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Article "The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah" - Lesson 5

September 4, 2005
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

We are continuing Baal HaSulam’s article, on page 25 in Kabbalah LeMatchil (Kabbalah for Beginners),“The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah” is the name of the article. The section we are studying is called “The Language of the Kabbalists is a Language of Branches.”

We said that we are in this world. Above us, there is the Upper World, from which we are operated. Everything in this world corresponds to the Upper World, but on a different substance. Every detail, every element, every constituent of this world, all of its parts, not just in the inanimate, vegetative, animate, and speaking, but in thoughts and desires — everything inside us, the forces — everything comes from Above, and builds our substance here, manages our substance. The Upper World is called “ Shoresh” (“the root”); and this world is called “ Anaf” (“the branch”). Kabbalists, the people that reach the sensation of the Upper World from this world, open the Upper World for themselves and see the spiritual reality. They see how forces come to us from the Upper World, and how everything in our world is operated by it. It is like discovering that behind everyone there is a force that moves him, like a hand in a glove, or like puppets in a puppet show, connected to strings which we use to “play” them.

Kabbalists tell us that we are similar: operated by forces in the Upper World. These forces and plans in the Upper World do not have names. However, when we discover these forces in the Upper World, and see their result in this world, we then name then according to the names of their results. By that, Kabbalists invented the language of the Kabbalists, whereby each spiritual root has a corporeal branch, conducted by the spiritual root. Of course, it can only be understood if you are simultaneously in both worlds. But what does that give us? If we want to reach the Spiritual World, and we learn the language of these branches, and if, through our world and through our language, we try to see the spiritual forces — and not our world’s parts that these names define, but the forces conducting these — we will then rise, gradually, from the branches to the roots. We will draw the Ohr Makif (Surrounding Light) from the roots, which reforms us, and we will come to know the roots.

That is why the language of the branches is not just a language to be read. In any case, we do not understand what we read, because the words refer to forces and to spiritual actions. But if we, through it, seemingly try to rise from below upward, through all these connections between the roots and the branches, we then have a chance to reach the Upper World. That is why Kabbalists write books, both for other Kabbalists, and also for us. When they write to each other, they seemingly want to share their knowledge among themselves, their discoveries in the Upper World, because, in essence, what they discover is the nature of the Upper World. A Kabbalist is like a scientist of the Upper World. So when they write to each other, it enriches them, it brings them to even greater achievements, and gives the world even greater Light. But for us it is just a means for spiritual ascent. Let us read it.

“The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah: The Language of the Kabbalists is a Language of Branches. Meaning that the branches indicate to their roots, being their molds that necessarily exist in the upper world. This is because there is no reality in the lower world that is not elicited from its superior. As with the seal and the imprint, the root in the upper world compels its branch in the lower one to reveal its entire form and feature, as our sages said that the fortune in the world above, related to the grass in the world below, strikes it, forcing it to complete its growth. Because of that, each and every branch in this world, well defines its mold, situated in the higher world.”

In other words, commands that descend from the Upper World to the lower world all come as blows: “It strikes it and tells it, grow!” That is why we should not wait for anything good in our world. But by relating ourselves to the growth process — to the spiritual evolution that this Upper Force called “ Malach” (“angel”) wants us to understand, to follow, to agree with the goal it wants us to reach — by that we will spare ourselves from troubles. Instead of blows, if the goal is desirable, we will use that same Upper Force, but it will be desirable for us. A blow will not seem like a blow, but on the contrary, we willwant it, we will understand it, and we will like it! It will be our evolutionary force.

But to begin with, in our state, if we do not change our understanding and progress, and come to use it correctly, we will only feel these forces that evolve us as blows, and I think that humanity today can already clearly see that this is the case; beginning with global blows, in ecology, nature, society, drugs, terrorism, and the general crisis... and we will soon see more and more of them. We have to understand, they are the forces of our spiritual evolution. If we accept them as good and consciously move toward them, if we receive them correctly, we will then see how beneficial they are. Otherwise we will receive them as blows. It is like a child who wants to study, who wants to be good. He then understands that his parents treat him correctly; otherwise, they are beatings. It depends on how he accepts their conditions, the conditions they set for him.

