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The Opposition to the Study of the Wisdom of Kabbalah

Now you can understand the aridity and the darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen before. It is because even the worshipers of the Creator have abandoned the engagement in the secrets of the Torah.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 57


All the great Kabbalists unanimously cry out like cranes that as long as we deny the Torah of its secrets and do not engage in its secrets, we are destroying the world.

The Rav Raiah Kook, Igrot (Letters), Vol. 2, p 231


I see that the primary reason for the lack of success in everything being done to strengthen Judaism and Israel’s status everywhere, is that the Divine Light has been neglected, completely abandoned by heart and mind. Everyone is now turning to correct simple ultra-orthodoxy alone, as if the world could be revived in a body with no soul.

Rav Raiah Kook, Letters 1, 160-161


Many fools escape from studying the secrets of the Ari and The Book of Zohar, which are our lives. If my people heeded me in the time of the Messiah, when evil and heresy increase, they would delve in the study of The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim [corrections] and the writings of the Ari, and they would revoke all the harsh sentences and would extend abundance and Light.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel of Komarno,

Notzer Hesed (Keeping Mercy), Chapter 4, Teaching 20


Woe unto them that make the spirit of Messiah leave and depart from the world, and cannot return to the world. They are the ones that make the Torah dry, without any moisture of comprehension and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 70


This is the reason why Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai so cried over it, and called upon those who engage in the literal Torah that they are asleep, for they do not open their eyes to see the love that the Creator loves them, as though they were, God forbid, ungrateful to Him. Moreover, they do not see and do not know the path of holiness and the Dvekut (adhesion) with Him at all.

Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal),

Shaarey Ramchal [Gates of the Ramchal], “The Debate,” p 97


As long as orthodoxy insists on saying, “No! Only Gemarah and Mishnah, no legends, no ethics, no Kabbalah, and no research,” it dwindles itself. All the means it uses to protect itself, without taking the true potion of life, the Light of the Torah in its internals, beyond the tangible and obvious—the revealed in the Torah and Mitzvot—are utterly incapable of leading to its goal in all the generations, and especially in our generation, unless accompanied by expanding the many spiritual roots.

The Rav Raiah Kook, Igrot (Letters), Vol. 2, 232-233


Woe unto people from the affront of the Torah. For undoubtedly, when they engage only in the literal and in its stories, it wears its widow-garments, and covered with a bag. And all the nations shall say unto Israel: “What is thy Beloved more than another beloved? Why is your law more than our law? After all, your law, too, is stories of the mundane.” There is no greater affront to the Torah than that.

Hence, woe unto the people from the affront of the Torah. They do not engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah, which honors the Torah, for they prolong the exile and all the afflictions that are about to come to the world.

Rav Chaim Vital, The Writings of the Ari, The Tree of Life,

Part One, “Rav Chaim Vital’s Introduction,” 11-12


It is well-known how that it is an immense obligation for one to study the wisdom of truth, which is the wisdom of Kabbalah and the secrets of the Torah, as explained in ancient books. ...And I wonder about the people of our generation, for the humble ones among them veer off from studying the wisdom of truth.

Rabbi Baruch Ben Abraham of Kosov,

Amud Ha’Avoda [Pillar of the Work], p1


They are the ones who make the Torah dry, for they do not wish to delve in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Woe unto them, for thus they cause wretchedness, ruin, looting, killing, and destruction to the world.

The Book of Zohar,

Tikkuney Zohar [The Zohar Corrections], Tikkun no. 30


Many thought that too much engagement in the secret is not good, since the practical Torah would be forgotten from Israel, the forbidden, the permitted, the non-kosher, and the kosher. And what shall become of this Torah had we all delved in the secrets of the Torah? …Yet, those who despise it are not servants of the Creator whatsoever.

Rav Moshe Cordovero (Ramak),

Know the God of Thy Father, 132


Without knowing the wisdom of Kabbalah, one is like a beast, carrying out the precept with no purpose, only learning the precepts of man. This is similar to hay-eating beasts, without the taste of human food. And even if one is an important businessperson, occupied with many negotiations, he is not exempted from engaging in this wisdom.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Ziditshov,

Sur Me’ra Ve’aseh Tov [Depart from Evil and Do Good]


All who refrain from studying Kabbalah is rejected from among the righteous, and loses his world, and is not rewarded with seeing the Light of Life’s King’s countenance.

Rav Yosef Eliezer Rosenfeld, Havvot Yair [Villages of Yair], p 210


But if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and a person from Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, which deals with the conduct of our souls and their degrees, and the perception and the tastes of the Mitzvot with regard to the advantage of the externality of the Torah, which deals only with the practical part? Also, even if one does occasionally engage in the internality of the Torah, and dedicates a little of one’s time to it, when it is neither night nor day, as though it were redundant, by that one dishonors and degrades the internality of the world, which are the Children of Israel, and enhances the externality of the world—meaning the Nations of the World—over them. They will humiliate and disgrace the Children of Israel, and regard Israel as superfluous, as though the world has no need for them, God forbid.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 69


This is the answer to the wiseacre fools, with vain wisdom, who speak against those who engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah and say about them that they hear the voice of words, yet see no image. Woe unto them and to their misfortune for their foolishness and wantonness, for they will not profit from it; they only move God’s people from rising unto His Holy Mountain.

Rav Shimon Ben Lavi, Ketem Paz [Fine Gold],

Good and Evil Are Contained in Man


Engaging in the wisdom of the Mishnah and the Babylonian Talmud without allotting a portion to the secrets and hidden wisdom of the Torah is similar to a body sitting in the dark, devoid of a man’s soul, the Creator’s candle that glows within. Thus, the body is dry, not inhaling from the source of life. This is the meaning of what he said above, “For they are the ones who are making the Torah dry and do not wish to exert in the wisdom of Kabbalah.”

Rav Chaim Vital, “Introduction of Rav Chaim Vital

to The Gate of the Introductions”


The crown of the Torah is the wisdom of Kabbalah, from which the majority of the world retires, saying that you should observe what is permitted and that you have no dealings in the hidden. You, if you are fit for this teaching, reach out your hand, hold it, and do not move from it. This is because one who did not taste the flavor of this wisdom, has never seen Lights in his life, and he is walking in the dark. And woe unto the people from the affront of this Torah.

Rabbi Pinchas Eliahu Ben-Meir, Sefer HaBrit [The Book of the

Covenant], Part 2, Article 12, Chapter 5


I have seen in many books of Kabbalists, the magnitude of the tremendous and bitter punishment upon whoever avoided the study of wisdom of Kabbalah, along with the enhancement of the reward and the pleasure in the next world for whoever studies It.

Rabbi Baruch Ben Abraham of Kosov,

Amud Ha’Avoda [Pillar of the Work]


One who did not engage in the wisdom of truth, who did not want to learn it when his soul wanted to rise to the Garden of Eden, is rejected from there with disgrace.

Rabbi Pinchas Eliahu Ben-Meir, Sefer HaBrit

[The Book of the Covenant], Part 2, Article 12, Chapter 5

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