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CABALIŞTII ŞI TEXTELE DE CABALA
6.01 Baal HaSulam,
“The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”
Know that the names, appellations, and Gematrias belong entirely to the wisdom of Kabbalah. The reason they are found in the rest of the languages, too, is that all the languages are included in the wisdom of Kabbalah, since they are all particular cases that the other languages must be assisted with. But one should not think that these four languages, which serve to explain the wisdom of the revelation of Godliness, evolved one at a time, over time. The truth is that all four appeared before the sages of truth simultaneously. In truth, each consists of all the others. The language of Kabbalah exists in the Bible, such as the standing on the Tzur [rock], the thirteen attributes of mercy in the Torah and in Micah. To an extent, it is sensed in each and every verse. There are also the Merkavot [chariots/structures] in Isaiah and Ezekiel, and atop them all The Song of Songs, which is purely the language of Kabbalah in its entirety. It is similar in laws and in legends, and all the more so with the matter of the unerasable holy names, which bear the same meaning in all the languages.
6.02 Baal HaSulam,
“Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”
We did not find a single book in the wisdom of truth that precedes Rashbi’s The Book of Zohar, since all the books in the wisdom prior to his are not categorized as clarifications of the wisdom, but are mere intimations, without an order of cause and consequence, as it is known to those the knowledgeable ones.
6.03 Baal HaSulam,
“Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”
Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai’s soul was of the surrounding light kind. Hence, he had the power to clothe the words and teach them in a way that even if he taught them to many, only the worthy of understanding would understand. This is why he was given “permission” to write The Book of Zohar. The permission was not “granted” to write a book in this wisdom to his teachers or to the first ones who preceded them in writing in this wisdom, even though they were certainly more knowledgeable in this wisdom than he. But the reason is that they did not have the power to dress the matters as did he.
6.04 Baal HaSulam,
“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
Rashbi and his generation, the authors of The Zohar, were granted all 125 degrees in completeness, even though it was prior to the days of the Messiah. It was said about him and his disciples: “A sage is preferable to a prophet.” Hence, we often find in The Zohar that there will be none like the generation of Rashbi until the generation of the Messiah King. This is why his composition made such a great impression in the world, since the secrets of the Torah in it occupy the level of all 125 degrees. This is why it is said in The Zohar that The Book of Zohar will be revealed only at the End of Days, the days of the Messiah. This is so because we have already said that if the degrees of the examiners are not at the full measure of the degree of the author, they will not understand his inti- mations since they do not have a common attainment. Since the degree of the authors of The Zohar is at the full level of the 125 degrees, they cannot be attained prior to the days of the Messiah. It follows that there will be no common attainment with the authors of The Zohar in the generations preceding the days of the Messiah. Hence, The Zohar could not be revealed in the generations before the generation of the Messiah.
6.05 Baal HaSulam,
“Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”
Predecessors were not given permission from above to disclose the interpretations of the wisdom, and the ARI was given this permission. This does not distinguish any greatness or smallness at all, since it is possible that the merit of the ARI’s predecessors was much greater than his, but they were not given permission for it. For this reason, they refrained from writing commentaries that relate to the essence of the wisdom, but settled for brief intimations that were not in any way linked to one another.
Therefore, since the books of the ARI appeared in the world, all who study the wisdom of Kabbalah have left their hands from all the books of the RAMAK, and all the first and the great ones who preceded the ARI, as it is known among those who engage in this wisdom. They have attached their spiritual lives solely to the writings of the ARI in a way that the essential books, considered proper interpretations in this wisdom, are only The Book of Zohar, the Tikkunim, and following them, the books of the ARI.
6.06 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 8
Indeed, that Godly man, Rav [teacher/great one] Isaac Luria [the ARI], troubled and provided us the fullest measure. He did wondrously more than his predecessors, and if I had a tongue that praises, I would praise that day when his wisdom appeared almost as the day when the Torah was given to Israel. There are not enough words to measure his holy work in our favor. The doors of attainment were locked and bolted, and he came and opened them for us. Thus, all who wish to enter the King’s palace need only purity and sanctity, and to go and bathe and shave their hair and wear clean clothes, to properly stand before the upper Kingship. You find a thirty-eight-year-old who subdued with his wisdom all his predecessors through the Ge’onim [pl. for genius] and through all times. All the elders of the land, the gallant shepherds, friends and disciples of the Godly sage, the RAMAK, stood before him as disciples before the Rav. All the sages of the generations follow- ing them to this day, none missing, have abandoned all the books and compositions that precede him: the Kabbalah of the RAMAK, the Kabbalah of the Rishonim [first], and the Kabbalah of the Ge’onim, blessed be the memory of them all. They have attached their spiritual life entirely and solely to his Holy Wisdom.
