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Michael Laitman, PhD

Not by Words Alone

Starting to perceive the Upper World, a Kabbalist enters a different dimension. An entire world is revealed before you in its full grandeur and wealth. It is something that does not exist in this world.

The Kabbalist perceives an entirely different picture: forces that bring our world into action and souls that are not attached to bodies. Past, present, and future stand before the Kabbalist in the present. The Kabbalist experiences all of this and lives fulfilled with the eternal, perfect sensation, a feeling that encompasses the whole universe.

Words are not enough to express this deep emotional experience. How do you describe something that can’t be seen or touched? The worlds of Kabbalah have to be “felt” by the Kabbalist.


Spiritual Sparks

When the lower ones begin their lives by song… the Upper Ones grant them more power so the lower ones will attain the Upper Light of Wisdom that has become revealed in ZON of the World of Atzilut and in the angels preceding it. This way, the lower ones increase the powers and luminescence of the wisdom in the Upper Realms.

—Rav Yehuda Ashlag, The Sulam Commentary on The Zohar


When words fail, music can provide insights beyond our common understanding. Music has the power to “move” us and to make us sense things that are beyond words.

Music—Touches where Texts Can Not

Kabbalists use texts to explain to others the levels of spirituality they have reached. In their writings, however, Kabbalists only advise us on how to attain an impression, sensation, and discovery of this reality. They write about the kind of actions that you must perform within, with your desires, screens, and Reshimot—with everything inside your soul.

The books say, in effect, “Perform certain actions and you will discover certain things.” They do not, however, describe whatwe will feel because it is impossible to convey the feeling in words.

It is similar to offering a new food to someone and saying, “Try it, and you’ll see what it’s like!” Whether it is bitter or sweet, you only hint at what the person is going to sense or how he will experience the sensation. Yet the sensation itself is experienced only by the person receiving the offer, not by anyone else.

This is why it is difficult for Kabbalists to convey what they feel, what they face, what is revealed before them: what the concealed world is like. Only one medium somehow expresses the impressions and delight of a person before whom the Upper World has revealed itself, and that is music. This is why, in addition to writing articles and very deep, intricate material, Kabbalists also write melodies and songs. It is one more way to express the sensations of a Kabbalist in a more concise manner, from heart to heart, through melodies, without words, so that these melodies would permeate our hearts and change us in some way, somehow tuning us into perceiving the Upper World.


Off Course

Even music cannot convey impressions of the Upper World precisely, for we do not have the same Kelim (vessels), the same sensory organs, or the same inner attributes as Kabbalists who attain and sense the Upper Worlds. Music gives us an impression of the Upper Worlds, a similar sensation yet a weak duplicate.


Bathing in Light

Kabbalah music expresses the spiritual states of the Kabbalist. The melodies are composed to describe the experience of two opposing stages in spirituality. The first is agony, a result of drifting away from the Creator. The feeling of drifting away from the Creator produces sad music, expressed by a prayer appealing for closeness. The second emotion is delight, felt as a result of getting closer to the Creator. This feeling of closeness to the Creator produces joyous music, expressed by a thanksgiving prayer. If you listen to Kabbalah music, you hear and feel the two distinct moods in the music.

The two moods together express the Kabbalist’s relationship to and unification with the Creator. Even though the melody may bring one to tears, one loves to hear it because the melody expresses distress that has been dealt with and has been resolved in a good way. In Kabbalah, it is called “sweetening of judgments.”

The music bathes the listener in a wondrous Light. We do not need to know anything about it before listening to it because it is wordless, yet its effect on our hearts is direct and swift. Hearing it over and over again is a special experience.

If you feel the music, you won’t need to imagine the shapes in spiritual worlds, described in books. These shapes exist nowhere but within you and, therefore, mislead you. What is so special about the music is that everyone can understand it, even if we have not reached the composer’s spiritual level. Listening to music composed by Kabbalists gives us all the opportunity to experience their spiritual sentiments.

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