You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Books / The Science of Kabbalah (Pticha) / The Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah / Foreword


The article “The Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah” was written by the Baal HaSulam as one of the forewords to "The Book of Zohar". Overall, the Baal HaSulam wrote three forewords to the book of Zohar: “The Foreword to the Book of Zohar”, “Preface to the book of Zohar” and “The Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”.

For an understanding of "The Book of Zohar", we should know the entire structure of creation; how all the worlds are built, the laws of their functioning, how they influence the souls, and vice versa, how the souls affect the worlds, how the Creator governs the entire Universe, and how created beings influence His Providence.

The purpose of studying Kabbalah is to feel the spiritual worlds and the scope of the Universe in their full measure; to experience sensations beyond the power of birth and death; to transcend time; to reach in one of the incarnations a state such that man can live in all the worlds at the same time, completely merged with the Supreme force; to fully comprehend the Creator, - i.e., to attain the purpose of man’s existence in this world; and all while still living in this world.

Kabbalah studies provide man with the answers to all of his questions. He studies all cause-and-effect connections in this world; he studies the Upper world from which everything descends to ours. The revelation of the Upper worlds happens constantly, gradually, and inside of man. Man creates within himself additional senses, more sensitive than his regular ones, which allow him to feel the additional forces of the Universe, the part of it that is concealed from the common person.

Kabbalah is called a secret wisdom, because only he who comprehends, who feels the real picture of the Universe, it is only for him that this science becomes obvious. Because it educates man quite differently, Kabbalah has always been distinguished from common religion It develops in him a sense of criticism, analysis, clear intuitive and conscious research of himself and of his surroundings. Without these qualities, man can research neither this world, nor the Upper one.

One can see how far apart Kabbalah stands from common religion by the fact that the greatest experts on religious laws and commandments in our world – many Rabbis and leaders of the religious masses, neither study nor know about Kabbalah. This ignorance in no way prevents them from physically observing the commandments or leading a religious life. It relates to the fact that Kabbalah speaks not about performing something in action, but about the way to create the right intention “for sake of the Creator”, which has nothing to do with common religion.

Kabbalistic education is entirely individual and completely contradicts the education of the masses. A Kabbalist must be given the freedom of self-knowledge, the tools, the means with the help of which he can constantly develop. In no way should his inner development be limited. If man is given all kinds of instructions, he ceases to be free, for someone else’s model is imposed on his “self”. The Torah says “The knowledge (opinion) of the Torah is contrary to the knowledge (opinion) of the egoistic masses”. Hence, Kabbalists represent an entirely separate and autonomous group, though they were formally associated with the religious community.

During recent years, the general attitude toward Kabbalists has drastically changed. If during the previous centuries their books were burned and they were persecuted by the religious masses, today the situation is different, and the religious world treats genuine Kabbalists with much more tolerance. There are spiritual reasons for that, since all that happens in our world is a consequence of the spiritual phenomena in the Upper worlds.

We are at the end of the period of human development, on the eve of the whole of humanity's entering the spiritual world. There have never been so great a number of people taking an interest in Kabbalah. Today, Kabbalah studies are considered honorable and prestigious. All this shows that great changes have been sent from above.

Just 200 years ago, during the period of the so-called Enlightenment (Haskala), there was a retreat from traditional religion. It was sent from above so that the same souls might later return to the Torah by themselves,; not only to its general open part, but also to Kabbalah.

Each generation consists of souls from previous generations dressed in new bodies. These souls descend into our world, accumulating experience with each reincarnation. In addition, with time external spiritual conditions also change.

400 years ago, a great Kabbalist known as the Ari founded the modern Kabbalah. His writings are destined for the souls that began to descend to this world from his time onward. Since that period, a qualitative change in the souls descending to our world began. There appears a obvious striving for spirituality among them. Hence, the ban on Kabbalah studies was rescinded. In the Ari’s book “The Foreword to “The Gates of the Ascent”, he says that, from his time on, Kabbalah may be studied by anyone who has that desire.

