Appendix 1: Selected References in Praise of The Zohar

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


Zohar for All

The prohibition from Above to refrain from open study of the wisdom of truth was for a limited period, until the end of 1490. Thereafter is considered the last generation, in which the prohibition was lifted and permission has been granted to engage in The Book of Zohar. And since the year 1540, it has been a great Mitzva (precept) for the masses to study, old and young.

Abraham Ben Mordechai Azulai,
Introduction to the book, Ohr HaChama (Light of the Sun) 81

The words of the Holy Zohar have power for the soul, and are approachable for every soul of Israel, small or great, each according to one’s understanding and the root of one’s soul.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Horovitz of Backshwitz,
Hanhagot Yesharot (Upright Guidance), Item 5

The livelihood of the person of Israel depends on The Book of Zohar, studying with joy and pleasantness, and with fear and love, each one according to his attainment and sanctity, and all of Israel are holy.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed [Keeping Mercy], Chapter 4, Teaching 20

The Ari said that at that time the hidden will become revealed, and learning the secrets of the Torah and revealing the secrets to everyone from Israel gives joy to the Creator.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Heichal HaBrahch (The Hall of Blessing), Devarim (Deuteronomy) 208

This composition, titled, The Book of Zohar, is like Noah’s ark, in which there were many species, and those species survived only by entering the ark. Just so … the righteous will permeate the meaning of the light of this composition to survive. And so, the power of the composition is that one who willingly engages, the love of the Creator will suck him in like the suction of the magnet that pulls the iron. And he will come inside it to save his mind and soul and spirit, and his correction. And even if he is wicked, there is no fear should he come inside.

Rav Moshe Kordovero (the Ramak),
Ohr Yakar [Precious Light], Gate 1, Item 5

Let us hope that all our brothers in the house of Israel will study of The Book of Zohar together, rich and poor, young and old. And how good and how pleasant if they try to establish friendships for the study of The Zohar. Particularly now, when the sparks of redemption have begun to blossom, we should exert in this sacred study.

Introduction of the Rabbis to The Zohar, Jerba Printing

When the days of the Messiah draw near, even infants in the world will find the secrets of the wisdom, knowing in them the end and the calculations of redemption. At the same time, it will be revealed to all.

This is the meaning of what is written, “For then I will turn to the peoples.” What is “Then”? It is the time when the Assembly of Israel rises from the dust and the Creator raises her, then “I will turn to the peoples a clear language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him shoulder to shoulder.”

The Book of Zohar with the Sulam [Ladder] Commentary, VaYera, Item 460

The Necessity of Studying The Zohar in Our Days

This point in time requires accelerated acquisition of the inner Torah. The Book of Zohar breaks new paths, makes a highway in the desert, the Zohar and all it harvests are ready to open the doors of redemption.

The Rav Raiah Kook,
Orot [Lights], 57

My aim in all my notebooks and in all that I write is only to evoke the hearts of disciples of the wise, old and young, to engage in the study of the internality of the Torah.

The Rav Raiah Kook,
Igrot (Letters), Vol. 1, pp 41-42

Hence, it is said in The Zohar that The Book of Zohar will be revealed only at the End of Days, the days of the Messiah… And since The Zohar appeared in our generation, it is a clear proof that we are already in the days of the Messiah, at the outset of that generation upon which it was said, “for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”

Baal HaSulam,
“A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”

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 Zohar and be warmed by its sacred Light.

Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the book of Zohar” item 58

The Appearance of The Zohar

The Zohar was destined to be concealed … until the arrival of the last generation at the end of times, at which time it was to appear.

Rav Isaiah Horowitz (the Holy Shlah),
In Ten Utterances, “First Article,” p 17

Studying The Zohar at this time is much needed to save and to protect us from all evil, since the disclosure of this wisdom now, in flawed generations.

The Sage Yaakov Tzemach
in his introduction to The Tree of Life

At the time of the Messiah, evil, impudence, and vice will increase, led by the heads of the mixed multitude. Then the Hidden Light will appear out of Heaven — The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim[Corrections], followed by the writings of our teacher, the Ari. And that study will root out the evil in his soul, he will be rewarded with adhering to the Upper Light, and will be rewarded with all the virtues in the world.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Heichal HaBerachah [The Hall of Blessing], Devarim (Deuteronomy), 208

This study has been revealed so brightly and expansively at this time primarily because the evil is greatly increasing and the assembly of Israel is falling. Through this study, the soul is purified. Indeed, while studying the secrets, and particularly The Book of Zohar and the Tikkunim[corrections], the soul illuminates.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Yehuda Yechiel Safrin of Komarno,
The Path of your Commandments, Introduction, “The Path of Unification,” 1, Item 4

Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai testified in the corrections that the book itself will be hidden until the last generation, the generation of the Messiah, for engagement in this wisdom to unite the Creator with His Divinity and to attach it to the exile is a great need. Hence, The Book of Zohar appeared in this last generation, to see if it shall be delved in truthfully, to give Divinity assistance and support.

Abraham Ben Mordechai Azulai,
Ohr HaChama (Light of the Sun) p 105, in the name of Ramak

From Exile to Redemption


Because Israel is destined to taste from the Tree of Life, which is the holy Book of Zohar, through it, they will be redeemed from exile.

Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai, T
he Book of Zohar, Portion Naso, Item 90

Redemption will come through the study of the holy Zohar.

Rabbi Eliahu Ben Sulimani,
Elijah’s Throne, gate 4

Studying the corrections of the Holy Zohar purifies the body and the soul and is capable of bringing redemption soon in our days.

Rabbi Efraim Ben Avraham Ardot,
Mateh Efraim (Efraim’s Wand), The Tip of the Mateh (wand), Item 23

The redemption of Israel and the rise of Israel depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah.

Baal HaSulam,
“Introduction to the book of Zohar” item 69

Anyone who engages in this book brings redemption closer and brings great contentment to one’s Maker … for so the Creator has sentenced—that it will not be revealed and will remain concealed until the end of days, and that by its merit, freedom will come, for it has this power and none other.

Rabbi Shalom Ben Moshe Buzaglo,
The King’s Temple, on the corrections of The Zohar

The Zohar Brings Abundance


The words and the speaking of the holy Zohar themselves tie a person to the infinite.

Rabbi Moshe Israel Bar Eliahu,
The Remnants of IsraelGate of Connection, “Gate One,” Midrash 5, Essay 2

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 and the writings of the Ari all their days. They would revoke all the harsh sentences and would extend abundance and Light.

Rav Yitzhak Yehudah Yehiel of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed (Keeping Mercy), Chapter 4, Teaching 20

The study of The Zohar cancels all sorts of tragedies.

The Rabbis of Jerusalem, 1921

One who says The Zohar each and every day will have provision.

Rav Pinhas Shapira of Kuritz, Midrash Pinhas

The Light of The Zohar


“And the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament” are the authors of the Kabbalah. They are the ones who exert in this brightness, called The Book of Zohar, which is like Noah’s ark, gathering two from a town, and seven kingdoms, and sometimes one from a town and two from a family, in whom the words, “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river” come true…This is the light of this Book of Zohar.

The Book of Zohar with the Sulam [Ladder] Commentary, BeHaalotcha, Item 88

Happy and so blessed are we for having been rewarded with going by its light and contemplating the pleasant words from the upper brightness, the holy light. It is sweet to the palate and it is all delights, endless, infinite water, to understand and to be educated with the act of creation and the work of the Merkava [structure/assembly], and how to become a Merkava for uniting and returning the soul to its origin and root. This has been resolved and engraved in my soul: One who has not seen the Light of The Book of Zohar, has never seen Light.

The Rav Tzvi Hirsh of Ziditshov,
Ateret Tzvi [A Crown of GloryParashat BeHaalotcha

A new Light is renewed every moment, until it actually becomes a new creation, through The Zoharand our teacher the Ari.

Heichal HaBracha (Hall of Blessing), Devarim (Deuteronomy), p 11

And this book shall be called The Book of Zohar due to the influence of that Light from the Upper Radiance [Zohar]. Through its Light, all who engage in it impart by Divine Providence, for the Upper Light and abundance above the reason would was imparted in the secrets of the Torah. Since it flowed from there, this composition was called The Book of Zohar, meaning that it extended from that Zohar [Radiance].

Know the God of Thy Father, 2

To excite the hearts of Israel to Torah and to work in the wisdom of internality, which is sweeter than honey and nectar, opens the eyes, and revives the soul, hidden delight, sweet as the light to the eyes, and good for the soul, refining and illuminating it with good and upright qualities, tasting the flavor of the hidden Light of the next world in this world through the wisdom of The Zohar.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Netiv Mitzvotecha [The Path of Your Commandments], Introduction

One who studies The Zohar, his face radiates. This is why it is called The Book of Zohar [Book of Radiance]. …It is an intimation of sublime affairs, for the word Zohar in Gematria is the Ein Sof[infinite].

Zohar, Livorno, publisher’s introduction

When engaging in this composition, one evokes the power of the souls with the power of Moses. This is so because while engaging in it, they renew the generated Light, which was created during its composition. And Divinity shines and illuminates from that Light as when it was first created. And all who engage in it reawaken that same benefit and that first Light, which Rashbi and his friends had revealed while composing.

Ohr Yakar [Precious Light], Gate 1, Item 5

The Zohar Affects Even when Not Understanding


The language of The Zohar remedies the soul, even when one does not understand what it says at all. It is similar to one who enters a perfumery; even when he does not take a thing, he still absorbs the fragrance.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov,
Degel Machaneh Ephraim [The Banner of the Camp of Ephraim], Excerpts

One who was not rewarded with understanding The Zohar should read nonetheless, for the words can purify the soul and illuminate it with wondrous brightness.

The prayer book of Rabbi Shabtai Rashkovar, “Order of the Study,” p 17

The study of The Zohar is great completeness for the soul. And even when one does not understand, the words of The Zohar alone are very able.

Rabbi Hanoch Hanich of Alsek,
The Order of the Study, Item 2

One who engages extensively should dedicate the majority of his studies in The Zohar even though he does not understand, for why should he care if he does not understand if it is Segula [special cure] in any case?

Rabbi Schneier Zalman of Laddi,
Short Essays of the Old ADMOR, p 571

It is true that we accept that even for one who knows nothing, the words of The Zohar can still cleanse the soul.

Rav Tzvi Elimelech Shapira (MAHARTZA),
The MAHARTZA Additions, Item 9

Since the time the precious light of the two great lights, The Book of Corrections and The Book of Zohar has shone, the Jews, the congregation of Israel, have taken it upon themselves to maintain the sacred study of the corrections and The Zohar, alone and with others, young and old. And although they are unable to attain and to understand the meaning of the pure sayings in these holy books, nevertheless, they drink their words with thirst and read with great enthusiasm.

Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Bagdad,
The Son of the Living Man, Benaiahu, introduction

The study of The Book of Zohar is very sublime to purify and sanctify the soul. Even if one does not know what he is saying and errs in it many times, it counts before the Creator, as it is written, “And his banner over me is love.” Our sages interpreted, “And his skip over me is love.”

What is this like? It is like a little baby who knows nothing and speaks half words with a stammering language, and his father and mother laugh with him and rejoice at his voice. So is the One who dwells above: He laughs and rejoices when the Israeli man is fond of the Torah and wishes to study, yet his mind does not attain or he has none to teach him, and he learns when he knows. He certainly brings contentment to his Maker and receives his reward. Thus, there is no room for excuses for one who does not know how to study; this argument does not exempt him on judgment day, for he could learn as he knew.

Rabbi Eliezer Bar Yitzhak Pappo,
Wonderful Counselor, entry: Zohar

Who can say the great sanctity of The Book of Zohar and its benefit, whose words are hidden and concealed as burning torches, illuminating and shining. Opener of eyes, the origin of life, the life of the souls, its contents is unbroken love, its words excite the hearts to love and to fear the honorable and terrible Lord. And even one who does not understand the internal content of its words, any palate that tastes and learns its language, its words are able for the soul: to illuminate it and to purify it.

Introduction of the Amsterdam Courthouse publication of The Book of Zohar, 1804

We heard explicitly from the Old Admor in Liazni that there is dumbness of the mind, etc., and that reading of The Book of Zohar is good for that, even when he does not know what it is saying.

Rav Yitzhak, Isaac HaLevi Epstein of Hamil,
Ariel Has Camped, Exodus, p 64


Correction of the Soul


The Baal Shem Tov says … Saying The Zohar is good for the soul.

The Path of RASHI, in the name of Rabbi Hillel of Paritch

Each and every letter in The Book of Zohar and the writings of our great teacher, the Rav Chaim Vital … are great corrections for the soul, to correct all the incarnations.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed [Keeping Mercy], Chapter 4, Teaching 20

My sons and my brothers, accustom yourselves to delve into the study of the words of The Zohar and the corrections. One who has never seen the Light of The Zohar, sweeter than honey, has never seen Lights in his life, and has never tasted the flavor of the Torah. Moreover, it purifies the soul and cleanses it. Even a mere utterance through the lips is a great remedy and correction for the soul. In particular, the book of corrections, which are the actual corrections of the soul from any flaw, blemish, and disease.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
“Introduction to Atzei Eden [Trees of Eden]”

He should grow accustomed to studying in the Kabbalah, for reading the Kabbalah is a correction for this iniquity. This is why the Kabbalists were called “harvesters of the field,” for they cut off all the Klipot [shells]. And the study of The Book of Zohar is part of that correction.

Horns of the Righteous, Item 53

Five pages from the holy Zohar each day is a great benefit and a great correction for the soul, to illuminate, purify, and correct it. It heals and corrects the sins and transgressions of the soul.

The Staff of Ephraim, Item 516, Sub item 7

The interpreters wrote as follows: One who studies in the holy Zohar corrects the upper worlds, and one who studies in the corrections chases away the Klipot [shells] and corrects the world of Assiya. This is the reason why Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai established the holy book of Zohar in a great number and the book of corrections in a small number. This is the meaning of the words “And God created the two great lights,” implying to the holy book of Zohar and the book of corrections … Thus, studying in them is a great thing for correcting worlds in heaven and in the earth.

Rav Chaim Huri,
Mercy and Truth

Purifying the Heart


Saying The Zohar can purify the heart.

Light of the Upright, “Pure Myrrh”

Always cleave your soul to The Book of Zohar and the writings of our teacher, the Ari. And cleave your soul with fear, love, and humility, lest your aim will be to become a rabbi and a leader, for this is truly idol-worship. Hence, my brothers, my sons, dear souls, sublime and elevated, cleave your souls to The Book of Zohar.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Notzer Hesed [Keeping Mercy], Chapter 4, Teaching 1

He also said that he asked his rav to be saved from pride and constantly pleaded to him about that. He told him “Study The Zohar,” and he replied, “I am studying The Zohar.” And his rav replied, “Study The Zohar a great deal.”

Rav Pinhas Shapira of Kuritz,
Midrash Pinhas, 36, Item 73

Studying The Zohar Compared to Other Studies


Reading the words of The Zohar is more beneficial for Divinity and for the soul than the whole engagement in the Torah.

Correction of the night of Hoshaana Rabah [Great Supplication]

Who is greater to us than this holy book, The Book of Zohar, interpreting the ways, removing the stones from the trail, admitting love and fear in one’s heart, teaching, guiding in the circles of justice, and leading us to the rest and inheritance.

The Zohar, Mentoba printing, The Publisher’s Introduction

[A person] Will not achieve life but only through the study of The Zohar… And in this generation it is impossible to draw the Higher Shechina (Divinity) but through The Zohar and the writings of the Ari and Rav Chaim Vital, which were said in the spirit of holiness. And in this generation, “Who is the man who desires life and loves days” without wasting a day without holiness? To see the good of the next world in this world, let him cleave his soul only to The Book of Zohar and the writings of the Ari and Rav Chaim Vital.

