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ORIGINEA REZISTENŢEI LA ÎNŢELEPCIUNEA CABALA
8.01 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 70
Woe unto those people who make the spirit of Messiah leave and depart from the world, and not be able to return to the world. They are the ones who make the Torah dry, without any moisture of sense and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah and do not want to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for they cause poverty and ruin, looting and killing, and destruction in the world.
8.02 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 69
If, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and a person from Israel degrades the merit of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, which deals with the conducts of our souls and their degrees, and the intellec- tual part and the reasons for the Mitzvot compared to the advantage of the externality of the Torah, which deals only with the practical part, and even if one does occasionally engage in the internality of the Torah, and dedicates a little of one’s time to it, when it is neither day nor night, as though it were redundant, by this one disgraces and degrades the internality of the world, which are the children of Israel, and raises the externality of the world over them, meaning the nations of the world. They will humiliate and disgrace the children of Israel, and will regard Israel as redundant, as though the world has no need for them.
Furthermore, by this they make even the externality in the nations of the world overpower their own internality, for the worst among the nations of the world, the harmful and the destructors of the world, rise above their internality, who are the righteous of the nations of the world. Then they make all the ruin and the heinous slaughter that our generation had witnessed.
8.03 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 57
The darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen in all the genera- tions preceding us. It is so because even the servants of the Creator have abandoned the engagement in the secrets of the Torah.
Maimonides has already given a true allegory about that. He said that if a line of a thousand blind people walks along the way and there is at least one leader amongst them who can see, they are guaranteed to walk on the right path and not fall in pits and obstacles since they follow the sighted one who leads them. But if that person is missing, they are certain to stumble over every hurdle on the way and will all fall into the pit.
So is the matter before us. If the servants of the Creator had, at least, engaged in the internality of the Torah and extended a complete light from Ein Sof, the whole generation would have followed them, and everyone would be certain of their way, that they would not fall. But if even the servants of the Creator have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them. And because of my great sorrow, I cannot elaborate on that!
8.04 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 69
The redemption of Israel and the whole of Israel’s merit depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vice-versa, all the destructions and the decline of the children of Israel are because they have abandoned the internality of the Torah, degraded its merit, and made it seemingly redundant.
8.05 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the Book From the Mouth of a Sage”
It is known from books and from authors that the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is an absolute must for any person from Israel. If one studies the entire Torah and knows the Mishnah and the Gemara by heart, if one is also filled with virtues and good deeds more than all his contemporar- ies, but has not learned the wisdom of Kabbalah, he must incarnate once more into this world to study the secrets of Torah and wisdom of truth. This is brought in several places in the writings of our sages.
8.06 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 39
Indeed, that which I dreaded came to me, and the hands of illiterate have betrayed me, doing what I did not order, after my stern warning not to disclose my secret to any person, whoever he may be. And now they have defamed me in the eyes of the generation and have failed me on the path of my exalted work to bring contentment to my Maker. Who can forgive them this? Heaven will testify to my labor in all my strength to extend His holiness to that generation.
And yet, the Sitra Achra [other side] always finds her people, doers of her missions, setting obsta- cles before me wherever I turn to benefit others. Thus far are my words. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them,” and the Creator does not deny my reward. Bit by bit, I am paving the way, at times less, at times more, but always with profit (reward), until I am rewarded with taking down all the enemies of the Creator with the help of His great and terrible name.
As for you, do not fear the fear of fools. Those who slander, my little finger is bigger than their waist. So the Creator desired, and so He made me, and who will tell Him what to do and what to work? The merit of my law is greater than the merit of their fathers. Similarly, the contemporaries of Prophet Amos defamed him and said that the Creator had no one on whom to instill His Shechina [Divinity] but that stutterer, as it is written in the Psikta [a Midrash].
However, it is written, “A truthful lip shall be established forever, and a lying tongue is only momentary,” for in the end, the truthful people are the winners. Amos remains alive and existing forever, and who has heard or knows what had happened to his adversaries?
So it is here. The sayers can harm only their own kind, so it follows that the storm swirls on the head of the wicked, the truth lives on and does not weaken by all the lies. Instead, it grows even stronger by them, like a sown field that is strengthened by the manure and dung that are thrown in. With the Creator’s will, the blessing of the field increases and multiplies by them.
