The Book of Zohar, Chapter “Rose,” Items 1-3

The Book of Zohar, Chapter \"Rose\"The Book of Zohar, Chapter “Rose” (abridged):

1. In the Torah it is written: In the beginning created ELOKIM ET THE HEAVEN, AND-THE, EARTH, AND-THE EARTH, WAS, EMPTY, AND-CHAOTIC, AND-THE DARKNESS, OVER, THE FACE, OF THE ABYSS, AND-THE SPIRIT ELOKIM soars over the surface of the waters and-Elokim said: “Let there be light.”

Rabbi Hizkiyah opened (the path for the Light): “It is written in ‘Song of Songs,’ ‘as a rose among thorns.’ That a rose is the assembly of souls aspiring to the Creator. Just as a rose is tinged with red and white, so do the souls aspiring to the Creator contain the attributes of judgment (red) and mercy (white). Just as a rose has thirteen petals, so are the souls surrounded on all sides by the thirteen attributes of mercy.

It is written in the Torah: “In the beginning Elokim (the Creator’s name) initially created 13 words (attributes of mercy) for the protection (from egoistic attributes) of the souls aspiring to him.

These 13 attributes of mercy are designated by the words contained in the first sentence of the Torah, between the words ELOKIM: ET, THE HEAVEN, AND-ET, THE EARTH, AND-THE EARTH, WAS, EMPTY, AND-CHAOTIC, AND-THE DARKNESS, OVER, THE FACE, OF THE ABYSS, AND-THE SPIRIT.

2. The second time the name Elokim is mentioned in the Torah as “Elokim Parit” – so that there would appear 5 rigid leaves that surround a rose, called the “Five gates of salvation.” They are like the cup of blessing. During the blessing the cup must rest on 5 fingers, just as a rose rests on 5 rigid leaves. And a rose, just as the cup of blessing, is from the second word ELOKIM to the third word ELOKIM, between which there are five words: SOARS, OVER, THE SURFACE, OF THE WATERS, AND-SAID – corresponding to the five leaves.

Further it is said in the Torah: “And the Creator said: ‘Let there be light’ – this light was created, however, it was concealed and enclosed within the covenant of the souls, entered the rose and fructified it.

3. Just as the covenant is fructified in 42 Zivugim (unions) of the creature and the Creator, from that seed, so the secret name of the Creator fills and inseminates all 42 letters of the initial act of creation.

See the full commentary on the chapter “Rose”

My Comment: I will now be publishing selections from the most important part of The Book of Zohar – the Introduction, which is a concentrated version of the entire Book of Zohar. This is how the Introduction was conceived by the Zohar’s author – Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi). The Introduction is like Keter, which incorporates the entire idea of the Book.

The chapters I will be publishing here will be abridged and I will add brief commentary in parentheses. If you want to understand these chapters more in depth, I suggest reading my book The Book of Zohar. It contains the “Introduction to the Book of Zohar” along with my full commentary on Rashbi’s text, based on my own personal studies with my teacher, Rabbi Baruch Shalom Halevi Ashlag (Rabash) in Tiberius and Miron – the places where The Book of Zohar was written by Rashbi 20 centuries ago.

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A Woman Can Advance Independently

A Woman Can Advance IndependentlyTwo questions I received on women’s spiritual advancement:

Question: Dear Rav, when you talk about distinguishing between Factory and Group, then as a woman working in dissemination, does my intention change? Should I think of the two as different entities?

My Answer: For you as a woman, it doesn’t matter at all what is happening inside the group. You advance to the extent that you contribute to the common advancement, regardless of how correctly the men in the group realize the opportunities for unification given to them. You advance independently of the men’s state.

Question: I have been divorced for over 10 years now and raising two wonderful boys (ages 22 and 24). I am now steering them to study Kabbalah. I do not feel and have not felt the need to be with a man in years, and I am quite content. I am not willing to settle just because I have to be with a man. What I enjoy is being a mother, and my greatest joy is to see my sons actively participating in their own spiritual development through Kabbalah. Am I doing it right?

My Answer: A woman does not have to get married in order to become corrected. By participating in the common work of dissemination and studying with us at the lessons, you have everything you need for spiritual growth. Good luck!

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Perserverance Is the Key to Success

Perserverance Is the Key to SuccessQuestions I received on how to get through the difficult times on the path:

Question: You live and work, raise your children, and study Kabbalah for a hobby. Everything is good. You even think that you’re successfully managing your life in both worlds – this world and the spiritual world. But suddenly you lose your job, your house, and your savings, and in addition someone in your family gets very sick. And for some reason, along with this world, your “spiritual world” falls apart too. Does this mean that everything you attained in spirituality was only a higher form of egoism, a desire for knowledge?

My Answer: This only means one thing: your conditions for advancement have changed, and now you are being offered new conditions for advancement. Why? Because this is how the common desire (the common soul) develops, and you are one of its parts (a particular soul). If you don’t want to advance under the new conditions, then you will leave the path of individual development, and from then on you will be led down the general path of suffering, “forced to happiness.”

Question: “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! Wherefore would ye have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light!” (Amos, 5:18) Initially the Light blinds all of our senses and seems like total darkness. However, this darkness is useful for one who aspires toward spirituality, since it shuts off all egoistic aspirations, and one’s egoism loses all interest in spirituality. And only one who keeps on stubbornly moving toward the Goal, “harnessed” together with Rav and the Creator, receives support, assistance and instruction. He then surmounts this part of the path, “the darkness of the night.”

I must admit that I am still a denizen of this world – the world of darkness, and I need the Light in order to acquire “sight,” the ability to see in the world of Light. My question is: What else can a student of yours add to all that he is already doing to attain this?

My Answer: Only more efforts to unite all aspirations toward one goal. It’s because the Creator, the quality of love and bestowal, is revealed only in the unified desire to be together in one desire, to reveal the property of love and bestowal between the souls.

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Questions On the Path

Questions On the PathQuestions I received on various discernments one makes along the spiritual path:

Question: Baal HaSulsam says, “Make yourself a Rav and buy yourself a friend.” What is the difference between “making” and “buying?” And how do you make and buy someone?

My Answer: “To make” means to exalt someone (to see them as great), and “to buy” means to invest in someone. For more on this, see Baal HaSulam’s article “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion of The Zohar.”

Question: What should I do with all the different feelings of sadness and depression that I experience? Most of these feelings are related to thoughts that it will still take me a very long time to correct myself, and to correct the world in general.

My Answer: Become more incorporated into the world Kli, and read quotes of Kabbalists about the importance of what we are doing. Let other readers give you advice about what to read from their experience.

You’re worried that it will take a long time? But you have your entire life, which was given to you just for this!

Question: I have been studying Kabbalah for a long time, but I still don’t quite understand – what is a Reshimo?

My Answer: It is information about the future spiritual degree, which demands to be realized.

Question: Why does every person receive a unique situation in life in order to advance?

My Answer: It’s because every person has unique initial properties and a unique final state. Nevertheless, the method of correction is the same for everyone.

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Is There Meditation In Kabbalah? (And Does It Even Matter?)

Is There Meditation In Kabbalah? A question I received: I know that in one of your videos Tony Kosinec states that meditation has nothing to do with authentic Kabbalah. However, Abraham Abulafia has left us with books on how to engage in Kabbalah meditative techniques. While these techniques are different from far-eastern meditative techniques in that Abulafia’s methods require the use of the intellect rather than the negation of it, still meditation has played an important role in the Kabbalah method. Perhaps Baal HaSulam did not find these practices relevant in his system, but does that negate the validity of these meditative practices in other Kabbalistic systems?

My Answer: Sometimes the word meditation is used in Kabbalah to refer to a deep analysis of one’s intentions and qualities. But actually there is no such word in Kabbalah – this is only how people translate the concept of “inner observation” into other languages. Besides, of course there is a difference between the exposition styles of Eastern and European schools.

Instead of trying to sort through all of this, isn’t it better to simply turn to the source that’s closest and most effective for us – the works of Baal HaSulam; and instead of discussing history and geography, to start correcting yourself? What other reason do we have for being in this world?

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