Heichal HaBracha (Hall of Blessing), Devarim (Deuteronomy), 58

The virtue of the study of The Book of Zohar is already known, as the Ari said, “A single day of studying The Book of Zohar and the secrets of Torah equals an entire year of studying the literal. By this merit, the Creator will prolong their days in goodness and their years in pleasantness, wealth, and honor. They will be whole with sons and sons of sons, and houses filled abundantly, filled with the blessing of the Lord and the blessing of Elijah.”

The Zohar, Livorno Press, Introduction, 1892

Studying The Zohar … builds worlds. It is all the more so if one is rewarded with studying and understanding the meaning of an article. It will correct him in an hour more than the study of the literal will do in a year.

Rabbi Shalom Ben Moshe Buzzaglo,
The King’s ThroneTikkun [Correction] 43, Item 60

The reason why our sages wrote that the study of The Zohar is awe-inspiring and exalted … in all the Torah there is PARDESS and in all the studies, the concealed is not apparent whatsoever. On the contrary, a reader who repeats only the literal does not understand that there is a secret to the Torah at all. This is not so in The Book of Zohar, in which the secrets are open and the disciple knows that it speaks of the wonders and secrets of the Torah, which he does not know, and this is very instrumental for the correction of the soul.

Rabbi Chaim of Voluzhin,
Nefesh HaChaim [The Soul of Life], Set no. 7

There is no doubt that any study in the holy Torah is sublime and elevated and uplifting, especially if it is truly Lishma [for Her name]. It builds one’s ascents in heaven and corrects the worlds, and unites the lovers.

However, the study of The Zohar is great. That is, the Bible and the Mishnah and the Talmud are very clothed and the meaning is unapparent in them at all. This is not so with The Zohar, which speaks the secrets of the Torah explicitly, and there is not a fool who will read and not understand its words in the depth of the secrets of the Torah. Hence, since the secrets of Torah are revealed without clothing, they brighten and illuminate the soul.

Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (The CHIDA),
The Great Ones for the CHIDA, “A System of Books,” Item 2

The study of The Book of Zohar elevates more than any other study, even when one does not know what it says, and even if one errs in one’s reading. It is a great correction for the soul because although the whole Torah is the names of the Creator, it is clothed in several stories, and one who reads and understands the stories considers the simple literal meaning, but The Book of Zohar is the revealed secrets themselves, and the reader knows that they are the secrets and the meaning of the Torah, but it is not perceived for the lack of the attaining and the depth of the attained.

Rabbi Chaim Yosef David Azulai (The CHIDA),
Pointing with the Finger, Item 44

What we see—that there are people whose mind is not drawn to holy and very terrible books such as The Book of Zohar and the books of the Ari, although there are terrible, terrible innovations in them, which illuminate the eye and are sweeter than honey, yet they are drawn after other matters, such as scrutiny—know that it is due to their temper that they cannot tolerate the truly holy matter. Indeed, one does have choice and has the power to break one’s bad temper, but since he has already been born with such a bad temper, he must suffer great bitterness to break his bad temper and nature.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev,
Talks of Rabbi Nachman, 40

One who studies The Zohar brings redemption closer. This is what the Rav Truth unto Jacob wrote in the introduction to his book in the name of The Zohar and the corrections. The rav warned extensively that one who studied the written and oral Torah would be severely punished he if did not study in The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah.

The Zohar, Livorno Press, Publisher’s Introduction

There is no comparison between the livelihood and delight in the study of the revealed and the study of The Zohar and the corrections.

Rav Pinhas Shapira of Koritz,
Midrash Pinhas, 72, Item 3

The most important is The Zohar and the corrections.

Integrity, Words of Truth, Item 39

The Zohar as a Means to Discover the Creator


Know that the entire Book of Zohar and the obligation to study it etc., is all a positive Mitzva[commandment to do a certain action], to cleave to it and to know that God is found, in sacred knowledge in the particular and in the unifications, and with love, fear, and unity.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno,
Netiv Mitzvotecha [The Path of Your Commandments], Path 2, Item 3

Hear me my brothers and companions, the friends, who are craving and seeking the truth, the truth of the work of the heart—to behold the pleasantness of the Creator and to visit His Hall: My soul shall bend and cling unto The Book of Zohar, as the power of engaging in the holy book is known from our ancient sages.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Ziditshov,
Sur MeRa [Depart from Evil], p 4

It is known that the study of The Zohar is capable indeed. Know that the study of The Zohar creates desire, and the holy words of The Zohar strongly evoke to the work of God.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslev,
Talks of Rabbi Nachman, 108

The merit of one who contemplates the words of the living God, The Book of Zohar and all that accompany it, the words of the sages of truth, and the writings of the Ari is immeasurable. Through the constant engagement, they will discover the gates of light and the doors of wisdom for all who sincerely follow the path of God, whose soul desires to approach the palace of the King of Honor who lives forever, blessed be He. Hence, all who volunteer to engage in the wisdom for even an hour or two a day, each day … and the Creator adds a good thought to an action. It will be considered as though he stands all day always in the courts of the Lord, and his dwellings are in the secrets of the Torah.

The Rav Raiah Kook,
Letters of the Raiah, Part One, p 85

One who studies The Zohar, which is the wisdom of Kabbalah, becomes a son to the Creator.

Zohar, Livorno, publisher’s introduction

Let every son of Israel grow strong in the holy Zohar, even if he shall undergo several attempts to separate him from studying the holy Zohar. Also, if he has been through several attempts by people who are materialized in their substance, who are the harlequins of the generation, and he sits among them as a lily among the thorns…

Let one who has a soul of Israel, who wishes to cleave adherently to the Creator … although at times it seems to him that he is as a lily among thorns, let him pay no heed to that. Let us be strong and grow stronger in the power of the Ein Sof blessed be He and blessed be His name.

Rabbi Eliezer Bar Yitzhak Pappo, (Eliezer of Damascus),
Introduction, Path of Holiness, Item 12

Study Hours Prescribed by Sages


The Baal Shem Tov ordered his people to study the words of The Zohar prior to praying.

Rav Yitzhak Bar Yishaiah Atia,
Doresh Tov (Seeking Good), “Concerning The Zohar

Prior to prayer, speak as little as possible and study an item in the holy Zohar or the corrections, or the new Zohar.

“Order of the Day and Cautions of Holiness” in the House of Aaron prayer book

One should not pray before he studies in the holy Zohar, whether much or little.

The Pure Table, Paragraph 93, Item 2

Be sure to study the holy Zohar or the legends each night before going to sleep.

Rabbi Yehiel Michal of Zlotchov,
Conducts of Rabbi Michal of Zlotchov, item 21

Our teacher, the Baal Shem Tov wrote an advice to the rav Rabbi David of Michaelikov, how not to have nightmares: study one of the corrections of The Zohar before going to sleep.

The Crown of Shem Tov, in the name of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, the BAASHT

If one is rewarded with studying the holy Zohar in watches, thanks to him Israel will be redeemed from exile, which is like a night.

Prayer book, Gate of Heaven, in the order of the study that the ancient ones wrote

My soul so clings to The Book of Zohar that when I lay and when I rise I am attached to it. My heart is neither restful nor at ease for indeed, the power of engagement in it is known and famous; it is the source of all the books of the fearful.

From a letter of the author of Ateret Tzvi to his rav, The Raiah of Afta

Some study the holy Zohar all year long, dividing the pages over the days of the entire year. Happy are they and happy is their lot.

Rabbi Eliahu Ben Sulimani,
Elijah’s Throne, gate 4

The righteous Gaon, Rabbi Shlomo Bloch, said in the name of his rav, The Hafetz Chaim, “There are no limitations on studying The Zohar because it is mostly Midrash (commentaries). The Hafetz Chaimused to evoke everyone to study The Zohar of that Parasha (weekly portion of the Torah) every Shabbat, even unmarried men.”

Rabbi Yosef Ben Shlomo of Pojin,
Hosafot Binian Yosef (Yosef’s Building Supplements)

The first rule is to establish constant study, so this sacred study in the holy book of Zohar and the corrections will not stop, each of them learning his part one by one.

When Moses Raised, wondrous issues from
Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzato, the Ramchal

In his seminary, he established constant study of The Zohar, the corrections, and the New Zohar from dawn to dusk.

When Moses Raised, wondrous issues from
Rav Moshe Chaim Lozzato, the Ramchal

Also, be sure, my sons, to study or at least say each day in the early morning on an empty heart, a lesson in the holy Zohar. This is very good for the purification of the soul.

A Father’s Mercy, Paragraph 3

One should determine to study five pages of The Zohar each day. This is very beneficial and a great correction for the soul, to illuminate it, to cleanse it, to correct it, and to wipe out the thorns, bad qualities and ill wills, and to be rewarded with the pleasantness of the Creator.

Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Yehuda Yechiel Safrin of Komarno,
The Path of your Commandments, Introduction, “The Path of Torah,” 1, Item 31

My teacher (the Ari), gave Rabbi Abraham HaLevi good advice pertaining to attainment—to study The Zohar only for knowledge, without deep study, forty or fifty pages each day, and to read The Book of Zohar many times.

Rav Chaim Vital,
The Writings of the Ari, “The Gate of the Holy Spirit”

One should see that he completes the old Zohar and the New Zohar and the corrections each year. However, should he study the order of the portions of the holy Zohar by the order of weeks, sometimes he will need more than two or three weeks for one portion, that is, with longer portions.

Hence, one should establish the amount of study from the holy Zohar and the corrections as three pages each day, so he can complete the whole of the old Zohar the New Zohar and the corrections each year. And after studying three pages, he will establish his studies in the rest of the books of the Kabbalists and will study the books of Kabbalists in an order that he can, until he completes all the available books of Kabbalists. However, one should be sure to complete the holy Zohar and the corrections each year, and to do so for the rest of his life.

Rabbi Alexander Ziskind of Hrodna,
The Basis and the Root of the Work, “Sixth Gate, the Gate of the Sparkle”


Exertion in Studying The Zohar


The Book of Zohar has a different meaning every day.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov,
Degel Machaneh Ephraim [The Banner of the Camp of Ephraim],
Portion: Bo [Come], p 84

While studying The Zohar, one should deem each and every word as wisdom of truth.

The prayer book of Rabbi Shabtai Rashkovar, “Order of the Study,” p 17

When studying The Zohar, one should contemplate each and every word, for each letter is an innovation in and of itself, and things that seem literal are actually a secret, for The Zohar is all light.

Rav Chaim HaCohen, Good Conducts, Item 46

While studying The Zohar, one should cry a lot until he is granted understanding.

About Rabbi Nachman of Breslev, Talks of Rabbi Nachman, 8


The Wisdom of The Zohar and Worldly Wisdoms


Anyone who tastes from The Book of Zohar will taste for himself that there is such wisdom in the world as the wisdom of the depth of the secrets of the flavors of Torah, and all the wisdoms besides it are regarded as naught and formless.

The Rav Tzvi Hirsh of Ziditshov,
Depart from Evil and Do Good

He would elaborate extensively with praise of the greatness of the sanctity of the Tikkuney Zohar [corrections of The Zohar]. He was accustomed to engage in it extensively … and he said that all the wisdoms in the world are included in the book of corrections.

About Rabbi Nachman of Breslev,
Talks of Rabbi Nachman, 128

Rashbi and the Group that Authored The Zohar


We would never have the power to strip the Torah of its clothing, were it not for Rashbi and his friends.

Ramak, Know the God of Thy Father, 16

And Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai would reveal the secrets of the Torah, and his friends listened to his voice, joining him in this composition, each answering his part… And here, Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai instructed Rabbi Abba to be the writer and organizer of all the words that the sages, students of the seminary would say.

The Ramchal,
Adir BaMarom [The Mighty One on High], 24

The Rashbi composed The Book of Zohar according to the illumination that came to him while he was corrected in the cave … It is a great and terrible composition, which reveals the depth of the secrets of the Torah itself with great clarity, and this is called “The revelation of the internality of the Torah.”

The Ramchal,
Adir BaMarom [The Mighty One on High], 24

Only during the days of Rashbi, after 13 years of being in the cave, the gates of wisdom opened upon him, to shine for all of Israel through the end of days.

The Ramchal, Adir BaMarom [The Mighty One on High], 13 duction, 1982

Part III: Unlocking The Zohar. Chapter 11: The Experience of Reading in The Zohar

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


The Experience of Reading in The Zohar

The language of The Zohar remedies the soul, even when one does not understand what it says at all. It is similar to one who enters a perfumery; even when he does not take a thing, he still absorbs the fragrance.

Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov,

Degel Machaneh Ephraim [The Banner of the Camp of Ephraim], Excerpts


The Book of Zohar is a wonderful tool. It can open an entire world of wonderful and surprising revelations before us. The Zohar is like a gate to the actual reality, currently hidden from our senses. However, to use the power within it effectively, we must learn how to read in The Zohar properly. The five rules below will summarize the entire contents of the book and will help you prepare for the great journey in the paths of The Zohar.



Do Not Seek Intellectual Understanding

The Book of Zohar is studied with the heart, meaning through will and emotion. What does that mean? Unlike ordinary forms of study, which are based on intellectual processing of facts and data, here we must adopt a completely different approach. Studying The Zohar aims to evoke an internal change in us, and prepare us to receive the hidden reality.

The measure of our success depends only on the measure of our longing to discover and to feel that reality. Hence, there is no need for prior knowledge, skill, or any special intelligence. All that is required is to have a genuine desire to open one’s eyes wide, to open the heart, and to “devour” everything.



Interpret the Words Correctly

The Book of Zohar contains many descriptions and concepts that we are familiar with from our world, such as “sea,” “mountains,” “trees,” “flowers,” “animals,” “people,” and “journeys.” It is important to understand that all those details, images, and events mentioned in the book do not speak of the outside world around us, but only about what occurs within us.

Hence, while reading The Zohar we should try to interpret the words within it as expressions of those internal actions that take place in the soul, to see the text as a bridge to our deepest desires and qualities.



Seek the Light

We often hear that there is a special quality to The Zohar. This quality is a natural law of development that acts in all of life’s processes, and not some mystical, imaginary power.

Kabbalists explain that the corporeal world is entirely governed by the egoistic desire to exploit others, while in the spiritual world, only the intention to love and to give operates. Hence, we were given a special means whose function is to connect between the opposite worlds, or in other words, to direct our qualities according to the quality of loving and giving of the spiritual world—“the light that reforms.”

The way the light affects us is currently hidden from our understanding. This is why we refer to it as aSegula [power, remedy, virtue] or as a miracle. However, to Kabbalists, who know the spiritual world, there are no miracles here at all, only a perfectly natural process.

They explain that all we need is to read The Book of Zohar and wish for the power within it to affect us during the study. Gradually, we will begin to feel the inner change taking place in us thanks to that light. The spiritual world will be opened, and what first seemed to us a miracle will become a clear and straightforward rule.



We all know what efforts are required of babies to take their first steps in the world, and with what inspiring persistence they do it. They never give up, repeatedly trying until they succeed. Likewise, we should continue studying The Zohar with patience and persistence until we begin to “walk” by ourselves and discover the spiritual world. The system required for advancement has already been prepared for us in advance, and the only thing we must bring in is our great desire.



Bonding Is Key

The Book of Zohar was written by a group of ten Kabbalists who built a perfect Kli among them, a united will to discover the highest force in reality—the Creator. Only the internal connection between them, the love and the bonding, enabled them to breach the boundaries of the corporeal world and rise to the level of eternal existence that The Zohar speaks of. If we wish to follow them, we must try to build a similar bond among us, to search for the power of connection that existed among the students of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The Zohar was born out of love, hence its renewed disclosure today will be made possible only out of love.

* * *

For this chapter, which summarizes the book, we have selected special excerpts from The Zohar. In between the excerpts we added explanations, guidance as to the right intention during the reading, and more to help you connect to the light imbued in The Zohar.

