It is common knowledge that The Book of Zohar is unique. The reason for this is that it is the only book with the power to bring human beings into the spiritual world. This unparalleled mission is what brought this book to fame and has made humankind have a special relationship to it.
Nature prepares a very peculiar entry into this world for us; we are born without any knowledge and nothing is explained to us ahead of time. A child does not inherit an intellect, senses or memories from his parents or preceding generations. A person is born as an empty shell and then starts sensing this world as warmth, coldness, light, darkness, sound and silence.
In the beginning a baby doesn’t feel anything at all. But gradually it begins reacting to sound and light, and later on it recognizes its mother and notices actions that are being done to it. In response the baby laughs or cries, and gradually starts to explore the world and to want to find out what is going on around it. It begins to identify with its body and that is how it grows up.
Compared to this, it’s surprising that baby animals get to know everything and learn to survive independently in just a few days, whereas a human baby remains totally helpless without an adult’s care for a long time. If we leave a human baby in the woods, it would grow up just like the animals that surround him.
A human baby’s development is based solely on impressions, examples and behavioral models of this world, which he receives from adults. People have created music for children, toys, playgrounds and games designed to teach children to take things apart, reassemble them, and distinguish between colors and sounds. The purpose of these games is to prepare a child to live in our world.
A child’s parents and the people around him are ready to give everything that is needed for the child to grow up in accordance with the standards of his generation and the world he lives in. Our instincts direct us to transfer our knowledge to a child, since otherwise he won’t be ready for life in our world.
This type of upbringing is natural and cannot be changed. We are unable to feed a human being with information by connecting him directly to a computer that will transfer encyclopedic knowledge to him. We cannot simply “install” a proper upbringing in order to develop a child’s feelings and reactions. We can only do so gradually as he shapes his personality by acquiring and accumulating impressions.
This process takes at least 20 years of a human being’s life. And when we become adults, we still continue to learn and develop, and often we end up regretting that we didn’t acquire more knowledge earlier in our lives.
Our birth and development in the spiritual world involves similar processes, but the difference is that we also continue to exist in the material world, a sort of inconvenience. Just like in the physical world, growth in the spiritual realm requires parents, surroundings, toys, education, a proper upbringing and explanations. If we don’t get the right examples, then we won’t be ready for living in the spiritual world, and therefore it won’t reveal itself to us. Even if it did, we wouldn’t be able to recognize it.
Baal HaSulam writes the following in the article “Body and Soul:” “A human being cannot exist in our world without having knowledge of it, and similarly his soul is unable to exist in the Upper World without having knowledge of it. Moreover, knowledge about the Upper World actually serves as a way of sensing life in it.”
If an infant were left alone in his cradle without any attention and only his immediate physical needs were satisfied, it would become nothing more than a living, breathing body. We are incapable of developing unless we receive new and diverse impressions on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter that we don’t understand the meaning behind many of these impressions, just like a child doesn’t understand much of what happens to him. Regardless, we are still filled by these impressions and use them to grow. The same thing happens in the spiritual world: We must fill ourselves with diverse impressions that originate from the spiritual world, and that don’t exist in our world.
And that is exactly how The Book of Zohar influences us and why this book is so special. When a person reads or listens to this book, it starts transferring impressions of the higher, unknown world to him. It doesn’t matter whether we understand the meaning of its contents or not; we’re still filled by those impressions. There is no other book that makes such an impact.
Gradually, as we advance through studying The Book of Zohar, we start receiving and accumulating impressions from the spiritual world. When those impressions enter our being, they advance our development in the spiritual world even without our awareness that this growth is taking place.
When we read The Book of Zohar at our lessons, I will provide explanations of the text in order to help connect a person with its contents. However, a person can read The Book of Zohar without any explanations whatsoever. All we need is a desire to understand and connect with the text, the same way that a wide-eyed child explores the world around him and can’t sit still for a minute because of his natural tendency to learn and absorb everything around him. If we open our feelings, heart and intellect to absorb what flows out of this book, just like a child who soaks up everything in this world, we’ll advance in the spiritual world.
It is of little importance whether a person possesses a brilliant mind or whether he has trouble learning, whether he is lazy or hard-working, rational or emotional; everyone will develop in their own way, which is best for them.