Five Rules for Studying The Book of Zohar
Question: To correctly approach the study of The Book of Zohar, several postulates can be distinguished. The first rule is called “the heart understands” (“a-lev mevin“). That is, The Book of Zohar is studied by the heart. What does this mean?
Answer: By desire. You have to change your desires. Instead of the desire to receive, strive for the desire to bestow, instead of the desire to distance yourself, push away, to the desire to attract and love.
Remark: The second rule: “man is a small world.” That is, The Book of Zohar includes many concepts that are familiar to us from the material world, although in fact, the same as in the Torah, it speaks of the internal states experienced by man.
My Comment: Yes, it describes the upper world, but with the words and actions of our world.
Question: Therefore, Kabbalists say that while reading The Book of Zohar, it is necessary to interpret the words written in it as an expression of all kinds of internal actions?
Answer: As actions of upper forces, not something happening in our world. In principle, you just need to do the opposite: perceive everything that The Book of Zohar describes in the quality of bestowal and love, in exiting oneself, not in the quality of reception, selfish love.
Remark: The third rule: “the light that returns to the source.” A person coming to a lesson must understand that there is a special influence in The Book of Zohar, a special force that we can draw from there.
My Comment: The Book of Zohar is studied with the intention of attracting the force that can change a person, to make an altruist out of a selfish person.
Question: So, when I come to the lesson, do I need to know what I want to change in myself?
Answer: This is why you come to the lesson. This is the very idea, power, property, purpose of The Book of Zohar.
Question: Rule Four: Before concluding the study, there must be the recognition of evil and prayer. What’s this about?
Answer: Recognition of the evil of one’s selfish nature is acquired gradually.
Prayer is a request for a force that can change me, somehow raise me above myself, and make me a useful, good, creature pleasing to the Creator. This, in general, is preparation for the correct reading of The Book of Zohar.
Question: The fifth rule: “as one man with one heart.” Kabbalists say that it is impossible to study The Book of Zohar alone, only in a group of people. Why?
Answer: Since The Book of Zohar was written in a ten, you need to study it in a ten. Because under its influence, a person draws closer to the rest, and, only in the right connection with them, begins to understand what it is talking about.
Question: Does that mean that I can’t read it at home alone, I must call someone?
Answer: You can read alone, but you won’t get any benefit from it.
Question: What does it give me that I do this surrounded by ten other people? I don’t communicate with them, we just sit and read together?
Answer: You must mean that you communicate with them, that you all connect with your hearts. Let’s say, just as you peel potatoes, you have to peel your heart from the outer shell, and everyone else too, and connect your hearts into one big heart.
From KabTV’s “Basics of Kabbalah,” 12/18/18
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