It is recommended that you read this section slowly. The Book of Zohar, our guide to spiritual development, was not meant for superficial reading, but for relaxed reading joined with deep inner search.



“We create nothing new. Our work is only to illuminate what is hidden within.”

Menachem Mendel of Kotzk



Why Makes Salt So Important?

“Neither shall you lack the salt of the covenant of your God from your offering.” Why is salt so important? It is because it cleanses and perfumes the bitter, and makes it tasty. Salt is Dinim [judgments] in the Masach [screen] of Hirik, on which the middle line emerges, which unites the right with the left. It cleanses, perfumes, and sweetens the Dinim of the left, which are bitter, with the Hassadim[mercies] on the right line. Had there not been salt, the middle line would not have been extended and the world would not have been able to tolerate the bitterness.

Zohar or AllVaYechi [Jacob Lived], Item 666


Salt is the basis of all the spices, adding flavor to the food. In spirituality, when we begin to receive the upper light into the soul, it is regarded as flavors spreading within us.

Our evil inclination, the egoistic material of which we are made, is like a stew without spices. We derive no pleasure from it. This is why it was said (Babylonian Talmud, Kidushin, 30b), “I have created the evil inclination; I have created for it the Torah as a spice.” With the additional spice that the upper light brings—using the right intention—that same substance acquires wondrous flavors. Then, we have an evil inclination, and next to it, The Zohar as a spice. The combination between them yields the middle line.

If there weren’t salt, the middle line would not have been drawn and the world would not be able to tolerate the bitterness, says The Zohar. In other words, if we could not mitigate the ego, we would not be able to tolerate it.


O Fairest Among Women


The soul says to the Creator, “Tell me the secrets of the sublime wisdom, how You lead and govern the Upper World; teach me the secrets of the wisdom that I have not known and have not learned thus far, so I will not be shamed among those high degrees, among which I come.”

The Creator replies to the soul, “‘If you know not, O fairest among women,’ if you have come and did not gaze in the wisdom before you came here, and you do not know the secrets of the upper world, ‘go thy way,’ for you are not worthy of entering here without knowledge. ‘Go thy way by the footsteps of the flock,’ reincarnate in the world and become knowing by these ‘footsteps of the flock,’ who are human beings that people trample with their heels, for they consider them lowly. However, they are the ones who know their Master’s sublime secrets. From them will you know how to observe and to know, and from them will you learn.”

New Zohar, Song of Songs, Item 485-486


When beginning to study The Book of Zohar, it compels us to “rearrange” our minds, to perceive reality differently. The Zohar “sculpts” us from within, according to that inner world that we should enter, like a key that must match its lock.

Even now the spiritual world is in us, except we simply don’t feel it. We must build within us a different nature, new tools of perception, and new senses so we may feel it.


Jacob, Esau, Laban, and Balaam


We study ourselves and wish to find within us all the distinctions The Book of Zohar describes.

“Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: ‘Thus says thy servant Jacob: ‘I have lived with Laban.’’” Jacob immediately opened, to turn into a slave before him so Esau would not look upon the blessings that his father had blessed him, because Jacob left them for the end of days.

What did Jacob see that he sent for Esau and said, “I have lived with Laban”? Did he do it on a mission from Esau? Rather, Laban the Aramean, a voice walked in the world, as no man has ever been saved from him, because he was the soothsayer of soothsayers and the greatest charmer, and the father of Be’or, and Be’or was the father of Balaam, as it is written, “Balaam… son of Be’or, the soothsayer.” And Laban was more versed in soothsaying and wizardry than them, but he still could not prevail over Jacob. And he wanted to destroy Jacob in several ways, as it is written, “A wandering Aramean was my father.” For this reason, he sent for him and said, “I have lived with Laban,” to let him know of his strength.

The whole world knew that Laban was the greatest of all sages and soothsayers and charmers. And one who Laban wished to destroy could not be saved from him. And all that Balaam knew came from Laban. It is written about Balaam, “for I know that he whom thou blesses is blessed.” It is all the more so with Laban. And the whole world feared Laban and his magic. Hence, the first word that Jacob sent to Esau was, “I have lived with Laban.” And not for a short time, but for twenty years was I belated with him.

Zohar for AllVaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Items 21-23


If we picture before us all those forms and explanations that we heard in school and in life in general about the stories of the Bible—about Jacob, Esau, and all the other familiar names—and approach the study of The Zohar with them, we fall into a great confusion and cannot focus on what The Zohar really says [1].

While reading, we should seemingly go out to space, as if planet earth does not exist, as if we are only imagining that anything ever took place on it. After all, time, motion, and space are illusions that exist only in our current perception.

The fact that we imagine that someone was here thousands of years ago, and proceed to dig and find archeological findings, is just in our minds. Yet we call it “reality.” Now we want to change that perception. We want to see this world as existing only in our will, which is where it truly is.

Since we were born, we have been accustomed to seeing the film of life in this way—that there is seemingly something outside of us. However, the whole of this film is happening only in our will. We must fight against our habit and convince ourselves time and time again that in fact, it is all happening within the desire.

This approach does not deny reality because the desire is reality. Even now, when we run into something, we are actually running into a desire. Even the sensation that there are things happening around us is a manifestation of desires, forces that appear this way before us.

The more we try to live this inner picture through The Zohar and refrain from sinking into historic images of familiar Bible stories, the more The Zohar will promote us to the interior of the Torah, to the true Torah—the real perception of reality.

The Zohar is directing us.



[1] Yet, there is a strict condition during the engagement in this wisdom—to not materialize the matters with imaginary and corporeal issues, for thus they breach, “Thou shall not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” item 156).


Fear Not, You Worm of Jacob


The Creator placed all the idol worshipping nations in the world under appointed ministers, and they all follow their gods. All shed blood and make war, steal, commit adultery, mingle among all who act to harm, and always increase their strength to harm.

Israel do not have the strength and might to defeat them, except with their mouths, with prayer, like a worm, whose only strength and might is in its mouth. But with the mouth, it breaks everything, and this is why Israel are called “a worm.”

“Fear not, you worm of Jacob.” No other creature in the world is like that silk-weaving worm, from which all the garments of honor come, the attire of kings. And after weaving, she seeds and dies. Afterwards, from that very seed, she is revived as before and lives again. Such are Israel. Like that worm, even when they die, they come back and live in the world as before.

It is also said, “as clay in the hands of the potter, so you, the house of Israel, are in My hands.” The material is that glass; even though it breaks, it is corrected and can be corrected as before. Such are Israel: even though they die, they relive.

Israel is the tree of life, ZA. And because the children of Israel clung to the tree of life, they will have life, and they will rise from the dust and exist in the world.

Zohar for AllVaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Items 250-254

The point in the heart, the inner predilection that can awaken within each person, wherever he is, to reach directly to the quality of love and giving of the Creator, this is called Israel, Yashar [straight] El[God]. The rest of our self-centered inclinations are called “the nations of the world.”

On the way to the Creator, the point in the heart traverses many different states until it is finally rewarded with clinging to the “tree of life.”


The Sea Monsters

“Come unto Pharaoh.” It should have said, “Go unto Pharaoh.” But He allowed Moses into rooms within rooms, to one high sea monster, from which several degrees descend.

And Moses feared and did not approach, except to those Niles that are his degrees. But he feared the monster itself and did not come near because he saw it rooted in the upper roots.

Since the Creator saw that Moses was afraid and no other appointed emissaries above could approach it, the Creator said, “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great monster that lies in the midst of his rivers.” The Creator needed to wage war against him, and no other, as it is written, “I, and no emissary.” And they explained the wisdom of the monster that lies in the midst of his Niles to those “who travel on the road,” who know the secret of their Master.

Zohar for AllBo [Come], Items 36-38


The Book of Zohar speaks about us. It tells us about what happens within us and only within us—albeit in a very peculiar way that often seems like a fairytale story or a history book. We have lungs, kidneys, spleen, and other organs. But in addition, in our feelings, there are many desires, qualities, thoughts, and drives. In other words, besides the physical body, there also exists the human in us.

Who is the human in us? If we open our souls up and examine them, we will find what the authors of The Zohar write about. In the human in us there are qualities known as “Moses,” “Pharaoh,” “monsters,” “Niles,” etc.. We must try to find them within.

What does searching for them within give us? In truth, it gives us nothing. However, by trying to find these qualities within we draw upon ourselves “the light that reforms,” and this is what we are meant to want. There is no danger of misunderstanding. Even if we understand everything backwards, it will make no difference. What counts is the effort.

Let us assume that a person walks out at the end of a Zohar lesson and thinks, “I did well today! I felt that I really understood what Moses and what Pharaoh mean within me.” Yet, this is completely meaningless. It may well be that next time, that same person will feel, “I didn’t get any of it today; it’s all dry. Except for a minute or two, I couldn’t even concentrate.” However, those few minutes are exactly what that person gained.

It is with good reason that Baal HaSulam wrote in the “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot” that the states of concealment are the states in which one can toil. One who strains during the darkness and feels that it is pointless should understand that states in which one is made to labor without receiving something to refresh the ego, pride, understanding, the mind, and the feeling are very good for one’s spiritual progress. We must welcome states that feel bland, since it is through them that we grow.

“And God created the great sea-monsters,” which is the whale and its female partner. The word “monster” [in Hebrew] is written without a Yod, since he killed the female, and the Creator elevated her to the righteous. Hence, only one great monster remained. Also, know that a whale is a pure fish.

The whale and his female partner are of a very high root. This is because the sea is Malchut from the discernment of Hochma, and the most important of all sea creatures is the whale. Thus, he is the whole of the Hochma in the sea, although he does not extend from Hochma herself, but from Bina that returned to Hochma, the left line in her, called, “the point of Shuruk.” This is why it is written about them, “And God created the great sea-monsters,” since Bina is called Beria.

And yet, his place was not determined as the sea itself, which is Malchut de [of] Atzilut. Rather, a place was prepared in the world of Beria, outside of Atzilut, below Malchut deAtzilut, which are the ten Niles.

Zohar for AllBo [Come], Item 39

What does that depiction give us if we do not understand it and do not know how to connect it to us? Baal HaSulam could have explained the words of The Zohar in a little more emotional style, a little closer to us, in addition to the explanation of the language of Kabbalah. Yet, he leaves us room for effort, for searching for its meaning, what it is for, and where it is happening within us.

We are in Ein Sof, and there are 125 concealments from our current sensation to Ein Sof. We must try to feel our real state more and more vividly to “regain consciousness.” We are given this story specifically so we will begin to search. The search will yield within us new qualities and discernments with which we will begin to feel what we currently can’t. Otherwise, the ability to sense spirituality will not develop in us.

There must be an effort on our part here, as it is written, “The reward is according to the effort.” There is nothing else but effort here, which is why it was said, “You labored and found, believe.” When will finding come? When the upper light affects us sufficiently and the spiritual sense is complemented within us at its first degree.

Knowing has no significance here, only wanting. We must want to feel what is really happening here, and not the words. “Spiritual attainment,” as the Hazon Ish [1] said, “Is a subtle leaning of the fineness of the soul.” It is impossible to acquire it with the intellect, but only with the will of the heart.

It is with good reason that The Book of Zohar is abstruse. When we open that closed gate, we enter spirituality. Time and time again, day after day, without understanding what is happening, we will advance toward a state where all of a sudden, we will begin to feel something. At that point, internal responses to the words will awaken in us. And thus, we will naturally feel how a reality is formed within us and how a new world is being structured within.



[1] Rabbi Abraham Isaiah Karlitz (1878-1953), Faith and Confidence


What Is Hell?


“Better is he that is ignoble and has a servant, than he that plays the man of rank and lacks bread.” This verse the evil inclination because it always complains against people. And the evil inclination raises man’s heart and desire with pride, and man follows it, curling his hair and his head, until the evil inclination takes pride over him and pulls him to Hell.

Zohar for All, VaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Item 16


Should we also feel that state of Hell? And how do Kabbalists know about it? They experienced it themselves. After all, it is impossible for one to discover anything if not through experience. So do we all have to be in Hell? Apparently, we do.

We always sink into the evil inclination first, and only then discover what it truly is. At first, we do not see that it is evil. If we did, we would not get into it. At first, it is appealing, shining, glittering, and wonderful. Thus, our egoism deceives us.

Here The Zohar speaks of a person who scrutinizes the various parts in one’s soul. He must be entangled, and out of that entanglement he must come down to a state of Hell. That state exists in every degree, and it is said about it, “There is not a righteous man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Ecclesiastes, 7:20). Only when one is in that state can one scrutinize the evil that lies within, and discover how much one is losing because of one’s evil, how impotent one is, when it comes to doing something with oneself without the help of the Creator.

We should remember that each word that was written by Kabbalists is based on their own personal attainment, for “What we do not know, we do not define by a name or a word [1].” The authors of The Zohar experienced all those states in themselves. Let us hope that we, too, will obtain these states. After all, they are part of the road to discovering the truth.



[1] Baal HaSulam, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”


The Gate Over the Deep

These three sons of Noah are the persistence of the entire world … and from these the whole earth dispersed, for all the souls of people come from them because they are the meaning of the three upper colors in Bina, the three lines…

When the river that stretches out of Eden, Zeir Anpin, watered the garden, the Nukva [female], it watered her by the power of these three upper lines from the upper Bina, and from there the colors spread—white, red, and black…

And when you look in the degrees, you will find how the colors spread to all those sides, right, left, and middle, until they enter below, in Malchut, as twenty-seven channels of doors that cover the deep.

Zohar for All, Noah, Items 302-303


The more we can resemble the light, meaning its quality of giving and love, the more we will connect to it and discover its channels of bounty. In fact, even now we are in the world of Ein Sof, but it is hidden from us by all the worlds — Haalamot [concealments]—that exist within us, in our desire, because it is in contrast to the quality of the world of Ein Sof.


The twenty-seven letters, with the five final letters of Malchut, are twenty-seven channels that bring the abundance to it. They have been made into doors to cover the Dinim in Malchut, which are called “deeps.”

Zohar for All, Noah, Item 303


We ourselves are the ones who are building these channels and the doors above them. Once, these doors open a way for the light, and once they close it, like valves that open and close to the extent of our similarity with the light. Our efforts should be aimed at only one purpose—to make all our qualities resemble the spiritual qualities and receive light in them.

To the extent that we make the egoism in us similar to the light, we will discover within us the qualities of the Creator and the thought of Creation. There is a special part in The Book of Zohar, called Safra de Tzniuta [Book of Humbleness], which talks about it. This is also why it was said, “Wisdom is with the humble” (Proverbs, 11:2).


On My Bed at Night

“On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves.” The assembly of Israel spoke before the Creator and asked Him about the exile, since she is seated among the rest of the nations with her children and lies in the dust. And because she is lying in another land, an impure one, she said, “I ask on my bed, for I am lying in exile,” and exile is called “nights.” Hence, “I sought him whom my soul loves,” to deliver me from it.

“I sought him but did not find him,” since it is not His way to mate in me, but only in His palace, and not in exile. “I called him but he did not answer me,” for I was dwelling among other nations, who do not hear his voice except for His sons. “Did ever a people hear the voice of God?”

“On my bed night after night,” said the assembly of Israel, Divinity. “On my bed I was angered before Him, asking Him to mate with me to delight me—from the left line—and to bless me—from the right line—with complete joy—from the middle line.” When the king, ZA, mates with the assembly of Israel, several righteous inherit inheritance of a holy legacy, upper Mochin, and several blessings are found in the world.

Zoharfor AllKi Tazria [When a Woman Inseminates], Items 1-3


We should try to translate each word in The Zohar into its spiritual, internal meaning, and not perceive it in its familiar, corporeal sense. If we remain with the corporeal meaning, we degrade the Torah from the upper world to this world, and this is not why it was written. We must aspire to rise through it from this world to the upper world.

