Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy
Definition of Spirituality
Philosophy believes that the spiritual generated the material and the soul created the body. This statement is problematic, because the connection between the spiritual and the material becomes essential. On the other hand, it is said that the spiritual has nothing to do with the material, so there is no way the spiritual can have any contact with the material and somehow set it in motion.
Besides, the wisdom of Kabbalah maintains that one can only discuss what one can feel and research. Therefore, even the attempt to define the spiritual implies its distinction and separation from the material. First, one needs to attain the spiritual with the help of Kabbalah, because it enables one to start feeling the upper world.
Essence of the Upper Force (the Creator)
The wisdom of Kabbalah neither engages in studying the upper force, nor tries to prove its laws, because it defines itself as an experimental science, and does not speak of what is outside of the scope of its attainment. It does not even negate attainment, since defining the non-existent is no less valuable than defining the existent. If you look at some essence from a distance and define all the elements missing in it, this can also be regarded as a proof and a certain realization, because were this essence too distant, it would be impossible to discern its missing elements.
Therefore, the basic principle of Kabbalah is: “The unattainable can have no name”, where a name implies a beginning of some sort of attainment. The upper light that is attained inside the soul, the sensation of the upper force (the Creator) and its actions are described in the wisdom of Kabbalah in the minutest details of an analysis and experiment, no less accurately than in the study of the material.
Spiritual is a Force without a Body
Kabbalah defines “the spiritual” as something totally unconnected with time, space and matter. It constitutes a force, not vested in a body.
Spiritual Vessel is Called a Force
While speaking about a spiritual force, we do not mean the spiritual light per se, because this light is outside of the vessel and is therefore unattainable. (It is emanated by the Creator’s essence and is equivalent to it). In other words, we are absolutely unable to understand the spiritual light so as to name and define it, because the very name “light” is metaphorical and cannot be considered true. So, a bodiless “force” is referred to as a “spiritual vessel”.
The lights described in Kabbalah speak not of their essence, but express the vessel’s reactions to the contact with the light.
Vessel and Light
It is possible to attain the light (i.e. the vessel’s impression). Such an attainment is called “matter and form”, since the impression is a “form” and a force constitutes “matter”. However, the sensation of love that fills the vessel is defined as a “form without matter”. If we abstract love from a gift, as though it had never been dressed in the particular gift and merely constitutes an abstract name (the Creator’s love), then it is defined as a form. Engaging in it is called an “acquisition of form”. This is a concrete research, because the spirit of this love remains in our attainment as the light’s essence, a notion that is totally abstract from the gift.
Matter and Form in Kabbalah
Although this love is a result of the gift, it is immeasurably more important than the gift itself, because it is determined by the greatness of the giver and not by the value of the gift. Love and appreciation gives this state an infinite significance. Therefore, love becomes absolutely abstract from matter (the light and the gift), so that only the attainment of love remains, while the gift leaves no trace in the heart. This most important part of the science is accordingly called “A form in the wisdom of Kabbalah”.
The Worlds Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya
This love is divided into four levels that are similar to the degrees of human love. When the gift is received for the first time, the person is not yet ready to love the giver, especially if the giver’s status is much higher than that of the receiver. However, as the number of gifts steadily grow, the receiver feels that even a very important giver can be genuinely loved and perceived as an equal. The law of love states that the lovers should feel the equality between them.
Accordingly, four levels of love can be defined:
Presenting the gift is called the world of Assiya.
Increasing the number of gifts is called the world of Yetzira.
Revelation of love’s essence is called the world of Beria. Here the study of form in the wisdom of Kabbalah begins, because at this stage love was separated from the gift – the light leaves the world of Yetzira, love remains without the light, without its gifts.
After love tried and finally separated form from matter, the person can ascend from the state of darkness to the level of Atzilut, where form returns and dresses into matter, meaning that the light and love are felt as one.
Source of the Soul
We perceive the spiritual as a force separated from a body, having no material image. It is a separate property and has no contact with the material world. But if so, how can the spiritual generate the material and set it in motion?
Force is Matter
A force in itself is a true matter, no less than all the other matter of our world. The lack of an image that can be perceived by our senses does not diminish its value.
For example let’s take oxygen, which happens to be a component of most materials in the world. If we take a bottle of pure oxygen isolated from any other material, it looks like an empty bottle, because being a gas, oxygen cannot be seen, smelled, tasted or touched. The same is true about hydrogen.
Yet, if we combine these two substances, they will instantly turn into liquid, water, good for drinking, possessing weight and taste. If we add this water to quicklime, it will be immediately absorbed and will turn into a solid substance similar to lime itself. Thus the imperceptible chemical elements oxygen and hydrogen turn into a solid substance.
The same may be said about the forces that act in nature. Usually they are not regarded as matter, because it is impossible to perceive them in our senses. On the other hand, we see that the reality (solid and liquid substances) tangibly perceived in our world may be transformed (if heated) into gas, which in turn (if sufficiently cooled) may return to a solid state.
From this it follows that all the perceived pictures originate from the basics that may not be called materials and are impossible to feel. Therefore, all the familiar pictures imprinted in our consciousness do not permanently exist due to their special properties. Their form is a derivative of temperature.
So the essence of matter is in the “force” contained in it. However, with regards to us the forces do not manifest by themselves. Their essence will be revealed in the future, as chemical elements were discovered only during the last centuries.
Force that is Equal in the Spiritual and the Material
In short, all the names that derived from the pictures of matter are totally made-up, because they are products of our perception in the five senses. Therefore these names can change and do not exist by themselves.
Yet on the other hand, any definition of a force that we give by denying its connection with matter is also far-fetched. We should only take the concrete reality into consideration until science develops sufficiently to reach its perfect form. In other words, all the material actions that we see and feel ought to be analyzed in connection with the person who performs it. We should understand that he (like the action) essentially consists of matter. Otherwise it would be impossible to comprehend him.
Lights and Vessels
Since Kabbalah is a true science, it seeks the real attainment of the universe, when no difficult question can refute a hard fact.
The universe consists of a vessel (desire) and the light (pleasure). The difference between the two manifests in the first creation that came apart from the upper force. The first creation is purer and more filled than any other that follows. It receives delight from the essence of the upper force that wishes to fill it.
Delight can be measured by the desire to receive it. Whatever one longs to receive, more is felt as greater pleasure. Therefore the first creation (“desire to receive”) is divided into two categories:
The receiver’s essence – the desire to receive, the body of creation, the vessel for the reception of delight.
The essence of the received delight - the Creator’s light constantly flowing to the creation.
The entire universe and any of its parts always consists of two interpenetrating qualities, because the “desire to receive”, essential in the creation, was absent in the upper force. Hence it is called the creation, something that does not exist in the upper force. The received abundance is certainly a part of the upper force’s essence, so an enormous distance separates it from a newly created body.
How the Spiritual can Beget the Material
On the face of it, it is difficult to understand how the spiritual can beget and sustain something material. But this is so if we only consider that the spiritual is in no way connected with the material.
But if we take the opinion of the Kabbalists, who discover that any spiritual property is similar to the material one, it will be clear that the difference lies only in matter – spiritual or substantial. However, all the qualities of the spiritual matter act in substance as well.
There are three erroneous assertions in the understanding of the spiritual and the material:
The power of human thought is man’s essence, his immortal soul.
The body is the soul’s extension and result.
The spiritual substances are simple and not composite.
These false suppositions were disproved by materialistic psychology and since then anyone who wishes to attain the upper force can do so through the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah.