The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 19th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    The Torah is but a means. Engaging in it should be with a desire and profound desire for Dvekut (adhesion) with the Creator. No other intention is permitted in the Hall of G-d. Clearly, if students of Torah had engaged in it with burning love of G-d in their hearts, and the desire to cleave unto Him would be filling their whole being, there would be no argument concerning the internality of the Torah. All would flock to the King’s Hall to engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah and the Holy Zohar for the greater part of their day, and even most of their time.

–The Path of the PARDESS, vol. 11,
Parashat VaYishlach, November 1996, Issue 515/3

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A Splinter In Your Finger Or How To Read The Zohar

Reading The Zohar is a very special kind of reading. We are the will to receive pleasure. The Creator cultivates this desire in us and leads us to the group. We are talking about people who, according to their inner evolution, are now expected to start uncovering spirituality.

From the group, I receive additional desire called “aspiration” which I obtain thanks to my work in the group while making efforts to unify with the friends. Despite my unwillingness to become one with them, I work on it by employing all possible means to receive awakening from them.

Thereby, I receive from the group the following: 1) additional awakening or the yearning for spirituality; 2) awareness of evil, my egoistic nature, and unwillingness to unite with the others; and 3) the value of the goal of becoming identical to the Creator, achieving bestowal.

Knowing all these conditions, I undertake reading The Book of Zohar. Now, while reading The Zohar with the desire to attain bestowal, with the awareness of my existing in the will to receive pleasure, employing additional desire that I obtained from the group, I demand transformation.

However, what does it mean to “demand transformation?” If I already reside in these desires and the forces are already working on me, I will be transformed for certain since The Zohar, per se, is the Light.

What does it mean that “I draw the Light, attracting it?” My attitude toward the studies must be such that right now, while reading The Zohar, I tap into the force of Light so it may affect, transform, and correct me.

In itself, the Light doesn’t do anything. Desire grows and changes due to the constant Light that remains at absolute rest. Therefore, when I demand transformation from the Light, I don’t really ask it from the Light. I ask for my desire to change and become more powerful in demanding the Light.

While reading The Zohar, we should think in the above manner. As a result, we will realize that it is all up to us, and we stand across from the unchangeable force that is willing to assist and reform us to the better.

Therefore, I begin reading The Zohar with all my demands for correction, a greater egoistic desire that opposes the Light, the desire to be reformed, and equalize myself with the Light at least somewhat. I must feel this central demand to be reformed in my will to receive like a thorn that keeps bothering me.

This is what my approach to reading The Zohar must be. I have to feel this “thorn.” After all, if I had a splinter in my finger, then, try as I might, I wouldn’t be able to focus on studying, reading, and listening because a powerful, sharp pain would distract me.

We should feel this “sharp pain” within us while reading The Zohar such that it won’t go away. The moment I stop feeling it, I’m not studying the Torah, but some fancy science, as it is written: “Believe that the nations possess wisdom.”

“The nations” are those who don’t wish to change. If a person desires to change, it means that he is “studying the Torah” since the Light contained in it reforms and returns us to the source, the Creator. That’s where the difference is.

The very same person can be “the nations” at one moment and “Israel” (aspiring to the Creator) the next. As soon as he doesn’t wish to change, he is regarded as the “nations of the world.” Then, he is studying fancy knowledge. The moment when he wishes to change and become similar to the Creator, he is “studying the Torah,” that is, demanding the Light that Reforms.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/17/10, The Zohar

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The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 17th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    Without knowing the wisdom of Kabbalah, one is like a beast, since one is following the Mitzva without flavor, only going through the motions. This is similar to hay-eating beasts, without the taste of human food. And even if one is an important businessperson, occupied with much negotiations, he is not exempted from engaging in this wisdom.

–The Holy Rav of Ziditshov,
Sur MeRa VeAseh Tov (Depart from Evil, and Do Good)

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How to Read The Book of Zohar

How to Read the Book of ZoharTwo questions I received on how to read and relate to The Book of Zohar:

Question: I am trying to study The Book of Zohar that you translated. I’ve reread many times the part where you talk about how to relate to the material in order to go deeper into the inner part of it – but so far it’s not working. I don’t feel like I’m advancing, and I think that I lack definitions, the way things are clearly defined in the Talmud Eser Sefirot. Do these definitions exist, and if yes, where can I find them? Or is there another, special approach to The Book of Zohar?

My Answer: The Book of Zohar should be read only in order to evoke the Light of correction onto yourself. To the degree the Light will influence you, you will begin to perceive the Zohar (which means Radiance). And to the extent that you’ll feel the Light, the property of bestowal, you will also begin understanding what The Book of Zohar says.

In addition, there are four introductions to The Book of Zohar, and it’s necessary to know them (or to have at least general knowledge of them) in order to understand the book.