Today, a mass dissemination of Kabbalah should begin all over the world. The world has come to the moment when all spiritual roots have already descended from above; everything described in the Torah has already happened in our world. There have already been exiles, destructions. The only thing that has not yet happened is the attainment of spirituality by the souls, the elevation of this world to the level of the spiritual one and merging of these two worlds. This process began in the twenties of the 20th century, and now it is gathering momentum like a snow-ball.

By using the internet (, we can see how the interest in Kabbalah is rapidly growing among those who until recently had nothing to do with it. People already understand that Kabbalah is not a teaching about some astrological-spiritual force. They begin clearly to realize that Kabbalah provides an understanding of the entire Universe. What are the forces governing the world? They realize that only this knowledge will save humankind from imminent disaster.

People who cannot find satisfaction on this world's level come to Kabbalah, hoping to receive answers to their most vital questions. In the future, millions of people will study Kabbalah. Those who are studying today will teach it to the succeeding generations.

In the process of man’s life, his intentions go through constant changes. They move from the animal-like desires to settle comfortably in this world, to benefit from everything, to the aspiration for knowledge, and then to spiritual elevation.

We are built that way. Gradually, by studying Kabbalah, man changes his desires of this world to the higher, spiritual ones, to discover the spiritual world and enter it.

Subsequently, man’s properties become altruistic. An egoistic vessel is very small and cannot include every pleasure prepared for us by the Creator. Therefore, by changing egoistic properties into altruistic ones, we infinitely expand the capacity of our vessel to receive all the spiritual information into it, to achieve a state of eternity and perfection.

There is an mistaken opinion that the person who has comprehended the spiritual, especially who has already reached a certain spiritual level, should appear as if he soars in the sky, and is “not of this world”, as if there are no negative qualities in him.

Man ascends to the spiritual world internally to the extent of his “descent”, to the degree that he senses and understands his own egoism. Man ascends as his natural egoism is progressively revealed to him. By correcting it to a certain extent, man rises to a higher spiritual level, which corresponds to the measure of his correction.

The higher a person becomes, he will possess increasingly greater egoistic properties. However, they receive correction. My Rabbi was a great Kabbalist. At the same time, he was able to be irritated or feel joy much more than any common human being.

Egoism is the stuff we are made of. It was the only thing created by the Creator, and the entire Universe is made only of this egoistic material. We cannot correct egoism itself; we can only modify the way we use it. By being corrected, man does not cut off his egoistic Kli from himself. He changes the intention for which he applies it.

A Kli with an altruistic intention is called spiritual. This Kli is a vessel of receiving pleasure and knowledge that changes, undergoes correction, and grows in size during the process of spiritual development.

A Kabbalist will not be recognized by his external appearances. All of them are energetic, purposeful people who neither give up this world, nor hide (except for special cases, when it is the Creator’s direct command). Many temptations lie in wait for a Kabbalist as he advances spiritually; many unforeseen troubles suddenly come his way. It is only upon reaching a higher level that he sees why he had been given all of his hardships. Nothing is done in vain; everything is given only for further spiritual advancement; whatever is sent to man on a certain level must be accept by faith above reason. Note this well.

A person who is ready to give up everything, who needs nothing, cannot move forward. While studying Kabbalah, man becomes more egoistic; all of his negative qualities become exposed. He seems rotten in his own eyes. This continues until he cannot bear his own properties anymore. Next, he is finally forced to cry out to the Creator for help. At this moment, he begs the Creator to rid him of his egoism and to replace it with altruism, for he clearly sees how much he loses because of his egoistic qualities.

On the other hand, the one who does not feel it cannot see these negative qualities in himself. He cannot even believe that man is even able to come to making such requests. Hence, there is no urging or coercion in Kabbalah, only the method leading a disciple to the realization of his negative egoistic qualities by way of feeling how contrary he is to eternity and perfection.

Only Kabbalah can lead man to transform his properties that they may come into agreement with the higher spiritual ones. There are two parts to the Torah: the obvious, open part and the secret concealed one. The open part speaks about mechanically observing the commandments. It is called open because it is quite obvious how man fulfils it. This part of the Torah is studied and carried out by the masses.

Therefore, a restriction is imposed on this part, “nothing to add and nothing to reduce”.