You have a question as an educator?

Question: Two questions. First, the world sees that no good is going to come out, but still there are a few moments of pleasantness in life…

No, these are not moments of pleasantness. In our world we try, as people, to find a place of serenity. We do not have a choice. We look for it because we do not see why things happen to us, we do not see the causes. The issue here is purpose. If we could understand that the Earth did not merely appear in order to perish. Yes, that is what they say, that soon life will be over. So if we could see that it is not “just happening,” but that it should develop, until we have reached a spiritual degree, and we will be in a completely different spiritual dimension, and this corporeality, this world which is disappearing, will rise to the degree of Olam Ein Sof (the World of Infinity) . That we currently feel ourselves in our senses — these senses will disappear, and they will be incorporated in higher, spiritual senses. The sensation of this world will then be incorporated into the sensation of the Upper World. This will continue until we raise all our emotions, our perceptions, to the perception of Ein Sof (Infinity).

If humanity could understand this, and use the blows it suffers correctly… If we could aim ourselves sharply to the purpose set for us by nature, to where nature pushes us, we would then not even feel these blows as such. We would either accept them as something purposeful, as something correct — yes? “I’m a bad boy, so I have to do something about it...” We would then see — it is hard for us to understand, but we would see — within these forces that come from above, how we can turn them into something positive. We would not feel even the slightest amount of bad in them, but that they are completely positive, and we would advance with them. The process would be the same process. It would be the same, but we would see it and accept it completely differently. We would feel it as something evolving toward pleasure and tranquility. It is hard to understand how these tsunamis or hurricanes appear, or atom bombs, or whatever — how they come the way they do. We do not understand how these forces can appear to us any differently. But because humanity does not see the causality, it waits for peace, looking for some hideout from the problems. This is happening to us for a special reason: to bring us to a goal, a special result.

If people knew, they would speak differently. Right now they just want to shut their eyes. Why? Because there is nothing they can do. What are we compared to nature? Tomorrow the whole Earth will quake, it will shake us right off, like dust, and that will be it. What can we do? Nothing. That is why we try not to talk about it and not to think about it. But if we knew what to do, that it is deliberate, directed, and purposeful, we would then not relate to it this way. Today we try and forget about it. The successful ones are the ones that can shut their eyes and not care about anything. As it says, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die.” That is the attitude of humanity today, to what is happening, because there is nothing for people to do — nothing at all. The blows that will now appear will show us that it is not because we burn more or less fuel — that we are heating up the Earth — it is all nonsense, there is no connection. These blows are coming in order to show humanity that time is running out. We have to hurry up and correct ourselves, and rise to spirituality. The time for lingering in this world is predetermined. So, in short, everything comes from Above.

“Thus Kabbalists have found a set and annotated vocabulary before their eyes, sufficient to create an excellent spoken language. It enables them to converse with one another of the dealings in the spiritual roots in the upper worlds by merely mentioning the tangible branch in this world that is well defined to our corporeal senses. The listeners understand the upper root to which this corporeal branch points through their own attainment because it is related to it, being its imprint. Thus, all the beings of the tangible creation and all their instances have become to them like well defined words and names. They indicate to their higher spiritual roots. Although there cannot be a verbal expression in their spiritual setting, as it is above any imagination, they have earned the right to be expressed by utterance through their branches, arranged before our senses here in the tangible world.”

Meaning, Kabbalists have found a way to express indescribable phenomena. You cannot say anything about a spiritual phenomenon, because it is the innermost phenomenon that can be in one’s emotions. We cannot define it in any way. Kabbalists took the language of the branches and they use it, and if Kabbalists were not in this world but only in the Spiritual World, then they would not even have a language; they would not have a way to communicate as today, between us and them throughout the generations, or them with us... But there is a connection between the souls, and that connection is also wordless. There are no definitions for it.

