Kabbalists were always against memorizing, against learning by heart and against writing while studying, and so were the first scientists and scholars. After recording, you are limited by it. You put on paper or a computer what you should have put into yourself and used in order to change internally.
If you want to perceive the Kabbalistic, philosophical or even a scientific message, you have to change. You have to change so that the idea will live in you, not in the mind but in your emotions.
The mind should only help the emotions. It needs to clarify all the data, both the internal and the external ones, and to process them and evoke the desire to change so that the data will become our Reshimot (informational genes) in the desire and not in some memory box.
Therefore, we have to make an effort that the material we study will enter our nature and not stay only in the mind. It is possible that we read too much, hear too much, and download too much material from the Internet with all the encyclopedias that are there.
My teacher Rabash was against writing during the lesson, even if it helped us remember the text that we read; then too we had to make an effort so that it would penetrate more deeply so that through the network of memory cells it would drip and penetrate the heart. It does go through my internal filters, but, one way or another, eventually it should make me change. The information I receive and the clarification I make should change me, not intellectually, but internally.
If only the mind could be emptied and I could be new each day, start from a blank page without any additions from the previous day. I could study the same material I studied yesterday as if I see it for the first time. Why? Because I have changed in my desires and with the new desires I see something completely new in the “familiar” text.
On the whole, it is hard to say whether one should write something during the lesson. But it is important to understand that the writing can slow down and seriously hinder and influence the mind to stop feeling.
If I write, it makes me relax as if I have put something in safekeeping. It is enough to find on the Internet a file with a good book and put it on a virtual shelf: “It’s done, I have it.” Everyone is familiar with this, and this is the wrong approach.
The oral Torah precedes the written Torah. For a long time in the history of Kabbalah, it was forbidden to write many things, and not because of shortage of paper and writing material. People were simply incorporated in it internally. It isn’t by chance that it says: “To write them on your heart.” All the Torah should be written on the desire, meaning that these are all the corrections of the desire. But if I put them on paper, what are they worth?
Therefore the writing of The Book of Zohar was an exception, and so they hid it from the world. The reason was that it was the beginning of the exile. If it weren’t for the exile, there wouldn’t be even one written line in the language of Kabbalah.
It isn’t by chance that the development of writing tools was gradual. It took place according to the growth of egoism. First manuscripts and books were kept by just a few, then in monasteries, in royal libraries, and in universities, and then too they were still only for the elite. Only later in the Age of Enlightenment was printing invented and developed. Accordingly means to store information as a substitute for internal changes were also developed.
Eventually we’ve arrived to total spiritual destruction: Today, myriad information is available at our fingertips, while there is nothing inside a person’s soul. People don’t understand why they need to change internally if it is possible to act externally.
In this sense, the wisdom of Kabbalah is very different from conventional thinking. It doesn’t require the storage of knowledge. What is the point in having all the Kabbalistic books on your shelf? Until about 200-300 years ago scholars had only three to five books. Wasn’t one tractate of Gemara enough for a Kabbalist? Does quantity lead to quality? After reading several pages, he would delve into the depth of the heart, the depths of the spiritual wisdom, that’s all.
We should remember: The Creator demands changes in the heart and not reports on the material studied. No matter how full you are with information, the quantity will lead to nothing. It is all about quality.
From the 3rd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 1/16/12, “The Study of the Ten Sefirot”