In a recent blog entry, I wrote that we have just published a new edition of the collected works of Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag – the Rabash. Here I would like to offer some insight and history on the most precious text that Rabash left behind – the book Shamati:
Shamati is the most valuable book in the world, because it has the power to bring a person to the purpose of his life. Shamati is the main Kabbalistic source text. It contains all the foundations of man’s spiritual work. The articles contained in this book summarize everything one needs to enter the Upper World. They encompass the infinite depth of all 125 degrees that a person can and must go through in his spiritual path, whose summit is the goal of creation. This book is the most special book in the world, because no book in the entire history of mankind has gone deeper into man’s spiritual work.
Where did the book Shamati come from? Here’s a brief history. Among all the books and manuscripts that my teacher, Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag, used for study, there was one special, personal notebook, whose cover held the inscription “Shamati” – Hebrew for “what I heard.” He never parted with this notebook and always made sure to take it along anywhere he went. He never stopped studying it, and used to read it over and over again.
One day, late at night, he suddenly gave it to me and said: “Take this notebook and use it.” I immediately understood that his path was soon to reach an end. And indeed, he passed away the very next morning. His pure soul ascended into the unknown heights as soon as the night was gone.
The notebook he gave me was rather thick, and its contents revealed lessons by my teacher’s father, the great Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag – Baal HaSulam.
Baal HaSulam integrated all of the Kabbalistic knowledge that was previously passed down in secret, from teacher to student, from generation to generation, and thus for millennia. In doing so, Baal HaSulam prepared for us a method of mass spiritual ascension.
Rav Baruch Ashlag recorded his father’s lessons word for word, because he heard them directly from his father and Teacher. Hence, we have to follow these words just as they appear, and abide by the exact form that Baal HaSulam chose for his words. One should strive for his thoughts to go through the very same path as the text lays out, following Baal HaSulam’s thought. It’s more important to adhere to a great Kabbalist than to pay attention to the beauty of the linguistic nuances in the text. One should strive to see the inner beauty of the text, and then, as one will continue reading it, his understanding of the articles will undergo constant transformation, penetrating deeper and deeper.
In these articles Baal HaSulam often relies on quotes by other Kabbalists, written from the heights of their attainment. These quotes should give us an understanding of how profound the topic at hand is. They should also help us realize that we are receiving the method of adhesion with the Creator from the entire lineage of Kabbalists, and this method is being passed to us by the very last Kabbalist in this lineage – the great Baal HaSulam.
All of these texts should be regarded as one article, because they all speak about the same thing. They describe how the creature searches for its Creator and grows closer to Him, until it attains adhesion with Him. Essentially, these articles describe all the work that a person has to do in order to attain equivalence of form, adhesion and union with the Creator. In all of reality, there is no other reason for existence besides this one goal. According to this goal, man enables the entire reality, all the worlds and everything that inhabits them, to rise and incorporate in the Creator.
Hence, we have to understand that the entire universe, all the creatures, and all the worlds, are inside one person. Every person has to imagine that he is that person, and that he has freedom of choice and freedom of action. He, and only he, is standing opposite the Creator, and he has the responsibility and the privilege of doing the work necessary to attain equivalence of form, unification and adhesion with the Creator.
This is what all the articles in the book Shamati are about.
The clock has started ticking and time is flying by. In every part of the world there are people who are starting to feel an interest in spiritual ascent and to ask the question, “What is the meaning of my life?” In light of this, I understood the uniqueness and importance of the Shamati articles, and this is why I decided to publish this book and to reveal it to the world.Kabbalah For the Masses [1:57m]: Play Now | Download