If we wish to reach Zeir Anpin, the Creator, to be in contact with Him, we must go through the mechanism called Malchut of Atzilut or “the Assembly of Israel,” through the collection of souls that are united directly to the Creator, meaning with love and giving. There is no other way.

If I do not see myself connecting all the broken souls within me and bringing them all to the Creator, to contact and to Zivug [coupling] with Him, then there is no “me.” This is a necessary picture that must always be kept in front of me. Otherwise, I am not going in the right direction.

Also, “me” means that I have taken myself through that mechanism of bonding among all the souls. This is the only way I can open up to The Book of Zohar. Why? Because the power of The Zohar was intended to keep the bonding among all those parts of me, which currently appear as not mine.


The Friends

All those friends who do not love each other depart the world before their time. All the friends in Rashbi’s time had love of soul and love of spirit among them. This is why in his generation, the secrets of Torah were revealed. Rabbi Shimon would say, “All the friends who do not love each other cause themselves to stray from the right path.” Moreover, they put a blemish in the Torah, since there is love, brotherhood, and truth in the Torah.

Abraham loved Isaac; Isaac loved Abraham; and they were embraced. And they were both gripped Jacob with love and brotherhood and were giving their spirits in one another. The friends should be like them and not blemish them, for if love is lacking in them they will blemish their value above, that is, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which are HesedGevuraTifferet.

Zoharfor AllKi Tissa [When You Take], Item 54


The Zohar was written by a group of Kabbalists; hence, it can only be understood within the framework of a group. To connect to what is hidden in it, we must bond with all the other people who are craving it. Together, we form a group.

Only the connection between us will allow us to open the book because all that the book talks about is found among the souls. If we wish to bond, our desires will be called “souls,” and in the connection between them, we will discover the Creator, the light that ties us all together.


“How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, as well.” These are the friends, as they sit together inseparably. At first, they seem like people at war, wishing to kill each other. Then they return to a state of brotherly love.

The Creator, what does He say about them? “How good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity, as well.” The words, “as well” indicate the presence of Divinity with them. Moreover, the Creator listens to their words and He is pleased and content with them.

And you, the friends who are here, as you were in fondness and love before, you will not part henceforth, until the Creator rejoices with you and summons peace upon you. And by your merit there will be peace in the world. This is the meaning of the words, “For the sake of my brothers and my friends let me say, ‘Let peace be in you.’”

Zohar for AllAharei Mot [After the Death], Items 65-66


If we do not consider the unity between us while reading in The Zohar, we will be missing out on the main point.

But wait! Until now, we said that we must feel these things within us, to look for the details mentioned in The Zohar within us, and now we are talking about bonding with other friends, bonding with a group outside of us. Isn’t there a contradiction here?

The thing is that even the group is not really outside. We must remind ourselves every moment that all that we feel as external to us is really within us.

We must tie the concept of “self” within us with the concept of “other” within us. We do not feel “others” who are outside of our bodies. Rather, they, too, are inside of us, within our desires. This is how our desires are divided. There are internal Kelim [vessels] and there are external Kelim, and we need only mend the connection between them. And the other people in the group are the first people that we will connect to ourselves.


Selected Questions about the Study of The Zohar


The Segula [Power] in The Book of Zohar

There is another magnificent power in it: All who engage in it, although they still do not understand what is written in it, are purified by it, and the Upper Lights draw closer to them.

Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

Question: I am not really sure how the Segula in The Book of Zohar works.

Answer: In our current situation, it’s hard to understand it. This is why it is called Segula.

Let us say that I am told that if I jump on one spot ten times, the lamp on the ceiling will switch on. I don’t know what the connection is between them. Perhaps a switch was placed under the floor, and there is a counter that counts to ten and switches it on after ten counts, but I don’t know that. There must be a connection, but it’s hidden from me. In Kabbalah, such a hidden connection is called Segula.

In other words, Segula is a law that exists in Nature, but one that I still don’t know. Those who have already studied themselves and it are telling me, “If you use it in such and such a way, you will activate it. You do not see it, but this is how you activate it.”

If an alien were to come to our world from another planet, he would look at a human baby and at a newborn calf and say that the calf will grow up to become a prominent figure, and the baby will grow up to small and helpless. However, we know that if you give both of them what they need, one will grow up to be a cow or an ox, and the other to be a human. This is a miracle, a Segula. We have grown accustomed to it happening, but it really is a miracle.

The little baby suddenly begins to understand, to react, to perform all kinds of actions. Each day, new abilities appear. How does it happen? After all, we didn’t do anything to make it happen. We have become used to the existence of a process of development, but in fact, it is a manifestation of the force of life, a spiritual force that acts in the creature and appears in such a way.

The same thing happens with our spiritual development. After all, the laws of spiritual development are no different, only this development is still hidden from us; we are not accustomed to it. But the day when people use these laws just as they do all other laws of Nature is not far.

Kabbalists are telling us that there is a force in Nature whose impact we can draw by studying The Book of Zohar. The more you study it, the stronger, wiser, more sensitive, and more understanding you will become. By that process, spirituality will appear to you because this book has the ability to change you.

But aren’t there other books that change me? There are, indeed. There are other books that change our perception of reality and help us discover the hidden realms. But The Book of Zohar affects the change more potently, yet more smoothly than any other book.

The World of Desires

A person who is in the dark and has always been in the dark. When you want to give him light, you first need to light a small light, like the eye of a needle, and then a little bigger. Thus, every time some more until all the light properly shines for him.

Zohar for AllVaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Item 91

Question: If I hear that everything is inside of me, how should I relate to those around me? How should I see the world? How should I consider those who love me, those who hate me, and generally relate to what happens around me?

Answer: We need to understand that there is the ideal, and there is reality. The ideal is what we will discover in the future, in our corrected states. For now, we are only learning that another reality exists in which everything is happening within us. For now, none of it is real for us, and perhaps everything that we imagine as a future picture is nothing like we see it.

We have no idea how our lives will change once we discover this picture. It is not that our world will change to some extent, but that a new world will appear before us. Hence, when we read in The Book of Zohar we must detach ourselves from everything we know and simply try to “dive” into it. At the moment, we cannot be in two worlds simultaneously. For now, we can only be in one world.

Therefore, we detach ourselves from the material reality and try to build a different picture, much like a child who wants to grow. Children want to be grownups in every way—in how they dress, how they behave, and in the eyes of others. They want everyone to treat them as adults.

We, too, should imagine in every way we can that The Book of Zohar speaks about our own new world, and that we are in it. In other words, this book discusses our internal qualities within which we exist, and within which we see a new reality. This game yields the impact of the light of correction upon us, and this new world appears.

So when the new world appears, does the old world disappear and we fly into heaven? Not quite. We discover a new life in our desires. Two desires—our own and that of the Creator—appear in us one opposite the other. We feel them, and we are in between them like a middle line, as our “selves,” and there is nothing else but that. Between the two forces there is me.

The Difference Between the Torah and The Zohar

“Open my eyes, that I may see wonders from Your law.” How foolish are people, for they do not know and do not consider engaging in the Torah. But the Torah is the whole of life, and every freedom and every goodness.

Zohar for AllHayei Sarah [The Life of Sarah], Item 219

Question: Why do we need The Zohar if we already have the Torah?

AnswerThe Zohar is a Kabbalistic interpretation of the Torah. Moses laid down the foundation, but the Torah is a coded book. There is a single code in it, but it is very deep. The Torah is written in “the language of the branches” [1]. The wisdom of Kabbalah explains the language of the branches and helps us read the Torah and understand what Moses really meant.

We are accustomed to relating to the Torah as a historic narrative about the feats of an ancient tribe. But Kabbalah allows us to see the upper roots through all that, the forces that evoke such actions in our world. Through Kabbalah, we can rise to the level of the system of forces that governs our world, and from there, we can correct and manage reality.

The Torah served as a correction method for those who lived since Moses’ time until the ruin of the Temple, which symbolized humankind’s detachment from the spiritual world. At that time, it became evident that Moses’ Torah was so remote from us that we could not correct ourselves directly through it. [2]

The Torah is simply too encrypted to be a guide for the souls that have fallen into corporeality. That fall created a need for another source of guidance. This is the time when The Book of Zohar was written. However, The Zohar was not written for the people who lived in those days—the beginning of the exile—but for our days—the end of the exile.


Woe unto one who says that the Torah comes to tell literal tales and the uneducated words of such as Esau and Laban. If this is so, even today we can turn the words of an uneducated person into a law, and even nicer than theirs. And if the Torah indicates to mundane matters, even the rulers of the world have among them better things, so let us follow them and turn them into a law in the same way. However, all the words of the Torah have the uppermost meaning.

The upper world and the lower world are judged the same. Israel below correspond to the high angels above. It is written of the high angels, “Who makes winds His messengers,” and when they come down, they clothe in dresses of this world. Had they not clothed in dresses such as in this world, they would not be able to stand in this world and the world would not tolerate them.

And if this is so with angels, it is all the more so with the law that created the angels and all the worlds, and they exist for it. Moreover, when it came down to this world, the world could not tolerate it if it had not clothed in these mundane clothes, which are the tales and words of the uneducated.

Hence, this story in the Torah is a clothing of the Torah. And one who considers this clothing as the actual Torah and nothing else, cursed will be his spirit and he will have no share in the next world.

Zohar for AllBeHaalotcha [When You Raise], Items 58-60




This chapter is only a taste of The Zohar. We tried to walk you through reading excerpts from The Zohar to make it easier for you to join the study. In the appendices you will find selected excerpts from The Zohar, as well as quotes from the greatest Kabbalists about the importance of the study of The Zohar. If you wish to delve deeper into the words of Baal HaSulam about the approach to studying The Zohar, you can do that in the appendix, “Introductions of Baal HaSulam to The Book of Zohar.”

Even if we first feel that we are not feeling anything while reading The Zohar, after only ten lessons over the Internet you will be able to feel very distinctly how The Zohar affects you.

The impact of the study of The Zohar is very powerful indeed, and as we said above, it does not depend on the level of our understanding, but rather on our efforts to perceive what The Zoharspeaks of. We only need to listen, to want to feel. This is the only way to know the world—our world, as well as the spiritual world.

The Book of Zohar is a lifeline that has been thrown to us by the Creator. If we grab the end of that line, we will be able to climb all the way to Ein Sof.


“How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You.”

“How great is Your goodness,” meaning how sublime and precious is the Upper Light called, “good.”

This is the hidden light, with which the Creator does good in the world. He does not deny it every day, in it is the world sustained, and upon it does it stand.

Zohar for AllEmor [Say], Item 3



[1] Kabbalists study the upper world, which is beyond the range of perception of an egoistic individual. According to them, from every object in the spiritual world, which is called “a root,” a force cascades into our world and produces an object here, which is called “a branch.” In his essay, “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Baal HaSulam explains it in the following way: “There is not an element of reality, or an occurrence of reality in a lower world, that you will not find its likeness in the world above it, as identical as two drops in a pond. And they are called ‘Root and Branch.’ That means that the item in the lower world is deemed a branch of its pattern, found in the higher world, which is the root of the lower element, as this is where that item in the lower world was imprinted and made to be.”

[2] For more on this topic, see Baal HaSulam’s “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”


Part III: Unlocking The Zohar. Chapter 10: The Upper Worlds

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


The Upper Worlds


Behold that before the emanations were emanated and the creatures were created, the upper simple light had filled the whole existence. And there was no vacancy, such as an empty air, a hollow, but all was filled with that simple, boundless light.

…And when upon His simple will, came the will to create the worlds and emanate the emanations, to bring to light the perfection of His deeds, His names, His appellations, which was the cause of the creation of the worlds, then the Ein Sof restricted Himself, in His middle point, precisely at the center, and … a place was formed, where the Emanations, Creations, Formations, and Actions might reside.

The Ari, The Tree of Life [1]

In this chapter, we will deal with the structure of reality and the upper worlds. This information will allow us to better understand life and help us see what hides behind the words in The Book of Zohar. We exist in a reality that includes the Creator, the creatures, and the system through which the Creator connects to the creatures. Through that system, the Creator leads us toward the purpose of Creation—to do good to us, meaning to allow us to be like Him.


Like a loving father, the Creator wishes to share with us all that He has. But the Creator must make us evolve to become independent; hence, He must activate His influence on us from both sides, with mercy and with judgment. Although both stem from Him, they appear to us as contradictory forces and are perceived by us as effects of good or bad, mercy or judgment, light or darkness.

When we experience life’s events we must keep in mind that even in what appears to be the most detrimental situation, He wishes only to do good to us.

If we remember to connect everything to Him, and remember that He is benevolent, then we reconnect those two lines—mercy and judgment—to the same source. And since we are the ones who connect them in our hearts and minds, we are the ones who achieve Dvekut [adhesion] with the Creator, meaning to become like the Creator.

However, when we try to do it, we discover that it is very difficult to connect all the bad and good things to the Creator, to understand that everything comes from Him only for a good purpose. We find ourselves asking Him for the strength to be able to unite everything to Him.

Studying the wisdom of Kabbalah in a group is the means that promotes us and directs us in this process. During the study and the work in the group, our egos grow and seem more intense, meaner, and crueler with each stage. Our egos try to mislead us into thinking that there is someone other than Him, and that He is not only benevolent. As a result, we are compelled to turn more and more to the Creator to receive more strength from Him to overcome the ego.

We overcome, and the ego intensifies. We overcome again, and it intensifies again. Stage by stage we rise until we succeed in exposing and correcting all the ego that was hidden in us to begin with. At that point, we achieve complete bonding with the Creator, Dvekut. We become like Him. This makes us infinite as well, allowing us to see the whole of reality without any boundaries between life and death, to understand and to feel everything, to be filled with light.

To allow us to perform the entire process, the Creator created a communication system between Him and us. Through it He leads us from above, and through it we can ask from below and receive His assistance.

This system is divided into several parts:

  1. Its top is the world of Ein Sof [Infinity], where the Creator’s power is out in the open.
  2. Below it is the world of Adam Kadmon [Primordial Man], where the Creator divides His bestowal into five types, according the level of our egos.
  3. Below Adam Kadmonis the world of Atzilut [Emanation], which is a system of guidance and governance that divides into five parts: Keter [Crown], Hochma [Wisdom], Bina [Understanding], Zeir Anpin [Small Face], and Malchut [Kingship]. They are also called Atik[Ancient], Arich Anpin[Long Face], Aba and Ima [Father and Mother], Dechar [male] and Nukva [female].
  • The Zoharrefers to Atik and Arich Anpin as the “hidden head” or Atzilut.
  • Abaand Ima are those from whom all the lights come to us.
  • These lights traverse Zeir Anpinand reach the Nukva,Malchut of Atzilut, who is called “Divinity,” since all the light that is intended for the souls comes from her, from Divinity. Malchut is also called “the Assembly of Israel” because she assembles within her all the souls that wish to reach Yashar El [straight to God], meaning rise to the world of Ein Sof.
  1. Below the world of Atzilutare the worlds BeriaYetzira, and Assiya (BYA),where our souls exist.
  2. Finally, there is this world.

In the language of The ZoharMalchut is also called “land,” and Bina (Ima) is also called “heaven.” Zeir Anpin and Malchut have different names in The ZoharShochen [Dweller, in masculine form] and Shechina [Divinity, in feminine form], the Creator and the Assembly of Israel, groom and bride, male and female.

These are only a few examples because each of these elements of reality has many names in The Zohar, taken from the language of interpretations [Midrash]. To help us connect to the heart of the matter, Baal HaSulam consistently attached Kabbalistic terms to the different names.


All the worlds, Upper and lower and everything within them, was created only for man.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah”


These worlds do not exist in any physical place. Rather, they are as qualities that have no place, volume, or weight.

A person who still resides in the inborn egoistic desires is regarded as being in this world, in terms of one’s qualities. If the point in the heart awakens and one begins to wish to grow in spirituality, if one aspires for a higher dimension, it is considered being in the worlds BYA, in one’s qualities.

Working on oneself in a group that studies the wisdom of Kabbalah, one begins to evoke the light that reforms from the degree of Ein Sof, through all the worlds. That light creates a desire to reach Malchut of Atzilut along with one’s group. When one is included in Malchut of Atzilut, one evokes the desire to feel Him, to give back to Him, in return for the Creator’s giving.

This general will of the souls rises from Malchut to Zeir Anpin of AtzilutZeir Anpin raises that will to Aba and Ima of Atzilut, and from there it rises further through Ein Sof. Then, light pours down from Ein Sof through the entire system down to Aba and Ima, from them to Zeir Anpin, and from there to Malchut, and the souls in Malchut receive the filling.

When the souls receive the filling, they grow and unite with Zeir Anpin. This is called “the unification of Divinity with the Creator,” or “the unification of the souls with the Creator.”

It requires many such operations before all the desires in the souls realize themselves. When all the desires are corrected and aim to give to the Creator as the Creator gives to them, the end of correction will arrive.

What causes this process? The Creator has an inherent desire to give. Hence, there is no need to ask Him to give abundance and pleasure, as we normally do. The Creator has what to give, as well as an infinite desire to give it, but He wants us to not merely be receivers, inferior to Him, but for us to be like Him—great, independent, giving—similar in qualities to the Creator.

We are accustomed to asking for fulfillment. Instead, we should be asking for correction. When we acquire the correction, meaning become givers ourselves, we will immediately begin to feel all the abundance of the Creator and be filled with it. In other words, our problem is that we don’t understand what to ask of the Creator. We are in an ocean of bounty, goodness, and delight, but we lack the proper receptacle in which to sense it. That Kli [vessel] is the quality of love and giving, and this is what we should ask of the Creator to give us. The more we have of this quality, the more we will feel the abundance that fills us.

On the Creator’s part there is only one limitation on our reception of abundance—we should be like Him. He wishes for us to enjoy as much as He enjoys.

What does that mean? Let us assume that I come to visit a respectable personality. The host serves me all kinds of delicacies, invites me to play golf with him, listen to classical music … but alas, I am an uncultured person. I have no interest in any of these offerings. I never experienced these sophisticated delights and I have no desire for them. I look at the host, bewildered, and say, “What do you want from me? I didn’t come to you to enjoy what you like. I came to enjoy what I like!”

And the host replies, “My friend, I wish to give you pleasures beyond your imagination. Make a little effort, get used to them and believe me, you will see the beauty in them. You will feel that they are giving you much greater pleasure than you are feeling now.”

What should I do? I can go along with the host and try to learn those new pleasures, although I have no desire for them, and then I will indeed gradually begin to experience a very special pleasure in them, a real taste of heaven. I can also tell the host, “You know what? It’s too hard for me to get used to these new things. I can’t, so let’s drop it. I’m going back to my simple life.”

“Fine, go back,” he’ll reply.

But when I return to my old life, I now feel that it’s not such a bargain after all. And then I remember those words of the host about those other pleasures, the superior ones, and I return to him after all.

And perhaps I will go back to my old life once more, and then again to him several times. But in the end, I will understand that I have no choice but to return to the host to change my taste into his, because I already know that in them I will feel the taste of life.


Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts would vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone. This indignant question is a question that the whole world asks, namely, “What is the meaning of my life?”

In other words, these numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily, and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them, to complete them to the fullest, who is it who enjoys them? Or even more precisely, whom do I delight?

It is indeed true that historians have grown weary contemplating it, and particularly in our generation. No one even wishes to consider it.

Yet the question stands as bitterly and as vehemently as ever. Sometimes it meets us uninvited, pecks at our minds and humiliates us to the ground before we find the famous ploy of flowing mindlessly in the currents of life as always.

Indeed, it is to resolve this great riddle that the verse writes, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Items 2-3




[1] The Ari, The Tree of Life, Gate 1, Branch 2


All Are His Words


If you only listen,

If you only open your heart,

You will begin to see

That He wishes to speak with you,

That He is speaking to you.

Everything that passes

Through your mind and heart

Within you and around you,

Is all His words.

All that you hear,

All that you see,

Are only


There is nothing,

No people,

No one else.

You are speaking only with Him,

And it is His language.


The world’s appearance,

The sensation of reality,

The sensation of the self,

Are all the Creator

Speaking with you.


The Understanding Heart

Part III: Unlocking The Zohar. Chapter 9: The “Rabbi Shimon” System

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


The “Rabbi Shimon” System


This book shall be called The Zohar [“The Radiance”] 
because of the impact of that light 
from the upper radiance.

The Ramak, Know the God of Your Father


The Zohar is a gift that humanity has received from the Creator through the great Kabbalist, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Rabbi Shimon was a special soul. He combined within him all the souls that preceded him. This is why he succeeded in leading the group that authored The Zohar to such unprecedented and never-repeated attainment—the end of correction.

The authors of The Zohar lived at a special time, which incorporated two completely opposite points: the end of their correction, on the one hand, and the spiritual ruin of the entire people, on the other hand. This is the reason why they succeeded in connecting the great light, called “upper radiance,” with our world. We can learn about their greatness from the following words:

Happy are you in this world and in the next world. You are all holy; you are all sons of the Holy God. It is written about you, “One shall say, ‘I am the Lord’s’; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob.” Each of you is tied and connected to the High and Holy King, and you are appointed ministers with a shield from that land, called “the land of the living,” the Nukva [female] that clothes upper Ima [mother], whose ministers eat from the MAN of the Holy dew.

Zohar for AllLech Lecha [Go Forth], Item 445

The Book of Zohar, which they granted us, is the primary source that we have for the correction of the soul. Among all the holy scriptures ever written, beginning with the book, Angel Raziel, through the Bible and to the present day, there has not been a single book that compares to The Zohar in its spiritual power. All the Kabbalists wrote that there is a very powerful light in this book, a special “powerhouse,” and when they say that the Kabbalah is “the interior of the Torah” or “the true Torah,” they are referring first and foremost to The Book of Zohar.

One who reads in it, even without understanding a word of it but by simply wishing to know what the book says, will arouse an immense force that initiates internal changes within him. This is the reason why people who join Zohar lessons often feel that there is something very powerful about these lessons. They cannot always tell what it is, but something happens to them from within.

The authors of The Zohar have prepared for us a system of development. In our world, we see it as a book. But in truth, it is a complete system that they have prepared for us.

It is like a newborn baby. It doesn’t know that everything has already been prepared for it—diapers, a cradle, special food, and toys for each stage in its development. The world has worked and is working for it all the time. Every generation, we prepare more things for newborns; it is a compulsion of our love for them.

The work that the authors of The Zohar did was enormous. They did not compose a technical science book, but transferred all the upper light through each of them, as though through a special mechanism, and prepared it to be received within our souls.

If you look at The Book of Zohar, you will see only paper and letters. But our desire to grow unconsciously activates the spiritual mechanism they prepared for us, and the light reaches us through it. This is why we are so influenced by these writings.


Why did the Kabbalists obligate each person to study the wisdom of Kabbalah? Indeed, there is a great thing within it, worthy of being publicized: There is a wonderful, invaluable remedy for those who engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah. Although they do not understand what they are learning, through the yearning and the great desire to understand what they are learning, they awaken upon themselves the Lights that surround their souls … which bring one much closer to achieving perfection.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot,” Item 155



A Spiritual Support System


While reading in The Zohar, we should want to connect to all the people in the world whose point in the heart has awakened, and who wish to receive from The Zohar the strength to develop, too. Thus, even if we are just beginners, we receive in return for our desire an enormous power that will push us forward.

This is a huge force that can invoke a significant change in the world. All we need is to approach The Zohar with a desire to bond with everyone.

There is none to begin and say songs, and there is none to complete his singing. That is, those who stand in the middle of the singing do not complete their song because they all become attentive to the voice of Rabbi Shimon until an utterance of a mouth is heard through all the firmaments above and below.

When Rabbi Shimon concludes engaging in the Torah, who saw songs? Who saw the joy of those who praise their Master? Who saw the voices that walk in all the firmaments? It is for Rabbi Shimon that all the souls and angels come and kneel and bow before their Master, and raise the fragrances of the perfumes in Eden—illumination of Hochma—all the way to AtikYomin. All this is for Rabbi Shimon.

Zohar for AllShemot [Exodus], Item 242

Rabbi Shimon is not a flesh and blood person being praised here, but a spiritual system called “Rabbi Shimon.” What does that mean? The general soul consists of many parts with many different functions, like organs in a human body such as a brain, a heart, kidneys, and so forth. The soul of Rabbi Shimon, discussed in this chapter, is a very important part of the general soul because it leads the correction of the rest of the souls.

The great souls that preceded him led the correction in regard to Israel. But the soul of Rabbi Shimon is a system that passes the correction onto the entire world. Unlike Moses’ Torah, whose purpose was only to correct the people of Israel, The Zohar is intended to correct the whole of humanity. The degree that continues the soul of Rabbi Shimon is the soul of Rabbi Elazar, his son, and it already aims at the end of the general correction [1]. This is the structure of the system of the souls through which the light that corrects our souls comes down and fills them.

The fathers came—Moses, Aaron, David, and Solomon—and blessed Rabbi Shimon. They said, “You are a holy light, and your friends, …which shine from you. And in each of it, it is said, ‘The candle of the Lord is man’s soul.’ Moses shines in you and you in your friends, and you are all one, without any separation. And from there onward all these illuminations spread to all who attain the wisdom.”

Zohar for All, Pinhas, Item 824

In the current state of the world, it is vital that we cling to the system of Rabbi Shimon because it leads us toward the corrections. This is also the reason why The Book of Zohar is now becoming so well known throughout the world.

Until recently, while everyone knew that there was something special about The Zohar, very few actually felt a need to open it. Today, when the world is in a global crisis, The Zohar must be revealed. It is the only means for the correction of the world. Through it, we can and should obtain the power to reach the highest level of Nature, the upper world.

Happy are those who sit before Rabbi Shimon and are rewarded with hearing the secrets of the Torah from his mouth. …Rabbi Shimon said, “Happy are you, friends, for no secret is hidden from you.”

Zohar for AllYitro [Jethro], Item 170

Anyone who wishes to receive strength from this system is regarded as “sitting before Rabbi Shimon.” Even a person who slightly touches the system of Rabbi Shimon is already under its influence.

If you were not Rabbi Shimon, it would not be conveyed to be revealed. The Zivug [coupling] in that world bears fruit more than a Zivug that is done in this world. With their Zivug, the Zivug of that world, with their desire as one, when the souls cling to one another, they bear fruit and lights come out of them and become candles. …All those souls that are born out of these Zivugim [couplings] enter the same hall.

Zohar for AllShlach Lecha [Send Out], Item 202

When speaking of Rabbi Shimon as a system, it may be a bit confusing. Therefore, let’s put some order into our words. Some 1,800 years ago, there indeed lived a man whose name was Shimon, and he did write the book known as The Book of Zohar along with friends-students. However, besides living in our world and writing the book physically, their souls actually experienced all the impressions that they described in the book.

If the authors of The Zohar had not lived in our world, they would not have been able to write the book. But if they had not lived in the upper world, they would not have been able to correct anything and the book would give us no spiritual value. In other words, along with the writing, they performed internal corrections at the level of the souls in the upper world. Writing is just a superficial expression of a corrected connection of love and bonding among souls, which allows the light to come down from the world of Ein Sof through their system, almost all the way to us.

Why almost? Because the light is standing right above us, and what is required of us is only for us to want to receive it.


One who parts from Rabbi Shimon,
it is as though he parted from everything.

Zohar for AllYitro [Jethro], Item 411




[1] For more on this, see “The Giving of the Torah” and “The Arvut [Mutual Guarantee]” by Baal HaSulam

Part III: Unlocking The Zohar. Chapter 8: Being Like The Creator

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


Being Like the Creator

When we equalize in every conduct with our root, we sense delight.

Baal HaSulam, “The Giving of the Torah”


We are standing at a crucial point in history. Tens of thousands of years of human development, and billions of years of evolution have all occurred only to bring us to these moments of transformation, to the birth of the new humanity.

If we examine Nature, we will see that it is constantly evolving. First, the inanimate evolved, then the vegetative, and finally the animate. Each such evolution is based on the evolution of the desire in the creature.

The desire that wishes only to sustain itself without change takes the form of inanimate. When the desire wishes to evolve, to move toward what is good for it and away from what harms it, the vegetative form appears. An even greater desire, which approaches the benefiting and turns away from the harmful by its own movement, takes on the animate form. All the forms we see before us in reality are only external envelopes that express the evolution of the only force that was created, “the will to receive delight and pleasure” or in short, “the will to receive.”

The most developed creature in the animate degree is the human species. However, as we said earlier, a little over 5,770 years ago a new evolution began in Nature: One of the creatures evolved into the speaking degree, to the degree of Adam, who is Domeh [similar] to the Creator. Within the desire of that person appeared a craving that was not of this world—the point in the heart, a spark that pushed him to discover the Creator.

We find that the only need in man’s wishes, which does not exist in the whole of the animate species, is the awakening towards Godly Dvekut (adhesion). Only the human species is ready for it, and none other.

Baal HaSulam, “This Is for Judah”

Unlike lower degrees, evolution to the speaking degree does not happen by itself. It occurs only when we have a desire, a craving to rise to it. That craving is called “intention.” To develop within us an intention to be similar to the Creator, we need a means to help us. This is why The Book of Zohar was written.

The Zohar is a very special book. Throughout history, Kabbalists have used it to attain the recognition of the highest level of the overall Nature. This is why it is considered such an important book. In fact, when Kabbalists refer to a book without mentioning its name, they are always referring to The Book of Zohar.

In a generation that would be the start of a 2,000 year exile, ten Kabbalists gathered to compose The Book of Zohar. They were special souls who represented the ten Sefirot [from the word “sapphires”], the ten foundations in the general system of Creation, and they were able to express the entire structure of reality. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was their leader, and he was considered the Sefira[singular of SefirotKeter [crown]. The others corresponded to the rest of the Sefirot— HochmaBinaHesedGevuraTifferetNetzahHodYesod, and Malchut.

To describe the shape of the system, the authors of The Zohar used signs that we call “letters.” When we read the letters and the words, if we desire to be connected to this system, it begins to affect us.

The Zohar makes us grow and evolve in the spiritual sense. It gradually provides us with the right intention and the special power of development called “the light that reforms.” To be reformed means to achieve the degree of the Benevolent One—the Creator.


From Darkness to Light

In our world, day and night interchange by themselves as a result of the turning of the earth. In spirituality, it works differently: I myself turn the night into day because by reading in The Zohar and the work in the group, I invert the direction of the operation of my will to receive from inward to outward. That is, darkness and light depend on the way in which the desire operates.

Let us explain the above statement: The will to receive may operate in one of two ways—in order to receive or in order to give (also known as “in order to bestow”). When the desire operates in order to receive, it cannot contain anything. The pleasure cannot permeate the desire; it only touches the desire and we feel as though we are enjoying it, but it only seems so. In truth, the sense of pleasure disappears promptly after we receive it. This is so because the will to receive and the pleasure are opposites—the desire is like minus and the pleasure is like plus—neutralizing each other.

We can never keep pleasure within. If, for example, we buy something that we’ve been craving for a long time, something really special, a week later the sense of satisfaction disappears. There are pleasures, like the pleasure of sex, which disappear immediately, at the very moment we obtain them because of the oppositeness between the nature of the desire and the nature of the pleasure. This is how Baal HaSulam summarizes this futile pursuit:

This world is created with a want and emptiness of all the good abundance, and to acquire possessions we need movement. …Hence, we choose the torment of movement in order to acquire the fulfillment of possessions. However, because all their possessions are for themselves alone, and “One who has a hundred wants two hundred,” one finally dies with less than “half one’s desire in one’s hand.” In the end, they suffer from both sides: from the pain of increased motion, and from the pain of deficiency of possessions, half of which they lack.

