You are here: Kabbalah Library Home / Michael Laitman / Books / A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah / I. Kabbalah Facts and Fallacies. 6. Baal HaSulam / The Goal of Kabbalah
Michael Laitman, PhD

The Goal of Kabbalah

The goal of Kabbalah is to create a method for individuals to become spiritually fulfilled. As you know by now, Kabbalah means “reception.” The purpose of life in this world is for a person to achieve the highest level of spirituality.

According to Kabbalah, souls repeatedly come back to this world in people until their goal is reached. The spiritual goal is different from creative and intellectual aspirations. As described in Chapter 4, the quest for spirituality is the final stage of human development. Kabbalah guides and offers a path to spiritual fulfillment.

What Kabbalah Books Do for You, and What They Don’t

Kabbalist writers describe their experiences and offer recommendations so others can follow in their path. Kabbalah books are accounts of their journeys into the Upper World.

Kabbalah books are also filled with drawings that illustrate spiritual concepts and events. It is important to remember that the shapes in the drawings are not real objects, but images used to explain spiritual states concerning your relationship with the Creator.


Off Course

The use of mundane words in Kabbalah, like drinking, sitting, mating, and animal names, leads to false conceptions and erroneous conclusions because it makes us think of physical objects as having any spiritual merit. And they don’t. They only symbolize spiritual states. Hence, Kabbalah forbids imagining a connection between the names used in our world and their spiritual roots. This is considered the grossest error in Kabbalah.


But Kabbalah books don’t show you the whole picture. To really know what the spiritual worlds look and feel like, you have to experience them for yourself. Kabbalists think of themselves as tour guides whose job is to get you to a place and let you admire it for yourself. This is why, in texts that were written to teach, the descriptions you’ll find are partial, displaying only what you need to know to get to spirituality yourself. Such “didactic” texts are Rashbi’s The Book of Zohar, the Ari’s The Tree of Life, and Yehuda Ashlag’s The Study of the Ten Sefirot.

Roots—from Top to Bottom

Kabbalah explains that the roots of our world are spiritual roots, coming down from Above, not from below. Roots come from the source, which is Above this world. Picture roots growing in from the outside of a bubble. Because you are in the bubble, the area of creation, the roots come down to you. They can be thought of as colorful party streamers hanging from above.

The main goal of this wisdom is for the Creator to reveal his Godliness to his creatures (that’s us). Each root has its own branch in this world, and everything in this world is a branch of some root in spirituality. In this way, Kabbalists “use” this world to communicate with the Creator and to learn His ways, so that they can become like Him.

To avoid “miscommunication” with the Creator, you need to know which branch relates to which root. The arrival of the Ari and, to a greater extent, that of Rav Ashlag, marked a shift toward a new and clearer terminology in Kabbalah. Kabbalists describe their internal experiences and understandings using metaphors and a language suitable for the souls of their time. Over time, their texts become unclear because people’s souls develop and require new explanations. This requires of succeeding Kabbalists to write interpretations to make the spiritual journey clearer and more accessible for us. This is why Rav Ashlag wrote a commentary on The Tree of Life, published in his major work The Study of the Ten Sefirot.

Rav Ashlag’s commentary on The Tree of Life details the stages, events, and forms of life’s creation, originally described by the Ari. Ashlag did a similar thing with Rashbi’s The Book of Zohar: he took Rashbi’s text and clarified it in a commentary he called HaSulam (The Ladder). This is why Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag is also known as Baal HaSulam (Owner of the Ladder).

Back to top
Site location tree