I still do not feel the harm that will come to me through them concerning the dissemination of my teaching, so I do not know how to calculate a way to instill light and save it from their evil. And yet, it is certain that if I feel any harm, I will take my revenge against them, as is the law of Torah, and I will contend forcefully with them. I will do all that is within the power of my hand to do, as it is the Creator I fear, and there is no other force but Him.
8.07 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 1-3
At the outset of my words, I find a great need to break an iron wall that has been separating us from the wisdom of Kabbalah, since the ruin of the Temple to this generation. It lies heavily on us and arouses fear of being forgotten from Israel.
However, when I begin to speak to anyone about engaging in this study, his first question is, “Why should I know how many angels are in the sky and what their names are? Can I not keep the whole Torah in all its details and intricacies without this knowledge?”
Second, he will ask, “The sages have already determined that one must first fill one’s belly with Mishnah and Gemara, and who can deceive himself that he has already completed the whole of the revealed Torah, and lacks only the wisdom of the hidden?”
Third, he is afraid that he will turn sour because of this engagement. This is because there have already been incidents of deviation from the path of Torah because of engagement in Kabbalah. Hence, “Why do I need this trouble? Who is so foolish as to place himself in danger for no reason?”
Fourth: Even those who favor this study permit it only to holy people, servants of the Creator, and not all who wish to take the Lord may come and take.
Fifth, and most important, “There is a conduct in our midst that, when in doubt, keep this: Do as the people do,” and my eyes see that all those who study Torah in my generation have one view, and refrain from studying the hidden. Moreover, they advise those who ask them that it is undoubtedly preferable to study a page of Gemara instead of this engagement.
Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts will vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone, meaning this indignant question that the whole world asks, namely, “What is the meaning of my life?” In other words, these numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily, and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them, to complete them to the fullest, who is it who enjoys them? Or even more precisely, whom do I delight?
It is indeed true that historians have grown weary contemplating it, and particularly in our gen- eration, no one even wishes to consider it. Yet the question stands as bitterly and as vehemently as ever. Sometimes it meets us uninvited, pecks at our minds and degrades us to the ground before we find the famous ploy of flowing mindlessly in the currents of life as always.
Indeed, it is to resolve this great riddle that the verse says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Those who keep the Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] correctly are the ones who taste the taste of life. They are the ones who see and testify that the Lord is good, as our sages say, that He created the worlds to do good to His creations, since it is the conduct of The Good to do good.
8.08 Baal HaSulam,
Shamati Article No. 181, “Honor,”
Honor is something that stops the body, and to that extent it harms the soul. Hence, all the righ- teous who became famous and respected, it was a punishment. But the great righteous, when the Creator does not want them to lose by being famous as righteous, the Creator guards them from being honored, so as not to harm their souls.
Hence, to the extent that they are honored on one hand, on the other hand, they are faced with dissenters who degrade them with all kinds of degradations. To the extent that creates an equal weight to the honor given to a righteous, to that very extent the other side gives disgrace.
8.09 Baal HaSulam,
This is the meaning of the declining merit of the generations until they arrived at the final shrinkage in our generation, when authors’ wisdom is foul and they who fear sin are loathed. In that state the crowd feels content and are not obliged to God’s work at all, nor feel any lack in its absence. Even those who do engage in work, it is merely out of habit. They have no thirst or aspiration to finding any speck of knowledge in their work.
And should a sage tell them, “Come, let me teach you wisdom, to understand and to instruct in the word of God,” they already know their reply: “I already know that I will not be as Rashbi and his friends, and let things stay as they are, and I wish I could observe the literal in full.” However, it is said about them, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth grow blunt,” for they engage in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] that are unripe, and their children’s teeth will grow utterly blunt, and they wonder why they need this work. It is for you, and not for Him, and you, too, blunt its teeth. This is the form of our generation, with which we are dealing.
8.10 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 10
An exiled disciple, his rav [teacher] is exiled with him.” This was perplexing to our sages, for how can there be slandering in the Torah and work of the disciple to the point of expelling him from the domain of the Creator, especially once he is clung to a true teacher? They explained that when the disciple descends, it seems to him that the rav has descended, too. And because it is so, it really is so, meaning that he can enjoy his rav only to the extent that he assumes in his heart. Therefore, all he has is a low and inferior rav, as much as he values him. Thus, his rav is exiled with him.