We, who are not yet in the Spiritual World, study the language of Kabbalah. We primarily study that part which belongs to us. We study it as a means to rise to the spiritual degree. But less than that, we say, because we do not know how Kabbalists communicate among themselves in the language of the branches, or through perhaps another more internal language that they have: something called studying not from “ Peh el Awzen” (“mouth to ear”), but from “ Peh el Peh” (“mouth to mouth”), when there is a common Masach (Screen) between people. The place that the Masach (Screen) stands is in the Peh (mouth) of the Partzuf, and then studying from mouth to mouth is with a common Masach (Screen) between two Partzufim that have a common language. It is not a spoken language, even though it is with the Peh (“mouth”), but it is spoken differently from “ Peh el Peh” (“mouth to mouth”), that is not conveyed from Peh el Awzen (mouth to ear). Meaning, it passes from Partzuf to Partzuf, through common Masachim (Screens) — I cannot explain it. But this is a different study, a different connection, a different communication between Kabbalists. Here, however, we study it for ourselves. This is also how Kabbalists help us enter into the state that they are in.

Question: Why are ninety percent of scriptures of Kabbalists intended for people who are already in attainment, and not for people who have not reached it?

Yes, Kabbalists mostly write to each other. But they can only study from Peh el Peh (mouth to mouth) if two of them are together in communication. The communication is actual communication, in proximity of place, and in proximity of vessels. For us, Kabbalists write especially so that we will use the language of the branches, not in order to talk about spirituality, but to aim to reach it. When a Kabbalist reads books of Kabbalah where there are Partzufim, Sefirot, worlds, or even if he reads TheBook of Torah — m — mm -- mMoses went here, and he did this and that, and the children of Israel went here and there — so the Kabbalist sees the spiritual processes and identifies with them, connects to them. A Kabbalist does things that are written in these books, and we, who read the same books, want to discover, through this language, what they are talking about, what spiritual actions they refer to, and somehow connect to those actions. Meaning, in us, it is impractical that we perform what they write about. But we want to be drawn to it, to relate to it, to be a part of it, and this measurement of yearning pushes us forward and slowly brings us to the root, meaning to those states they are in. Why? Because our craving draws Ohr Makif, (Surrounding Light) from Above, and this Light reforms us and raises us.

“That is the nature of the spoken language among Kabbalists, by which they convey their spiritual attainments from person to person and from generation to generation, both by word of mouth and in writing. They fully understand one another, with the required accuracy needed for negotiating the study of the wisdom with precise definitions one cannot fail in. This is so because each branch has its own unique, absolute and natural definition. This absolute definition naturally indicates to its root in the higher world.”

So this language, besides being the only one that can be used, is also very accurate. Because if I call an object in our world by some name, then from where does that name come to me? In the past, to name a book, we would go to a special person who made up words, like Shokolad (chocolate) and Pelefon (cellphone), and all kinds of words in Hebrew. He made them up, and people use them. So, he has a profession. He makes up words and names for all kinds of new artificial things — they did not exist before, and now they do. Tomorrow they will invent something else, I do not know what. You have to find some name for it, so, he will find one. We see that it is not so simple. Let us say, biologists or chemists, if they want to name some substance, they use some enormous word, like with all those amino acids, or those proteins that have a ten–foot long word. Why? Because they cannot do it any other way. They took a rule and now they have to keep it.

So, in our world, we read, and it does not really matter what name we give to something artificial. If it is not artificial, then these names and this language naturally appear, out of our sensation, and we see how Hebrew is special in that: that the letters and the combination of letters are also rooted in spiritual signs, and vice versa, in the outer appearance of the language, in the letters, their form, and the combination of letters, there are hints of Upper roots. That is why the language is so accurate and reliable to bring a person to the roots correctly.

Question: Does the name of a person have a special meaning to it in this world? Maybe he should change it?

I will tell you a secret. Many people come to me with these questions. I tell them, “yes.” Why? Because I want the name to be more original. “My name is Louisa, is the name Nicole better for me?” “No, it is not. You should be Sarah!” That is it. That is why I say, “yes, the name makes a difference.” But that is all there is to it. So, “changing your name is changing your Mazal (fortune)” is referring to a name as signifying a spiritual degree.

