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Michael Laitman, PhD

Chapter 3.24 – Questions & Answers

What is Kabbalah?

Q: What is Kabbalah?

A: Kabbalah is an ancient teaching that covers a number of languages and many forms of expression. There is the language of tales that the Bible uses and the language of rules that the Talmud uses. There is also the language of Kabbalah itself, which uses drawings, formulas and matrices. Kabbalah utilizes pure mathematical rules in order to express spiritual phenomena. There are many ways to depict our sensations and feelings, but the language of Kabbalah is the most accurate and scientific of all.

It is also possible to convey spiritual sensations through music. Though we do not know the music that former Kabbalists composed, we know that music and songs did exist and that Kabbalists used it to convey feelings that relate to the spiritual world. The latest Kabbalistic music, the only original music that has reached us, is that of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag and his eldest son, Rabbi Baruch Ashlag. The advantage of the music over the text is that it reaches everyone's ears, even if the listener is completely unfamiliar with regard to the language of Kabbalah. It also allows a person who does not feel the spiritual realm to feel and participate in the emotions and experiences that the Kabbalist felt while being in the spiritual world.

Q: What are the principles of the wisdom of Kabbalah?

A: The only law that exists in reality is the maximum pleasure that Creation derives from the Creator. All other laws are based on that law and are actual examples of it. Everything that happens in reality is an implementation of that law. Anything in the universe at any given moment is motivated by the power that drives mankind to reach the state of ultimate delight, the filling of the creature with the Light of the Creator.

The Creator acts like gravity: He is at the center of the universe. First, He pushes the souls to a distance of five worlds from Him: Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya, and the farthest point is called “this world”. Later, He begins to pull us toward Him.

We feel this process as compulsory, accompanied by all kinds of torments and pain. That anguish is intended to motivate us to replace our egoistic nature with an altruistic one. The Creator is altruistic by nature. Nearing or distancing from the Creator means changing our spiritual attributes to altruism or egoism respectively. The more altruistic we become, the more intensely we are drawn to Creator, and the more egoistic we are, the farther we draw from the Him.

If we strain ourselves to obtain spiritual nearness with the Creator and not wait until His pulling Force affects us painfully, we will be able to reduce our pain and feel His pulling Force as good and pleasurable. If, however, we insist on remaining corrupted and refuse to adopt the altruistic nature of the Creator, we will be pushed to it by means of financial problems, sickness and death.

The wisdom of Kabbalah allows us to realize ourselves in every way, so that we can consciously advance toward the Creator and not need the influence of His harsh compelling Force. Those who study Kabbalah increase their spiritual strength and knowledge until they are able to approach the Creator quickly and easily. By doing that, they spare themselves pain, distressful events and wars. All the negative events in our world are a consequence of that compelling power of the Creator, which pushes us toward correction.

You, the readers, are already taking part in the conduct of the Upper world by the very fact that you have begun to think, analyze, and argue, agree or disagree with what you are reading. As you awaken the point of connection with the Creator in your soul, you draw the correcting Light to our world. That process softens Providence and turns it from rougher to softer. That is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is the most practical science of all; it explains how we can all "live well."

Q: What is the mathematical structure of the wisdom of Kabbalah?

A: The mathematical structure of the wisdom of Kabbalah is very complex. It consists mostly of Gimatria, but there are tables and complex interdependencies and formulas as well. There are mathematic-type sequences in it, and there are also Hebrew letters involved. In fact, it is impossible to understand the entire system before one begins to feel emotions that relate to the situations being taught.

Kabbalah is not a theoretical study of the spiritual world, the heavens, as many like to think. It is the most practical science of all because it is taught and understood only by the influences it bears on each student. This means that one not only learns about some spiritual operations, but actually experiences them.

Only the student can know precisely what he or she is doing, and only the student can feel the consequences of any actions taken. These feelings are conveyable to others only through a unique language, but only the one who can repeat the operation can experience it. That is why the wisdom of Kabbalah is a guide to spiritual operations.

The Creator

Q: What is the difference between the perspective of the Creator and the perspective of the creature?

A: The perspective of the Creator means that the entire Creation emanates from His Thought. It is created through four phases (Behinot) of Direct Light that finally reach a state entitled “the world of Ein Sof”. Creation is already completed in the world of Ein Sof, but the creatures will be able to feel it only when they rise from below, from this world to the world of Ein Sof in their emotions. Then the creatures will also see what has always been there and can judge it from the perspective of the Creator.

Q: What is the work of God and why is it called by that name?

A: God’s work is the work that God does. If that is the case, why do we normally think that it means our work? All work from Above downward was done by the Creator. However, if we want the Creator to do the same work on the way up, we must demand this work to be done by a higher spiritual degree than our own.

All of creation begins with the Creator. There is a Superior Force that wants to create a creature that equalizes with His Completeness. If that Complete Force had created an incomplete Creation, that would mean that He is incomplete.

