Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”: This is the source of Rav Baal Shem Tov’s mistake: he interpreted the Guide for the Perplexed according to the wisdom of Kabbalah… Of course, the Guide for the Perplexed did not refer at all to what Rav Baal Shem Tov interpreted, and he did not see how…
Question: Does it mean that Kabbalists make mistakes?
Answer: Of course they do; the same as scientists do. As an example, I can mention the world-renowned Stephen Hawking who publicly admitted his mistake several years ago. His confession makes him really great. He said: “You believed me, but I was wrong.” My teacher, Rabash, made notes on book margins; then he crossed them out and wrote “Wrong!” on top of them, and then made new comments over and over again.
It’s a science, a researcher’s study. A Kabbalist is a person who develops his vessels,desires, to the extent that he starts perceiving the Divine. Kabbalists divulge the upper world to the degree their vessels are advanced. If they have not completed certain stages, their vision of some phenomena is quite remote and it’s possible that they make mistakes. Things that are closer to them are clearer, whereas things that are farther are blurred and vague.
A Kabbalist is a researcher. For example in his book, Gatehouse of Intentions, Baal HaSulam seriously criticizes Rashash (Rabbi Shalom Sharabi) , who was a great Kabbalist. Yet, he failed to reveal and understand some things. I have no ability to judge at a level this high, but possibly Rashash didn’t realize what exactly he was overlooking. It happens.
There is a hidden part in the wisdom of Kabbalah that is still vague. Many issues are intentionally veiled because of some specific conditions. At very high levels (mainly in the world of Atzilut) these things are very numerous, same as in any other science.
We have to understand that we do not directly attain the Creator, but rather we know Him from His actions to the degree of our correspondence to and similarity with Him. Only at the end of correction “everybody will know Him, from the least of them unto the greatest of them…;” then, “nobody will teach one’s neighbor.” When all vessels will be corrected, we will fully reveal Him. However, even at this point, our revelation of Him will be limited to the desire He made.
One way or the other, our vessels will be filled to the degree of their correctness. The Upper Light is in a state of absolute tranquility. The power of bestowal rules the world. The rest depends on us. If you know how to use it, please do so! If you can’t, then don’t. You should not artificially apply superfluous “initiative” or “enterprise” to the upper force. You should get rid of these stereotypes.
There is a good force that does good to both the virtuous and wicked. It’s ready to act in accordance with the properties of each of us. There is a potential, a “rope” that we can pull on, a “socket” that we can use. Unless we are connected to it, we won’t know what it is exactly.
Let’s say you turn on your oven. You will come to the conclusion that a socket that is connected to it is a “heating force.” If we plug a refrigerator into the same socket, it will turn into a “freezing force.” So, is it warming or cooling? Neither: We are the ones who warm or cool.
Let’s summarize what we should always keep in mind:
- Kabbalah is a science.
- A Kabbalist is a researcher who conducts empirical studies and reveals the Creator from His actions.
- The Goal of the Creator is to have everybody know Him.
- “Faith” is not a blind belief, but the power of bestowal. The degree of our attainment always matches the level of our faith. If we don’t expand our faith, we will achieve nothing.
- The Creator is absolutely good and does good. The absolute never changes. We are the ones who change.
This approach has to be utterly clear. However, humanity refuses to hear this information since it means that it’s we who have started working. It obligates us to modify ourselves instead of altering Him. We cannot “toss a coin” and wait for a positive reaction from Above. It’s all about actual self-restructuring.
However, the current epoch forces us to acknowledge and clarify the path that we have already traversed. People are changing, even religions are rapidly transforming. Humanity is growing.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 12/9/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam