The Zohar, Chapter “Metzorah (The Leper),” Item 6: When the night grows dark and the gates close, the Nukva of the great abyss awakens and several armies of damagers are in the world.
This is an inner state that can come to a person on a sunny afternoon, where a person will feel that he is in the state of night, in the dark, and under the power of evil forces. It is good if a person realizes that it he is in the state of night; it is better than thinking that everything is ok and success awaits him.
At that time, the Creator puts all the people in the world (in a person) to sleep. He puts to sleep even all those who have awakening of life, meaning the righteous (in a person).
This describes a state where all the thoughts and desires through which I once united with others and aspired to reveal the Creator, wishing to be corrected from Above, also fade and vanish.
And the spirits roam the world and announce things to people in their dreams. Some of them are lies and some of them are true. And people become connected in their sleep.
If it was a pure lie, we would be able to immediately reveal it. Therefore, if a person wishes to pass off a lie for the truth, he needs to first say something that is true and then tell the lie. Then others will believe him.
Chapter “Metzora,” Item 7: And when the north wind awakens and the night divides, a flame bursts out and strikes under the wings of the rooster, and he calls. Then the Creator enters the Garden of Eden to play with the righteous.
The “rooster” indicates a person’s inner force of overcoming. This is the force that one uses during the work in the night, before sunrise.
And an announcer comes out and calls, and all the people in the world (in a person) awaken in their beds. And those with awakening of life rise up from their beds to the work of their Master, and engage in Torah and in praising the Creator until the morning comes.
This is how a person experiences the spiritual processes happening inside him.
The Zohar talks only about one person, inside of whom the whole world is situated. This person is each of us. When we study the perception of reality in Kabbalah, we learn that everything that seems to exist outside of us is actually inside us.
This whole enormous world, including the inanimate level of nature, plants, animals, and the people around us, are actually all inside man. All of these things are the qualities and forces of one’s soul which seem to exist outside, but actually they are inside.
To the extent a person develops, the whole picture of the world, which he sees outside himself, starts to seem more and more illusory to him. Therefore, our world is called an unreal or imaginary world, and our whole reality is called a dream.
For example, right now we are reading a story about Joseph who is located in Egypt along with Pharaoh, and about how Joseph’s brothers come and he greets them. As we read this, we have to understand that we are talking about the forces of our soul, which exist within every person in the world regardless of gender, age, or nationality.
The same forces exist in each of us because the Creator created an enormous desire to enjoy that consists of ten Sefirot, each of which, in turn, includes ten more Sefirot, and so on until infinity. This desire breaks and separates into a tremendous multitude of parts which are all remote from each other. They are separate souls, where each of us holds his own personal soul inside.
Therefore, each person includes everyone else since there are ten Sefirot inside him, and all the parts are connected to the ten Sefirot of the common soul and the ten Sefirot of the soul of each separate person. It turns out that everything that’s written in Kabbalah books talks about each of us – the soul of every person.
Therefore, when reading The Zohar‘s description of something that seemingly occurs outside of us, such as historical events, descriptions of nature, people, and animals, we have to try to interpret all of it on the inner level. All these stories are talking about what happens inside of me – the forces of my soul, my desires and qualities, which are in opposition to one another or connected to each other through certain relationships and calculations.
I need to enter and study this inner system of my soul because by learning and realizing it, I will begin to see the Creator’s qualities and forces, through which He influences me. I will see Him inside me, activating all my forces.
Therefore, when we read The Zohar, we need to concentrate inside ourselves, trying to see the forces of our soul behind every word.
My Answer: The sense through which we perceive everything (our vessel or Kli) is called “the will to enjoy.” We perceive ourselves and our environment, as well as the whole world, inside this desire. We only feel what this sense is able to “catch,” meaning only the things it decides are necessary and that are similar to it.
Therefore, we don’t feel anything spiritual, since spirituality is all bestowal and love. We simply don’t feel this other world, which is arranged according to bestowal rather than reception. Our current state cannot even be called a dream compared to the spiritual state, because it is below even that level. Our state is called the Kista de Hayuta – a thin illumination which revives us.
This illumination is a Reshimo (informational gene) that gives us a sensation of existing in some reality. But this is only in order for us to then work on rising to the spiritual sensation. The reality that is now presented to us by our senses will then fade, since this feeling is given to us on purpose, in order for us to feel independent of the Creator when we undergo our spiritual development. It enables us to develop on our own.
The level of a “dream” is situated above the reality of this world. In addition, there are many types of dreams – good ones and bad ones. For example, The Zohar tells us about the dreams of Pharaoh’s ministers as well as the dreams of Joseph.
