If a person studies books of Kabbalah, then even without understanding any of what’s written in them, he goes through inner changes and gradually begins to feel what is written in these books. This is called that he studies the science of Kabbalah. He begins to see the relationships between the fulfillment and the soul’s desire (the Lights and the Kelim), “world-year-soul” and “a ready-made reality.”
If he begins to study these books and to see them with his inner vision, then he studies the wisdom of Kabbalah – the science about how to fulfill one’s soul, how to reveal the spiritual world and the Creator, by likening one’s qualities to Him. But if a person reads these books, although he may really try and make efforts, but he is nevertheless unable to feel the Creator’s actions inside him, it means that he isn’t studying the science of Kabbalah yet. He is only preparing for it.
But if he has no intention whatsoever to achieve the spiritual sensation, then he has no connection to spirituality, or to the Torah. He is only connected to knowledge, because he does not strive for the Torah. The Torah is the Light that returns one to the Source, and it influences a person when he desires for the Light to come and correct him, because he feels that he requires correction.
So, if a person simply reads Kabbalah books, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he studies Kabbalah. He may just be studying the wisdom. Therefore, everything is discussed relative to the person studying. If I pick up a book whose cover says “Torah” or “Kabbalah,” this doesn’t necessarily mean that I study them. Everything depends on me and what I desire from these books.
(From Part 3 of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson, on “Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot”)