Michael Laitman, On Quora: “What books can I read to understand Kabbalah?“
The science of Kabbalah is unique in the way it talks about you and me, about all of us. It doesn’t deal with anything abstract, only with the way we are created and how we function at higher levels of existence.
One of its sections talks about the descent of the higher forces from the world of Ein Sof (Infinity). The world of Ein Sof is our initial state, and there we exist as a single, unified system of souls, completely interconnected. Then, from the world of Ein Sof, we study the sequence of worlds, Sefirot and Partzufim as they descend to the world we live in.
Many Kabbalistic books have been written about it, starting with Abraham the Patriarch around 4,000 years ago, who wrote a book called Sefer Yetzira (The Book of Creation).
The next important work is The Book of Zohar, written in the second century CE. The Zohar is followed by the works of the Ari, a renowned 16th century Kabbalist. And the 20th century saw the appearance of the works of Kabbalist Yehuda Ashlag (Baal HaSulam).
Baal HaSulam’s texts are best suited for our generation.
They, as well as other Kabbalistic sources, describe the structure of the upper worlds, how they descend and successively bring lower worlds into existence, and how our world came into being, the universe, our globe, and how life evolved. Studying how that system was created and how it descends to our world allows us to master the method of entering this system and governing it.
We, for the most part, study the six volume textbook Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot), written by Yehuda Ashlag. It is designed as a study aid with questions, answers, materials for repetition and memorization, explanations, graphics and drawings. This is, if you will, the physics of the upper world, describing the laws and forces governing the universe.
This material gradually transforms the students, because when searching how to enter and begin to live in the spiritual world, one gradually adapts oneself to the material.
The science of Kabbalah does not deal with life in this world. Instead, by studying this system we re-attain our level before we descended, the same level where we will be at the end of our ascent from this world. During this ascent, the study of Kabbalah builds within the student a system equal to the higher system.
This system begins to organize and manifest itself in the person who wants to achieve it, and who studies it for this purpose. Just like a drop of semen can potentially evolve into an entire human being, and subsequently grows into a mature grown-up, the science of Kabbalah develops our desire to attain a higher level of existence.
At first this is a tiny desire, called “a point in the heart.” This point is like the embryo of our future states. By studying the structure of the upper world, we develop the “genetic” information within it, and as it grows, the structure resembling the higher levels forms within us.
This is why studying is so rewarding. Even if we do not understand a single thing about what we are reading, simply trying to understand the Kabbalistic texts nurtures the point in the heart, the desire for the higher force, and the point begins to grow. The more it grows, the more we feel the appearance of a new creation, a new and different feeling of a world within ourselves.
In so doing, the science of Kabbalah gives us the opportunity to feel the upper worlds, to understand everything that happens to us, and most of all, to control this process for ourselves.
I recommend that before approaching the aforementioned books, to take a introductory course, so that you will be able to get guidance on how to approach the books to reap the most spiritual benefit. I have added links to various courses you could choose to start from in my Quora bio.