What is Kabbalistic Music?
Kabbalistic music expresses two conditions of Kabbalists: an aspiration to sense the spiritual worlds, and an aspiration to merge with the source of life in the joyful sensation of total perfection.
There is no need to know anything about Kabbalistic music before listening to it, since it is wordless. Its affect on the heart is direct and swift due to the intricate connection between our souls and the roots of the notes. Hearing Kabbalistic melodies over and over again allows the listener to feel the music penetrating deep within the soul, completely unobstructed.
Melodies of the Upper Worlds
Dr. Michael Laitman introduces Kabbalistic music.
Melodies of the Upper Worlds
features melodies of the 20th century's greatest Kabbalist, Baal HaSulam (Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag), with explanations by Dr. Michael Laitman
of how these melodies relate to the inner, personal quest for discovering the Upper Worlds - the source of our existence.
Part 1 - Film running time: 31:31 min
Film transcript (doc)
Download the film (wmv)
Part 2 - Film running time: 31:47 min
Film transcript (doc)
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Music and Kabbalah
What is the Connection Between Music and Kabbalah?
Music and Kabbalah... What is the connection between them? Everyone has a conception of what music is, but not everyone, by far, knows what Kabbalah is.
The essence of Kabbalah is shrouded in secrecy, but there has always been an interest in Kabbalah. According to legends, one who knows Kabbalah and masters its secrets can control our world and the spiritual worlds that influence our world, revealing its past, present and future.
Kabbalah is the science of the structure of the universe, the developmental laws of the spiritual worlds and our world, and the laws of man's purpose.
Kabbalah is a science of the impact of human desires on the surrounding world.
All Kabbalistic books are written in the language of feelings and desires. This language is unique and strictly scientific, employing graphs, formulae and diagrams. It explains how to alter our desires in order to purposefully influence the entire world. Through such graphs and schemes, Kabbalah describes one's feelings, the person’s soul. Music also speaks to the person in a language of feelings and emotions, and as such, is close to Kabbalah.
What is music? It is an emotion captured in its evolvement. Only music can deliver the process of transforming feelings through time. That is why, to those who have not yet perceived the spiritual world, the music of Kabbalah provides a certain analogy of the impression of spirituality that is felt by the Kabbalist.
The more evolved a person’s feelings, the more one will delight in what is heard. In music, a sensitive person can open an entire world for themselves, undergoing different emotional states from bliss to tragedy. And the more one develops one’s feelings, the more intricately he will sense that which the music transmits.
In much the same way, one who studies Kabbalah cultivates appropriate inner instruments for comprehending spirituality, through which spiritual information can be perceived. As a musician looks into notes and hears music through his- or her inner sensation, a Kabbalist, while reading Kabbalistic texts, senses the spiritual world within.
A person’s very first spiritual sensation when spirituality is revealed, is thankfulness to the Creator. One begins to sense this higher power and sees how it brought him out of a dead-end existence into an infinite, flawless world of absolute awareness and perfection. It is this sensation that Rav Baruch Ashlag (Rabash) transmitted through his music to the words of the psalm:
I thank you for saving my soul from death
My eyes from tears
My feet from entering hell.
The great Kabbalists who wrote the holy books depict the secrets of the universe, and we are also privileged to the melodies created by the great Kabbalists Yehuda Ashlag and his son Baruch Ashlag. Through the language of feelings, their melodies express spiritual sensations and information.
Rav Yehuda Ashlag attained all of the universe’s secrets, and depicted them in his compositions, the Sulam (Ladder) Commentary to The Zohar, Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot)... and he also implanted them in his melodies.
The existing location of the soul in the spiritual world is referred to as its root. The roots of souls differ. Souls descend into our world and incarnate in bodies. As the roots of souls differ, the objectives that each soul must complete in our world differ as well. That is why each body is nothing more than a mechanism for completing the soul’s plan of development.
The person begins to feel attracted to spirituality, a striving to his spiritual root, desires to attain it right now, to be able to sense all the worlds today, while still living in this world.
Kabbalistic music reveals and develops the person’s spiritual potential.
Kabbalistic melodies are not subjected to typical musical analysis. From the point of view of classical music, these melodies may appear banal in their structure and musical language.
But those persons with an inclination for the ascension of their souls in this lifetime, who wish to attain the Upper World and the entire universe, sense in this music something beckoning them into the unexplored.
We do not know how our musical comprehension is structured. Why do we feel the major chords in a different emotional and sensible tone than the minor ones? Why do we sense the major as something brighter, more open, and happier than the minor?
Many musicians with perfect musical hearing see colors in notes, chords, and tones. No one knows how this occurs and why such associations of color, sound, taste, and sensations appear within us. No one knows the structure of our receptors, which perceive absolutely immaterial information.
Kabbalists, however, understand how these devices work within us, because they know the structure of our soul. As such, Kabbalists can instill spiritual information into musical sounds. That is why Kabbalistic music is a means of infusing the inner world of the person with information of everything that surrounds him.
What the music of our world contains is connected to the personal, earthly sensations and emotions of the composers. Composers have always aspired to reflect the predicaments of creation in music, yet these attempts had never gone beyond a mere surmise or personal feeling.
Only melodies written by Kabbalists actually enable us to enter into sensations of eternity, sensations of soul’s movement, pushing us to an understanding of our essence as a part of one eternal universe.
Kabbalistic music is written by great Kabbalists as an expression of their spiritual sensations. It is inherently located at a high spiritual level.
A spiritual sensation cannot be forgotten. That which was played and felt once remains and can be repeated at any moment. This feeling can later be manipulated, creating most refined shades of emotion. In every melody there is a different feeling corresponding to each particular spiritual state. Due to the elevated level of its composer, each melody speaks of the ethereal as it elevates one across the spiritual world - to eternity and perfection.