[Rav drawing]

Each spiritual Kli has the tip of the Yod, Yod (י), Hey (ה), Vav (ו), Hey(ה) in it — which together make up 26 — plus the Light that fills it, depending on which Lights — Hassadim and Hochma together. So they constitute the name, the name of the place. Actually, 26 is a constant, it is a constant name. It is the framework of the Kli, like the number of organs in our body, or the number of bones. You have 248 tendons and 365 organs. You have them whether you are a child or a grown up. So in this, the basic HaVaYaH, there is no difference — it does not change. The difference is in the Light that fills it, meaning through the Masach (Screen), and the Masach (Screen) depends on us. This is what changes.
So what do we do? The name changes the Mazal (fortune). What is the Mazal (fortune)? We all come from Partzuf Arich Anpin, in the world Atzilut, and we are nourished by it. Lights descend to us from there as Nozel (fluid). From the word Nozel (fluid) we have the word Mazal (fortune). The Lights thus descend to us in drops — drop by drop. So if I change my degree with respect to Partzuf Arich Anpin, I then change my name. How? I change my Masach (Screen), and by that, I change my fortune, the quantity of Lights that come to me. That is what happens. So what does it mean, “to change your name”? It means changing your Masach (Screen) . What is “changing your Masach” (Screen)? It is changing the force of bestowal that is in a person.

That is all. There is no other way to change your fate. As much as you change your names externally, go and change your ID card… that will be the only change. But, psychologically it can sustain people: “I changed my name because a Kabbalist told me this or that…and now…” As a result of this confidence people do feel change in life. We do not rule this out. Psychologically we can all find great support in that. But there is nothing real in that when we speak of spiritual degrees, toward the goal. Only changing the Masach will help you toward the goal.

Question: He says that the branches in this world are tangible and felt by the senses, but we use names like Keter, Hochma, and Arich Anpin that have nothing to do with corporeality.

Yes, but when we use them, it is already the language of Kabbalah. It is not the language of the branches, as Moses used it, for example, in the Pentateuch, or Rabbi Shimon in The Zohar, where they seemingly speak of this world, but refer to the forces that stand behind it, conducting it. We use a technical language, so to speak: forces, Partzufim, Reshimot, all kinds of technical definitions of Kabbalah. That is not the language of the branches. The language of the branches is when you take the actual names from this world, and through them, reach the roots.

“Bear in mind, that this Language of the Branches of the wisdom of Kabbalah is better suited to explain the terms of the wisdom than all our ordinary tongues. It is known from the theory of nominalism, that the languages have been disrupted in the mouths of the crowd. In other words, due to excessive use of the words, they have been emptied of their accurate content, resulting in great difficulties to convey precise deductions to one another…”

So we just swap the words, we use one word instead of another, and so we confuse words with previous meanings.

“…resulting in great difficulties to convey precise deductions to one another, either by word of mouth or in writing.

This is not case with the Language of the Branches since it is derived from the names of the creations and their occurrences, set before our eyes, defined by the unchangeable laws of nature. The readers and the listeners will never be misled into a misunderstanding of the words before them because the natural definitions are utterly unwavering and cannot be breached.”

Meaning, it is like a thread passing from spirituality down to corporeality that determines, in our world, all kinds of phenomena, in the degrees of still, vegetative, animate and speaking, forces, thoughts, and so on. Every single thing in this world has its own defined word, and these words bring us to the root.

Well, there is a lot to talk about here…about all these problems with language, besides the language of the Kabbalists, relating more to regular language, it does not really matter. We see disruptions in the language. Also, we are not very precise. We even have a problem in the language of Kabbalah. If we take the language of King David; in Psalms we have words that we do not really understand. He used the language of the branches in its fullest meaning, and less so for us. But it does not affect the precision of the language too much; it just becomes a little more limited.

Question: We know that Kabbalists can convey information through several things: through music, dance, language. Why does he not mention them?

