My Answer: The clearest and strongest sign of advancement in reading The Book of Zohar is the feeling of a greater need for connection with others.
Another sign is that I feel that The Zohar attracts me for some reason. Sometimes it draws me more and sometimes less, but no matter what, I feel good being near this book, whether reading or listening to it. I feel that there is power in this book that connects me with life. It has this effect.
Even if a person does not understand or attain what The Book of Zohar describes, he still feels that this book is like a rope or a life-line that the Creator has thrown to his creatures here in this world, as Baal HaSulam writes in his article “A Speech in Celebration of the Conclusion ofThe Zohar.”
By gripping the end of this rope, we can ascend to Him.
Two questions I received on Kabbalists’ attitude to the world:
Question: Our Kabbalah study group in Seattle was asked to give a presentation on Kabbalah to a club that meets to learn about different spiritual traditions. The talk went very well and after it was over, one of the participants asked: “What do Kabbalists say we should do with desires when they rise within us?” How would you have answered such a question?
My Answer: We will fulfill them with the understanding of the Creator.
Question: If the Kabbalists do and have always known all, in my opinion, they are responsible for explaining to all of humanity and even individuals, why the Creator seemingly treats them so poorly.
My Answer: It’s you, not Kabbalists, who perceive the Creator’s attitude in this way. You will understand the rest on your own once your impressions of the world start changing.
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The Path of Kabbalah: “The Beginning of a Kabbalist’s Way”
All this external buildup with its output to the “computer” monitor is made only for myself, since I can only discern the externality. However, in reality all events are happening on the hard drive. It is from there that some form is reflected onto the screen. I am capable of understanding this form and accordingly I send an order back to the hard drive.
That external form reflected on the screen is what our world is. The Zohar wants to take us inside the system, that being the Creator (the hard drive), to the place where all events are unfolding and all forces are acting.
I am unable to change anything by interfering with the actions on the screen itself. It’s like trying to erase from it or to draw additional details onto to the screen’s picture. The screen is required only for the purpose of conveying that which is happening inside.
Therefore, the most important thing is to try to enter inside, to penetrate beyond all these outer pictures. In doing so, we will reveal the form of forces, information, and reminisces (Reshimot) in the spiritual world that are on this “hard drive.” Then we will be able to work with all parameters and change everything in order to receive fulfillment. However, this will happen under one condition: that we go deeper inside.
Therefore, it doesn’t matter what pictures The Zohar depicts for us. What matters most is we want to reveal that inner picture where everything is happening. Our desires act inside of this as there is nothing else in the universe besides the desire and the Light.
It is difficult to feel and understand what a soul is, yet Kabbalists tell us that a soul is a part of the Creator, who is the quality of bestowal. When the desire to receive pleasure assumes the form of bestowal, it begins to work as a bestowing desire. As a result, it feels similarity with the Creator, as though it is a part of Him.
Every time we feel a change within, we have a new and different soul. During each of our actions of merging with the Light, twenty-five new spiritual Partzufim, or souls, are born. So how is it possible to identify ourselves in the spiritual world? In this material world we identify ourselves by everything we currently perceive as our own, such as by our body parts (the arms, legs, head, and so on). As long as we’re alive, the same body will remain with us now and tomorrow, and the next day, and so forth.
However, what is “ours” in the spiritual world? What remains with us from the previous state if we constantly receive ten new Sefirot and a new depth (Aviut) of desire, with new qualities, a new screen, and new Light? Is there something that remains in order to feel that it’s “us” who advance instead of the birth of some other soul?
The truth is that in spirituality, every day and every instant, you are a new person. Nothing ever remains with you from the past. It is contrary to our material life. In spirituality, everything is constantly renewed, except the initial point in the heart.
The Zohar, Chapter “BeHaalotcha (When You Mount the Candles),” Item 13: How pleasant are the words of Torah, for in each and every word are sublime secrets, and the whole Torah is called “superior.” We learned that the thirteen qualities in the Torah, meaning everything that was a part and then stopped being a part, did not stop so as to point to itself. Rather, it parted so as to teach about the whole….
In our world, we can utilize analysis and synthesis to divide the whole into separate parts and study each part separately. However, the spiritual world is like a holographic picture where each part contains the entire universe, acting as a single part only with respect to the individual. Therefore, we must always strive for the general.
Even when we attain a small part, we must understand that it contains everything. Spiritual attainment always alludes to the general, to the place of the quality studied in the general system. Without studying the general, it is impossible to study the particular.
In his article, “The Future Generation,” Baal HaSulam writes that we must create first a virtual state of Kabbalah and then a material one, which would contain all the parts of the future structure of the world – a miniature whole. Accordingly, even our internet site must be structured like a complete, whole state of Kabbalah, including everything necessary for the generation of the era of correction to communicate with one another.
This will be a small part of a new reality, but it will be absolutely whole, without a single detail forgotten. Indeed, it will only be a part of reality with respect to us while we remain uncorrected. But as we correct ourselves, this part will swallow up the entire world and all of reality, and the whole universe will come inside of it. We will have nothing left to add to it. After all, in the spiritual world every part includes the general, and only our incorrect view regards it as a part, for we are incapable of grasping the whole. But we must always understand that before us lies infinity.
By simply reading The Zohar, we gradually begin to understand it. This book is not built upon explanations, but rather upon the reading itself, meaning the process where we begin to feel a clearer sensation of the Upper World.
“Ima Ilaa” (the Upper Mother for all of us) is called Bina. She radiates the Surrounding Light to us. Similar to infants with wide open eyes and mouths, we should try to appeal to Her with the right intention: to become as one man with the wish to reach the quality of bestowal by revealing it within us.
This is enough. Everything else written in the book will be gradually revealed to us. What does it mean “gradually?” It means in the same way that infants learn. They don’t know any words, don’t understand what’s going on, and due to their desire to know, it happens that “this” or “that” is revealed to them and thus, they begin to understand something. This is the way that they discover the world.
This is a normal, natural approach. The Upper World is revealed to us in the same way. If we remember how we grew up and discovered this world, we will understand how to advance in spirituality.Then we will have no complaints. We will be developing in exactly the same way; nothing has changed.
Subsequently, it is easier to understand that we are not required to be “smart.” All we have to do is reveal a desire to attain the Upper World, and conform to it just a little bit.
All the worlds clothe each other; each Sefira receives Light from its root – the main Sefira in the World of Infinity. For example, all the particular Sefirot of Bina receive Light from Bina of the World of Infinity; all the particular Sefirot of Tifferet receive Light from Sefira Tifferet of the World of Infinity, and so on.
On its way to the place of destination, the Light goes through all the Partzufim and Sefirot, although it only goes through them in transit as it connects to the Sefira from its root or source. We correct ourselves in this manner. Therefore, all the Sefirot and Partzufim that are on the Light’s path toward me correct themselves partially by helping to bring the Light of Tifferet to me.
I correct my connection with them because they bring the Light of Tifferet to me, but the most important correction of the quality of Tifferet occurs in me. All the other corrections occur due to our mutual inclusion into each other, and in this manner we reach a state where everyone is included in each other, and we form a circle or a sphere – a symbol of perfection.