6.07 Baal HaSulam,
Letter No. 39
Know for certain that since the time of the ARI to this day, there has not been anyone who under- stood the method of the ARI to the fullest, as it was easier to attain a mind twice as great and twice as holy than the ARI’s than to understand his method in which many hands fiddled—from the one who first heard and wrote them through the last compilers, while they still did not attain the matters as they are in their upper root. Thus, each inverted and confused the matters. And now, by the Creator’s will, I have been rewarded with a conception [impregnation] of the soul of the ARI, not because of my good deeds but by a higher will. It is beyond me, too, why I have been chosen for this wonderful soul, with which no one has been granted since his passing until today. I cannot elaborate on this matter as it is not my way to discuss the concealed.
6.08 Baal HaSulam,
“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”
We can see that all the interpretations of The Book of Zohar before ours did not clarify as much as ten percent of the difficult places in The Zohar. Even in the little they did clarify, their words are almost as abstruse as the words of The Zohar itself. But in our generation, we have been rewarded with the Sulam [Ladder] commentary, which is a complete interpretation of all the words of The Zohar. Moreover, not only does it not leave an unclear matter in the whole of The Zohar without interpreting it, the clarifications are based on a straightforward analysis, which any intermediate examiner can understand. And since The Zohar appeared in our generation, it is a clear proof that we are already in the days of the Messiah, at the outset of that generation of which it was said, “for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”
6.09 Baal HaSulam,
The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part One, “Inner Observation”
This is what I have troubled to do in this interpretation, to explain the Eser Sefirot, as the Godly sage the Ari had instructed us, in their spiritual purity, devoid of any tangible terms. Thus, any novice may approach the wisdom without failing in any materialization and mistake. With the understanding of these Eser Sefirot, one will also come to examine and know how to comprehend the other issues in this wisdom.
6.10 Baal HaSulam,
“The Shofar of the Messiah”
And who better than I knows that I am not at all worthy of being even a messenger and a scribe for disclosing such secrets, much less to understand them down to their roots. So why has the Creator done so to me? It is only because the generation is worthy of it, as it is the last generation, which stands at the threshold of complete redemption. For this reason, it is worthy of beginning to hear the voice of the Shofar of the Messiah, which is the revealing of the secrets.
6.11 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 30
There is no greater disclosure than writing a book, whose author does not know who reads his book. It is possible that complete wicked will scrutinize it. Hence, there is no greater uncovering of secrets of Torah than this. And we must not doubt these holy and pure (the greatest of the nation), that they might infringe even an iota of what is written and explained in the Mishnah and the Gemara, that they are forbidden to disclose, as it is written in the prohibition to learn (in Masechet Hagigah). Rather, all the written and printed books are necessarily considered the Taamim of the Torah, which Atik Yomin first covered and then uncovered, as it is written, “the palate tastes food.” Not only are these secrets not forbidden to disclose, but on the contrary, it is a great Mitzva [commandment] to disclose them (as it is written in Pesachim 119).
And one who knows how to disclose and discloses them, his reward is plentiful. This is because by disclosing these lights to many, particularly to the many, depends the coming of the Messiah, soon in our days, Amen.
6.12 Baal HaSulam,
“Foreword to The Book of Zohar,” Item 1
The depth of wisdom in The Book of Zohar is enclosed and locked behind a thousand locks, and our human tongue is too poor to provide us with sufficient, reliable expressions to interpret one thing in this book to the fullest. Also, the interpretation I have made is but a ladder to help the examiner rise to the height of the matters and examine the words of the book itself. Hence, I have found it necessary to prepare the reader and give him a route and an inlet in reliable definitions concerning how one should contemplate and study the book.