Question: Recently I made the decision that I will read The Book of Zohar. During Book Week I bought the full set. However, I spoke to a person who told me that religious authorities have put a curse on this set of books, and this set of books is “impure.”

My Answer: You can go ahead and read these books, but this is only recommended for people who have studied all the works of Baal HaSulam. In addition, there are four introductions to The Book of Zohar, and it’s impossible to understand The Book of Zohar without thoroughly understanding these introductions!

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5 Things You Should Know About The Zohar

 

1) What Is The Zohar?

The Zohar is a collection of commentaries on the Torah, intended to guide people who have already achieved high spiritual degrees to the root (origin) of their souls.

The Zohar contains all the spiritual states that people experience as their souls evolve. At the end of the process, the souls achieve what Kabbalah refers to as “the end of correction,” the highest level of spiritual wholeness.

To those without spiritual attainment, The Zohar reads like a collection of allegories and legends that can be interpreted and perceived differently by each individual. But to those with spiritual attainment, i.e. Kabbalists, The Zohar is a practical guide to inner actions that one performs in order to discover deeper, higher states of perception and sensation.

 

2) Who Is The Zohar For?

As mentioned in answer no. 1, The Zohar was written for people who have already achieved spiritual perception. It contains the depictions of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), who attained all 125 degrees of the spiritual ladder of degrees. Rashbi expressed the entire spiritual path and titled it Zohar (“radiance” in Hebrew).

The Zohar is built so that only those who achieve a certain spiritual level can benefit from what they read in it. Prior to studying The Zohar, one needs to study other texts that teach how to properly approach the text in The Zohar.

 

3) Who Wrote The Zohar, & When?

According to all Kabbalists, and as the beginning of the book writes, The Zohar was written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), who lived in the 2nd and 3rd centuries CE. There are views in scholastic circles stating that The Zohar was written in the 11th century by Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe de Leon. This view was contradicted by Rabbi Moshe de Leon himself, who said that the book was written by Rashbi.

In the Kabbalistic approach, the question of why The Zohar was written is far more important than the question of who actually wrote it. The purpose of The Zohar is to be a guide for people to attain the origin of their souls.

This path to the origin of one’s soul consists of 125 stages. Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag writes that a Kabbalist who has passed these stages and shares the same perception as that of the book’s author, sees that its author could be none other than Rashbi.

 

4) Why Was The Zohar Hidden For So Long?

The Zohar was kept hidden for 900 years, between the 2nd and the 11th centuries CE, since those who possessed its wisdom understood that at the time, people did not need it and would misunderstand its contents.

Only in the 16th century CE did a Kabbalist arise who explained the fundamentals of Kabbalah – The Holy Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572). The Ari stated that from his time on, the wisdom of Kabbalah was ready to be opened to everyone.

Commentaries on the works of the Ari and The Zohar appeared only in the 20th century – the century that saw the fiercest outburst of human desires in history. During this period, a unique soul appeared – that of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam). Baal HaSulam explained the wisdom of Kabbalah in a way our generation could understand. Moreover, Baal HaSulam was the only Kabbalist in the 20th century who wrote commentaries on The Zohar and on the works of the Ari.

This does not mean that there were no great Kabbalists before him, but only that their works are not easily understood by contemporary students. Today’s popularity and high demand for Kabbalah testify to our generation’s readiness to absorb its universal message, and to comprehend the authentic texts that speak of the root of our lives and how to attain it.

 

5) Where Do I Find Out More About The Zohar?

The Zohar cannot be understood and felt directly, but requires preconception of spirituality, before one approaches the book. The greatest Kabbalist of our time-Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam)-wrote introductions to The Zohar precisely to guide one’s approach to this profound book prior to studying it.

Such articles cultivate one’s spiritual qualities to perceive the Higher reality. Additionally, these texts provide knowledge of how to approach certain terms, phrases, and concepts in The Zohar, to maximize its use as a guide for spiritual attainment, avoiding being lost in materialized depictions that the human mind is prone to form.

The Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute provides not only these introductions, but free lessons on them, as well as shorter articles describing concepts from The Zohar, and how to prepare for the encounter with these concepts.

Discovering The Zohar means discovering your inner world and your unlimited potential. Bnei Baruch wishes you success in your spiritual advancement!

If you’re interested in The Zohar and everything it has to offer at a deeper level, we recommended starting with a beginner course in the fundamentals of Kabbalah. Courses are free, and there are self-study video classes available to start immediately, as well as a live course. Sign Up For A Free Course Here »

 
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The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 15th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    Had my people heeded me in this generation, when heresy is increasing, they would have studied The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim (corrections), and contemplated them with nine-year-old children.

