Baal HaSulam, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy”: Philosophy loves to concern itself with His Essence and prove which rules do not apply to Him. However, Kabbalah has no dealings whatsoever with it, for how can the unattainable and imperceptible be defined?
Kabbalists do speak a great deal about His illumination in reality, meaning all those illuminations they have actually attained, as validly as tangible attainment.
Kabbalists attain an abstract Light when it dresses into vessels and turns from a theoretical form to a tangible structure by manifesting Itself in us as various features of ours.
It is said that “we do not define by name or word that which we do not attain.” We attain everything there is by analyzing it in our vessels of receiving. They are our “eyes,” our vision, the channel through which we perceive the world. Only on condition that we know a certain phenomenon can we explore it to the degree of our immersion in it. Thus, we advance. There is a rigid principle: “We shall know You by Your deeds.” That’s why we always rely on our perception within our vessels, desires. Our internal reactions to them are in fact the Light.
Similarly, we recognize electricity not by its essence, but according to its results. Something flows through wires and generates various phenomena. All we see are the results. Baal HaSulam writes about it in his article “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah.” Actual things are found even in the corporeal reality set before our eyes, although we have neither perception nor image of their essence. Such are the electricity and the magnet, called “fluidum.” Nevertheless, who can say that these names are not real, when we vividly and satisfactorily know their actions? We could not be more indifferent to the fact that we have no perception of the essence of the subject itself, namely electricity itself.
We always explore the consequences of various essential categories, rather than deal with the categories per se. I have no idea what the subject that I look at is in fact, but I know how it acts.
All I do is check my sensations and reactions: Something looks black to me, other things feel solid, some are long, and certain things I can taste or smell. Reality is comprised of my internal reactions to outer impacts, rather than the factors that cause them per se. Therefore, phenomena that we differentiate are actually the effects that externality causes in us.
Why do philosophers refuse to admit it? The answer is that it will obligate them to become Kabbalists and study the Wisdom of Kabbalah in order to explore spirituality. Common sense prompts that they don’t know or understand a thing and have nothing to say. Really, what can one say if one doesn’t live in spirituality, nor does one sense It in one’s vessels, desires?
We shouldn’t approach Kabbalah with a regular human mind; we are not in the dimension that Kabbalah describes as of yet. We can fantasize about what’s inside the Earth and imagine life on other planets since these things are at least somehow interlaced with our sensations. However, they have nothing in common with spirituality. Moreover, we don’t have any connection with the spiritual realm: Our material reality as we see it is absolutely detached from the picture that is created in our minds. How can we deliberate about something that we have no contact with whatsoever?
This is one of the reasons the Wisdom of Kabbalah was concealed from humanity throughout millennia. Kabbalists were afraid of “smart alecks” who just tended to philosophize about the topics that are related to Kabbalah.
It also applies to the philosophers who valued Kabbalah, such as Reichlin, Goethe, Pico Della Mirandola, and others. Even these people did not understand a thing in the great wisdom, nor could they realize that the general universal knowledge that is beyond traditional disciplines originates from Kabbalah. What they proclaimed is in fact nothing but philosophizing. Some philosophers approach Kabbalah with critical analysis that is based on a subjective approach, others admit its importance, although none of them understand it. Their position lacks rationalism that is so much needed. Nevertheless, the truth will be revealed soon; we are very close to it.