The wisdom of Kabbalah differs from all other sciences in that this knowledge and attainment is delivered from generation to generation, from Kabbalist to Kabbalist, by the continuous chain that started from Adam HaRishon. Adam is called the first man because he was the first to receive the revelation of the Creator. After him, this knowledge was passed through all generations: twenty generations from Adam to Abraham and from Abraham onward. At each such stage: Adam HaRishon, Noah, Abraham, and so on, this wisdom was passed on and developed.
Kabbalah is special because the student receives not knowledge but a connection to the source. The student must connect to the teacher and receive everything through him. He has no other way because the teacher is in front of him in the chain that connects to the source of this wisdom stretching from Adam HaRishon and further to the world of infinity.
Conveying Kabbalistic knowledge depends on the connection between the student and the teacher. The main and highest conveyance is “from mouth to mouth” (“Peh el Peh“), that is, through the mutual screens that work between them. However, there should be at least the conveyance “from mouth to ear” (“Peh el Awzen“)—the first stage of training.
“Kabbalah” means reception of the reforming light and then of the inner light. Opening the path for the light is possible only through a mutual screen, through mutual efforts of the student and the teacher. Yet, by studying this wisdom by oneself, a student can receive only abstract knowledge. However, if we talk about the true wisdom of Kabbalah, that is, about delivering spiritual wisdom, then it is only possible through the transfer from teacher to student or group of students. Here it is necessary to form a special vessel (Kli), an instrument for receiving the spiritual message passed from a higher source to a lower one.
This does not mean that a student must be lower than the teacher in his spiritual attainment. An example of this is the Ari, who rose above all the Kabbalists who preceded him. It is unnecessary for each successive one in this chain to be lower than the previous ones. This refers only to the delivering of this knowledge, but its revelation in each Kabbalist corresponds to the root of one’s soul and the efforts one has made.
This thread of passing on the wisdom of Kabbalah stretches from Adam HaRishon through other Kabbalists, and everyone who wants to become a Kabbalist, that is, to receive attainment, must connect with the teacher. He cannot evaluate how high the attainment of the teacher is, and it does not matter. If this thread has cascaded down in such a way and was revealed to him, he has to tie himself as tightly as possible to the source, to the teacher, and try to receive the wisdom of Kabbalah from this source.
The most important thing in Kabbalah is: Who did you learn from? This is the first question: Who is your teacher? The main concern of the student is to clarify whether he is learning what he is taught. That is, he must be as close as possible to the message that the teacher wants to convey to him in order to connect to the teacher and through him to the whole chain stretching all the way to Adam HaRishon.1
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 11/20/19, Faith in the Rav
1 Minute 0:20