You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Lecture Series / Disclosure of the Wisdom of Kabbalah, Part 1 / Disclosure of the Wisdom of Kabbalah (Part 1)

Disclosure of the Wisdom of Kabbalah (Part 1)

TV Series “Talking Kabbalah”
November 16, 2004
Lecturer: Michael Laitman, PhD

Today’s lesson is about the disclosure of the wisdom of Kabbalah. This is a problematic topic because we’ve never really heard of such a thing throughout all of the generations.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is the most ancient of all wisdoms. It goes back to the times of Abraham the patriarch, which is the 18th century BC, 3800 years ago.

Abraham the patriarch was just like anyone else in Babylon, in Ur of the Chaldees. He was a Bedouin tribesman who discovered Godliness—something completely outside of this world—and wrote a book about it called Sefer Yetzira (The Book of Creation), which is actually the first book on the wisdom of Kabbalah.

There were many more Kabbalists after him—his disciples, his sons, his grandsons—and they all engaged in it, until the second disclosure of the wisdom of Kabbalah by Moses, during the exodus from Egypt. Moses was a great Kabbalist who wrote the book of Torah for us, where he too expressed his own revelations in the Upper World, but in a different way.

Abraham wrote in the language of names, Sefirot and Partzufim, while Moses expressed himself in a different language—the language of branches—because everything in this world comes from Above, from a Higher World, as it is written, “There is not a blade of grass below that has not an angel above that strikes it and tells it to grow.” Hence there is a complete correlation between all the items of the Upper World and the items of our world.

In our world we have a language and denominations, and names for every item before us, and we can take these names and seemingly go up a level, to a Higher World and use these names to describe everything that happens there. That’s what Moses did and it is called the “language of branches.”

We have the book of Torah thanks to that. People in this world think it talks about this world, about history, romance, all sorts of journeys and incidents. However, those on a Higher Plane—at which Moses was writing about—can see that Moses didn’t write about this world, but about what’s in the Upper World, Upper Governance, Higher Providence; the souls, how they ascend and descend; incarnations, and the entire Upper System. That’s what he really wrote about and thus the Torah is the second book.

Next comes the Book of Zohar that everyone knows about. It is the most well-known book on the wisdom of Kabbalah. Though no one understands it, still, it’s very well known.

The Zohar is written in the language of Midrash. That’s a different language, not like Abraham who wrote his book in Sefirot and in the language of names, and unlike Moses, who wrote in the language of branches, using words of this world. The Zohar is written like fiction, imaginary and poetic. It seemingly speaks about this world and the Upper World, but it’s a language of legends, called the “language of Midrash.”

After The Zohar, we have many more books. We have the book of Bahir in the middle, and we come to the disclosure in the middle-ages in Safed by the Holy Ari, who wrote nothing himself, but his teachings or what’s left of them, are the writings of Rav Chaim Vital, his disciple, who marks the beginning of contemporary Kabbalah.

Then comes the time of Chassidut, and the evolution of the wisdom of Kabbalah in the 17th and 18th centuries, until it evolves to Baal HaSulam, who is our contemporary. Baal HaSulam wrote the interpretations to the Zohar and the writings of the Ari, and expressed the Kabbalah in a contemporary language. He wrote The Study of the Ten Sefirot (Talmud Eser HaSefirot) as a scientific book, academically and very precise; with a glossary, questions and answers. It is a complete textbook suitable for our time.

But if we look at those giant Kabbalists, those pillars—Abraham, Moses, Rabbi Shimon, Ari — none of them wanted to disclose the wisdom, except for Baal HaSulam. There were many more Kabbalists in between them. There were Kabbalists in every generation, but not one of them was so concerned with disclosing this wisdom to everybody.

Only this last Kabbalist, Baal HaSulam, he and Rav Kook who was also a great Kabbalist and lived in Israel until 1935, when he passed away. They were both very anxious to promote the disclosure of the wisdom of Kabbalah.

And there’s a question: should the wisdom of Kabbalah be disclosed or not, on the one hand? On the other hand, we can see that this wisdom is already here. Although the debate continues: should it be revealed, should it not be revealed. There are opinions for and against, somehow, its disclosure has come and it is opening, and the world comes and takes an interest in this wisdom.

So we need to ask: is it the right thing or not, with respect to this wisdom?

Here, we can turn to the ancient sages, not just Jews, but from the nations of the world, like Plato and Aristotle who are mentioned in Rav Butril’s Introduction to the Book of Creation. He says that they too did not wish to disclose their wisdom; be it physics, mathematics, or whatever it was that they knew then.

This is what they wrote—I am quoting from the Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot Umasbirot (The Tree of Life), beginning with "Indeed."

Indeed we find mysteries, even in the wisdoms of secular sages of past generations. It is written in the Introduction of Rav Moshe Butril, in his interpretation to the book of Creation, an essay, in the name of Plato, who warned his disciples, thus, ‘Do not give the wisdom to one who doesn’t know its merit.’ And so warned Aristotle ‘Do not give the wisdom to one who isn’t worthy of it, lest it shall be robbed." And the sages interpreted that, ‘if a sage teaches wisdom to someone who isn’t virtuous toward it, he robs this wisdom and destroys it.

So we see that not only with the wisdom of Kabbalah, but in all other wisdoms, the real sages who cared for the knowledge, wanted to conceal it.

Baal HaSulam explains to us why they wished to conceal it. If a man knows the forces of nature and how to exploit them, the question arises: will he use them for better or worse?

We see that with every discovery in science, the scientist is seemingly neutral. His knowledge in itself is the wisdom of the Light; pure science. However, when it comes to applying it, people usually do bad things with it and even they end up regretting it, but this is what’s been happening throughout history. The development of wisdom is always directed first towards war and things that are bad for people.

