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The Principal Kabbalah Writings

The Book of Zohar

We did not find a single book in the wisdom of truth that precedes Rashbi’s The Book of Zohar, since all the books in the wisdom prior to his are not categorized as interpretations of the wisdom. Instead, they are mere intimations, without any order of cause and consequence, as it is known to those who find knowledge, thus far understanding his words.

Baal HaSulam, “Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”


Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai’s soul was of the Surrounding-Light kind. Hence, he had the power to clothe the words and teach them in a way that even if he taught them to many, only the worthy of understanding would understand. This is why he was given ‘permission’ to write The Book of Zohar.

The permission was not ‘granted’ to write a book in this wisdom to his teachers or to the first ones who preceded them, even though they were certainly more proficient in this wisdom than he. But the reason is that they did not have the power to dress the matters as did he.

Baal HaSulam, “Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”


Rashbi and his generation, the authors of The Zohar, who were granted all 125 degrees in completeness, even though it was prior to the days of the Messiah. It was said about him and his disciples: "A sage is preferable to a prophet." Hence, we often find in The Zohar that there will be none like the generation of Rashbi until the generation of the Messiah King. This is why his composition made such a great impact in the world, since the secrets of the Torah in it occupy the level of all 125 degrees.

Hence, it is said in The Zohar that The Book of Zohar will be revealed only at the End of Days, the days of the Messiah. This is so because we have already said that if the degrees of the students are not at the full measure of the degree of the author, they will not understand his intimations, since they do not have a common attainment.

And since the degree of the authors of The Zohar is at the full level of the 125 degrees, they cannot be attained prior to the days of the Messiah. It follows that there will be no common attainment with the authors of The Zohar in the generations preceding the days of the Messiah. Hence, The Zohar could not be revealed in the generations before the generation of the Messiah.

Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

The Writings of The Ari

The Ari’s predecessors were not given permission from Above to disclose the interpretations of the wisdom, and that he was given this permission. And also, this does not distinguish any greatness or smallness at all, since it is possible that the virtue of his formers was much greater than the Ari’s, but they were not given permission for it at all. For this reason, they refrained from writing commentaries that relate to the actual wisdom, but settled for brief intimations that were not in any way linked to one another.

For this reason, since the books of the Ari appeared in the world, all who study the wisdom of Kabbalah have left their hands from all the books of the Ramak, and all the first and the great ones that preceded the Ari, as it is known among those who engage in this wisdom. They have attached their spiritual lives solely to the writings of the Ari in a way that the essential books, considered proper interpretations of this wisdom, are only The Book of Zohar, the Tikkunim and following them, the books of the Ari.

Baal HaSulam, “Disclosing a Portion, Covering Two”


Indeed, that Godly man, our Rav Isaac Luria, troubled and provided us the fullest measure. He did wondrously more than his predecessors, and if I had a tongue that praises, I would praise that day when his wisdom appeared almost as the day when the Torah was given to Israel.

There are not enough words to measure his holy work in our favor. The doors of attainment were locked and bolted, and he came and opened them for us…

You find a thirty-eight-year-old who subdued with his wisdom all his predecessors through the Genius and through all times. All the elders of the land, the gallant shepherds, friends and disciples of the Godly sage, the Ramak, stood before him as disciples before the Rav.

All the sages of the generations following them to this day, none missing, have abandoned all the books and compositions that precede him, the Kabbalah of the Ramak, the Kabbalah of The First and the Kabbalah of The Genius, blessed be the memory of them all. They have attached their spiritual life entirely and solely to his Holy Wisdom.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 8


There is nothing in my views or thoughts that is not sourced in the writings of the Ari.

Rav Raiah Kook, For the Third of Elul 1, Item 46.


The merit of one who contemplates the words of the Living God, The Book of Zohar, and all that accompany it, and the words of the wisdom of truth, is immeasurable and priceless. It is especially so with the clear writings of the Ari.

Rav Raiah Kook, “Who Love Israel in Holiness,” 232


In this last generation, whoever does not engage in The Book of Zohar, the corrections, and the writings of the Ari, which are truly a life to the soul….should know that the Torah in which he engages is superficial….and he has no life or a part in life.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Yehuda Yechiel Safrin of Komarno, The Hall of the Blessing, Parashat Ekev, 7


Baal HaSulam’s Commentary on the Writings of The Ari and The Zohar:

Know for sure that since time of the Ari to this day, there has not been anyone to understand the heart of the method of Ari. It was easier to acquire a mind twice as holy and great as the Ari's than to comprehend his method, which has been held by many, from the first one who heard and documented it, to the latest compilers, while they did not attain the matters fully, at their Highest source, and each one confused the matters and mixed them up.

And yet, by a High Will, I have been rewarded with an impregnation of the soul of The Ari, not for my own good deeds, but by a High Will. It is beyond my grasp, as well, why I have been chosen for this wonderful soul, which no man has been rewarded with since his demise until today. I can not expand on this issue, as it is not my way to speak of the wondrous.

Baal HaSulam, Letter no. 39


Since faith has generally diminished, specifically faith in the holy men, the wise men of all generations. And the books of Kabbalah and The Zohar are filled with corporeal parables. Therefore, people are afraid lest they will lose more than they will gain, since they could easily fail with materializing. And this is what prompted me to compose a sufficient interpretation to the writings of the Ari, and now to the Holy Zohar. And I have completely removed that concern, for I have evidently explained and proven the spiritual meaning of everything, that it is abstract and devoid of any corporeal image, above space and above time, as the readers will see, to allow the whole of Israel to study The Book of Zohar and be warmed by its sacred Light.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 58


We can see that all the interpretations of The Book of Zohar before ours did not clarify as much as ten percent of the difficult places in The Zohar. And in the little they did clarify, their words are almost as abstruse as the words of The Zohar itself.

But in our generation we have been rewarded with the Sulam (Ladder) commentary, which is a complete interpretation of all the words of The Zohar. Moreover, not only does it not leave an unclear matter in the whole of The Zohar without interpreting it, but the clarifications are based on a straightforward analysis, which any intermediate student can understand. And since The Zohar appeared in our generation, it is a clear proof that we are already in the days of the Messiah, at the outset of that generation upon which it was said, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”

Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”


This is what I have troubled to do in this interpretation, to explain the ten Sefirotas the Godly sage the Ari had instructed us, in their spiritualpurity, devoid of any tangible terms. Thus, any beginner may approach the wisdomwithout failing in any materialization and mistake. With the understanding ofthese ten Sefirot, one will also come to examine and know how tocomprehend the other issues in this wisdom.

Baal HaSulam, The Study of the Ten Sefirot, Part 1, “Inner Reflection”


And who better than I knows that I am not at all worthy of being even a messenger and a scribe for disclosing such secrets, and much less to thoroughly understand them. And why has the Creator done so to me? It is only because the generation is worthy of it, as it is the last generation, which stands at the threshold of complete redemption. And for this reason, it is worthy of beginning to hear the voice of Messiah’s Shofar, which is the revealing of the secrets, as has been explained.

Baal HaSulam, “Messiah’s Shofar [horn]”

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