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Michael Laitman, PhD

Torah is Kabbalah

Q: What is the connection between Torah and Kabbalah?

A: Torah is Kabbalah. It speaks only of spiritual laws, of the Creator and the events that take place in the Upper World, while using familiar words from our everyday life. It does not say a single word about our corporeal life, but of man’s way to the Creator, and the inner change.

The Torah should lead us to the Upper World, the purpose of our journey here. That is what makes it holy and unique. Moses is considered to be the foremost Kabbalist. Although there were Kabbalistic books before him, he was the first to compose a book of Torah (instructions) about man’s path from down to up, from our world to the spiritual world. He described the way in general terms, and for the first time in history, the system of the worlds was described in a literary tongue.

Kabbalists use four languages to describe the Upper World to humanity: the language of the Bible (history), the language of the Halacha (Jewish law), the language of Agada (legends and tales), and the language of Kabbalah. Without exception, they all speak about the Upper World.

For example, when you open the Zohar, you find an explanation of the text of the Torah, but in a different language - that of the Kabbalah. The Zohar is the interpretation of that Torah (writing the same thing under a different label is called interpretation - perush). So we see that the only difference between the Torah and the Zohar is the language.

Everything that happens in the Upper World, descends – in due time – to our world, and begets its consequences here. The Upper Forces and their consequences, meaning the objects of our world, are linked by “threads,” so that from each of the Upper Forces is a consequence that extends to our world, the corporeal object that relates to it, and the thread by which the lower object is manipulated.

Therefore, in order to explain the structure of the Upper World, Kabbalists have chosen to name the Upper Forces by names and appellations from our world. Thus the Upper Object gets its name from the corresponding object in the corporeal world. This language is called “the language of the branches,” where the Upper Power is the root, and the physical object is the branch.

If I want to describe what happens in the spiritual world, I speak in terms of this world, and you would think I am talking about this world. But in fact, I mean to speak only of what happens in the spiritual world. This is precisely the way the Upper Worlds are described in our holy books.

Why are they called holy? Because they speak of the Upper Worlds. When we read the Torah we look at it as a “historical novel,” but when a Kabbalist reads in it, he sees completely different things.

Q: What is the difference between the study of Torah and the study of Kabbalah?

A: There is no difference. The Torah speaks only of the structure of the Upper World, and says nothing of what happens in our world. It only talks about the structure of the Upper World, but it does it in the language of our world, which is why we think we understand it.

The Torah is called “holy” not because it speaks of the journeys of a primordial nation, or about indecent acts. It is holy because it talks about holy things. The term “holy” (Hebrew: Kadosh) means separated, unique, distinct.

Though you do not see the spiritual world behind the stories when you read them, both Kabbalah and the Torah speak of special, spiritual matters, about matters that reach beyond our world. The difference between them is only in the language, but the essence remains the same. Kabbalah speaks of the same issues as the Torah, but uses a technical language of Sefirot, worlds, Partzufim, ascents and descents.

The difference between the two languages can be compared to the different way we relate to music. Ordinary people listen to music, enjoy it and that’s the end of it. When musicians listen to music, they begin to analyze it by notes, tonality, rhythm, etc. A sound technician would examine it for the quality of the sound, filters, frequencies, without any reference to the music and the beauty of it. A mathematician will express it in a formula, in such a way that it would be impossible for anyone else to see the soul behind the dry mathematical facts. Here too, it all depends on which words we use to express what we feel.

The difference between Kabbalah and Torah is precisely in the manner, the language, in which they speak of the spiritual worlds. The Kabbalah speaks of them in technical terms, hence the name “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” the “science of Kabbalah,” whereas the Torah speaks in a more emotional, yet concealed, language.

The Talmud also speaks about the laws of the spiritual world, but in the language and words of laws of our world, such as: you mustn’t eat this or do that. The Talmud speaks only about the laws of the spiritual world, while in our world those descriptions are baseless and the laws don’t even apply.

But if we want to live in our world according to the laws of the Upper World, we observe them in the flesh. We observe them because we want to somehow adapt ourselves to them, imitate them in some way. But it is completely untrue that by so doing, we affect the Upper Worlds.

By doing something in our world, with my hands or legs, I change nothing in the Upper World. The Talmud, Gmarah and the Torah speak only of the Upper Worlds. The difference between them and the Kabbalah is only in the language.

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