Baal HaSulam, Talmud Eser Sefirot [The Study of the Ten Sefirot],

Part 1, “Inner Reflection,” Chapter 4

This darkness, which is felt in the will to receive, can be turned to light only if we change the modus operandi of the will to receive into “in order to bestow.” In other words, if we use the will to receive in order to give to others, and enjoy the giving, we will become unbounded in our actions because one can give indefinitely.

If we enjoy loving and giving to others as much as the Creator enjoys it, we will become similar to Him and we will feel life as eternal and whole. What do we need in order to realize it? We need to acquire love of others and find abundance that we can give to others.

Love of others can be obtained from the Creator through the light that reforms. Once love for others is created within us and we have become similar to the Creator, the abundance of the Creator appears in us. When we act out of love for others, we realize the thought of Creation and become the Creator’s “partners” with respect to the creatures. This is the correction process of how the will to receive operates.

A corrected act of the will follows the formula: “Israel, the Creator, and the Torah are one.” Israel means the desire in me to reach straight to the Creator, Yashar El [Straight to God], meaning to become similar to the Creator. The Creator is the Creator, the goal to which I aspire, and the Torah is the entire corrected mechanism, the ties of love that connect the souls together.

To illustrate the above, think of the human body. In the body, different parts work in unison and with mutual guarantee. Each part helps the others and there is bonding and unity among them. Our souls must function similarly—unite in a bond of loving and giving. This is the Torah. The Torah contains 613 correct connections between each soul and all the other souls.

If the connection between the souls is one of hatred and not one of love, there is no Torah and it is hidden. The souls that do not feel the ties of love among them are in exile from the Torah and from the Creator, meaning detached from the right connection (Torah) and from the light that fills the right connection (the Creator). We can compare it to the difference between a healthy body and a body whose systems are dysfunctional.

The corrections we perform on our desire—to shift from the corrupted form to the corrected one—are called Mitzvot [commandments] [1]. This is why it is said that “Love thy friend as thyself” is the great rule of the Torah, for it contains the entire system of correct relations among the souls [2].



[1] “When one can aim in order to bestow, this act is called a Mitzva [commandment]” (Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, “Regarding the Received Reward”).

[2] For more on the topic, see Letter no. 17 and “Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage” by Baal HaSulam.


The Middle Line

One should believe that one has a point in the heart, which is a shining spark. Sometimes, it is only a black point and does not shine. That spark must always be awakened … for it can light up one’s deeds so they will shine.

Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, “What Is ‘The Herdsmen of Abram’s Cattle and the Herdsmen of Lot’s Cattle’ in the Work”

Let us now approach an excerpt from The Book of Zohar. The excerpt is taken from the portion Lech Lecha [Go Forth], and talks about the middle line, the MAN of the righteous. MAN is one’s intention to develop into being similar to the Creator, and righteous are those who wish to be right. They wish to say that the Creator was right to create them, to justify Him, and justification is possible only by truly seeing and sensing what is happening in reality, out of the highest degree to which a person rises. This is what we wish to achieve through The Zohar.

He even plays with the souls in this world, since at midnight, all those true righteous awaken to read in the Torah and to sound the praises of the Torah. And the Creator and all those righteous in the Garden of Eden listen to their voices. And a thread of grace stretches over them during the day, meaning that by the MAN that they raise through the Torah and the praises, the middle line—the light of Hassadim [mercy]—extends to the Nukva [Aramaic: female]. And since they caused that light, they are rewarded with the same amount they have induced in the Nukva. This is the meaning of, “By day the Lord will command His mercy, and in the night His song shall be with me,” for because of the singing at night, one is rewarded with His mercy during the day.

Zohar for AllLech Lecha [Go Forth], Item 132

Within the overall system, some souls are already corrected. If we wish to discover the Creator but feel that He is hidden from us, then we are in spiritual darkness, a state called “night.” In that state, we should make efforts and evoke our pleas, and then those high souls will affect us as we read in The Book of Zohar.

The Book of Zohar was written specifically to connect us with those souls. When reading The Zohar, we create that connection and they send us the light that reforms.

That light still does not permeate and fill our souls, since the equivalence of form between our souls and the light is still absent. But it does affect us as though we were in a womb, surrounding us, caressing us, embracing us.

Thus, the light gradually corrects us until we begin to feel it, meaning those corrected souls to which we have connected, and the Creator, Who is in the system of the souls.

That light surrounding us is called “surrounding light.” To the extent that we become corrected, it permeates us and fills us, and becomes the “inner light” of the soul, our spiritual life.

Within the womb, which is the light that surrounds us, grows the middle line. The middle line is my own precise calculation, which best combines Nature’s two forces—the power of the will and the power of the light—so that the light will correct the will.

The part of the desire that has been corrected in this process and has become Creator-like is the middle line. In other words, the extent to which I have become similar to the Creator is called “my middle line.” It is the image of the Creator that I have built within me, in a process that began with a request that I made during the state of “night.”



If my people heeded me … they would delve all their lives in the study of The Book of Zohar … and would extend abundance and Light.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel of Komarno [1]

In reading The Zohar, we must intend for the upper force to affect us. The Zohar is built in such a way that it oozes into us bit by bit. Time and time again, with the same intention to grow, we should let The Zohar affect us. Then we will feel how it leads us from darkness to light.

The following excerpt from The Zohar discusses tears:

When this prayer in tears rises through those gates, that angel comes … whose name is Yerachmiel. He takes a prayer in tears, the prayer enters and becomes connected above, and the tears remain here, inscribed in the door that the Creator opens. The prayer in tears raises MAN for the correction of the Miftacha [Aramaic: key], to raise the Malchut to Bina, and therefore the prayer is answered and the tears remain inscribed on the door, causing there the mitigation of Malchut in Bina. Tearing comes from the word “mixing” because he drips and mingles the Malchut in Bina.

Zohar for AllPekudei [Accounts], Item 490

What Are Tears?

In this world, a person cries because he is sad, in pain, has no control over a situation, or feels small and weak. We cry when we are in a situation that we don’t know how to cope with—fate, chance, force majeure.

In the spiritual world, however, the state of “tears” is the most active of states. Throughout that state, we activate the entire mechanism of our correction and ascension.

“The prayer in tears raises MAN for the correction of the Miftacha [Aramaic: key], to raise the Malchut to Bina,” says The Zohar in the above excerpt. Miftacha, in Aramaic, means “key.” The tears open the gate to the spiritual world, through which we enter in order to correct our will, Malchut, to become a giver like the Creator, Bina. Although our desire is a desire to receive, and hence opposite from the Creator, we mitigate it with the intention to bestow, making it similar to the Creator.

The above excerpt also writes, “Therefore the prayer is answered and the tears remain inscribed on the door.” A prayer is a request to become similar to the Creator, and the tears are what keeps the door open. It follows that tears are an act that enables us to be similar to the Creator.


Being allowed to study the sublime matters, called “the wisdom of Kabbalah,” is only as a remedy, for they can bring one to desire and crave adhesion with the Creator … When one studies the sublime matters so they will bring one closer to sanctity, it causes the nearing of the lights. This means that this study causes one that through it, one will come to aim all one’s actions to be in order to bestow.

Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, “Three Lines”


When we engage in The Zohar, all the lights and power hidden within it traverse us. Even if we still cannot detect or sense those things, they do travel through us, affect us, and change us. There is no other way to grow. It is like a baby who still does not understand how it grows and develops, but has an inner drive to run around from corner to corner to search, examine, and know everything.

It makes no difference what emotions our reading in The Zohar may evoke in us. At times it will be pleasant and at other times less so; at times we will laugh, and at times we will cry; at times we will be excited, and at times indifferent. Yet, in the end, only perseverance will yield results. We must let the power of The Zohar affect us so we may grow and thrive in spirituality.



[1] Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno, Notzer Hesed [Keeping Mercy], Chapter 4, Teaching 20


Eternal Pleasure

Even if one lived a thousand years, on the day he departs from the world, it will seem to him as though he lived only one day.

Zohar for AllVaYechi [Jacob Lived], Item 293

After the demise of the body, if we did not rise from the animate level to the human level during our lives, if we did not achieve equivalence of form—acquired the quality of love and giving and became similar to the Creator, and thus revealed the Creator—nothing remains of us. The spiritual point that was in us, and which we did not develop, reincarnates into our world, acquires a new clothing (additional egoistic desire), and a new cycle of life begins. Only by studying the wisdom of Kabbalah can we rise to the degree of man.

It is known from books and from authors that the study of the wisdom of Kabbalah is an absolute must for any person from Israel. And if one studies the whole Torah and knows the Mishnah and the Gemarah by heart, and if one is also filled with virtues and good deeds more than all his contemporaries, but has not learned the wisdom of Kabbalah, he must reincarnate into this world to study the secrets of Torah and wisdom of truth. This is brought in several places in the writing of our sages.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Mouth of a Sage”

In the spiritual sense, only our efforts to evolve beyond the animate degree are written for all eternity. When our animate degree ceases to exist, meaning when our bodies die, we remain only with what we have acquired from the degree above it. Thus, it is clear that engagement in The Zoharis the greatest thing we can do in our lives, far above and beyond anything that can be attained in this world.

And considering profits, it is important to understand that the source of all pleasures is in the world of Ein Sof. The pleasures come as upper light and travel through a system of five worlds in which the light diminishes from 100 to zero percent. Then, through the boundary that separates the spiritual world from ours, a tiny spark breaks in.

Incidentally, science has also discovered that our universe began with a spark of special energy. That spark, explains The Zohar, is all the pleasure that exists in our world, and there is nothing else.

In our world, the pleasure that exists in that spark divides into two primary kinds: physical pleasures—food, sex, family, and so on, and human pleasures—wealth, respect, domination, and knowledge.

What is the difference between those pleasures and the pleasures in the spiritual world? First, all the pleasures in our world, of all the people and at all times, add up to a tiny spark of light. The gap between that spark and the pleasure that is sensed in the spiritual world is unfathomable. The Zoharcompares that gap to the gap between a tiny candle and a huge light, or between a tiny grain of sand and the entire world.

Second, in our world, pleasures come and pleasures go. They are inconstant, as eventually we disappear, we die. But in the spiritual world, pleasure is eternal; we experience our existence above time, motion, and place.

To summarize, we are standing at the threshold of a wondrous development to the highest level of reality. The Book of Zohar has been revealed today to bring us the light that will help us get there.


A wisdom that one must know: to know and to observe the meaning of his Master, to know himself, know who he is, how he was created, where he comes from, and where he is going … and one should see all that from the secrets of the Torah.

New ZoharSong of Songs, Items 482-483



Part II: The World Was Created for Me. Chapter 7: As One Man in One Heart

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


As One Man in One Heart

The Creator created one Kli [vessel] called Adam HaRishon, and shattered it into numerous tiny fragments, so that they would learn together what it means to love, and together reach all the way to Him.

From the book, The Wise Heart


One of the necessary means for spiritual development is the group.

To be prepared for spiritual development, the Creator evokes two sensations within us. The first is one of emptiness with regard to this world, and the second is a longing to attain the source of life. This is the awakening of the “point in the heart.”

The point in the heart connects us to the place where we can feed and nourish it—the group. Indeed, you can see that those whose point in the heart has awakened are naturally drawn toward one another. This always happens in human society: birds of a feather flock together.

The group allows for true bonding to others according to the new principles of love and giving, as opposed to hatred and separation. Hence, group work is a necessary means for achieving the revelation of the Creator. It allows one to measure one’s true relationship with others, and prevents one from falsely believing that one has already obtained personal contact with the Creator because after all, the Creator is the quality of love and giving that exists within the corrected connection between us.

Such groups have always existed throughout history. By changing relationships among group members into one of bonding and mutual love, they created the necessary conditions for us to sense the actual reality. From the vast experience they have acquired, they wrote about the world that opened before them. The books they left behind them allow us to reach this new life in the shortest and most efficient way.

A group of this kind is called a “group of Kabbalists,” and its only purpose is to unite them, as it is written, “As one man in one heart,” “That which you hate, do not do to your friend,” and “Love thy friend as thyself.”

The atmosphere created in a group of Kabbalists is very special. To somewhat sense it, let us examine a few examples of bonds among the members of known groups from the past:

We have all taken it upon ourselves to behave with love and brotherhood, and to spare one’s friend’s honor as one’s own.

The group of the sages of Egypt, among which was the Ari, 1558 [1]

Tie a strong and unfailing tie of love, brotherhood, and peace among us … as though we were a single body, as though we were brothers to the same father and mother from conception and from birth, all the days of our lives.

The group of the sages of Egypt, 1564 [2]

Let each think of one’s friend as though he is truly a part of him with all his might and soul.

Let us unite as one man, friends in every which way, to help and to assist, to strengthen and to support one another.

The Rashash group, Kabbalists of Beit El, Jerusalem, 1757 [3]

They have taken it upon themselves to love one another … and to all try to come to the study of The Zohar each day.

The Ramchal group, Padua, Italy, 1731 [4]

Correcting the relations in the group from self-love to love of others can only be done by that same higher force that created our egoism. It is the only thing that can transform the evil inclination into a good inclination. The Creator says, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created for it the Torah as a spice, for the light in it reforms it” [5], changing it to bonding and love [6].

Even now, we are within the corrected reality—tightly connected among us as parts of a single organism, but we haven’t awakened to the recognition of that state. This awakening, that reviving power, the light that reforms, can be obtained when we come together.

In the group, we read together in The Book of ZoharThe Zohar speaks of our connected state; hence, reading together with the aim of achieving unity and love evokes the light that reforms [7]. Gradually, we begin to rise above our natural self-centered feelings and feel the connection of love that is among us. And within that, we feel the Creator. This is the way to realize the essence of the wisdom of Kabbalah, the revelation of the Creator to the creature.



They Helped Every Man His Friend

Each of them had a spark of love of others, but the spark could not ignite the light of love to shine in each, so they agreed that by uniting, the sparks would become a big flame.

Rav Baruch Shalom Ashlag, Rabash—the Social Writings [1]

In our generation, the whole of humanity must become a single, large group, and correct itself. For this reason, Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag (the Rabash), the firstborn son and successor of Baal HaSulam, wrote dozens of articles on the work in the group. He bequeathed to the world a detailed method for bonding, with instructions related to each of the states that arise in the relationship within the group. By his writings, we study and evolve in the spiritual.

Since man is created with a Kli [vessel] called “self-love” … and without annulling self-love, it is impossible to achieve … equivalence of form. And since it is against our nature, we need a society that will form a great force so we can work together on annulling the will to receive.

Rabash, Rabash—the Social Writings, “Purpose of Society (2)”

It is impossible to advance in spirituality without a group. Today’s advanced technology allows us to convey the correction method through the Internet to any place in the world. Lessons in the wisdom of Kabbalah about The Book of Zohar and essays of Rabash are broadcast daily at, and through them, thousands of people join the study group. Some of them gather in local groups around the world, and some connect online from their homes.

Today’s ability to connect to the group from anywhere in the world opens the possibility for spiritual development to any person who is interested. Even the physical distance between people is no longer an obstacle. Since we are dealing with internal bonding with people, we can connect through the media, since it is not the bodies that need to bond, but the hearts. Within this global group, people may be very different in appearance, yet are very similar inside.


When humankind achieves its goal … bringing them to the degree of complete love of others, all the bodies in the world will unite into a single body and a single heart. Only then will all the happiness intended for humanity become revealed in all its glory.

Baal HaSulam, “The Freedom”


A Prayer of Many


A prayer of many rises before the Creator and the Creator crowns Himself with that prayer, since it rises in several ways. This is because one asks for Hassadim, the other for Gevurot, and a third for Rachamim. And it consists of several sides: the right side, the left, and the middle. This is so because Hassadim extend from the right side, Gevurot from the left side, and Rachamim from the middle side. And because it consists of several ways and sides, it becomes a crown over the head of the Righteous One That Lives Forever, Yesod, which imparts all the salvations to the Nukva, and from her to the whole public.

But a prayer of one does not comprise all the sides; it is only on one way. Either one asks for Hassadim or Gevurot or Rachamim. Hence, a prayer of one is not erected to be received like the prayer of many, as it does not include all three lines like the prayer of many.

Zohar for AllVaYishlach [Jacob Sent], Item 45


A prayer of many does not depend on the number of people, but on the content of the prayer. Billions of people may cry out but if the cry is an egoistic one, the prayer is not answered.

A prayer of many is a request to reconnect the numerous pieces of the broken soul. This is the only prayer that the Creator answers.



As One Man in One Heart:

[1] From the magazine, Collections, a yearbook for Jewish studies, ninth book, Jerusalem, 1995, Editor: Meir Benayahu, pp 152-154

[2] From the magazine, Collections, a yearbook for Jewish studies, ninth book, Jerusalem, 1995, Editor: Meir Benayahu, pp 152-154

[3] From the magazine, Collections, a yearbook for Jewish studies, ninth book, Jerusalem, 1995, Editor: Meir Benayahu, pp 152-154

[4] From the book, Let Moses Raise, pp 11-15

[5] Babylonian Talmud, Kidushin, 30b

[6] One can never have the strength to go against nature alone, since regarding the mind and heart, in which one must be complemented, one must be assisted in that, and the assistance is through the Torah, as our sages said, “I have created the evil inclination, I have created the spice of Torah.” By engaging in it, the light in it reforms them. (Rav Baruch Shalom HaLevi Ashlag, the Rabash, The Writings of Rabash, essay, ‘What Are Torah and Work in the Way of the Lord”)

[7] When engaging in this composition … Divinity shines and illuminates from that Light as when it was first created. And all who engage in it reawaken that same benefit and that first Light, which Rashbi and his friends had revealed while composing.

Ramak, Ohr Yakar [Precious Light], Gate 1, Item 5


They Helped Every Man His Friend:

[1]Rabash—the Social Writings, “One Should Always Sell the Beams of His House”

Part 1: The Wisdom of the Zohar. Chapter 4: A Ladder to the Zohar

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


A Ladder to The Zohar


To understand the words of the Holy Zohar, one should first … be cleaned of self love. …Otherwise, there are Klipot that hide and block the truth in the words of the Holy Zohar.

Baal HaSulam, Shamati [I Heard], Article No. 89 [1]


The story of The Book of Zohar begins some 1,800 years ago in a tiny, dimly lit cave in Peki’in, in the Western Galilee, Israel, where Rashbi and his son, Rabbi Elazar, hid from the Roman emperor. For thirteen years they prepared themselves for the writing of the book that would change the face of history.

The years passed and Rabbi Shimon and his son completed the correction that they had to complete and came out of the cave. Eight other Kabbalists joined Rabbi Shimon and his son and together they studied and wrote The Book of Zohar.

This is how I am arranging you: Rabbi Aba will write, Rabbi Elazar will learn verbally, and the rest of the friends will speak in their hearts.

The Book of ZoharHaazinu [Give Ear], Idra Zuta, Item 27

Among Rashbi’s students was Rabbi Aba, a Kabbalist with a special gift. He was the only one who knew how to write the words of his teacher in such a way that they would be both revealed and concealed. The Book of Zohar refers to that gift as “Disclosing in secret.” [2]

Legend has it that the manuscript of The Zohar was hidden in a cave near Zephath, and after a few centuries was discovered by Arabs living in the area, who were delighted to find paper—which was a rare commodity in those days. When one of the Kabbalists of Zephath bought some fish in the market, he was astounded to discover the contents of the text of The Zohar on the wrapping paper of the fish. As soon as he discovered it, he bought all the “wrapping paper” that was still available and compiled the pieces into a book.

The Book of Zohar that we have today is only a small part of the original because much of it was never retrieved. The pieces that were found and compiled into The Book of Zohar that we have today were passed on secretly among Kabbalists from generation to generation until early in the 14th century. At that time, the widow of Rabbi Moshe De Leon inherited the manuscript from her husband. “He probably told her nothing of the prohibition to disclose, and she, by chance, put it up for sale.” [3]

Some mistakenly attribute the writing of The Zohar to Rabbi Moshe De Leon himself, but the Kabbalists explain that this is a mistake: “All those who know the ins and outs of the holy Book of Zohar, that is, who understand what is written in it, unanimously agree that the holy Book of Zoharwas written by the Godly Tanna (sage) Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Only some of those who are far from this wisdom doubt this pedigree and tend to say, relying on fabricated tales of opponents of this wisdom, that its author is the Kabbalist Rabbi Moshe De Leon, or others of his time” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” Item 59).

Since then, The Book of Zohar has been present, but only in our generation is it truly being revealed, thanks to Baal HaSulam’s commentary. Baal HaSulam explains that the generation of the authors of The Zohar was the only generation in which the desired wholeness had been attained, that is, all 125 spiritual degrees. And because our generation should achieve the same perfection, it has been given the chance to unlock The Zohar.

Prior to the days of the Messiah, it is impossible to be granted all 125 degrees. …An exception is Rashbi and his generation, the authors of The Zohar, who were granted all 125 degrees in completeness, even though it was prior to the days of the Messiah. It was said about him and his disciples: “A sage is preferable to a prophet.”

Hence, we often find in The Zohar that there will be none like the generation of Rashbi until the generation of the Messiah King. This is why his composition made such a great impact in the world, since the secrets of the Torah in it occupy the level of all 125 degrees.

Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”



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 Zoharwill 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.



Acknowledgement of Spiritual Leaders of the Writings of Baal HaSulam

Baal HaSulam made it so that if an ordinary person were to walk in his path, he would be able to discover the Creator.

Rav Baruch Ashlag, “The Works of the Greatest in the Nation”

When Baal HaSulam began to publish his writings, he was greeted with enthusiasm by the spiritual leaders of his time:

A Godly sage of great understanding has come, a sacred treasure … and the spirit of the Lord was upon him to compose the sacred book … to the truth of the Torah and in true foundations … happy is the woman who bore him.

The Rav Kook


The great priest of the study of Kabbalah, whose name is renowned.

Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld

How glorified is the day when the bright light has appeared before us, the Sulam commentary on the Holy Zohar … and with the hand of the Lord upon him, the great Kabbalist … the minister of the house of Zohar.

Rav Yaakov Moshe HARLAP


He illuminated the eyes of sages with the words of the Holy Zohar … which is a ladder placed on the earth, and its top reaches the heaven.

Rav Ben-Zion Meir Hai Uziel


It was possible to obtain The Book of Zohar even before Baal HaSulam wrote the Sulam commentary, but people did not understand what it said. The role of The Book of Zohar as a means to reveal the Creator is the thing that was hidden, and that is now revealed. The Sulam commentary opens before us the ability to correct ourselves and to discover the Creator. This is why Baal HaSulam disclosed The Zohar. And because he concluded thousands of years of concealment of The Book of Zohar, these and other acknowledgements35 soon appeared.

The following words, which were found among his writings, give us a clue into the spiritual level of Baal HaSulam:

And God said unto me: “Get thee out of thy country, [1] to the pleasant land, the land of the Holy Fathers, where I will make you a great sage and all the sages of the land shall be blessed in you, for I have chosen you for a righteous sage in all this generation, to heal the human suffering with lasting salvation.”

Baal HaSulam, “The Prophecy of Baal HaSulam”


And by a Higher Will, I have been awarded the impregnation of the soul of the Ari … and I cannot elaborate on this matter, as it is not my way to speak of the incomprehensible.

Baal HaSulam, Letter no. 39


Zohar for All


The wisdom of truth, …like secular teachings, must be passed on from generation to generation. Each generation adds a link to its former, and thus the wisdom evolves. Moreover, it becomes more suitable for expansion in the public.

Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”


Bnei Baruch—Kabbalah Education and Research Institute is an organization with vast experience in studying and teaching The Book of Zohar. The experience accumulated through teaching different people in different countries, and through different mediums, has brought us to a decision that was not easy to take—to slightly change the typesetting of the text for the contemporary reader. We learned that in its original setting, The Zohar was approachable only to very few, due to an archaic structure and the unfamiliar use of bold letters or different fonts. As a result, The Zohar remained inaccessible to most people.

The difficulties in reading made many readers leave the book and thus deny themselves the correction of their souls. After much hesitation, we have come to the decision that because of the necessity to bring The Zohar closer to all, we must rearrange the original text of Baal HaSulam.

We did this with the greatest care, without removing anything substantial, changing only the appearance of the text, not its content.

At times, Baal HaSulam wrote his commentaries in between the words of The Zohar, and at times he added broader explanations after the words of The Zohar. Our experience has shown that while reading in The Zohar, it is best to include the text of The Zohar, the Sulam commentary that is in The Zohar itself, as well as the Sulam commentary after the words of The Zohar. Hence, to make it easier on the reader to read the text smoothly, we unified the texts.

To illustrate what we did, below is an example of text from The Zohar (in Hebrew) from the portion, Aharei Mot [After the Death]. First comes the original text of The Zohar, which is almost entirely in Aramaic [and hence will be left without translation], followed by The Zohar with the Sulamcommentary, and finally, Zohar for All, which is what we did to make the source—the light that reforms—closer to you.

The Original Zohar:

The Book of Zohar with the Sulam commentary:

94) Rabbi Hiya started, etc.: Rabbi Hiya started and said, “That which is has been already, and that which will be…” “That which is has been already,” meaning before the Creator created this world, He created worlds and destroyed them, which is the breaking of the vessels, until the Creator desired to create this world, and He consulted with the Torah, which is the middle line. Then He was corrected in His corrections, decorated in His decorations, and created this world. And then, everything that exists in this world was before Him, at the time of creation, and was established before Him.

95) VeTaana Kol Inun [Aramaic], etc.: We learned that all the leaders of the world in every generation stand before the Creator in their forms, before they come into the world. Even all the souls of people, before they come to the world, are engraved before Him in the heaven, in the very same form they have in this world. And all that they learn in this world, they know before they come into the world…

Commentary. Upon the creation of the souls, while they are still above, before they come down to this world under time, they are in the eternity, above time, where past, present, and future exist as one, as is the nature of eternity. It follows that all the deeds that the souls do one at a time, when they come into this world, they will be there at the same time. This is the meaning of what is written (Item 95), Kol inun nishmatin, etc., behahu dyokna mamash de inun behai alma, that is, according to their actions in this world.

Zohar for All:

94) “That which is has been already, and that which will be…” “That which is has been already…” Before the Creator created this world, He created worlds and destroyed them. This is the breaking of the vessels. Finally, the Creator desired to create this world, and consulted with the Torah, the middle line. Then He was corrected in His corrections, decorated in His decorations, and created this world. And then, everything that exists in this world was before Him at the time of creation, and was established before Him.

95) All the leaders of the world in every generation stand before the Creator in their forms, before they come into the world. Even all the souls of people, before they come to the world, are engraved before Him in the heavens, in the very same form they have in this world. And all that they learn in this world, they know before they come into the world…

Upon the creation of the souls, while they are still above, before they come down to this world under time, they are in eternity, above time, where past, present, and future exist as one, as is the nature of eternity. It follows that all the deeds that the souls do one at a time, when they come into this world, will be there at the same time. This is the meaning of the words, “All the souls of people, before they come to the world, are engraved before Him in the heaven, in the very same form they have in this world,” that is, according to their actions in this world.

As you can see, we tried to break down as many of the barriers that separate The Zohar from the people and offer a slightly briefer and easier version to read. If you can be assisted by Zoharfor All to grow accustomed to The Book of Zohar, and then move to the Sulam commentary itself, our work will have been like a ladder to the Ladder commentary.


The great spiritual questions, which used to be solved only by the great and the excellent, must now be solved on different degrees for the entire nation, to lower exalted and sublime matters from the height of their tower to the depth of the common and ordinary. This requires tremendous and great richness of spirit along with constant, regular engagement, for only then the mind will expand and the language will be made clearer, to the point of expressing the deeper matters in a light and popular style to revive thirsty souls.

Rav Raiah Kook, Ikvei Ha’Tzon[By the Footsteps of the Flock], 54



The Necessity to Engage in The Zohar

Below is a quote from the Ari’s The Tree of Life, written in the 16th century. These are the words of Rav Chaim Vital in his introduction to the book, Gate of Introductions.

I am sitting here, bewildered, with my thoughts confused, for no cure has been found to the ruin of our Temple, which has been in ruin for 1,504 years now. We have come to the end of our rope, yet the Messiah has not come. It is known that in each generation when the Temple is not built, it is as though it was ruined in that generation.

I have looked into the reason for the length of our exile, and I have found an answer in The Book of Zohar (in the corrections, “Correction no. 30”): “Those who do not wish to exert in the wisdom of Kabbalah, who make the Torah dry, woe unto them, for thus they inflict poverty, ruin, looting, killing, and destruction in the world. And the spirit of the Messiah departs, the holy spirit, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

“Any grace that they do, they do for themselves. They engage in Torah to receive many rewards, as well as to be heads of seminaries. In their actions, they are similar to the people of the generation of Babel who built a tower whose top was in heaven, as it is written, ‘And let us make us a name.’ The Zohar calls them ‘Mixed multitude’” (Ex, 12:38).


Each day, a voice comes out of Mount Horev and calls out, “Woe unto the people from the affront of Torah,” for when they engage only in its literal part and its stories, it robes in its widow garments and all the nations shall say unto Israel, “How is your law better than our law? After all, your law, too, is but stories of worldly vanities.” Indeed, there is no greater affront to the Torah than that. Thus, woe unto them from the affront of Torah. They do not engage in the wisdom of Kabbalah, which gives glory to the Torah, and they extend the exile and all the evils that are about to come upon the world.

In The Book of Zohar, Rabbi Shimon says about it, “Woe unto one who says that the Torah comes to tell literal tales. This tale in the Torah is the clothing of the Torah, and one who thinks that that garment is the actual Torah, and there is nothing else within it, his spirit will be cursed and he will have no part in the next world.”

This is so because in the literal Torah, when its tales and judgments are treated literally, there is no recognition or information in them to know their Maker. Moreover, there are commandments and laws within them that reason cannot tolerate.


Had we engaged in the wisdom of Kabbalah, redemption would have drawn closer, for everything depends on the study of this wisdom, and avoiding to engage in it delays and hinders the building of our Temple. …It explicitly explains that one does not do one’s share by merely reading in the Bible, the Mishnah, the legends, and the Talmud. Rather, one must engage as much as one can in the secrets of Torah and the wisdom of Kabbalah, for there is no pleasure to the Creator in all that He has created, except when His children engage in the secrets of Torah, to know His greatness, beauty, and virtue.


The Book of ZoharVaYera [The Lord Appeared]: “When it is near the days of the Messiah, even infants in the world will find the secrets of the wisdom.” It is explained that thus far the words of the wisdom of The Zohar have been concealed. But in the last generation, this wisdom will be revealed and become known, and they will understand and perceive the secrets of Torah that our predecessors did not attain.



A Ladder to The Zohar:

[1] Baal HaSulam, Shamati [I Heard], Article No. 89, “To Understand the Words of the Holy Zohar.”

[2] And we also find in The Book of Zohar, that Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai) instructed Rabbi Aba to write the secrets, because he knew how to reveal with intimation. …For each secret that Rashbi disclosed in the wisdom, he would cry and say, “Woe if I tell; woe if I do not tell.” …This means that he was in distress from both angles: if he did not reveal the secrets of the Torah, the secrets would be lost from the true sages… And if he did reveal the secrets, unworthy people would fail in them for they would not understand the root of the matters and would eat unripe fruit.

