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Michael Laitman, PhD

Everyday Is an Open-House Day

From the early Kabbalists, Adam and Abraham, through the writing of The Zohar and up to the Middle Ages, Kabbalah was primarily passed through word of mouth. Kabbalists primarily shared their spiritual experiences with each other as they discovered the Upper Worlds.

At the same time, Kabbalists prohibited the study of Kabbalah from people who had not been prepared for it. They treated their students cautiously, to ensure that they studied in the proper manner, and they intentionally limited the number of students.

Although we have made the point that Kabbalah study is open to all, we have not related how important the study of Kabbalah is today. To Kabbalists, in fact, wide dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah is a must. That, as much as anything else, accounts for the tremendous interest in Kabbalah today.

The reason why dissemination is a must is that Kabbalah is based on the need for all souls to correct, and places great importance on the collective. The greater the number of people studying Kabbalah, the greater the overall effect. When masses of people study, the quantity itself improves the quality of the study. Studying in the evening for half an hour or an hour is enough because millions, if not billions, of other people are doing the same. All of these people become spiritually connected, even if they don’t feel it, and the mass has its effect on the entire world. Even tiny changes in millions of people produce great changes for the better in society as a whole (more on that in Part 3).

As a result, today’s method of Kabbalah study appeals to a mass audience, not just to a few ultra-dedicated students studying in the wee hours of the morning.


Spiritual Sparks

One learns in the place one’s heart wishes.

—Ancient Kabbalists’ maxim


Studying with the Right Intention

Only two things are necessary to study Kabbalah correctly: a desire to improve your life and to find its meaning, and the right instruction. The right instruction is achieved by three means:

A person who studies Kabbalah the right way, progresses without forcing him or herself. There can be no coercion in spirituality.

The aim of the study is to discover the connection between that student and what is written in the books. This is why Kabbalists wrote what they experienced and achieved. It is not to impart knowledge of how reality is built and functions, as in science. The purpose of Kabbalah texts is to create an understanding, assimilation, and sensation of the spiritual truth.

If a person approaches the texts in order to gain spirituality, the text becomes a source of Light, a correcting force. But if he or she approaches the texts in order to gain knowledge, the text will provide information, but nothing more. The measure of inner demand determines the measure of strength one gleans and the pace of one’s correction.

If a person studies in the right manner, he or she crosses the barrier between this world and the spiritual world, entering a place of inner revelation. If the student does not achieve this, it is a sign of insufficient effort in either quality or quantity. It is not a question of the amount of study, but of the focus of the student’s intentions. Of course, crossing the barrier doesn’t happen overnight, but it should be the end result of the study.

Advancement in Kabbalah does not mean avoiding pleasures so that one’s desire will not be kindled. Also, it is a mistake to believe that by being courteous and well-mannered you will achieve spirituality. Correction does not come from false pretence of correction.

No Coercion in Spirituality

The Kabbalah way absolutely rejects any form of coercion. If you experience any external pressure from others or any obligatory rules or regulations, it is a sign that the action is intended not by the Upper Worlds, but by someone’s ego.

The study of Kabbalah enhances our desire for spirituality, bringing us to prefer it to materialism. Then, in relation to our spirituality, we clarify our desires. As a result, we either retreat from material things or not, depending on our attraction to or necessity for them.


On Course

Material desires appear successively, not all at once. If you felt a desire for money, it doesn’t mean you won’t feel it again tomorrow. You probably will, and even stronger. But the fact that desire for money appeared, disappeared, and reappeared is a sign you are working correctly, that the reappearance is a surfacing of a new Reshimo, from a new degree. It’s a sign you completed your work on the previous degree and thus cleared the way for a new degree of desire to appear.


No Hermits

Kabbalah has changed not only in who can or cannot study, but also in its practices. As you’ll recall from Chapter 5, some of the original Kabbalists, such as Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, were essentially hermits. But even that was not because they chose that lifestyle; they were persecuted or forbidden to engage in Kabbalah. The Ari, for instance, was a rich merchant when he arrived as a Kabbalist in Safed. Kings David and Solomon also were neither poor nor hermits, as we all know, but they were great Kabbalists.

Rav Ashlag, for instance, believed in manual labor. When he came to Israel from Poland, he brought with him machines for processing leather. He wanted to start a leather factory, work during the day, and study at night. He also brought up his children in this manner. When his eldest son, Baruch Ashlag—who succeeded him—turned 18, Rav Ashlag sent him to work as a construction worker. He, too, would work during the day and study at night.

Yet there is a contradiction that anyone who follows Kabbalah faces. On one hand, earthly life is meaningless, and a serious Kabbalist ascribes no importance to it. On the other hand, it is a Kabbalah imperative to live within the flesh and feel it.

Many teachings and religions in the world talk about abstinence. The more one diminishes one’s corporal pleasures and the more one secludes oneself, the better it is for one’s spiritual ascent. Kabbalah suggests the opposite: leave mundane and earthly things as they are, stop messing with your body and its habits, and deal only with the point in the heart. Rather than working to diminish your desires, Kabbalah suggests that you leave them alone, because restraining physical desires will not correct your soul.



Why is Kabbalah traditionally studied before dawn, in the wee hours? When people sleep, the local “thought-field” is quieter, and there are fewer disturbances resulting from people’s thoughts. Kabbalists also study in these hours because they have to work in the morning, just like everybody else. A true Kabbalist is forbidden to retire from worldly life.


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