–Rav Yitzhak Yehudah Yehiel of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed (Keeping Mercy), Chapter 4, Teaching 4

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The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 14th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    Let not the eunuch say, “For I am a dry tree, and who am I to approach the holiness within, in the books of Kabbalah?” This is because all the righteous have already agreed that today this is the counsel of the inclination and a lie. And although he does not understand everything, still, the words of the Holy Zohar have power for the soul, and are approachable for every soul of Israel, small or great, each according to one’s understanding and the root of one’s soul.

–Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Horovitz of Backshwitz,
Hanhagot Yesharot (Upright Guidance), Item 5

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The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 13th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    Concerning the rule to not roam in the PARDESS, unless one has filled one’s stomach with meat and wine, it should be said to one who comes to do only what the Torah commands by law. But one who craves and yearns to learn the inner things, to know His truthfulness, is under the rule, “one should always learn Torah in the place one’s heart wishes.” And one should be very strong in one’s way and know that he will learn and succeed… and make one’s soul’s craving to adhere to knowing His Name permanently. And if one should see that the majority of the students are not so, he should know that this is right for them, so they will not destroy the sanctity until they walk by gradations. This has nothing to do with ostentation and boasting, only divisions in the soul’s nobility.

–The Rav Raiah Kook,
Orot HaTorah (Lights of the Torah), Chapter 9, Item 12

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The Wisdom of Kabbalah – 12th Tevet, 5771


Kabbalah for the Student

Kabbalists Write about the Wisdom of Kabbalah.

    Even if we find people who are great in the Torah, in fear, and in wisdom, yet who are not interested in the secrets of the Torah because of the sublimity of their degree, because they have many possessions with which to occupy their spirit in the treasures of the revealed Torah and wisdom, let it not droop the heart of one who feels an inner sensation, a pressure of the soul’s craving for the way of secrets. For even if we decide that this yearning came to him due to his lack of skills in the revealed matters, so what? In the end, this is one’s share, and one should be happy with one’s lot, for the Lord is near to all them that call upon Him in honest truth.

–The Rav Raiah Kook,
Orot HaTorah (Lights of the Torah), Chapter 10, Item 4

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 18th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

Every action we do needs to have the correct intention behind it; we need to find the spiritual importance in every action and adhere to it.

Decision – I’m free in that I can choose between remaining in my inborn nature, or in choosing the second nature.

If I know that by reading The Zohar I’d find a cure to a fatal disease, then the reading would be almost redundant; only the remedy matters.

The goal of entering an environment that strives for spirituality is for them to raise the importance of the spiritual goal among everyone.

Initially, a person receives a spark of desire for spirituality; later on, one needs to find an environment where this spark can be nurtured.

By creating the will to receive, nature gave us attributes within that desire; then, we’re lead to a state where there’s only a desire to give.

Baal HaSulam’s advices are not to be implemented in practice; in order to implement them we refer to The Writings of Rabash and The Zohar.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 14th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

We don’t need to do anything with the desire to receive; what we need to work on are our intentions.

Revealing spirituality means to reveal the quality of giving within me.

The more we connect with one another, the better we will be and feel; the less we connect, the worse it will be.

If we treat each other with love and mutual consideration, we will become as benevolent as nature is.

We need to consist of two parts: the desire to receive, which is our innate nature and the benevolence in nature, for us to attain as second nature.

We need to reach a state where we feel that nothing in the corporeal world will ever bring us fulfillment, and thus turn to spirituality.

At this point we need to be certain that the real life is love and giving.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 13th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

We can connect to the spiritual system of souls only through The Rabash and Baal HaSulam.

Baal HaSulam had been connected to the entire world; he wrote that the wisdom of Kabbalah was meant for the whole world, for everyone.

The Sulam Commentary on The Zohar creates the connection between a person and the content of The Zohar; without it we cannot enter The Zohar.

The desire to receive cannot contain more than our corporeal life. The rest can be grasped only through spiritual vessels.

The Zohar speaks about unity among us and describes the connection between our souls only; we need to identify with this form of connection.

I can become equivalent to nature only through my actions and behavior toward others; this is how I aim myself toward the spiritual goal.

The good and evil inclinations don’t exist separately; those qualities connect together and thus we form nature – the only force in reality.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 12th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

Nature wants us to feel it and be like it.

The true reality is not meant for us to deal with our corporeal desires, but only with our desire for connection and unity.

The chase after pleasures is not a sin, because our nature drives us to do so.

A person must be in despair from corporeality in order to advance in spirituality.

The despair doesn’t result from a lack of desire, but from a lack of having a goal and something to attain.

We receive pleasure and fulfillment only in order to feel the next moment that our desire is multiplied.

Everything in nature is arranged in a way that a person hopelessly chases after pleasures, and as a results he ends up in despair.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 11th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

The Sulam Commentary on The Zohar creates the connection between a person and the content of The Zohar; without it we cannot enter The Zohar.

