Prior to experiencing the spiritual worlds for ourselves, everything we know about them comes to us from the writings of people who accomplished this same task before us. In those writings, they tell us about the entire structure of the spiritual worlds in great detail. These wonderful people that provide us with such a magnificent gift are called Kabbalists. Luckily, their writings also include how we can establish that same kind of contact, enter places that we currently do not perceive, and then experience the exact same things they did.
It turns out that these writings can be looked at in two ways: first, as a blueprint of what is in the spiritual and second, as an instruction manual that allows us to personally confirm everything they tell us. The end result of this wonderful legacy Kabbalists have so generously provided is that we are able to gain the exact same knowledge and actually perceive the exact same perfection they did. By following this “spiritual highway” they have provided us, we can gain a complete understanding of the goal of creation and are able to grasp its purpose, all while living in this world.
The following eight lessons are based upon a course given by Dr. Michael Laitman, my teacher and a Kabbalist. He designed his course based designed based upon three sources: Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai’s Zohar written in the 2nd century CE; the works of the Ari, Rav Y. Luria, and a Kabbalist who lived in Safed in the 16th century; and finally, the works of Rav Yehuda Ashlag, known as Baal HaSulam, and lived in the middle of the 20th century.
Actually, these three sources wrote about exactly the same thing, but in totally different eras, and using language that fit the students of their respective era. For more information on these sources, flip back to Chapter 5, Research Materials of Kabbalah.
Most of the material studied in Kabbalah is written in Hebrew, a language Abraham developed for the sole purpose of describing the spiritual. Although much of the following information in the lessons is put in a format that requires no true understanding of Hebrew, some of the more important Hebrew terms have been retained as they are and you are provided with an accurate definition for each term. You will notice that they are all italicized and the first letter is always Capitalized. Original diagrams with English labels have also been inserted to help you grasp the original diagrams with English labels to help you grasp the concepts with clarity and in a more simplified manner than would be required if only the Hebrew terms were given. Some of the diagrams might seem backwards to readers of English because Hebrew is read right-to-left.
These lessons are an explanation of one single thing, the process of creation. This is exactly what Kabbalah describes, and nothing else. The reason is simple. If we know where we came from, if we have a blueprint to use, we can follow this same blueprint right back up, step by step, to a total and complete revelation of the Creator.
The name given to Yehuda Ashlag, Baal HaSulam, means “Owner of the Ladder,” because of the Sulam (Ladder) commentary on The Zohar. In other words, the texts we study certainly provide anyone who is only seeking knowledge with the information needed to answer questions about where we come from. But this is not their purpose. The great works we study are not for knowledge, but rather to provide us with the experience of these worlds for ourselves.
You will also notice that the word “phase” is used. You should think of it as a different part of the process, just as we go through different phases of development in our growth from childhood to adulthood. There are many phases in that process, and we most certainly change, but we remain “us”.
It is very important to realize that this material is simply an overview. It is not a full, complete, and detailed explanation of Creation. In fact, it is not even a preface for that incredible process, but more of a preface to the preface. The true study of Kabbalah goes into incredible detail of the process of creation, providing the minutest of details.
For those of you who studied science in college, you can compare this chapter to eight quick lessons on Physics or Chemistry. While those eight lessons may provide you with an idea of the subject, there is no way one can explain such a vast subject as Creation in such few short pages.
Finally, this material should not be read quickly or scanned. Take your time. Allow yourself the luxury of absorbing what is written for more than simple knowledge. You may even want to go back and read these lessons multiple times in order go grasp what you may have missed. With that in mind, let’s get started.