Letter No. 8
Although among themselves they are very remote and so different from one another that they can never agree on anything. They might even hate each other to such an extent that they cannot bear being in the same room with one another, and all wish to kill each other. Still, against us they all unite. And since they are biased because of the will to receive in them, and “Bribe blinds the eyes of the wise,” they promptly see the opposite of what they thought of us. And after all the praises and virtues that they found in us—that each of us is praiseworthy and honorable—once they have made their resolution, they quickly execute the verdict passionately and zealously, since we spoil their reputation with our views. Thus, on the one hand, they see that truth is on our side; on the other hand, our way is burdensome to them.
To excuse themselves, they have no other choice but to destroy us and obliterate our name from the face of the earth. They toil and strain for that, to disperse us to every direction, and they plot and conspire how to fail us and place stumbling blocks on our way, using all sorts of means—legitimate and illegitimate alike, even if these means contradict the human spirit and the spirit of Torah. They do not care because they see that there will be no persistence to their will if we have any domination and expansion of our goal to wholehearted and honest people, for then we will have the power to show them the truth.
And this is bad for them, for it is better for them to do what their hearts wish and at the same time be “the face of the generation”—influential and spiritual leaders. For this, they conspire plots of ruin and destruction for our future and say, “The sooner the better; it is better to degrade them while they are still small, so not a trace of them remains.”
Still, we should be very grateful to them for respecting us and for appreciating our view by saying that at least they joke, mock, despise, and slander us. In other words, at least we have a reality in the world and it is not so easy for them to resolve to obliterate our name from the face of the earth.
8.12 Zohar for All, Nasso,
“Mixed Multitude,” Items 103-104
“Strong men and those who fear sin roam from city to city without favor,” and the mixed multitude boycott them among them. In many places, they are given only rationed things, so there will be no resurrection to their fall, not even worldly life. And all the sages and the strong men and those who fear sin are in sorrow, distress, and grief, and they are regarded as dogs, as it is written, “The precious sons of Zion, weighed against fine gold, how are they regarded as earthen jars, the work of a potter’s hands, at the corner of every street. They find no boarding among them.
And those mixed multitude are rich, tranquil, joyful, without sorrow and without any grief. They are robbers and bribers, and they are the judges, the heads of the people, for the earth is filled with robbery because of them. It is written about them, “Her enemies have become the masters.
8.13 Rav Chaim Vital,
“Introduction of Rav Chaim Vital to Shaar HaHakdamot”
Woe unto people from the affront of Torah. When they engage only in the literal and in its stories, it wears its widow-garments, covered with the buttocks-bag, and all the nations shall say unto Israel:
“What is thy Beloved more than another beloved? Why is your Torah more than another Torah? After all, your Torah, too, is stories of the mundane.” And there is no greater affront to the Torah than that.
Hence, woe unto those people from the affront of the Torah. They do not engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah, which honors the Torah, for they prolong the exile and all the evils that are about to come to the world.
8.14 Rabbi Shimon Ben Levi,
Here is an answer to the wiseacre fools whose wisdom is little, who speak out against those who engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah, and say about them that they hear words but see no picture. Woe unto them and to their misfortune for their folly and wantonness, for they will not gain from this. Rather, they prevent the people of the Lord from rising to the mountain of His holiness.
8.15 Rabbi Baruch Ben Avraham of Kosov,
Pillar of the Work
The great obligation to study the wisdom of truth, which is the wisdom of Kabbalah and the secrets of Torah, is well known to all, as is explained in ancient books. I am surprised at the people of our generation, whose humble ones refrain from learning the wisdom of truth.
8.16 The Holy Shlah,
In Ten Utterances
The wisdom of Kabbalah makes the fool wise. Also, one who did not see the light of this wisdom has never seen lights in his life, for then he will understand and learn the meaning of His unique- ness, blessed be He, and the meaning of His governance … and all who retire from it retire from the spiritual, eternal life.
8.17 Raaiah Kook,
Letters of the Raaiah
While the orthodoxy continues to insist solely on Gemarah and Mishna, rejecting Agada [legend] and ethics, Kabbalah and research … it impoverishes itself, and all the means that it applies to protect itself, without taking the real potion of life, the inner light of the Torah, the matter is revealed and felt. The revealed in Torah and Mitzvot [commandments] alone, can never, under any circumstances bring one to one’s goal, in any generation, and all the more so in ours. It is possible only alongside the expansion of one’s many spiritual roots.