For example, one must not add on more Tzitzit (frills on a ritual prayer shawl) to one’s clothes, or put one more Mezuzah (a box containing an excerpt from the Holy Scriptures secured on the door-post of a Jewish home), or check the fitness of food with microscope, where one is instructed to check it with his naked eye and so on. Quite often, those who do not understand the essence of the Torah and its purpose in this world, concentrate more on mechanical performance.

The second part of the Torah, the secret one, speaks about man’s intention (Kavana) in all his actions. Only this focused intention can change man’s action into its opposite, without suppression, by using his natural egoism. Since man’s intention is concealed from those around him, the part of the Torah that teaches the right intention is called the secret part, or Kabbalah. It instructs one how to receive everything prepared for him by the Creator.

This part of the Torah encourages a constant increase of intention, so that the bigger it is, the more man attains the spiritual world.

He feels the spiritual world to the extent of his intention, starting from the lowest level of the universe up to the complete intention on his entire true egoism – the highest level of the universe, a complete merging with the Creator.

During the past 6000 years, various types of souls have descended to our world, from the purest in the first generations of the world, to the most corrupt ones of our time. For the correction of the first souls, even the Torah was not necessary. The very fact of their existence, their animal suffering already meant their correction. The process of accumulating suffering during the soul’s existence in a body of our world leads to the spiritual need (concealed from the soul) to enter the Upper world while still living in this one.

However, the first souls did not accumulate enough sufferings to feel the necessity to give up their own egoism. Their primitive, animal way of thinking (insufficient Aviut) could not generate in them the necessity of the spiritual elevation, did not push them towards the Creator.

All the private emotional experiences, sufferings and knowledge of the descending souls are accumulated in a common spiritual vessel, a general soul called "Adam". After two thousand years of accumulating this common experience, humankind felt the necessity for a mechanical, unconscious fulfillment of the commandments, while the rules of the spiritual world, which have no bearing on our word, are in no any way related to it.

Consequently, to those who do not know their true spiritual origin, they seem so odd. At this period, the Torah was given to humankind, although only to a small group of people. In the next and the last two thousand-year period, a conscious desire for the spiritual and the necessity for self-correction begins to manifest. It becomes especially strong at the time of the great Kabbalist Ari and continues right up to our generation.

The ultimate state of the entire universe is the Final Correction (Gmar Tikkun), where the lowest point of creation achieves the same state as the highest. The Creator at one stroke created this state. We are all in it already. Then why are we given the instruction for its attainment? It concerns the fact that we cannot feel our true state with our present egoistic desires.

According to Kabbalah, if we do not evolve or correct our senses according to the instruction (“the Torah” derives from the word Ohra’a, instruction), we will be urged, compelled by force and suffering. The instruction is given for shortening the suffering period by increasing the speed of this rite of passage, making suffering different in character and substituting suffering of hatred for suffering of love.

Why does the Creator need our suffering? He could have made the process of our spiritual growth painless. Of course, He could have. However, He wanted us to bear some kind of grievance against Him so that we might turn to Him for help, come into contact with Him, feel the necessity for Him. This connection with Him is the true purpose of the creation, while the correction is only a means to this end.

The arising of the need for the Creator’s help, with regard to connection with Him, is possible only when we feel a real hunger for spiritual delight. The sensation of the lack of perfection must precede the feeling of perfection. Everything in the creation is comprehended only from its opposite state. First, a desire is created; only then can one sense pleasure from its fulfillment by the thing desired. We cannot feel our final, perfect condition at this time without preceding sufferings from the absence of this perfection.

We all feel our present condition as imperfect due to the absence of corresponding corrected Kelim (desires). If we begin to correct them, then by each corrected Kli we will begin feeling part of a true perfect state. Moreover, once we correct all of our Kelim, we will feel complete perfection. In order to complete our correction, we must create in ourselves the possibility of feeling every nuance of perfection.

This comprehensive process takes 6000 years, i.e., 6000 levels of correction which are called the period of the existence of this world, in other words, the period of feeling our imperfection. We all exist in biological bodies in which “a biological computer is installed. Ours is more sophisticated than that of animal organisms because ours serves a larger egoism. This computer is our mind. It is no more than a mechanical calculator that allows us to choose the best, most comfortable state for any given moment.

