Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 8: There are not enough words to measure his holy work in our favor. The doors of attainment were locked and bolted, and he came and opened them for us. Thus, all who wish to enter the King’s palace need only purity and sanctity, and to go and bathe and shave their hair and wear clean clothes, to properly stand before the sublime Kingship.
You find a thirty-eight-year-old who subdued with his wisdom all his predecessors through the Genius and through all times. All the elders of the land, the gallant shepherds, friends and disciples of the Godly sage, the RAMAK, stood before him as disciples before the Rav.
All the sages of the generations following them to this day, none missing, have abandoned all the books and compositions that precede him, the Kabbalah of the RAMAK, the Kabbalah of The First and the Kabbalah of The Genius, blessed be the memory of them all. They have attached their spiritual life entirely and solely to his Holy Wisdom.
We should be grateful to the upper force that sent us these teachers. Having perceived, understood, and felt as one with the upper force, they tell us about it and pave the way by which we can also follow their steps at least in some way by implementing their teaching and preparing the way for others.
The Ari symbolizes the moment when humanity began to rise towards correction. That’s why his role is so important. Until then, all the ways were blocked, and the attainment of Kabbalists remained very limited. Sometimes, the feeling of it outweighed the understanding.
We don’t know exactly how it was or understand what exactly the Ari has done. Yes, he left books, he found the language; however, we are not yet aware of the greatness of what was done by him. By his spiritual work, a Kabbalist makes corrections in the whole system, and thus advances us to the stages of the revelation of the Creator to which we aspire. It’s not the books that we can read, but the fact that the Ari had prepared and brought the access to the spiritual world to us, to the Lights that lead us up along the spiritual paths. This is the work of the Kabbalist. The books in which he expressed this access are only a small companion to that which is open to our eyes.
All the subsequent Kabbalists are the students of the Ari. All of them, including us, are based on his legacy. The poem “The Tree of Life” and much more, all this stems from his great revelation. Baal HaSulam writes of his great predecessors Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi, and others who revealed the spiritual world in a secret and limited form.
There was no language as the vessels/desires were not ready. Of course, this depends on the generation in which a Kabbalist acts, and yet the greatness of the Ari is that he began correction and opened the path for us. He is special, and we should be thankful that we have such a mentor. Let’s hope that we will be able to go his way, leaving behind us those paths along which thousands rush forward to give pleasure to the Creator, waiting for all of us in His palace.
From the Conversation During the Meal Commemorating the Death of the Ari, 7/25/12