One type of dream is when a person enters it deliberately as he descends from a higher level to a lower level, which is the level of a dream. There is a dream when a state called “night” comes, or spiritual darkness. Then we sleep and dream about a part of the Upper World.
On one hand, a dream comes from unifying with a higher degree. And on the other hand, in order for this to happen one needs to lose the lower degree. In any case, we are talking about states of our desire. The desire may be situated on a level that is completely detached from spirituality – in this world, or on a higher level of being slightly connected to spirituality. The latter is called a “dream.”
A dream is not mysticism; it is the reality of a person who ascends up the spiritual degrees. Either he advances on his own and deliberately enters the state of sleep, or this state is given to him from Above.
The more we try to imagine the qualities described in The Zohar inside us (such as the Creator, the wicked, the righteous, those who repent and those who do not repent), the more immersed we become in material images, which confuse us. And this, in turn, will give us an opportunity to exert greater effort.
If we do not push ourselves to discern these qualities inside ourselves and will instead simply listen to the text calmly, without searching for anything inside us, then the obstacles will also be very minor and vague. This will be a completely different quality of effort.
The Zohar, Chapter “Metzorah (The Leper),” Item 8: When the morning comes, all the armies and camps above praise the Creator.
Morning is a state where a person values the quality of bestowal. It is when one understands, knows, and feels that bestowal is the greatest thing possible.
Prior to that, love, bestowal, and connection with others appear as darkness because a person does not feel any benefit from them. He thinks, “What will I gain from this? It’s pointless, so why should I do it?” It seems tasteless to him.
However, if a person persistently continues to study and work in the group, then he is influenced by the Light that Reforms. This is called “working at night.”
This is followed by a new state: the quality of bestowal, the intention of giving. When this intention awakens in a person, it means morning has arrived.
Therefore, it is all talking about our inner states, rather than any external changes.
Then, several gates open to all sides (to the right and to the left), and Abraham’s gate, Hesed [mercy] opens in the assembly of Israel, Malchut, to summon all the people in the world to enjoy the Hassadim [mercies].
This is where we begin – kindness, Hassadim. How does a person achieve the state of morning? First he corrects himself through the quality of Hesed (mercy), and then he sees the Light of morning – the Light of Hassadim. Therefore, the morning prayer is called “Abraham.”
It is written, “And Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba,” since Malchut is called Beersheba, and Abraham planted the tree of Hesed [mercy] in it.
All the changes that we see, such as day and night, the sun and the moon, occur only in regard to the person. Through our inner processes we awaken these forces one after another or all of them together, and in this manner we feel the passing of time.
“The sun comes up” means that a person is able to reveal the Light of Hochma which is clothed into the Light of Hassadim. If one is able to reveal only the Light of Hassadim, it is still morning, but before the sunrise. If one cannot reveal even the Light of Hassadim through his desires, it is called night.
We are situated in an infinite ocean of the Light of Hochma, but we don’t have the desires of bestowal, Hassadim, and thus we cannot reveal any Light.
Rabbi Nachman from Breslov said, “Many tears are shed over The Book of Zohar until a person becomes worthy of understanding.” When thinking about the corrected desire, I should imagine that it is all mine. There are no other people; they are all, in fact, inside me. They are all me! Therefore, when I read The Zohar I should imagine that everything happens inside me. I read about mountains, summits, a stream flowing out of the Garden of Eden, top or bottom, corporeality or spirituality, Pharaoh, Moses, Abraham, men and women who get married and give birth to children; but all of this happens inside me, in my desires. There is nothing else.
In this manner I am being told about the different phenomena taking place inside my desire. The Zohar tells me about what happens inside me, in this entire, enormous vessel of desire which consists of everyone. Nothing exists outside of it; the whole reality is in me.
So where is the Creator? He is also inside me! If I can attain a feeling of unity, bestowal, and love between all His parts within this desire, it will mean that I have revealed the Creator. The Creator is called “Bo-Re” – “come and see.” This happens in the desire, where the Light is situated. The Light is perceived only in the desire.
The more you try to change your vision in this manner, the easier it will become. We simply need to take off the glasses through which we see our world and begin to look from a different point of view. Then we will suddenly reveal that reality is actually completely different from what we are used to. We only need to remove the regular picture of the world that blocks it.
The Zohar is deliberately written in a language that seems to speak about our world, as if it tells us about a family, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or about a nation that comes out of Egypt, and other things. It explains this to us purposefully, so we would switch from focusing on this world, our customary perception, to another type of focus that is more internal. Then we will see that everything happens inside us.
A person is a small world. Understanding this is the condition for understanding spirituality.
