The Zohar, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 86: “Who keeps his mouth and his tongue, keeps his soul from troubles.” His soul, which used to speak, is now silent because of the evil words that she spoke. Then comes the serpent, for everything has reverted back to the beginning, as before he was rewarded with a soul. And when the evil speech rises by certain ways to being before the harsh serpent, several spirits awaken in the world, and an impure spirit descends from that side, of the serpent, and finds that the man evoked it with the evil speech. It finds that the holy speaking Ruach is removed from him, at which time the impure Ruach is upon him and defiles him, and then he is a leper.
Where do evil forces come from and what power do they have? They exist only if a person reveals them within himself and decides that they are evil. They are his own uncorrected properties or evil desires. However, if he wants to correct them, they become revealed for the purpose of correction and they aren’t considered transgressions. On the contrary, it is written, “One who comes to be corrected is aided.” That person receives help and doesn’t feel the burden.
However, the evil can also become revealed without a person’s participation, when he is least prepared for it. These are the evil forces he did not correct in the past and is not planning to correct now either. That is when the serpent and other frightening images appear, which are our evil inclination coming to destroy us.
These are all our uncorrected properties which don’t appear according to our desire to reveal and correct them, but in a natural way. They become revealed as evil and harmful forces that act against us.
The Zohar describes it as an outer, alien force which is opposite to holiness. However, it exists within the uncorrected desires of the person himself. Therefore, one shouldn’t think that some unexpected event takes place sent to us by the Creator, but that these events are unfolding only within us. We should always be ready to use any discovery for our correction. Then, it will be for our good.
The Zohar, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 70: “…pangs of love are hidden from people.” Pangs of love is the state also known as “I am lovesick.” It means that I don’t need anything; I only want to give, to bestow. My only wish is to fulfill your desire.
This is an intermediate state where I very much want to give but I am unable. Since I haven’t yet acquired a screen, I am unable to receive the Light in order to fulfill your desire. Love is a state where I feel the desire of the other more than my own.
The Zohar, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 72: It is written, “Better is open rebuke than love that is hidden,” which means that open rebuke is better. And if the rebuke is out of love, it is hidden from people. Similarly, one who rebukes one’s friend with love must hide his words from people so his friend will not be shamed by them. And if his words are open before people, they are not with love.”
In our world we naturally desire to hide our relationships and the love between us because love requires discretion. We want to protect it from everything that might potentially hurt it. But what does it mean “to be ashamed” or “to reveal love in front of others” in spirituality? Who are those others? They are my desires.
If I attain connection with the Creator in one desire, then the other desires in which I cannot connect with Him are called “the others.” Therefore, I need to pay attention to them so that they don’t hurt my love, as well as keep in mind that everything is happening internally.
We must try to reveal everything that’s written in The Book of Zohar within ourselves. A person sits in front of a book and doesn’t understand a single word written in it. This is because every word points to a spiritual desire, along with its type and quality such as reception or bestowal, large or small, and all its various forms. We must search for all of this inside ourselves.
A person has to unite with others and desire to merge into a single desire with them. With this common desire a person aspires within himself and concentrates on the searches, trying to find, “Where is it all hidden in me?” The fact is that all of reality exists inside us. There is nothing outside; all of what we picture is formed within. Some things only seem to be external, yet there is no real life outside of us. While we see various imaginary pictures, The Zohar does not write about them. Rather, it writes about the forces which create that picture. It is like a computer screen where we see various pictures and forms, but in reality they are all electrical forces.
We need to switch from the external display or demonstration of forces to an inner perception and the understanding that everything happens inside our “computer.” This is important to distinguish in order to perform various spiritual calculations and actions.
Actually, we don’t even need a monitor. We can work with the computer directly from its hard drive, without transferring everything to an external picture.
The Book of Zohar is the system of the spiritual worlds. It is a global system of governance encompassing all 125 degrees of the soul’s ascent from our world to the World of Infinity. Not only does The Zohar provide an explanation of this system, it brings us the Light capable of raising us along the entire spiritual ladder from beginning to end. We only need to strive to come to the demands of this system while reading this book.
Therefore, if we bring ourselves into correspondence with the system governing us, we will receive the Reforming Light that it is filled with. This constitutes our work. Thus, while reading The Zohar we should aspire to unite into one desire and await the Light that corrects us.
The Zohar, Chapter “Tazria (When A Woman Delivers),” Item 20: When the soul descends to the entrance to this world, she first descends to the Garden of Eden of the earth, and sees the glory of the spirits of righteous standing column by column. Afterwards, she goes to hell and sees the wicked crying “Alas! Alas!” and no one pities them. She is given testimony of everything: the wicked testify how they are punished for each sin, and the righteous testify to the good reward that they receive for each Mitzva [good deed, commandment]. And that holy image stands over her until she leaves toward this world.