8.18 Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Ben-Meir,
Sefer HaBrit, Part 2, Article No. 12, Chapter 5
The crown of the Torah is the wisdom of Kabbalah, from which the majority of the world retires, saying, “Observe what you were permitted to observe, and you have no engagement in the hidden.” You, if you are fit for this teaching, reach out your hand, hold it, and do not move from it, since one who did not taste the flavor of this wisdom has never seen lights in his life, and he walks in the dark. Woe unto the people from the affront of this Torah.
8.19 Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed (Keeping Mercy), Chapter 4, Teaching 20
Many fools escape from studying the secrets of our teacher the Ari and The Book of Zohar, which are our lives. Had my people heeded me at the time of the Messiah, when evil and heresy increase, they would have delved all their lives in the study of The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim [corrections], and the writings of the ARI. They would revoke all the harsh decrees and would extend abundance and light.
Know the God of Your Father
Many thought it was in correct to engage in the secret too much, since the practical Torah would be forgotten from Israel, meaning the permitted and forbidden, the kosher and non-kosher, and what shall become of this law if we all delve in the secrets of Torah? However, those who loath it are not among the servants of the Creator.
8.21 Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Ziditshov,
Sur Me’ra Ve’aseh Tov [Depart from Evil and Do Good]
Without knowing the wisdom of Kabbalah, one is like a beast, since he performs the Mitzva [com- mandment] without reason, only going through the motions. He is like beasts that eat fodder, in which there is no flavor of man’s food. Even if he is a great businessman with many occupations, he should not excuse himself from engaging in this wisdom.
8.22 Raaiah Kook,
Letters of the Raaiah
All the great kabbalists unanimously cry out that as long as its secrets are removed from the Torah and they do not engage in its secrets, they are ruining the world.
8.23 Rabbi Yosef Eliezer Rosenfeld,
Anyone who refrains from learning Kabbalah is rejected from the presence of the righteous, loses his world, and he is not rewarded with seeing that the light of a king’s face is life.
8.24 Rav Chaim Vital,
“Introduction of Rav Chaim Vital to Shaar HaHakdamot”
When one is occupied with the wisdom of the Mishnah and Babylonian Talmud, but does not dedicate a part to the secrets of Torah and its concealments, too, it is like a body that sits in the dark without a human soul, in a way that the body is dry, not drawing from the source of life.
This is the meaning of what he says elsewhere, which is mentioned above and goes as follows: They are the ones who make the Torah dry and do not want to exert in the wisdom of Kabbalah.
8.25 Rabbi Pinchas Eliahu Ben-Meir,
Sefer HaBrit [The Book of the Covenant], Part 2, Article No. 12, Ch.5
One who did not engage in the wisdom of truth, who did not want to learn it when his soul wanted to rise to the Garden of Eden, is rejected from there with disgrace.
8.26 Rabbi Nahman of Breslov,
Now we must draw near to the true righteous in this generation, so as to clarify for us the faith according to the current time, since faith must be scrutinized each day anew. This is the essence of the intensification of the evil inclination, which grows in each and every generation specifically to conceal and hide the true righteous in that generation. As we evidently see, the dispute is mainly over the righteous in that generation. But after some time, they admit that he, too, was righteous. And they say that he was certainly righteous, but dispute the righteous in the next generation. Thus, in the days of the ARI, there was a great dispute over the ARI and they would not admit that in that generation there was such an innovation that had such spirit of holiness as presented in the writings of the ARI. But after several generations, the ARI was accepted and everyone admits that his were wondrous innovations and he was a Godly man. Nevertheless, they dispute other righteous in the generations following his. Finally, not long before our time, there was The Baal Shem Tov, who was a wondrous, awesome light, but there was a big dispute over him. In the days of The Baal Shem Tov, the majority of dissenters admitted concerning the ARI but disputed The Baal Shem Tov. So it is in every generation, and it has already been written in books (see end of the book Noam Elimelech where he speaks of it). All this is because the main scrutiny, which is the scrutiny of faith, is done precisely by the true righteous in that generation, for you have only “the judge of your days,” since faith must be scrutinized each day anew, to the extent of the renewal of the work of creation on that day. This is clarified specifically through the righteous in that generation. For this reason, the one whom it concerns himself toils to conceal and hide that righteous and increase dispute and doubt over him so people would not come near him, since faith, which is the essence of the holiness of Israel, depends specifically on that righteous.
8.27 Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn,
It is known that the fiercest resistance to the teaching and guidance of our teacher, The Baal Shem Tov, was from Lithuania in general and from the capital, Vilnus, in particular. Its beginning was back in the year 1754 or prior to that, meaning six years while our teacher The Baal Shem Tov was still alive.
