The Need for Learning Kabbalah
"But if you listen with your heart to one famous question, I am sure that all your doubts as to whether you should study the Kabbalah will vanish without a trace. This question is a bitter and fair one, asked by all born on earth: `What is the meaning of my life?' " (Rabbi Y. Ashlag, "Introduction to Talmud Esser Sefiroth Sections 2, 12-17, 44-57)
...Generation follows generation on our planet, yet every generation and every individual asks the same question about the meaning of life, especially at times of wars, global suffering or runs of bad luck that each of us is prone to. What is our life for, the life where minor joys cost us so dearly that absence of suffering seems like happiness to us?
If we are at nature's mercy, if we are what we are because this is the way nature created us, and we have to live with whatever qualities we have in us like semi-intelligent beings, intelligent only in that we are aware of the fact that our actions are determined by the characteristics and nature traits we were created with and cannot do anything about - in this case, there is no telling where wild, non-intelligent nature can lead us, causing us permanently to fight one another, making whole nations, like wild animals guided by instinct, fall upon one another in a vicious fight. Yet, subconsciously, we cannot reconcile the idea of ourselves as intelligent beings with this concept.
If, however, there does exist the Divine force that has created us, why then do we not perceive it, why does it conceal itself from us? For if we knew what it required of us, we would not commit mistakes in our lives for which we are punished by suffering!
...We know how much torment and pain that are worse than death mankind has suffered since the creation of the world. And who is the source of all that suffering, who causes it but the Creator?
...And how many there have been in all mankind's history who were willing to suffer any pain for the sake of comprehending superior wisdom and achieving spiritual elevation, who voluntarily subjected themselves to unbearable anguish and agony for the sake of finding at least a drop of spiritual perception and comprehending the higher force, of becoming united with the Creator and able to be His slaves!
Yet, they all lived out their lives without ever getting a response, without achieving anything, they left this world with nothing, just as they had come into it...
...So, why had the Creator ignored their prayers, why had He turned away from them, why had He scorned their sufferings?..
...And they did feel His scorn! They did feel subconsciously that there is a higher purpose to the universe and to all that is happening, called the drop of man being united with the Creator. And, still immersed in their egocentrism, while going through unbearable agony, sensing the Creator's rejection, they suddenly felt an aperture opening in their heart, which had until then been closed to the truth and able to feel only its own pains and desires - an aperture due to which they were honoured to feel that longed-for drop of unity penetrating into the heart through its broken wall...
...And thus all their qualities were replaced by those opposite to them and similar to the Creator's, and they realized that only in the depth of those sufferings and nowhere else could they experience the unity with the Creator, for He and the drop of unity with Him are there...
...And at the instant of experiencing this sensation that revealed itself to them and healed their wounds the Creator Himself fills with infinite bliss, so delightful that nothing more perfect could be imagined, so that they feel that it has been worth suffering all that agony in order to achieve this perfection...
And every cell of their bodies convinces them that anyone in our world would be willing to go through unthinkable torment in order to experience, at least once in a lifetime, something like the bliss of being united with the Creator...
...And the reason for the Creator's silence in reply to man's appeals lies in the fact that man is more concerned with his own progress than with glorifying the Creator in his own eyes, which should be his only concern. But if it is his only concern, then all his efforts will be painless. Otherwise he will only cry in the wilderness and leave this world just as he has entered it, without having perceived the Creator...
...For the drop of unity, the purpose of creation, flows into the heart of him who is concerned with the Creator's glory and love, who is convinced in his heart of hearts that all the Creator has made, He has made for him, rather than complain selfishly about the unfairness of divine rule...
...The spiritual cannot be divided into separate parts, but man can comprehend one part of the whole and then another, until he comprehends it all... This is why it all depends on the purity of yearning, and it is into the part of man's heart purged of all egocentrism that the spiritual light comes flowing.
How much easier life would be if the Creator did not conceal Himself from us but were clearly perceivable or visible to each and every. We would have no doubts whatsoever as to His existence, we would be able to observe the effects of His rule on ourselves and on the surrounding world, to realize the cause and purpose of our creation, to see the consequences of our actions and His response to them, to discuss all our problems with Him, to ask Him for help, to seek His protection or advice, to complain about our troubles and ask Him to explain why He does that to us, to ask His advice concerning the future, to be constantly in touch with the Creator and change ourselves in accordance with His advice, the way He wants us to be and the way it is best for us.
We could be in constant communication with the Creator from the moment of our birth, the way a child is aware of its mother from the moment of its birth (and the Creator would be just as close to man as its mother to the child, for man would see Him as the source of his birth, his Parent, the cause of his existence and all future life), we could be learning to live the right way by observing His responses to our actions and even intentions.
There would be no need in schools, educators. All nations would coexist simply and wonderfully united by the common cause obvious to all - the spiritual unification with the openly visible and perceivable Creator.
All would be guided in their actions by spiritual laws that would be common knowledge, the laws of spiritual worlds called commandments that would be obeyed by everyone naturally, for everyone would see that disobeying the commandment meant doing themselves harm, like jumping into the fire or off a cliff.
If we could clearly see the Creator and His rule over us, the world and the universe, we would not groan under the hardest toil, for we would see its benefits for us. For instance, anyone would gladly give his all to a stranger, without a thought to himself, for he would be aware of the divine rule, would see the beneficial outcome of his selfless acts, would know that we are all in the power of the kind and eternal Creator.
How natural it would be, and how unnatural and impossible under our present conditions of concealed rule, to give ourselves fully to the Creator, give all our thoughts and desires to Him without reserve, be what He wants us to be, have not the least concern for ourselves, give no thought to ourselves - as it were, cease to be aware of our own selves, transfer all our feelings from ourselves to Him, try to enter Him, to live by His thoughts and His will.
All the aforesaid makes it clear that there is only one thing lacking in our world, and that is a perception of the Creator!
This is why that should be man's only purpose in this world, the only goal man should spare no effort to achieve, for only in perceiving the Creator lies his salvation, both from the calamities of this life and from a spiritual death.
The methods of searching for a perception of the Creator is called the Kabbalah.
Perceiving the Creator is called faith. A common mistake in interpreting this word lies in thinking that faith means groping in the dark, without seeing or perceiving the Creator, i.e. taking this word in a sense directly opposite to its true meaning. According to the Kabbalah, the Creator's light pervading man, the light of man's link with the Creator, the sensation of unification is called the light of faith or just faith.
Faith, the Creator's light, gives man a sensation of being linked with the eternal, a comprehension of the Creator, a sense of complete, explicit communication with the Creator, of absolute safety, immortality, greatness and strength.
All the aforesaid makes it clear that deliverance from our temporary existence fraught with suffering and wearisome pursuit of transient pleasures lies only in attaining faith, i.e. perceiving the Creator.
In any case, the only cause of our misfortunes, of the uselessness and temporary nature of our life is our failure to perceive the Creator. The Torah itself tell us, "Try it and see for yourselves how good the Creator is!"
The aim of this book is to help the reader make the first steps on his way to perceiving the Creator. Those who will come to realize the vital necessity of perceiving the Creator will arrive at the decision to study the original works of the Kabbalah: the book Zohar with commentaries Sulam, the works of Ari and the works of Ashlag.