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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Ari and The Study of the Ten Sefirot

Q: Rabbi Laitman, what is your attitude toward the books of the Ari? Is The Study of the Ten Sefirotthe only book on Kabbalah that you consider holy?

A: The book, Sha’ar HaGilgulim, describes how the Ari at his deathbed forbade all his disciples except Chaim Vital to study Kabbalah. Chaim Vital did not fully attain Kabbalah at that time, and therefore decided not to edit or publish the writings of the Ari.

Three generations later, Rabbi Tzemach, Rabbi Paprish and Chaim Vital’s son, Shmuel, began to dig out the Ari’s writings little by little, sort them out and publish them in book form. However, none of them possessed the entire collection, and therefore could not correctly understand and compile Ari’s system of Kabbalah.

Baal HaSulam writes in a letter that due to the above reason, no one (!!!) could understand what the Ari wished to pass on to us until the time of Baal HaSulam. Only in The Study of the Ten Sefirot was the system rendered complete. For that reason, we do not study the other books that Rabbi Tzemach, Rabbi Paprish and Shmuel Vital published, although we sometimes take this or that excerpt from them, as was done by Baal HaSulam in The Study of the Ten Sefirot. Besides The Study of the Ten Sefirot, no other books (here I don’t mean articles and letters on the spiritual work) contain any systematic compilation of the science of Kabbalah.

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