And Gematria too! He is our Gematria expert. [jokingly referring to the one asking the question]

He does not mention them because all the other things are not precise. They convey emotions that do not determine what degree you are in, what elements you are talking about. It does not come to give you Kelim to ascend; it just lets you change your state according to something that he talks about. For example, let us say, “Yesterday I enjoyed a sweet cake”…so you basically understand what I am talking about, but I am not giving you greater detail than that; it is impossible. How do I tell you about that sweet cake? Perhaps with music, or with colors; these kinds of things. But what degree, what was it comprised of, what kind of pleasures exactly did I feel, how much did I pay for it? There are all kinds of things that I do not tell you. I cannot express them all in music. It is possible, but I cannot convey it to another to be impressed by it accurately. Because notes are something else, they are not on the level of speech or the degree of writing. There are many styles of the language. Hearing and seeing are different things. And besides hearing and seeing, we can also hear words and sounds, and we can see colors, or forms and shapes, or letters and formulas. These are different things within that same tube seemingly passing from one to another.

We are not talking about these kinds of communications; we are just speaking about the language of the branches that we use during the study. That is what is important to us right now — afterwards we will talk about other things. There is a lot to it; how one induces it — there is a mechanism here of the lungs, and the throat, and the inlets of the mouth, how he expresses every word, how he utters every letter, why he expresses it this way, why the letters’ code and tone comes to us this way, and why that sound is connected to a special sign, a special letter, all these things. We need to get into the structure of a person for that, according to how the forces operate with one another. We will not talk about that. We will continue.

"Conveyance From a Wise Kabbalist to an Understanding Receiver. Thus wrote the RAMBAN in his introduction to his commentary on the Torah: 'and I bring with true covenant to all who scrutinize this book, that of all the clues that I write in the secrets of the Torah, I resolutely assert that my words will not be grasped by any mind or intelligence, except from the mouth of a wise Kabbalist to the ear of an understanding receiver'. Such as that Rabbi Chaim Vital wrote in his introduction to The Tree of Life, and also in the words of our sages (Hagiga, 11): 'One does not study the Kabbalah on one’s own, unless he is wise and understands with his own mind'."

What are they trying to imply?

“It is thoroughly understood when they say that one must receive from a wise Kabbalist. But why the necessity for the disciple to first be wise and understanding with his own mind?”

You cannot study otherwise.

“Moreover, if he isn’t so, then he must not be taught, be he the most righteous person in the world.”

If he has no understanding of what is spoken with him.

“In addition, if one is already wise and understands with his own mind, what need has he to learn from others?

From the aforesaid their words are understood with utter simplicity: we have seen that all the words and utterances our lips pronounce cannot help us convey even a single word from the spiritual, Godly matters, above the imaginary time and space. Instead, there is a special language for these matters, being The Language of the Branches, indicating their relation to their upper roots.”

Meaning, our language only aims us toward the roots; it does not do more than that. It does not explain the roots to us. Rather, the explanation depends on the person, how that person rises from branch to root. He might be the most intelligent person, but not be in this process, and will not reach the root. The explanation must always be, if it is an explanation from person to person…just as in our world, I can explain something to someone who has the same intelligence, sensations, and understanding of what I am talking about, who has the same knowledge, who is in the same society, had the same upbringing. Meaning, that person has the right foundations to understand what I am conveying to him, and receive a picture according to what I am passing onto him. So there are many conditions that have to be met in the other in order to convey from the wise to one who understands with his own mind. Otherwise, it might be a great corruption. He will misunderstand it, and I have no way of testing if he understood it correctly or not. And perhaps, instead of benefit, there will be only harm. That is why the wisdom is not just passed onto anyone, but it says that you do not study unless “this and that” condition is met. Only on such conditions: “From the mouth of a wise Kabbalist to the ear of an understanding receiver.”.

Question: I have a question about the definitions. He writes about someone who does not understand with his own mind, even if he is the greatest, most righteous person in the world. Now if this is not some figure of speech, then what does it mean?

Righteous means he has the attribute of Bina, but he is just righteous. He does not understand with his own mind, he does not have the vessels of reception yet with which to receive, and analyze, and decipher what comes to him. “Words of Wisdom” means that he is taught how to receive in order to bestow. That is something that is passed on from one to the other. But he must already be ready with all sorts of preparations of Masachim (Screens), in order to perform the same forms that the Upper one conveys to him. To study any differently, from Upper to lower, where the lower grows as a small one, who receives from the Upper only forms of bestowal, that is something else. That is not conveyance of wisdom. Conveyance of wisdom is when the Upper teaches the lower how to be wise, meaning, how to receive in order to bestow, to receive Orot de Hochma (Lights of Wisdom), in the vessels of reception.