Thus, the purpose of the Creator is to create a creature that is as complete as He is, since He cannot create anything else. That desire is imprinted in the Light; it is entitled, “the purpose of Creation.” This purpose determines the entire evolution of Creation, from beginning to end. Everything that happens in every single step in the spiritual worlds, all the agony the creatures feel in this world, come to serve a single objective – to bring the creature to its complete, best possible state.

There is no other creature but man. We will not only read about it in books but also feel it and see it in every level of Creation, not just in our world, but in every single world. If the Creator is complete, His operations are also complete and final. However, as long as we are in our intermediary phases, when we are suffering, when there is injustice in the world, can we honestly say that He is complete?

The intermediary situations too are complete, even the ones we are in right now. Our only problem is that we cannot experience them as such. This stems from the system of the impure forces, which makes it impossible for us to feel the state we are in as perfect.

The wisdom of Kabbalah allows each person to neutralize the influence of the impure forces and, according to the degree of that neutralization, feel eternity in every situation, not just in our tiny limited world.

Q: What is the meaning of the name HaVaYaH?

A: The meaning of the name HaVaYaH is that the Creator creates and revives in the past, present and the future, meaning above time, just as we must attain the Creator in the spirit, above time.

Q: Does the Creator have a concept of “benevolence”?

A: The concept of benevolence is a little different with regards to the Creator than the concept we normally think of. That is because we regard as “good and doest good” everything that satisfies our egoistic desires. I regard as "good" anything that is good for me, and as "bad," anything that is bad for me. These are measured according to my level of development.

Q: What does Heichal HaShem (the Palace of the Lord) mean?

A: The word Heichal (Palace, Hall) consists of two words: Hey (the letter that represents the Creator), and Kol (everything). When put together, they form the word Heichal. This means that anyone who enters the King’s palace receives everything the Creator had prepared. If one attains an inner state called Heichal, one attains eternal and complete connection with the Creator. Until this state is attained, one's soul continues to experience gradual corrections of attributes.

The Creator is also called Makom (Place). A place is the distance between man and the Creator. Therefore, we must come to a state where we will be completely cleaved to the Creator, blending with Him. The border that we feel between us and the Creator is also called Makom.

When we complete our corrections and cleaves to the Creator, we enter a state called “the revival of the dead,” meaning the revival of our own attributes. The revival of the dead is also called Kima (rising), hence the word Makom, and our sensation of the Creator and the sensation of our own attributes we feel as Heichal.


Q: What is “our world”?

A: Our world is what we feel in our egoistic sensations, the corrupted ones that haven’t been corrected. We begin to feel a more external world as we progress in the correction of our egos.

Q: What is the meaning of the term “this world”?

A: The state called “this world” designates the farthest point from the Creator (in terms of properties). That is what one should feel when we begin to work on ourselves and study Kabbalah, when the Surrounding Light begins to shine on us. We awaken the illumination of that Light on ourselves during the study Kabbalah, when the Surrounding Light begins to shine on us. We awaken the illumination of that Light on ourselves during our studies, and gradually begin to feel ourselves as more and more corrupted (a process known as "the recognition of evil"). This is the consequence of the comparison that we begin to make between ourselves and the Light.

When that Light shines in full power in this world, he will feel himself completely opposite to the Creator, and then he’ll shout for help. In response, the Creator will save that person from this world and take him across the barrier to the first degree of the spiritual world.

We can see that our problem is actually to acknowledge our own egoism as bad, as our own nature. The only way to come to that is through the affect of the Light of the Torah, or the Surrounding Light that shines on us when we study Kabbalah. The Light is given the name “Surrounding” because as long as there is evil in us, it cannot enter and therefore stays around us on the outside.

Q: Why are we and our world built the way we are?

A: The Light that comes from the Creator passes through four phases, during which it increases its density, before finally creating a "vessel", or the desire to receive the Light and enjoy it.

That desire is the fifth phase. But the minute this fifth phase, meaning Malchut, begins to feel the Light inside it, it decides to try and resemble it. That is why it tries to resemble the four previous phases, which is also why the fifth phase has five inner phases. The fifth phase resembles itself to the previous four as much as it can. The parts it cannot resemble remain unchanged.

The third phase is divided to six subdivisions, which is why we count ten parts in each creature, or ten Sefirot. They are also called Shoresh, Neshama, Guf, Levush, Heichal (root, soul, body, clothing, palace–respectively). The first three unite in man’s body, while the remaining two exist separately, like clothes and the world around us. This is a result of the Second Restriction, since the remaining two (Levush, Heichal) designate the vessels of reception that were forbidden to be used after the Second Restriction.

Q: Why are there so many worlds?