The Zohar, Chapter “Miketz (At The End),” Item 84: In all the places of judgment over the other nations, it is for the good. For “Masa” (prophecy) [also] means “burden”; it is a burden for the Creator – the good of the nations-idol worshipers. And when their judgment is passed, He removes from Himself the burden He had suffered due to them.
And hence when “Masa” (prophecy) is spoken of them, it is for the good.
It is impossible to change our desire to enjoy without feeling pressure and a burdening of the heart. As times grow increasingly difficult, we see that the world listens more and is now ready to hear the advice of the Kabbalists. In fact, this applies to each one of us as well.
The science of Kabbalah enables us to employ the remedy capable of forestalling the blows. It allows us to take the good path – Achishena, instead of the path of suffering – Beito. (In Hebrew Achishena means “accelerating time,” and Beito means “in due time.”)
Yet either way, by the path of good or by the path of suffering, the correction of the desire to enjoy occurs through pressure and restrictions, until we decide that we must change it. As a result, we wait for the Light that Reforms, since the only thing that can correct our egoistic desire in the first place is the Light that created it.
My Answer: The Zohar is an entire system, and you exist inside it as though in a spider web or a net. This is the system of the universe which contains all the creatures, and all of it is the Creator.
When we read The Zohar, we desire to unite in order to elicit the influence of this system upon us, so it will begin to work on us and make us active parts of it. Then we will be able to independently understand, act, and move forward.
The Zohar tells us about this system and how it works in its entirety. Of course, you still don’t realize how deep and multi-faceted it is; you reveal only what is vital for you at every moment of your development.
Actually, we are reading the remains of the original Book of Zohar, which was 20 or 30 times bigger than the text that has reached us. And don’t forget that this was all written almost 2000 years ago.
Imagine that one of the authors of The Zohar now came to us and gave us a lesson. We would understand him because he would be speaking the same language as what we are now studying. He would be telling us the same things we now want to learn. But it would be coming from a person who lived a very long time ago. Just think: Would anything like it be possible in any other situation? Can you imagine any other situation where people desire to meet an ancient ancestor in order to learn from him, where they are jealous of his moral and spiritual level and are able to understand him; they desire to hear him, they accept him, and they speak to him in the same language about the same things?
This is possible because the system they describe is real, global, and eternal. We exist inside it, but each of us reveals it to the degree he is able to feel it. We feel as if we are going from light to darkness, and at first it seems like we can’t see anything in the dark. But once you are there for a few minutes, you start to gradually discern more and more things within the darkness. And then you see that you don’t even need the light anymore; you don’t even have to turn it on. There is a slight glow, and it’s enough for you.
When you first enter spiritual darkness, you feel lost. But with a little bit more unity and a bit more influence of the text upon you, you will begin to feel where you are. Instead of your current perception of this world, you will begin to feel that there are different forces operating all around you. They influence us and we are connected to them. The air will thicken and make room for the spiritual world.
All you have to do is keep going.
A question I received: How will The Zohar study at The Zohar Convention 2010 differ from what I am now watching on the computer screen?
My Answer: The Upper System descends to our world, where we perceive ourselves inside bodies, separated from one another by distance. Why can’t we just be in the souls, in the spiritual world? Why do we also need this world, the lowest of all the worlds?
This world is necessary because while we are in it, spiritually separated from one another, we can physically reduce the distance between us and thereby bring about spiritual closeness. In the spiritual world we are separated by spiritual distance, which can only be overcome by truly correcting one’s desire.
However, I can perform a correction in this world by coming to the Congress and being next to you. When I pay money to attend the Congress, to have the physical closeness, it helps me to carry out a spiritual correction. This is, in fact, the only reason our world exists; otherwise, there would be no need for it. It is a special reality where our material actions can help us to begin making spiritual actions.
You can turn on an engine by twisting a knob, and it will work. But how can you turn on the engine of love and bestowal if you’re an egoist? You can do it by physically coming closer to another person while thinking of a spiritual reward. If I try to come into contact with others who have the same goal as me, then by physically uniting with them, I can “turn on” the “spiritual engine.” This is how I set the Upper System in motion, which corrects me.
We aren’t expected to unite our hearts, since it’s obvious that we are egoists. It suffices for us to make physical efforts to draw closer to one another, in order to turn on the engine of the spiritual system. It then shines upon us with the Light of Correction, making us similar to the Creator.
The Light of Correction comes to us in response to our actions. It travels through us and begins to raise us. All of the descent of the worlds from above downwards took place only to enable you to turn on the spiritual system even while being at the lowest point – this world. You can do it yourself, independent of the Upper Level, through your material actions.
This is exactly what we do by coming to the Congress.