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Michael Laitman, PhD

The Sulam [Ladder] Commentary

And I have named that commentary The Sulam (The Ladder) to show that the purpose of my commentary is as the role of any ladder: if you have an attic filled abundantly, then all you need is a ladder to reach it. And then, all the bounty in the world will be in your hands.

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


There is no point opening The Book of Zohar without the Sulam commentary. Other commentaries have been written on The Zohar, but the Sulam commentary is the only one that is complete. The Sulam, as its name (Ladder) implies, is the only one that can lead us to perfection because Baal HaSulam attained all 125 degrees from which the authors of The Zohar wrote the book. He connected to them and interpreted The Zohar for us from that level.

The Sulam commentary adapts The Zohar to the souls that are appearing in the world today. Thus, our souls can face the Zohar, the brightness, the upper light, so that it reforms us and brings our souls back to bonding, a bonding in which the Creator appears.

The Sulam helps us build ourselves in the “middle line” so that our form is best suited to the form in which the upper light comes to us [1] so we may receive it.

The middle line is the formula by which we should properly combine the two forces that exist in Nature: the Creator’s force—giving, abundance, light—and the creature’s (humans’) force—the will to receive. Building the middle line is our whole world, and this is where our free choice lies.

Baal HaSulam directs our vision, our approach, and our sensations so that the words of The Zohar will pass through us in the middle line, the golden path.

The language of The Zohar is filled with seemingly corporeal allegories, which the Sulam commentary interprets. [2] The Sulam helps us perceive The Zohar more elaborately so that we feel that the text is close to us.

Baal HaSulam also translated The Zohar from Aramaic into Hebrew, divided The Zohar into paragraphs and essays, and added interpretations, introductions, and introductory explanations. [3] All that is left for us to do is to climb the rungs of the ladder from our world to the world of Ein Sof.

[1] In the language of Kabbalah, the form in which the light comes to us is called “association of the quality of mercy in judgment.” For more details, see “Preface to The Book of Zohar," Items 36-38 by Baal HaSulam.

[2] 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 ... 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)

[3] 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. (Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar")

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