The “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” is a very important introduction that Baal HaSulam wrote to prepare a person for studying from The Book of Zohar with the Sulam commentary. With its help, a person can approach The Book of Zohar to a particular degree while without the Sulam commentary The Book of Zohar is not understandable to us at all. The “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” includes within it the entire wisdom of Kabbalah relevant to the descent of the worlds from above to below and what the ARI revealed in his book, Etz HaChaim (The Tree of Life).
Abraham was the one who revealed the progression of the worlds, and, after him, Moses described it in the Torah, but in a concealed, encrypted form, and now we are learning to realize the progression of the worlds in practice. So, we must discover it in an understandable and appropriate way for realization and usage.
Because of this, Baal HaSulam explained all of the wisdom of Kabbalah from its beginning, from the source from which the thought of creation is derived and how the creation was created and materialized according to this thought. The Creator, the higher power of bestowal and love, creates outside of Himself something that is His opposite. If the Creator is the force of bestowal, He had to create the force of reception. But after the force of reception was created, it disappeared within the force of bestowal, meaning that it was managed by it one hundred percent. So it is as if the creature doesn’t exist, for substance is not what is important. Rather, what is important is whether it is independent from the Creator or not.
One could ask, how could it be independent? How is it possible to create something that later will be completely independent if it comes out of the Creator? After all, everything that the creature has is derived from the Creator, and it is impossible to sever this connection. It cannot be that there is anything new with a creature because everything that is new in him is also derived from the Creator. Nothing exists in the world other than the Creator.
So, how is it possible to bring the creature to independence? It is as if he were to negate and conceal the unity of the Creator in the world contrary to logic because if there is one source from which everything is derived and other than that nothing exists at all, how could it be that a creature would be independent at all so much so that he could be against his Creator and not artificially, but actually, according to his desire?
A very great profundity is concealed here that is not understood by us. We attain this independence only after we finish the entire correction. However, in the meantime, we need to learn all the stages according to which the Creator created the creature to make it possible for it to have freedom of choice.
Independence is detachment of the creature from the Creator. It is only when the creature has its own power, emotion, and intellect—everything that is required to be independent—and this is not merely to exist, but to determine his deeds on his own, independently, to rise to the level of the Creator. This process and its results seem impossible to us. So, the desire to receive that was created by the Creator as His opposite and is managed by Him must go through a progression of changes as a result of which he will acquire independence, the power to determine his independence according to his intellect and emotion.
For this, the desire for pleasure becomes detached from the Creator and connects to Him numerous times, which means that it goes through ascents and descents. Thanks to this, we begin to compare states and learn from them. In the beginning, we compare every descent and every ascent, and then we examine the ascents and descents in comparison to each other.
As a result of the experience that is gathered from the comparison between the ascents and descents and the examination of the future states in comparison to previous states, we develop our intellect and feelings. From the comparison between countless ascents and descents and the various connections between them, we build the sensations and intellect that are developed, and we construct the various stages between them.
Ultimately, the study of the Creator brings the creature to independence, for, as it is written, “By Your actions we know You.” The creature learns how the Creator behaves with him so that he builds himself in regard to the Creator according to this. Apparently, the foundation of independence is detachment from the Creator!
From the “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”, item 4: Hence, when they are bound together, the will to receive is annulled in the Light within it, and can determine its form only once the Light has departed thence once. This is so because following the departure of the Light from it, it begins to crave it, and this craving properly determines and sets the shape of the will to receive.
Subsequently, when the Light dresses in it once more, it is regarded as two separate matters: Kli and Light, or Guf and Life. Observe closely, for this is most profound.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/2/14, Writings of Baal HaSulam