A: There are many worlds because an egoistic desire is built in a gradual process of increasing remoteness from the Creator. The first world is Ein Sof. It is a desire, the root of the creature to be. The will to receive for self is created after the Second Restriction, but the desire also restricts itself from doing it. Afterwards, when the breaking of the vessels occurs, the impure desires, or "shells" appear, which already want to use the egoistic desire.

After the sin of Adam ha Rishon there are entire worlds of impure forces created. The impure system consists of the same structure, but is opposite to the system of the pure worlds. The creature is in between them to be given the conditions for free choice.

Q: What are "parallel worlds"?

A: There are no other worlds. All five worlds – Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira and Assiya–are parallel. Try and imagine five rings with a joint center. Imagine the same picture in parallel, one under the other, five times. What we get is five parallel areas, each consisting of five inner circles. All the areas are worlds entitled, Adam Kadmon, Atzilut, Beria,Yetzira and Assiya.

Now, imagine taking these areas and putting next to them another area with five circles. That new area will be called Ein Sof. There are five worlds between us and the world of Ein Sof, and we cannot gradually connect with these worlds and attain equivalence of form (properties) with the world of Ein Sof. We feel the transitions from world to world according to the changes in our inner properties (inner feelings). We begins with feeling ourselves in this world, and gradually comes to feel ourselves as completely identical to the world of Ein Sof, to the Creator.

Q: Do we feel our souls rather than our physical bodies?

A: The physical body is an illusion. We must obtain a state where we will feel our souls. That is what Kabbalah initiates–the sensation of our own souls. Afterwards, we can continue developing it to become an immense vessel that the Creator can fill.

Q: How can a spiritual object divide into ten Sefirot indefinitely?

A: Each part in the spiritual world, even the smallest particle, can be isolated and divided once more to ten inner parts. It is an indefinite process. The desire that the Creator created does not change. What does change is the measurement of its use with the aim to give to the Creator. It depends on the screen. A spiritual object is a part of the uniform and unique desire that the Creator created and that must be given a screen.

Lights & Vessels

Q: What is the Upper Force?

A: It is the Absolute Good, the Benevolent Force that leads us. However, because we are not corrected, we feel this power as bad and harmful.

Q: Does the wisdom of Kabbalah teach sorcery? Is it permitted and if so, how do we practice "practical Kabbalah"?

A: The wisdom of Kabbalah strictly prohibits any of this kind of activity. The purpose of the study of Kabbalah is to give one a desire and spiritual power, to be able to evolve to the spiritual degree of the Creator.

Q: What is a vessel?

A: A vessel is a desire that has been corrected by the screen. Using the screen (aim), the vessel is able to receive in order to benefit the Creator, and thus fulfill for pleasure. A desire without a screen is still not considered a vessel, but is called a Reshimo or a shell.

Male & Female

Q: Why is the Light of Wisdom assigned a male gender and the Light of Mercy a female, motherly gender?

A: The Light of Wisdom is the root of the male properties and the Light of Bina is the root of the female properties. Men and women differ in properties, skin texture, physiology etc. You can even see the differences in their handwriting. What separates the two genders are the (Hebrew) letters Yod (י) for male and Hey (ה) for female. The letter Yod represents the Sefira of Hochma, while the letter Hey designates the Sefira of Bina, in Malchut.

Since all parts of reality are interconnected and complement one another and each part contains something of the other, we can always explain each part or property that we examine in different ways, though it will always be about the Four Phases of Direct Light.

Q: Why is the Light of Wisdom the principal Light, and not the Light of Mercy?

A: The Light that extends from the Creator is called "the Light of Wisdom." It has been written about it: “Form the Light, and create darkness,” referring to the lack of the Light of Wisdom. That is why the eyes are the highest vessels of the Partzuf. It is also why it is said that a "bride who eyes are beautiful needs no further examination,” because the eyes are the highest degree of the Guf (body) of the Partzuf.

The lowest and darkest part is Malchut. It transfers Light from itself to the eyes of the lower Partzuf, which demonstrates the difference between the Partzufim.

Q: Why are we born as a man or a woman?

A: These questions relate to the mechanism of the superior providence, called ZON of the world of Atzilut. That system consists of two parts: Zeir Anpin and Nukva, meaning males and females that have their own relationship. That relationship creates "time" (days, weeks, months and years) and their mating creates the souls. The properties of the souls define the characteristics of the physical body that the soul clothes. The soul is created and descends to this world even before a child is born into it.

I am using earthly terms of time, space and motion, although they do not exist in the spiritual world. We must understand that the relationship between the male and female parts of ZON of the world of Atzilut determines everything that happens in our world. There is no other way to easily explain the variety of possibilities for the relationship between these two parts, how they connect and how they clothe one another, how they mate and how they create new souls. It is a very complex system. Nearly 1600 of the 2000 pages of The Study of the Ten Sefirot are dedicated to the description of ZON of the world of Atzilut.

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