kabbalah explains that all struggle (physical and spiritual) rectifies “Divine sparks,” or, points of lofty spiritual potential that require our assistance - our engagement - if they are to become “revealed,” i.e. fully manifest to the outside. Explain the Sages, in this world (the physical world pre-Messiah, pre transformation), the “shell precedes the fruit,” i.e. coarse physical consciousness predominates over refined spiritual form. Hence, it is the task of man, explain the Rabbis, to struggle with this “shell” dimension (coarseness of a given situation) until he “cracks” it (discards its desire) thereby giving full expression to the “fruit” - the spiritual truth hidden within the experience. 

Let’s take the example of food. Noe we all must eat, but experience teaches us, it’s how we eat that determines if the food is good (healthy) or bad (injurious). If nutrient-rich foods are carefully chosen and adequate caloric intake is achieved, our bodies rise to achieve their strongest and most robust expression. But if we abuse food, eat contaminated/nutrient-deficient foods at too little or too much quantity, we suffer terrible, sometimes irreversible trauma. Hence, it is up to us to mindfully choose a dietary path that is healthy in both its quantity and quality. Explains Kabbalah, in addition to this physical dimension of nutrition there exists an underlying spiritual dimension (the Divine sparks mentioned above) that, like its physical counterpart, requires “mindfulness” - a selective mind able to discriminate between truth and falsehood - if robust “health” is to be achieved. 

To say it another way, when we “eat in order to live,” eat in order to achieve optimal health (the ideal of which is “service of God” as explained by the Sages), we “crack the shell” (the coarse physical consciousness of “living in order to eat”), and reveal the “spiritual fruit” - the Godliness of the act. So too, explain the Sages, with all things permitted by Torah. Explains Kabbalah, in all permissible activities, e.g. eating, sexuality, money, etc, there is found this dualism of shell/fruit consciousness. It is therefore up to us, human beings endowed with a holy soul, to choose the “fruit” over the “shell” (the soul over the body) no matter the experience. But that choice is not so easy, for in this world (as explained above) the “shell precedes the fruit” - our animal psyche tends more readily toward the “body,” the coarse and superficial dimensions of a given experience. It is for that reason we must “fight,” dig deep within ourselves and struggle, in order that we may rise above and “crack” the shell of the moment - “body” dimension - no matter its allure. Once revealed, the “fruit of the soul” (the Godly spark/inner dimension of a given experience) propels us higher and higher until we reach the level called “Shalom” (the Hebrew word for “peace”), the dimension of perfect bonding with God - the elevation of the Divine spark to its source above as explained at length in Kabbalah. 

To conclude: King Solomon famously declared, “There is a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:8). Question: Why does war come before peace? Explain the Sages, war precedes peace because in this world (the coarse physical world) the shell precedes the fruit! In the language of the Talmud, “Today in this world to do them (to crack/discard their - our experiences - shells), tomorrow (in the era of the Messiah) to receive their reward” (the fruit/soul of the experience). 

Let’s fight then, not with each other, but with our experiences - our intentions. For it’s our intentions that will take us (when properly directed) above the “battlefield” of physical consciousness - consciousness of “shell” - and directly into the blissful embrace of “peace” - the consciousness of “fruit”! So choose wisely and remember that it is you (your intentions) that will determine shell or fruit, war or peace.