A question I received: I’m trying to reconcile the contradiction between the notion of “faith above reason” and your recurring claim that Kabbalah isn’t built on faith, but on sensations and accurate knowledge.
Is the meaning of “faith above reason” that instead of blindly believing something I an told, I take the path that allows me to see for myself whether the things I’m being told are right or wrong?
My Answer: The first man who felt the Creator was Adam (see Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Secret of Attaining the Wisdom” in the book Fruits of Wisdom). The Jewish calendar starts on that day – the first day of the month of Tishrey of the year 0 (5768 years ago).
In the generations following Adam there were others who attained the Creator, but Kabbalah became what it is now only twenty generations later, in Ancient Babylon (4000 years ago). A Babylonian priest named Abraham discovered Kabbalah and described its basic laws in The Book of Creation. He also gathered students and formed the first Kabbalistic group. His followers – his physical and spiritual sons (in those times people were named by the leader of the clan or tribe) continued to develop spiritually. This continued until the people fell from the sensation of the Creator to the sensation of just our world (and as a result, the Second Temple was destroyed 2000 years ago).
After this fall from the sensation of the spiritual world into our world, all of the definitions and names they used before, and their language in general (Hebrew) fell from the spiritual level to the corporeal level. The same words began to signify the things that they started to see, hear and understand. That is to say, the words acquired a corporeal meaning, instead of the things they used to signify in the past. Ever since, the Kabbalistic texts were written with the same letters and words, but everything depends on who reads them – whether it’s someone who’s on the spiritual level like the author, or only on the corporeal level.
“Faith above reason,” for instance, denotes the following condition: the desire (quality) to bestow (Bina, Hafetz Hessed, the Light of Hassadim) is above the desire to receive, called “knowledge,” because in it one receives the Light of Hochma, the Light of Wisdom.
For those who do not perceive the Upper World, the word “faith” means belief in something that may or may not exist, something people only talk about but cannot sense. Kabbalah never talks about this kind of faith, because by definition it engages only in the revelation of the Creator to man in this world! (See Baal HaSulam’s article, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah.”)
So if you want to understand the truth, when reading the Kabbalistic texts you must “translate” what you read from the corporeal level to the spiritual level. Then you won’t err like all the religious people who read Kabbalistic texts (the Torah, the Talmud, the prayer book, and so on), interpreting them on the corporeal level. This is actually the source of mankind’s misunderstanding of the Creator.
In the article, “The Secret of Attaining the Wisdom,” Baal HaSulam writes: “The attainment of the whole universe in its absolute depth and interconnections of its parts was revealed in its entirety by Adam.” This is why we call him “The First Man” – because he was the first to achieve the level of “Human” – Adam (in Hebrew), which means “similar to the Creator.”
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