There are no ascents and descents in spirituality; nature reveals to us our desire for balance with it and accordingly we feel ascents and descents.

If we judge every state by the purpose of its goal rather than the way it feels to us, we’ll be able to transform descents into ascents.

We cannot change anything in reality, other than our attitude toward what we experience.

All that the Zohar speaks about is unity and how to connect.

We need to always yearn for the spiritual goal and never for anything negative, but also realize that obstacles along the path are necessary.

Nature leads reality in order to bring all of humanity to the option of free choice.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 9th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

We cannot change anything in reality, other than our attitude toward what we experience.

The desire to receive cannot contain more than our corporeal life. The rest can be grasped only through spiritual vessels.

I can become equivalent to nature only through my actions and behavior toward others; this is how I aim myself toward the spiritual goal.

By creating the will to receive, nature gave us attributes within that desire; then, we’re lead to a state where there’s only a desire to give.

Closeness with nature is our degree of similarity to it; benevolence and giving which are revealed in a person primarily as love of others.

We won’t be able to change anything in reality, unless we work toward revealing the force of nature that governs it.

If we are prepared for them, we don’t need to be afraid of spiritual descents.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 8th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

We need to hear the words written in the Zohar, to picture the connection between us after every word and clarify that kind of connection.

Only through the connections that we build and the mutual dependence between us, can we become close to nature and be an integral part of it.

If we don’t attain unity, we won’t enter an upper dimension; if we do connect and succeed, the spiritual world will be revealed in our unity.

In the effort to connect with everyone else, we go through all the states that the Zohar speaks about.

The purpose of creation is for us to be pure givers, without receiving rewards for the deeds and actions which we perform.

All parts of the body have the same significance and thus when they all connect as equal, they are in harmony with nature.

In every desire that has the will to connect with others, there is already correspondence and contact with the upper force.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 7th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

The evil inclination is not bad because I feel bad or do bad things to others; rather, the evil inclination is what separates us from nature.

Ascent in spirituality means unity; to the degree that we connect, we reveal nature’s quality of giving.

You can only perform a correction in what is broken. What is broken is your soul, only that and nothing else.

Revealing spirituality means to reveal the quality of giving within me.

The more we connect with one another, the better we will be and feel; the less we connect, the worse it will be.

If we treat each other with love and mutual consideration, we will become as benevolent as nature is.

We need to consist of two parts: the desire to receive, which is our innate nature and the benevolence in nature, for us to attain as second nature.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 6th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

Baal HaSulam’s advices are not to be implemented in practice; in order to implement them we refer to The Writings of Rabash and The Zohar.

Man begins to develop from the question “what’s the meaning of my life?”; this question doesn’t refer to the physical body and corporeal world.

Every time we face an obstacle, we need to try and see it as a positive thing which happens for the best.

All holidays and festive days need to be interpreted internally, not just as dates on one’s wall calendar.

There is nothing more than the reality that we construct between us, and in that reality everything is revealed.

It takes a long time in order to appreciate the force that lies in the Zohar, but later on it becomes as essential as food and water.

A supportive environment that shares the same goal as me, is the only means by which I can reach the spiritual goal.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 5th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

We need to always yearn for the spiritual goal and never for anything negative, but also realize that obstacles along the path are necessary.

The Rabash did what no Kabbalists before him have ever done – he’d written about implementing in practice spiritual work within a group.

The right corporeal success lies in the correct balance between exerting efforts corporeally and exerting efforts spiritually.

At every moment in life we have the opportunity to correct ourselves and enter better states.

If we are prepared for them, we don’t need to be afraid of spiritual descents.

I am supposed to receive fulfillment from giving to others, not from the pleasure of receiving for myself.

Nature created a single static condition which exists without changing – a world where man and nature are one.

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Daily Kabbalah Quotes, 4th Tishrei, 5771

A stream of wisdom bites emanating from the most updated content on the Kabbalah.info websites.

On the corporeal level everything is predetermined, yet a person’s attributes have nothing to do with one’s spiritual advancement; we’re equal.

Man begins to develop from the question “what’s the meaning of my life?”; this question doesn’t refer to the physical body and corporeal world.

Nature is often revealed to us as two-faced in order for us to realize that alone we are helpless, and therefore we need it and depend on it.

Everything was created for as reason, to fulfill a certain role; therefore one’s corporeal reality is essential to his spiritual development.

The confusion that I feel is a question I need to solve; every such state is essential in order to eventually attain truth and perfection.

Kabbalah doesn’t speak about the physical world, body or external actions; it deals with our desire and actions we perform above corporeality.

The extent to which we can justify our current condition and rise above it to be connected, we can measure ourselves against the true state.

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