If so, it isn’t wise to disclose the wisdom. But when can you? At what point?

According to the sages, at the point when man has risen in his moral level, in his responsibility and understanding of what’s happening, to such a degree that he’ll be able to use this knowledge correctly. We see that we haven’t had much success until now; and what will happen next?

Nowadays we are destroying the world ecologically. We are in a constant state of fear and insecurity towards the future; weapons are being dispersed into the wrong hands all over the world; we see nothing good coming out of any development, even in medicine.

No matter how hard we try to progress, people are not less sick. The more we produce media and culture and education, among other things, to fulfill people’s lives, we see people becoming more and more depressed. Depression is today’s number one sickness. When people are in despair, they get into drugs, they kill and they slaughter, they go mad for lack of a better option. In other words, our development is really in the wrong hands. Baal HaSulam explains where this is all coming from.

Our development is merely in our will to receive. That’s our substance that evolves continuously. The development of the will to receive is gradual.

First of all, it develops into physical desires; physical—that’s what the body requires. Even if people lived alone, they would still want food, sex, family, shelter; right?—things that their bodies need. So these physical desires were the first to evolve during the early generations of humanity. Then came the development, the desire for wealth and money. That’s the second development. In other words, the will to receive keeps growing. This is the will to receive and this is time; the time axis.

Following money came a period that commenced the desire for honor and power and we see that many more people began to evolve. Those who remained in physical desires went on to desires for wealth. Those in wealth went on to honor. Following honor came a desire for knowledge, for science—especially from the middle-ages on, when this development began, from the time of the Renaissance.

In our times, it is the desire for spirituality that begins to awaken. We see now, that every time people are coming into the world a greater will to receive, a greater ego. That’s why all the teachings must be concealed so to speak, so these people won’t misuse them.

When does the will to receive spirituality appear?

After a person is completely despaired with his prior situations and reaches a state where it seems there’s nothing in this world to fulfill him. Then he asks: what is the purpose of my life? Why do I exist? What is this life for? What’s the reason for it, and for the suffering? And so on.

These questions already start to lead him to questions about the origin, 'where is my life from?' These are questions from a Higher Plane so to speak. This is the will to receive physical things, everything that happens to us here, in this world. From here on begins the spiritual will to receive. They begin to ask about something beyond this world, about the reasons that are beyond this world. They say that this is when the wisdom of Kabbalah should be revealed. Why? Because it answers those questions, and when it is revealed, it improves people; it provides support for them and corrects them.

Once a person is corrected, he is protected against his ego and he won’t harm himself. He’ll understand how reality is constructed; he’ll understand the Upper World and he’ll know the Providence and the guidance from the Upper World and how it works on him.

Only then, after the Wisdom of Kabbalah is revealed, is he permitted to open up all the other teachings and see how contrarily he did everything, because then it is certain that he will not harm himself.

This is why nowadays we are facing a very difficult period of universal crisis. In the past, every time there were crises, they’d be replaced by others. If there was an economy crisis, it was replaced by a spiritual one. If it wasn’t a spiritual crisis, then it turned into a cultural one. Not cultural, then a technology crisis. They somehow kept replacing one another, and that’s how humanity kept on evolving.

But today, we’ve reached a point, where no matter what experts you talk to— philosophers, physicists, humanists, scientists, sociologists—in the last few decades, they have all come to a halt in their development and they completely lack the ability to envision what path to follow. That is, they’re unable to see or understand or feel any ability to develop further.

You can go to the internet, use search engines, and see what’s written there; it’s common knowledge. Today, no one even talks about it anymore. The world is in a universal crisis. It has a lack of direction, complete disorientation.

Then, say the Kabbalists, and only then, must the wisdom of Kabbalah be revealed, because it provides an answer. That is, there is a need for it and the wisdom is revealed according to the need, and so today it is time for it to be revealed.

Baal HaSulam explains it differently. He says that the world is actually like one Partzuf. All the souls collectively are one Partzuf called Adam ha Rishon, one structure; Ten Sefirot altogether.

You know, our general textbook, our main textbook is called The study of the Ten Sefirot, because there’s nothing besides that. That’s the general structure of reality of the will to receive, and that’s the whole substance of reality. That will to receive is divided into three parts called: HaBaD, HaGaT, NHYM—ten Sefirot.

Baal HaSulam says that the first to be revealed are the very small Kelim de HaBaD (vessels of HaBaD). They have very small Lights of Nefesh. This is a very small, very faint Light and that’s why there are only a few wisdoms in our world. Even the wisdom of Kabbalah is being revealed in a very comfortable and an easy manner. This is Abraham’s era.

Later comes the era of Kelim de HaGaT (vessels of HaGaT), which are more coarse, more crude, representing a greater will to receive. That is why souls come into our world with ever greater desires. Souls that incarnate into this world are attracted to money, honor and power. Following that, there are greater Lights of Ruach in this world and that is the era of the Zohar, the Book of Zohar. This is Abraham and Moses. Later, there are the vessels of NHYM. That is where they are revealed with an even a greater Light, a Light called Neshama, and that is the time of the Ari.

And this is our time, with Baal HaSulam. We can see how this is happening according to the evolution of the wisdom, because this is the time for such coarse vessels to appear and be corrected. It is necessary to have greater Lights to correct them and that’s why the wisdom of Kabbalah is appearing.

What is the need for its disclosure? What does it do?

Baal HaSulam writes about that in the article, The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah. He says this, “What does The Wisdom revolve around?”

...that this wisdom is a sequence of roots, which hang down by way of cause and consequence, in fixed, determined rules, interweaving to a single, exalted goal, described as, “The revelation of His Godliness to His creatures in this world.

Back to top
Site location tree