Answer: They use a different language. It’s impossible to understand The Zohar unless you discern the right picture behind every expression in it, with the picture being clothed in your desire or intention.
If I read an exciting novel that talks about the discovery of new lands, then I already have ready-made internal images of the still, vegetative, animate, and human levels of nature. Out of these forms I create a picture that the author describes, and the pictures we imagine are similar.
On the other hand, The Zohar describes adventures we have never experienced taking place in a world unknown to us. If I don’t have these spiritual forms (qualities and actions) inside me, then I don’t even know what I am reading about, as if it were written in a language unknown to me.
In contrast, Talmud Eser Sefirot describes more concrete qualities, actions, and events, where there are only two operating forces or desires: "for" and "against." In essence it is talking only about two qualities: bestowal and reception, which exist in different interactions with one another. We can imagine them as forces of attraction and repulsion, as well as their interaction.
Of course, this is simpler and less confusing than the descriptions of The Zohar. Talmud Eser Sefirot constantly shows us the need for the screen, the force of bestowal, whereas The Zohar projects pictures of the Upper World onto our matter (desire).
It’s as if there is a movie playing somewhere very far away and I cannot make it out. As I try to see it, I ask myself: Which instruments or tools do I lack in order to bring this picture closer and feel it? This aspiration evokes the influence of that far-away picture upon me. If my aspiration is magnified many-fold through my environment (the group), then I really feel this picture coming closer.
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