6.13 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 103
Indeed, there is a profound intention here. The concealed Torah implies that the Creator hides in the Torah, hence the name, “the Torah of the hidden.” Conversely, it is called “revealed” because the Creator is revealed by the Torah. Therefore, the Kabbalists said, and we also find it in the prayer book of the Vilna Gaon [GRA], that the order of attainment of the Torah begins with the concealed and ends with the revealed. This means that through the appropriate labor, where one first delves in the Torah of the hidden, he is thus granted the revealed Torah, which is the literal. Thus, one begins with the concealed, called Sod [secret], and when he is rewarded, he ends in the literal.
6.14 Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 58
It is mainly because 1) faith has diminished in general, 2) faith in the holy ones, the sages of the generations in particular, and 3) the books of Kabbalah and The Zohar are full of corporeal parables.
Hence, people are afraid lest they will lose more than they will gain since they could easily fail with materializing. This is what prompted me to compose a sufficient interpretation on the writings of the Ari, and now on The Zohar. And I have completely removed that concern, for I have evidently explained and proven the spiritual meaning of every thing, that it is abstract and devoid of any corpo- real image, above space and above time, as the readers will see, to allow the whole of Israel to study The Book of Zohar and be warmed by its sacred light. I have named that commentary The Sulam (Ladder) to show that the purpose of my commentary is as the role of any ladder: If you have an attic filled abundantly, all you need is a ladder to climb. And then, all the bounty in the world is in your hands. But the ladder is not a purpose in and of itself, for if you pause on the rungs of the ladder and do not enter the attic, your goal will not be achieved. So it is with my commentary on The Zohar, for the way to fully clarify these most profound of words has not yet been created. Nonetheless, with my commentary, I have constructed a path and an entrance for any person by which to rise and delve and scrutinize The Book of Zohar itself, for only then will my aim with this commentary be completed.
Article No. 75 “The Work of the Greatest in the Nation”
Baal HaSulam made it so that if an ordinary person follows his way, he can achieve Dvekut [adhe- sion] with the Creator just like a dedicated wise disciple. Before him, one had to be a great wise disciple in order to be rewarded with Dvekut with the Creator. Before the Baal Shem Tov, one even had to be among the greatest in the world, or he would not be able to attain Godliness.
6.16 Zohar for All, VaYetze,
“Upper Righteous and Lower Righteous,” Item 139
The Zohar speaks nothing of corporeal incidents, but of the upper worlds, where there is no sequence of times as it is in corporeality. Spiritual time is elucidated by change of forms and degrees that are above time and place.
6.17 Zohar for All, BeHaalotcha,
“Passover in Its Time and Second Passover,” Items 59-60
The Torah created the angels and all the worlds, and they exist for it. Moreover, when it came down to this world, the world could not tolerate it if it had not clothed in these clothes of this world, which are the tales and words of the uneducated. Hence, this story in the Torah is a clothing of the Torah. One who considers this clothing as the actual Torah and nothing else, damned will be his spirit and he will have no share in the next world. This is why David said, “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things from Your law,” that is, gaze upon what lies beneath the clothing of the Torah.
6.18 Zohar for All, BeHaalotcha,
“And the Ark Rested in the Seventh Month,” Item 14
It is written, “And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.” This verse has certainly been set apart from the rest of the Torah and has become simply a story. But why should we mind if it rested on this mountain or on that? After all, it had to rest somewhere! Happy are Israel, for they were given the superior law, the law of truth. And one who says that that story in the Torah [in Hebrew, Torah means law, too] points only to that story, damned be he, for if this is so, then the Torah is not the superior Torah, the law of truth. Certainly, the holy, superior Torah is a true law.
6.19 Zohar for All, BeHaalotcha,
“And the Ark Rested in the Seventh Month,” Items 15-16
It is dishonorable for a flesh and blood king to speak words of an illiterate person, much less write them. Can you even conceive that the High King, the Creator, had no holy things to write and to turn them into a law, but that He rather collected words of such common people as the words of Esau, the words of Hagar, the words of Laban concerning Jacob, the words of the mare, the words of Balaam, the words of Balak, and the words of Zimri, and assembled all those written stories and turned them into the law? If this is so, why is it considered “The law of truth,” “The law of the Lord is complete,” “The testimony of the Lord is sure,” “The precepts of the Lord are right,” “The commandment of the Lord is pure,” “The fear of the Lord is pure,” and “The ordinances of the Lord are true”? It is also written, “They are more desirable than gold, than much fine gold.” These are the words of Torah. Indeed, the holy, upper Torah is certainly the law of truth, the complete law of the Creator, and each and every word indicates the uppermost things, for that thing in the story does not indicate only itself, but rather points to the whole.
