The Zohar, Chapter “Ki Tissa (When You Take),” Item 50: There is no father so merciful to His children as the Creator, as it is written, “That not one thing has failed of all the good things.” …But since it said, “Of all the good things,” and left the bad behind, meaning that He left the bad things He said about Israel aside and they did not come true, this is where His mercies are seen. This is because He does not wish to do a bad thing.
The world exists based on two forces; therefore, it is impossible not to have evil. Goodness is revealed from evil and is built within it. So the problem isn’t that evil exists in the world, but the way we reveal it.
Either evil is revealed in all its loathsomeness and filth, through the worst, crudest manifestations, or we arm ourselves with the force of the right line, in which case we reveal it with joy. We correct it and immediately transform it to goodness.
Either way, evil must be revealed. Everything depends on our aspiration.
We read the words of The Zohar, but we don’t understand anything yet. I only provide a brief explanation in order to direct a person, to show him where to begin searching for these qualities inside himself and how to picture them. For example: Aaron and his sons, the evil force, Moses, and the Golden Calf are all qualities that we need to recognize inside ourselves.
Right now, each person’s desire added to everyone’s collective desire is our “mutual guarantee,” where mutual guarantee is the force of unity, which consists of many layers. Each layer or degree has a collective force of unity, called a mutual guarantee. It works the same way in the human body; the general defense system gives all of its strength to overcome an illness. The immune system works together to battle a foreign body to try to achieve the desired goal.
On every level and for every type of inner work, a person needs to receive another form of a mutual guarantee from this force of unity – a feeling that everyone desires the same thing, but no one understands each other, and that everyone thinks differently. All of this helps new sensations to begin to emerge within us.
Each person has the desire to interpret the text in his own way, according to the root of his soul; he directs himself in a particular way, according to his form, and he tunes into the collective desire to reach the spiritual goal. All individual desires, needs, and aspirations connect this collective force together making it very rich, complex, and multicolored. And later, when the Surrounding Light begins to influence a person through this template, he goes through a collection of desires, demands, and confusion – a depiction of all the qualities of every person described in The Book of Zohar.
All our senses operate according to the principle of revealing the opposite – translating everything that is perceived inside them to something that is opposite. What is seen as external is actually inside us because we turn it around in our brain, seeing the reverse picture only afterward. We don’t have any other way to perceive the world since we were all created such that we can only reveal something based on a lack or flaw in us. And we call that lack, “Light.” For this reason, spirituality is seen as dark and repulsive; we don’t agree with it and don’t want it. It doesn’t seem reasonable to us to love our neighbor and give to others.
The Zohar tells us about the Creator’s qualities, but how can we grasp this when we only know how to receive? How can we feel bestowal? This is a world that is hidden from us, a reality that we are unable to feel. The Zohar explains how to start perceiving, little by little, what is not presently felt by the heart or the mind. I am unable to put it into words since words express a feeling or understanding, but if there is no sensation behind them, then I simply do not feel the words.
If I read The Zohar together with others, hoping that it will help me, then a revelation will occur. The spiritual world is located here, right in front of us, but we are unable to perceive it with our heart or mind. It is a tremendous accomplishment to gradually begin to feel that it exists somewhere nearby, although we are unable to detect it. We need to continue feeling this lack when we study so that The Zohar will begin to tell us more.
The Creator enjoys playing with man just like a father enjoys playing with his child. In our world, nature has instilled in parents a desire to bestow to their children. However, this comes from the spiritual root. This corporeal example can help us understand the spiritual world. Just like we enjoy caring for our children, the spiritual parent, which is the Upper System, enjoys caring for its spiritual children. We are those children; we just don’t see it.
When playing with a child, the game itself does not matter. What matters is our attitude toward the child and his attitude toward us in return. When the child stops reacting, the game stops being pleasant to us. We only receive pleasure when the child receives pleasure, when he understands what we do for him, and when he appreciates what he receives from us. This requires a similarity of our desires and qualities. In our world, we don’t understand this because the bigger the children grow, the further they grow apart from their parents. However, in the spiritual world, it’s the other way around: the older the child gets, the closer he becomes to his parent and the stronger he bonds to him.
However, this doesn’t mean that the child becomes dependent on his parent. The child’s dependence ceases just as it does in our world, yet the connection between them strengthens. This same thing happens to parents and children in our world who share common activities and a goal; they unite.
The Creator and creation are connected through a common goal because they want to fulfill one another. They want to return pleasure to each other so that each would understand how much the other values what he has received and to discover love in this reception. Otherwise, we would never feel and understand the Creator.
The Machsom is the boundary where I receive the force of bestowal. This is exactly what we want to attain – unity among us and the force of mutual bestowal. The moment we succeed at this, it will mean that we have passed the Machsom.
How can we imagine this common Kli, our spiritual vessel? Let’s say each of us comes holding one glass of water and we all pour it into one big bucket. Then it will be impossible to differentiate where is your part, where is mine, and where is someone else’s. This is called unity and mutual inclusion of the desires, which goes on until we all attain a certain volume or measure called “Se’a,” inside of which we begin to feel life.
It’s similar to how there’s a difference between an aquarium and a large water reservoir in that beyond a certain boundary, a water reservoir starts to have its own life, whereas life in an aquarium must be supported artificially. Someone has to feed the fish, supply them oxygen, and clean the aquarium. But if the water reservoir reaches a certain size, it begins supporting its own life. You no longer have to supply it with food and oxygen; it starts to live naturally, on its own.
This boundary is a critical landmark: beneath it things start to die, and above it, things come to life. “Se’a” is the boundary I reach while ascending from below upwards; once I exert a certain amount of effort, I cross the boundary and enter the realm where life begins to support itself. This is exactly how we have to unite our desires.
When we want to revive a dead lake or a lifeless body, we have to put in additional efforts in quantity as well as quality, until we succeed in bringing it to life.
The Creator is the force of bestowal and love, and one who loves feels great suffering if he is unable to delight his beloved. The suffering that comes from the inability to bestow is much greater than the suffering that comes from not receiving. It is written, “A cow desires to nurse the calf much more than the calf desires to nurse.” The Upper Level greatly suffers when it cannot give of its perfection to the lower level due to the latter’s inability to receive it.
The Creator is the desire to bestow, give, and love. However, we shouldn’t think that there is no lack in this desire – there is. Only it doesn’t come from a lack of fulfillment, but from being unable to share its perfection. This is why the Creator created the will to enjoy – it was in order to fulfill it and express His love toward it.
Our desire already contains all the prerequisites necessary for receiving all of the Creator’s Light and love. However, in order for us to understand what He does and to feel what He gives us, we have to become similar to Him, reaching the same level and qualities. To do this, we are missing just one component – our independence, our own desire to feel His love and to accept Him as the one we love.
Unless this aspiration comes from us, it can’t be considered love. After all, you can’t buy love; you can only buy different services. For example, I pay money at a barber shop, a medical office, or a restaurant, and the people there take care of me from the bottom of their hearts. However, they do it because they love money, not me. What can I do to make them love me? This is a question we cannot answer.
Real love is possibly only if I am completely independent of others. Yet it is written that the Creator is “the first and the last.” Therefore, He faces a problem of how to create us while making us completely independent from Him, and at the same time, making us such that we can develop love for Him until we feel, “I am the first and I am the last” in this regard. This means that the ten Sefirot of Direct Light clothe the ten Sefirot of Reflected Light and complement each other.
Had my people heeded me in this generation, when heresy is increasing, they would have studied The Book of Zohar and contemplated it with nine-year-old children. … By this they would revoke all the harsh sentences and would extend abundance and Light.
– Rav Yitzhak Yehudah Yehiel of Komarno, Keeping Mercy, Chapter 4, Teaching 20
There are no limitations on studying The Zohar. Hafetz Chaim used to evoke everyone to study The Zohar, even unmarried men.
– Rabbi Yosef Ben Shlomo of Pojin, Yosef’s Building Supplements
The Book of Zohar does not say anything about this world, but speaks only of the Upper Worlds where there is no time as in the material world. Spiritual time is a change in qualities.
– The Book of Zohar, Chapter “VaYetze,” Item 62
The Book of Zohar (The Book of Radiance) was named thus because it radiates the Light of the highest Source. Those who study The Book of Zohar are influenced by this Light and receive revelation of the highest knowledge and the secrets of the Torah.
– Rav Moshe Cordovero (RAMAK), Know the God of Thy Father, Item 2
Prior to the coming of the Messiah, heresy and Epicureanism will increase in the world. The advice for it is to meticulously study The Zohar every day, even if one does not understand what one is saying, since studying The Zohar can cleanse the heart.
– The Light of the Upright, Clear Myrrh
The Book of Zohar – Selections, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 122
The most important thing to do during the study of The Zohar is to ask myself what state I have to be in for the revelation to occur.
Download: WMV Video|MP3 Audio