This has nothing to do with spirituality. Spirituality begins when a “black point in the heart”, which is planted into man from above, begins striving after the upper world. It should be developed to the state of a full spiritual desire - “the Partzuf”, in which later one receives spiritual information, spiritual sensations.

If there is no such point in a person, he may be a genius, but according to the spiritual criteria, he remains no more than a highly developed animal on the levels of the spiritual world.

We stated that Kabbalah deals with the most important question in man’s life. We exist in an absolutely incomprehensible world, which we investigate with the help of our five senses. Whatever penetrates us from outside through these senses is processed in our mind, which synthesizes and presents us this information as a picture of the world. Therefore, what seems to us to be the surrounding reality is no more than our unimproved senses' interpretation of the outer light.

In fact, this is only a fragment of the universe. It means that what we perceive is a tiny part of what surrounds us. If we had different senses, we would perceive another fragment, i.e., we would sense this world differently. It would seem to us that the world around us has changed, while in fact all changes occur in us, in our perceptions, while the world would remain the same. This is because, outside of us, only the Creator’s simple, Upper Light exists.

We sense how our organism reacts to outside influences. Everything depends on the sensitivity of our organs. If they were more sensitive, we would feel how atoms strike our bodies. We would comprehend, feel, perceive not the objects themselves, but their interaction; not their essence, but their outer form and material. Similarly, no device invented by us can register an action in itself; only the reaction to it.

Anything we might like to know about our world, in order to understand the meaning of our existence in it, depends on the framework of our comprehension, on the kind of questions we ask. Our nature, our innate qualities, dictates to us the level of our intellectual curiosity. The Creator, having programmed our properties, somehow dictates to us from inside what to take interest in, what to research, what to comprehend, what to discover. Ultimately though, the Creator leads us to revealing Himself.

The various sciences that deal with humans reveal only matters about man himself. All that is outside of man remains inaccessible. Therefore, the question about the meaning of our life cannot be solved with the help of science because the sciences do not discover anything outside of us, only what is in connection with us, with our senses, with our devices, with our reactions and those of our devices that communicate with the outer world.

The most global human questions, birth, the meaning of life and death, can be solved only by comprehending what is outside of us; not by discovering and researching our reactions to the outer world, but by objective knowledge concerning the outer world. This is exactly what is inaccessible to scientific research. Only when man enters the spiritual world, does he receive the gift of comprehending objective reality; how and what truly exists outside of him.

There is a method with whose help one can receive complete information about the entire universe; i.e., what exists beyond the bounds of human sensations and feelings, what is happening outside of oneself. This method is called Kabbalah. The one who masters it is called a Kabbalist.

This is a very special, ancient method. It was created by people who, while living in our world, managed to sense the spiritual worlds and pass their sensations on to us. The Kabbalistic method that they used throughout the centuries was described with more and more meticulousness, taking into consideration the properties of the generation for which it was meant. It went this way until its arrival in the form we are able to study today. This is the result of five thousand years of spiritual development.

Each succeeding generation of Kabbalists, guided by previous experience, worked on developing a method of mastering the spiritual, outer world, suitable for their generation. The textbooks they used for studying Kabbalah 2-3 thousand years ago, or even 400-500 years ago, are of no good use to us. We can use them only in a very limited capacity. The last great Kabbalist who adapted Kabbalah for the use of our generation was Rabbi Yehuda Leib Alevi Ashlag (1885-1955). He wrote the commentary to The Book of the Zohar and to the books of the Ari. His 6-volume textbook, “The Study of the Ten Sefirot”, is the principal work on Kabbalah and is the only practical instruction for us to master spirituality.

To help the beginners studying this fundamental work, Rabbi Y. Ashlag wrote “The Preamble to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”, which is a concise summary of what is written in “The Study of the Ten Sefirot”. It provides an understanding of the structure of the universe, slightly lifting the veil for the attainment of this goal and explains the role of our world in grasping the entire universe.

Back to top
Site location tree