Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai and His Friends
Rashbi [the author of The Book of Zohar] and his generation [the last generation of the destruction of the Temple], the authors of The Zohar, were granted all 125 degrees [of correction, from this world to the world of Infinity] in completeness, even though it was prior to the days of the Messiah [the period of correction that is unfolding only in our days, after 2000 years].
It was said about him and his disciples: “A sage is preferable to a prophet” [because a prophet talks about what is instilled in nature, wihich is the path of suffering, while a sage offers the path of correction, short and easy, and hence is preferable to a prophet]. Hence, we often find in The Zohar that there will be none like the generation of Rashbi [in terms of the height of spiritual attainment] until the generation of the Messiah King [starting with our generation and on].
This is why his composition made such a great impact in the world [it is known in the entire world as a special book about the secrets of creation], since the secrets of the Torah [the Upper Governance and its purpose] in it [present there in the form that becomes revealed to the measure of one’s correction] occupy the level of all 125 degrees.
– Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”