When the teaching of our teacher, The Baal Shem Tov, grew strong through disciples who have mastered the Torah were strong in fear of God, the war grew fierce by those great in Torah from among the sect of the opposers whose intention was for the sake of the Creator.
The reason for the fear of the opposers was certain occurrences of the new philosophy of Spinoza, the expansion of tokens through practical Kabbalah, the abomination of Shabtai Tzvi, the Frank Sect, in addition to the isolation of those great in Torah in Lithuania, their remoteness from life, and their faith in those who spoke falsely about our teacher, The Baal Shem Tov, and his disciples. All this wreaked havoc within Israel.
8.28 Rabbi Baruch Ben Abraham of Kosov,
Amud HaAvoda [Pillar of the Work]
I saw in many books of kabbalists, the great and bitter punishment for those who avoid studying the wisdom of Kabbalah, and the magnitude of the reward and the pleasure in the next world for those who study it.
8.29 Meshulam Feibush Heller,
Yosehr Divrey Emet
Indeed, in this generation, the inverted Klipa [shell/peel] that is swirling in the blazes of the blade of the swirling sword from Haver [friend] to Herev [sword], as it is written, “Mighty men of evil have grown old.” Some are as righteous and wise disciples, and pious wrapped in white, only their heart is not purified from respect and envy. And from their envy, they cast a flaw on the holy ones through the lies and falsehood, and slander the true servants of the Creator. It is all because they were seduced by the enticing of the serpent, that he who is greater than his friend, his inclination is greater than him (Sukkah 52), which the sayer rav said. He wanted to say that anyone who is greater than his friend, it follows that he has pride in the heart. In this one, his inclination is greater than him.
He wished to say that his inclination grows by itself due to the pride and envy that they feel when they see those wise ones, who in our time have a good reputation, and distinguished people from the masses who are pure admire them as true righteous and sages should be admired, to be dusted by the dust of their feet, while no one turns to them. It seems to them that they are righteous and pious, and better wise disciples than they are, so they cast a flaw in them and fabricate inconceivable lies and falsehood as has happened in our time in order to derogate their reputation, as it is written about it in Duty of the Hearts, that the evil inclination entices a person in this matter.
Also, one in whom no flaw or blemish is found, as was Rabbi Menachem Mendel, of whom the mockers would say that he was truly righteous but very proud, and as was said similarly about the sayer rav. It was all because of the above mentioned enticement, for those who know the truth about themselves, that they have not begun to serve the Creator whatsoever, for had they been rewarded with fear even for one minute, much less other degrees, they would have chased those righteous ones to teach them the path of the Creator as those true eternal great ones who acknowledged it and submitted before the righteous.
8.30 Rabbi Nachman of Breslov,
Likutey Edut HaMeshulash
In each and every generation, the dispute over the righteous increases and becomes more provoked. For the most part, the dispute is mainly over those righteous who engage in bringing the farthest souls from Creator closer since the quality of judgment provokes his souls a great deal. Hence, resentment enters the heart of the world. Also, it sometimes enters the heart of the greatest righteous to dispute the righteous who bring them closer until it seems to them that they are not behaving properly. This follows and extends from the dispute that the tribes had with Joseph the righteous.
Know the God of Your Father
We saw that those who depart from this wisdom divide into three parts: One part are those who depart from it saying that it is not necessary to believe in the hidden in the Torah for many reasons. If they think of the matters literally and have no interest in the hidden, who would force them to believe in ten Sefirot and the rest of the parts in this wisdom? They want to believe only in the won- drous oneness, and when even a little bit of this wisdom comes to them, and especially when they hear of Ein Sof [infinity] and the form of the Torah, they gasp lawlessly to slander the knowledgeable, and they regard them almost as heretics.
There is a second sect that departs from this wisdom. They share many complaints and they all agree about the great merit of the wisdom. Some say that it is a sublime wisdom and not everyone is worthy of entering it, to the point that he considers punishing those who engage in it saying that he is zealous for the Lord and for His law, seeing that they stretched out their hand to a high place to engage in Godliness. Then there is a third sect that departs from this wisdom saying that one is close to erring in these matters and it is possible to come to sin and fall into one of the mistakes that concern a high place. The intention of this sect is desirable but their actions are undesirable. Even if a person does not find someone to teach him properly, he should not refrain from engagement in the Torah because of it, for in the end, the reward for learning is in his hand, and by this he will be rewarded with the truth.
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