6.20 Zohar for All, Nasso,
“He Who Strays,” Item 90
The enlightened will understand, since they are from the side of Bina, Tree of Life, of whom it is written, “And the enlightened will shine as the brightness of the firmament,” in this composition of Rabbi Shimon, The Book of Zohar, from The Zohar [brightness/shining] of upper Ima, who is called Teshuva [repentance]. These do not need experience, and because Israel are destined to taste from the tree of life, which is The Book of Zohar, through it, they will come out of exile in mercy and it will exist in them.
6.21 Zohar for All, BeHaalotcha,
“The Raven and the Dove,” Item 88
“And the enlightened shall shine as the brightness of the firmament.” These are the authors of the Kabbalah. They are the ones who exert in this brightness, called The Book of Zohar, which is like Noah’s ark, gathering two from a town, and seven kingdoms, and sometimes one from a town and two from a family, in whom the words, “Every son that is born you shall cast into the Nile” come true. The Torah is called “a son.” The newborn is the attained. “Into the Nile” means the light of Torah. “Cast” is like “You will study it” [it’s an anagram in Hebrew], where you study each insight that is born in you by the light of Torah and by its soul. This is the light of this Book of Zohar, and it is all because of you.
6.22 Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Heichal HaBerachah [The Hall of Blessing],
In this last generation, it is possible to draw the upper Shechina [Divinity] only through The Zohar and the writings of Rav Chaim Vital, which were said in the spirit of holiness. In this generation, one who desires life, loves days, does not spend a day without Kedusha [holiness], to see the good of the next world in this world, should cling only to The Book of Zohar and the writings of Rav Chaim Vital, which were said in the spirit of holiness.
6.23 The HIDA,
The Name of the Greats
Precisely the study of The Zohar has more Segula [power/merit] than learning the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmud. This is surprising for in what is its power greater than all of the Torah? Whether for the Bible or for the Mishnah, meaning that the Bible, the Mishnah, and the Talmud are very clothed and the secret is not at all apparent in them. Not so is The Zohar, which speaks of the secrets of the Torah explicitly, and there is not a fool who will read and not understand that its words are in the depth of the secrets of the Torah. Hence, since the secrets of Torah are revealed without clothing, they brighten and illuminate the soul.
6.24 Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Ben Meir,
Sefer HaBrit [Book of the Covenant], Part 2, Essay No. 12, Chapter 5
Know for certain, my brother, that the previous generations and the early days that were in the fifth millennium are not as these generations and these days. In those days, the gates of wisdom were closed and locked. Hence, Kabbalists were few then. Conversely, in this sixth millennium, when the gates of light, the gates of mercy, have been opened, since it is near the end of days, and there is joy of Mitzva [commandment] and great contentment in the eyes of the Creator to make the glory of His kingdom known forever. Especially now that the holy writings of the ARI have been printed, who opened for us the gates of light that have been sealed and locked by a thousand keys since days of old, and all his words are words of the living God, based on Prophet Elijah, and by whose permission he revealed what he revealed. Now there is no obstacle or peril before us, just as in the revealed.
6.25 Rabbi Avraham Ben Mordechai Azulai,
Introduction to the Book Ohr HaChama, 81
Permission has been given to engage in The Book of Zohar. It is a select commandment to engage in it in public, great and small, as is said in Raaiah Meheimana [the Faithful Shepherd].
6.26 Raaiah Kook,
Now the time obligates to increase possession of the inner Torah. The Book of Zohar, which breaks new paths, sets a trail in the desert, a track in the wilderness, it and all its crops, is ready to open the gates of redemption.
6.27 Raaiah Kook,
“For the Third of Elul”
There is nothing in my views and thoughts whose source is not in the writings of the ARI.
6.28 Rav Raaiah Kook,
Love of Israel in Sanctity, 232
There is no measurement or value to the virtue of one who contemplate the words of the living God, The Book of Zohar, all that accompany it, the words of true sages, and especially the clear writings of the Ari.
Know the God of Your Father
We would never have the power to undress the Torah from its clothes were it not for Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his friends.
The Light of the RASHASH, p 159
I know that by merit of The Book of Zohar and the writings of Kabbalah that will spread out in the world, the people of Israel will be freed. Our redemption depends on this learning
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