The Zohar always speaks about one soul, one man. Whether it speaks of the Garden of Eden and hell, or the righteous and the wicked – all of them are included in one man.
When we enter the system of our soul, we become submerged in our inner reality and in examining all of the possibilities there. This is what is meant by travel between the Garden of Eden and hell, and to observe what is happening there. In other words we create a map containing the route of our spiritual advancement.
If we want to be born spiritually, we have to strive at making many good preparations. As a result, we begin to reveal our egoism (evil) because the darkness called the “serpent” emerges within us.
It is impossible to make an easy, peaceful transition to a new level. Similarly, birth in the material world is a critical and difficult process. It means that you “die” on the previous level, and only then are you born into a new world. Similarly, the serpent gives us new egoistic desires, thereby helping us break through into a new life. Thus, good and evil forces work together.
It is written, “I created the evil inclination and the Torah as its ‘spice’ (a remedy for its correction).” In other words, the main component is our desire, which is the matter of creation, and the Torah acts only as the “spice” for our correction.
When we exit Egypt and approach the Red Sea, we must first throw ourselves into the water. Only when we act first and do so does the sea part. This is an act of birth, yet how are we able to do something like this? We are only capable of it if the evil (our egoism) pursuing us reveals itself, and through this act, forces us to be born.
We jump into the sea like a person who jumps from the 20th floor of a burning building, for example. One jumps knowing just one thing – he must escape the fire; this is his salvation. Likewise, all we’re able to think about is how to get rid of the evil, and it doesn’t matter what will follow. This is precisely how we are born.
Therefore, we should value our egoism for its essential and indispensable work. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to reach the ultimate Goal. That’s why it is called “help against you.”
If a person is in the left line, wishing to receive only the Light of Hochma, then he senses darkness because he lacks the Light of Hassadim. By contrast, if a person is in the right line, completely in the Light of Hassadim, then he has no desire for reception and doesn’t aspire to the Light of Hochma (the small state).
How can we connect these two opposite states of Hassidim and Hochma? Since a person is divided into these two halves without an ability to unite them, the intervention of a third force is necessary. This third force causes the two opposite states to clash so that a new action can begin.
The truth of the matter is that every action is a new birth in spirituality. It is a new state that didn’t exist before, and we don’t know how to perform it. In fact, it is impossible to perform it, since every action reveals our lack of connection with the Creator and our opposition to Him.
How do we step over this chasm and make the leap from corporeality into spirituality on each and every degree? This occurs after much preparation, when a force comes to us and awakens the serpent in us, which is the evil inclination helping us perform this leap.
(Note: This principle comes from Kitrug HaYareyach, which occurred on the fourth day of creation.)
A person studying Kabbalah has to secure external support in the form of the group, the study, and dissemination so that they are always by his side, ready to help during a state of descent. It is written, “A righteous man falls a thousand times and rises again.” This is the path towards achieving spirituality.
Along this path, different situations and states occur to me. Throughout all of it, the most important thing is to remain in an environment that will always be supportive and inspire you when you face the descents. In the end, you will feel the Light that lies within this inspiration. The Upper Light will no longer be concealed from you, but will be revealed.
If we come to The Zohar Convention 2010 with the same inspiration that we experienced during our preparations for it, then the Convention will be very successful. We will be able to make great internal corrections and will feel the Creator’s revelation inside our connection with each other. It is my great wish that this will happen.
A question I received: It seems to me that The Book of Zohar has much more of the left line than of the right line. Is this true?
My Answer: The Zohar, like the whole Torah, is the middle line, not the right or the left. The whole Torah is written from the middle line.
The authors of these books revealed their spiritual attainment by attaining the Upper Level, the Creator, and this occurs only in the middle line of the soul. Therefore, none of the Kabbalistic books are written in either the right or left lines. However, there may be an inclination toward one direction or another in the way that the material is expressed externally.
For example, the book Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) by King Solomon seems like an expression of the left line to us when it writes phrases like, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” However, “vanity” (Hevel) actually refers to the Surrounding Light. Therefore, “vanity of vanities” means that everything is achieved in the Surrounding Light.
When read his way, one sees that this whole book is not filled with despair, as many think, but just the opposite. It speaks of the yearning for the Upper Light. For example, the above phrase by King Solomon in Ecclesiastes actually means, “All is my yearning for the Creator,” rather than how it is usually translated.
Everything depends on a proper understanding of the text, unification with the author, and with the protagonist – the Creator.