Answer: When the concealed Light (Ohr Makif) influences a person aspiring to bestowal, the person starts to feel inner qualities of reception and bestowal in their various manifestations and connections. This is similar to our world, which we feel in many details and their interactions. However, in spiritual attainment, when a person discovers an entire world of qualities within, he also reveals the knowledge of their names.
Then, when he reads holy books, they start to tell him about what he reveals within him, and books written in the language of Kabbalah tell him about the qualities he discovers, similar to how the sciences of our world tell us about the qualities of the things we see. That’s why Kabbalah is the science of the Upper World, and only to the extent a person learns it can his soul understand its state and develop.
Reading The Book of Zohar without the Sulam Commentary can reveal the Upper World to a person similar to how our world is revealed to a simpleton: He sees it, but doesn’t understand it. However, learning the Sulam Commentary enables a Kabbalist to know and control his state and his abilities to come closer to the Creator, similar to how a connoisseur in our world has the ability to use the world to his benefit.
The same is true for all the commentaries to holy books written before HaShlah HaKadosh (the 17th century). After that many authors did not even attain the Upper World. Likewise, we shouldn’t confuse the Sulam Commentary to The Book of Zohar with other, especially later commentaries to The Book of Zohar.
In order to help beginners come closer to The Book of Zohar, we have created a simplified Sulam Commentary called “Zohar for the Nation” (Zohar L’Am). In it we have removed some of the descriptions of images of the Upper World in Aramaic, making it limited in its comparison of the picture of the Upper World that a Kabbalist revealed, with the explanation of this picture by the science of Kabbalah. However, practice shows that precisely this form of The Zohar is best for beginners. And to the degree people reveal the picture of the Upper World, they will go on to the original Sulam Commentary.
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