Question: I do not get it. We said in the beginning that the Wisdom of Kabbalah is intended for everyone. Now it says that he has to be an understanding receiver…

Yes, it is for everyone — that is how it should be. Everyone must reach it. As it says, “They shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them.” Who are you asking about? Some Indian in South America? What are you asking about?

Student: I am asking; is that a preliminary condition for the study?

No, it is not a precondition for the study, but if you want to be in contact with a Kabbalist, so that what he knows he will be able to bring, to pour into you, that can only be on condition that you have the Kelim (vessels) and the Masachim (Screens), according to what he wants to give you. Otherwise, it will not happen. There will be no connection between the two of you.

I want to explain to you about some physical phenomenon. So accordingly, you have to be ready for it. According to the level you are in, I can come down to it, but there has to be a connection on an equal level, even in this world. All the more so in spirituality, there has to be a common Masach (Screen), where precisely what I have, you also have, and then, when we seemingly speak, we have the same spiritual phenomenon. I come down from above, down to your degree, and in that degree we operate. I am like a grownup with respect to the little one, showing you — you do this you do that, you play this way and that way — and you understand me because I came down to your level. We have an understanding, and we live in that same degree. You perform like a child learns from his father.

So it has to be there. Two adjacent degrees cannot understand each other. So the lower one has to be Above Reason in order to accept the Upper one. The conveyance of the wisdom has to be only according to common Masachim (Screens), equal . It is called, “To a disciple who understands with his own mind.”

What does it mean, “for everyone”? It will be for everyone — there is no choice. Each and every soul will have to shake off all the nonsense of this world, and see spirituality as something important; that you have to stick to bestowal, to the spiritual force, and move on, to live in a different dimension. Then, “They shall all know Me,” as it says. What is the problem? They think it is unrealistic, it is hard — yes?— because it is a completely different life. It is an existence that… what? [Rav stops the explanation to hear a question]

Question: So there are two wisdoms of Kabbalah? One for me right now, and the other I will receive from a Kabbalist afterwards when I learn with my own mind?

Of course. Right now, you are not taught the wisdom of Kabbalah. What you hear now in the lessons is a means to reach the root — it is just a means. It is the language of Kabbalah, but not the Wisdom of Kabbalah. What kind of wisdom can I give you now? That is why anyone can learn it. I can tell about it to every person, because I do not convey the Upper wisdoms to them, the Orot de Hochma (Lights of Wisdom). What am I conveying? Some knowledge about their own nature, about this world, and some information seemingly about the Spiritual World, but they do not know what it is because they are not there. So I tell them about this world, and explain to them: “You, Mister, are living here, do you know who you are, what reality is? Look!” So I explain it to them like explaining a wisdom of this world. How do I know? I know it as a result of the Wisdom of Kabbalah. But in all, I am just explaining the laws of this world, his nature and the nature of the environment. That is all. I do not tell him about the Upper World because he cannot understand it. Well, I do tell him, but I do it not as wisdom, but as the language of the branches, so that they will desire to reach, see, feel, understand, and experience it. So it is only a means.

That is why when it says, you are forbidden to teach the Wisdom of Kabbalah until the age of forty, it does not talk about the age of forty. Age forty, meaning reaching understanding, the level of Bina. Bina is called forty, yes, the letter Mem (מ(40)) .So when he reaches it, of course he will be able to study the Wisdom of Kabbalah, because after Bina, after the attributes of bestowal, it will come to him. But before that it does not matter if he is forty - eight. He might be seventy, and then be a fool. So he must reach the correction of the Kelim (vessels), then he will be able to receive the Upper Lights. Otherwise, he will not be able to receive them. There is no problem here with someone corrupting himself with the Wisdom of Kabbalah. He can go mad; he can go mad because he does not understand what to study. So that is how people go mad on the outside, just like from everything else, but not because of the wisdom itself. Because those who are in this world, in their sensation — for them, the Wisdom of Kabbalah is nothing but some picture that they do not know of, in order to promote them toward it. It is not opened to them; there are no secrets. How can I tell you about some spiritual secret, how will you understand it? You have to be at a spiritual level to understand it, and then it will not be a secret. Like the Agra (the Vilna de Gaon) writes; that you start at the Sod (secret), and you end with the Pshat (literal). For you, now, the entire world is one big secret, so whatever you learn is secret for you. In the end you reach the literal, where everything is simple. That is all. So we have to understand there is nothing about our study that can bring a person to anything that is undesirable, because he is not told, you cannot; you cannot convey anything to that person. Everyone understands only according to his own level of development. No one without a Masach (Screen) will feel what the Upper World is. You cannot breach that law, so there is nothing to be afraid of.
So why do Kabbalists say it is not worthwhile, and all these things — that “one must first fill one’s belly with Gmarah and Talmud,” “not until the age of forty,” “you must be married,” and so forth…Kabbalists invented these things themselves to drive people off, because it was the time of exile, and it was not advisable for people to come and study Kabbalah. But from the time of the ARI, and especially from the time of Baal Shem Tov onward, when the time came toward our days — the end of the exile — then the whole issue of the evolution of the Wisdom of Kabbalah started. Also, it took centuries. Now it is just beginning in humanity. But they wanted to drive people off; that is why they did it. Even today you see who comes to us. Do we draw anyone? No. Those who come, come, and those who do not — it is better off that they do not. We do not need billions, we do not even need millions, only those who have a serious desire, only those. Otherwise they just get in the way. They should know a bit about what the Wisdom of Kabbalah is, and they will slowly ripen — until they will have a true desire. That is why this language can be used by anyone, wherever they are: for the distant, for the nearer, for those who already rise from the branch to the root, they are assisted by this language. It is a means.

Question: So does “forbidden to teach” mean that it is impossible?

“Forbidden” in Kabbalah always means impossible. In Kabbalah, the word “forbidden” means impossible. We see that everywhere Baal HaSulam explains about this word, “forbidden.” Because there is no such thing as forbidden. What does it mean, “forbidden”? You are forbidden according to your Kelim (vessels), because you are incapable. It is the same with prohibitions in the Torah: it is forbidden to do this and that — so what does that mean? Forbidden means you are able to? No! You are sure to sin if it is before you, and if it is not before you, then you do not sin. This is because there is only the will to receive, the Masach (Screen), and the pleasure in front of it, whether it exists or not. Whether or not you overcome it, is known in advance — that is not what they speak about. “Forbidden” or “permitted” is about something different. It is about free choice, and that is all.

Question: So in order to allow for freedom of choice, there should be a possibility, no? At least a potential possibility, otherwise there is no choice. I do not get it. You said that “forbidden” and “permitted” relate to free choice? So in order to have freedom of choice, forbidden must be in my ability to do, and I choose to resemble myself to some regularity…

Where is there choice? Where is it possible and impossible? It is in wanting to receive additional forces from the environment, only in that. I have no choice. I have no choice, no free choice in anything else.

Question: What do I need the forces for?

Whether you put on or do not put on the Tefilin (an orthodox Jewish commandment) in the morning — you have no choice in that. Perhaps you think you have, but you do not. Unless, by acquiring forces — that is why it is called “holy still.” I am not disqualifying it, but it is called “still,” “holy still.” It does not promote you toward the goal. The choice has to be made in order to advance toward the goal — that is a different story. Meaning, how can I connect more forces to myself? By being in the right connection with the right environment.

Question: I am not asking about this world, I am asking about spirituality. If it says forbidden…

It means it is impossible. Impossible. I cannot.

Question: So the question is like this. What does it mean that now I am able to do something, and I choose not to do it in order to resemble…

You cannot. Again, only in the middle third of Tifferet; you do not know and you do not feel where the free choice is. In every means, in every action of yours, in everything that appears before you, you have no free choice. Only with respect to the environment, as he says. You might ask, according to what is written in the letter, that before you go out to the market, you have to say, “if I am not for me, who is for me?”, and afterwards “There is None Else Beside Him.” That is with respect to the uniqueness of the guidance.

Now, we have to finish the lesson. Where are we? Paragraph, “However…” Alright, so we will continue tomorrow. We really need to end this article. We will end in this.

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