Hence, Rashbi chose Rabbi Aba to write because of his wisdom in allegories, arranging matters in such a way that it would be sufficiently revealed to those worthy of understanding them, and hidden and blocked from those unworthy of understanding them. This is why he said that Rabbi Aba knew how to disclose in secret. In other words, although he revealed, it still remained a secret to the unworthy. (Baal HaSulam, “General Preface,” Item 1)

[3] Baal HaSulam, “Messiah’s Shofar


The Sulam [Ladder] Commentary:

[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”)


Acknowledgement of Spiritual Leaders of the Writings of Baal HaSulam

[1] At the time, Baal HaSulam was still in Poland, prior to his immigration to Israel in 1921.


Part 1: The Wisdom of the Zohar. Chapter 3: The Zohar Returns to All

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


The Zohar Returns to All


When Israel come out of exile… the world will know the sublime and precious wisdom that they have never known before.

The Book of Zohar, VaYera [The Lord Appeared], Items 157-158.


Anything that people need spreads naturally in the world. But when it comes to The Zohar and the Kabbalah, matters are not that straightforward.

The disclosure of the writings of Kabbalah has been accompanied by intriguing stories. The Book of Zohar has undergone many hardships, and only a small portion of the original manuscript remains today. The writings of the Ari [Rav Isaac Luria, author of The Tree of Life], were dug out of his grave only three generations after his demise. Indeed, there is a special integration of revealed and concealed, and painful labor pangs when it comes to expanding the wisdom of Kabbalah.

Baal HaSulam made great efforts to publish his interpretation on The Zohar, the Sulam [Ladder] commentary, and wrote as much as 20 hours a day. When he fell asleep on his desk, it was hard to pull the pen out of his hand because his fingers were cramped around it.

For lack of funds to print the manuscripts, he had to wait until he could find the resources. And once he found them, he arranged the lead letters in the printing press by himself, although he was already ill and very weak. Yet, volume by volume, his life’s work was completed.

Still, people were afraid to open The Zohar and preferred to stay clear of it. As early as 1933, Baal HaSulam began to disseminate the wisdom of Kabbalah in an effort to prevent the looming holocaust. “Time to Act” was the title of his opening essay in the first tract that he printed—out of fifty that he had planned to publish. However, his work was frowned upon by certain orthodox circles, and within a few weeks they managed to apprehend the printing of the tracts to prevent the expansion of the wisdom.

In 1940, Baal HaSulam published a paper, The Nation, in which he called upon the Israeli nation to unite. His wish was to establish a by-weekly paper, but the paper initiative, too, was thwarted after the publication of the first issue.

In the 1950s, Baal HaSulam described the situation with a mixture of great sadness and hopes for the future:

I have already conveyed the rudiments of my perception in 1933. I have also spoken to the leaders of the generation, but at the time, my words were not accepted, though I was screaming like a banshee, warning about the destruction of the world. Alas, it made no impression. Now, however, after the atom and hydrogen bombs, I think that the world will believe me that the end of the world is coming rapidly, and Israel will be the first nation to burn, as in the previous war. Thus, today it is good to awaken the world to accept the only remedy, and they will live and exist.

Baal HaSulam, “Writings of the Last Generation,” Part 1, Section 2

The question that arises out of all that is “Why does everything that concerns the disclosure of the wisdom of Kabbalah happens in such an odd way and evokes so much resistance?” After all, it is a wisdom that discusses human psychology, our inner makeup, family values, education and culture, conducts of Nature and the foundation of Creation. Don’t we need this information?

Whatever the case may be, within each of us is a special feeling, a kind of internal recoil from The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah, which originates in our very nature. What separates Kabbalah from any other teaching is the issue of correction. Kabbalah talks about how we should correct ourselves, change our attitude toward ourselves and toward those around us, so it is only natural that our egos wince at that dictate.

The sages of Kabbalah certainly knew all that, which is why they hid the wisdom for millennia until the moment was ripe and people would really need it. They themselves were the ones who stirred the public away from it, declaring strict limitations on studying it: age 40 or above, men only, married, and only after having been filled with all the other parts of the Torah. The sages also spread rumors that Kabbalah could make you lose your sanity!

In previous generations, the desire to discover the spiritual world still did not awaken in the hearts of most people; hence, the wisdom of Kabbalah was kept hidden. However, if the desire did awaken in anyone, the wisdom was opened to that person. The Ari [Isaac Luria], Chaim Vital, the Baal Shem Tov, the Vilna Gaon, the Ramchal, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, and many others studied and taught the wisdom of Kabbalah long before they reached the age of 40. In our generation, this desire is awakening in millions of people the world over, hence the wisdom is being shared openly with the public.

As we mentioned earlier, the process of revealing and concealing the wisdom is not new. It actually began over 5,770 years ago. This is when the first human discovered the spiritual world. Many generations of humans lived before his time, but he was the first in whom the desire for what lies beyond the boundaries of this world appeared. His name was Adam, from the words Adame la Elyon[I will be like the most high] [1], and he was the first Kabbalist, the first person to ascend in qualities and discover the upper force.

Adam ha Rishon [The First Man] was the first to receive a sequence of sufficient knowledge by which to understand and to successfully maximize everything he saw and attained with his eyes. And this understanding is called “the wisdom of truth.”

Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

The day that Adam began to discover the upper force is called “the day of the creation of the world.” On that day, humanity first touched the spiritual world. This is why Adam’s existence is the point from which the Hebrew count of years begins.

According to Nature’s plan, the whole of humanity will discover the upper force within 6000 years [2]. During those years, the human ego is to gradually grow and bring humanity to the realization that it must be corrected, as well as to the ability to understand the correction method and to implement it.

The first Kabbalah book, Angel Raziel—meaning the “hidden force,” the force of Nature, which governs us but is hidden from us—is attributed to Adam. According to Kabbalah, angels are not winged heavenly entities, but forces acting in Nature.

Adam did not rush to the announce his discoveries to the world. For ten generations, the knowledge was quietly passed on from Kabbalist to Kabbalist until the generation of Noah. From there it was passed on through ten more generations until the generation of Abraham.

During the twenty generations that had passed between Adam and Abraham, conditions had changed. In Abraham’s time, humanity was centered in Babylon and lived as a big family, as it is written, “And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech” [3]. People sensed each other, lived in harmony among themselves and with Nature, until the first substantial burst of the ego occurred. In the Bible, it is described as the story of the tower of Babel:

Nimrod said to his people, “Let us build us a great city and dwell within it, lest we become scattered across the earth like the first ones, and let us build a great tower within it, rising upward to the heaven … and let us make us a great name in the land…”

They built it high … those who would bring up the bricks came from its eastern side, and those who would come down, would come down from its western side. And if a person fell and died, they would not mind him. But if a brick fell, they would sit and cry and say, “When will another rise in its stead.”

Chapters of Rabbi Eliezar, Chapter 24

The tower of Babel symbolizes the tower of human egoism. Nimrod, who leads the building of the tower, symbolizes the desire to rebel, to disobey Nature’s comprehensive law of balance and giving.

Because he wished to understand what was happening to his people, Abraham began to look into the nature of Creation. He discovered that the leap in egoism was not coincidental, but a preordained move in Nature’s development plan. Abraham found that the ego did not intensify to separate people, but to make them unite at a higher level and discover the upper force that was causing this shift. He tried to prevent the destruction and to explain to people how to rise above the hatred and the separation.

Abraham, son of Terach, went by and saw them building the city and the tower … but they loathed his words … They wished to speak each other’s language but they did not know each other’s language. What did they do? They each took his sword and fought one another to death. Indeed, half the world died there by the sword.

Chapters of Rabbi Eliezar, Chapter 24

Yet, Abraham did not give up. He continued to circulate the wisdom he had discovered with all his might because he knew that among his contemporaries were people who were already ripe for development. This is how Maimonides describes it:

At forty years of age, Abraham came to know his Maker. …He was calling out, wandering from town to town and from kingdom to kingdom … Finally, tens of thousands assembled around him, and they are the people of the house of Abraham. …This continued and expanded in the children of Jacob and in those accompanying them, and a nation that knows the Lord was made in the world.

Maimonides, Mishneh Torah (Repetition of the Torah), Idolatry Rules, Chapter 1, 11-16

The Book of Creation, attributed to Abraham, explains the system that governs reality. The book speaks not only of a single, comprehensive force, but about its entire system and subsystems, about primary and secondary forces through which that single force affects us.

The Book of Creation describes the 32 paths towards affecting the whole of reality—how these systems work, and how they cascade in hierarchy from degree to degree until they reach us and operate on us.

Abraham and his wife, Sarah, made great efforts to explain and circulate this new information. They gathered around them people who felt as they did—that this life was given to us only so that during it, we will reach a higher dimension of existence. In so doing, we can attain spirituality and wholeness and exist forever at the “human” degree, similar to the upper force.

To those who were still not ready to perceive the wisdom of Kabbalah, Abraham gave “gifts,” as it is written, “But to the sons of his concubines, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them … to the land of the east” [4]. Those gifts are the foundations of all the belief systems that people would follow for millennia until they ripen and grow.

The group of Kabbalists, Abraham’s successors, used the correction method that it learned from him over several generations until another burst of egoism took place. Then, a need arose to disclose the correction method at a higher level, over the new ego. That new method was given to the group of Kabbalists by Moses, the great Kabbalist who lived at that time. Moses led them to the exodus from the exile in Egypt—out of the domination of the new ego—and taught them how to exist “as one man in one heart” (RASHI, Exodus, Chapter 19), as parts of a single organism.

Because of its size, the group was now named “a people.” Its name, “Israel,” points to the desire within them to reach Yashar El [straight to God], directly to the upper force, through attainment of Its quality of love and giving.

Moses’ correction method is called “the Torah,” and is an adaptation of Abraham’s method to Moses’ generation. The Torah is not a history book or an ethics book, as it is often treated today. Rather, it is a method, a guide, a manual for correcting the ego.

“Torah” [5] comes from the word Horaa [instruction] and Ohr [light]. Kabbalah uses the term “light” in two ways:

1) as a force that corrects a person, as it is written, “The Light in it reforms him” [6].

2) as the pleasure that fills a person who has corrected the ego.

The group of Kabbalists continued to evolve, correcting all the egoistic desires that appeared in them using Moses’ method. The light that they received into the corrected desires was called “The House of Holiness” [The Temple]. That is, their corrected desires formed “a house” filled with “holiness”—the quality of love and giving.

Children were born and raised by the correction method and reached spiritual attainment, too. The education of the nation was a spiritual one, and there was not a child who did not know the spiritual laws.

They checked from Dan to Beer Sheba … and did not find a baby boy or a baby girl, a man or a woman who were not proficient in laws of impurity and purity.

Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 97b

The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that the term, Tuma’a [impurity], refers to the egoism in a person, and the term, Tahara [purity], refers to the power of love and giving. Thus, the people lived in sensation of the upper force, in bonding and brotherly love until the ego leaped once more to a new degree, causing the loss of that sensation. The act of detaching from the sensation of the upper force was called “the ruin of the Temple,” and the domination of the new ego was called “the exile in Babylon.”

The return from the exile in Babylon and the construction of the Second Temple symbolized the correction of the ego that caused the ruin of the First Temple. This time, however, the nation was divided into two: Some succeeded in correcting the ego, but others whose intensity of egoism was greater could not. Gradually the ego intensified even among those who succeeded in correcting it, eventually causing the entire nation to lose its ability to sense the upper force.

Thus, everyone went into a concealment of spirituality. The domination of the ego this time was called “the ruin of the Second Temple,” and this was the beginning of the last exile.

The ruin of the quality of love and giving, and the eruption of unfounded hatred, made the entire people lose the sensation of the upper force. Yet, what actually happened to Israel in that ruin was a fall from brotherly love to unfounded hatred. From a life of harmony and the sensing of the upper world, Israel has declined into the narrowest, most turbid sensation in reality, otherwise known as “this world.”

Ever since, for nearly 2,000 years, Israel has been living in a state of total oblivion to the fact that there is something far better.

And yet, in each generation, there were a chosen few Kabbalists who continued to sense the Creator. In hiding, far from the public eye, which was unaware of their engagement, the Kabbalists continued to develop the correction method for human nature to match humanity’s growing egoism. Their role was to prepare the method for the time when the whole of humanity would need it—our time.


Throughout history, the wisdom of Kabbalah has reached beyond just the people of Israel. Thinkers from around the world have always come to study with the Kabbalists. In his essay, “The Wisdom of Kabbalah and Philosophy,” Baal HaSulam explains that philosophy originated in contact between students of the prophets and the first philosophers. The philosophers took fragments of the concepts of Kabbalah, and without correcting themselves developed different theories out of them.

Johannes Reuchlin (1455-1522), a German humanist, political counselor to the Chancellor, and an expert in ancient languages and traditions, was affiliated with the heads of the Platonic Academia. In his book, De Arte Cabbalistica, he describes the process we just mentioned:

“My teacher, Pythagoras, who is the father of philosophy, did not receive those teachings from the Greeks. Rather he received them from the Jews. …And he was the first to convert the name ‘Kabbalah,’ unknown to the Greeks, into the Greek name ‘philosophy.’”

“Pythagoras’ philosophy emanated from the infinite sea of the Kabbalah.”

“The Kabbalah does not let us spend our lives on the ground, but rather raises our intellect to the highest goal of understanding.” [7]

Let us return to those people who could not perceive Abraham’s notion in ancient Babylon. When they departed Babel, they scattered across the globe as seventy nations and developed materially.

Alone, they would never have been able to perceive the notion of the spiritual. Yet, if they could not perceive it, it would contradict the purpose of Creation: to bring all the people to the level of the Creator. Hence, the contact point between Israel and the rest of the nations had to be recreated.

That process unfolded by intensifying the ego within Israel, after which the people declined from their degree and scattered among the nations. The idea was to mingle the souls of Israel with the souls of the nations of the world, to “sow” seeds of spirituality within the other nations.

How was this done? The people of Israel sank into egoism and corporeality similar to the other nations, so now there was common ground between them. However, we must keep in mind that within the souls of Israel, the spiritual seed had already been sown. While they were in exile, Israel avoided physically assimilating with other nations; yet internally, the mingling did indeed occur.

Thus, the desired spiritual result was achieved and sparks of the souls of Israel now permeate the nations, allowing them to join Israel in the process of general correction. In total, Israel experienced four exiles in which such mingling between Israel and other nations occurred.

Prior to the exit to the last exile, in the 2nd century CE, The Book of Zohar was written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) and his group of students. It was written in Aramaic and contains depictions of all the states that humanity is destined to experience until the end of the general correction.

Although The Zohar was written prior to the departure of Israel into exile, The Zohar states that the book will be discovered only at the end of the spiritual exile and in fact, facilitate its end. It also states that toward the end of the 6,000 year period of the correction of human nature, the book will be revealed to the whole of humanity: “At that time, it will be revealed to all.” [8]

Immediately after its completion, The Book of Zohar was concealed. In the 16th century, some 1,400 years later, the Ari appeared in Zephath [9]. The Ari used a scientific, systematic approach to detail the correction method that The Zohar presents through intimations and allegories. The writings of the Ari include descriptions of the structure of the upper world, and explain how one should enter that realm of reality.

However, because during the Ari’s time the ego had not yet been revealed in its full intensity, very few could understand his words. A more developed ego yields a keener perception, and there were few such egos at that time.

Following the Ari, Kabbalists craved that the wisdom of Kabbalah be known, as is evident from their words:

The wisdom of Kabbalah makes the fool wise. Also, one who did not see the light of this wisdom has never seen lights in his life, for then he will understand and learn the meaning of His uniqueness, blessed be He, and the meaning of His governance … and all who retire from it, retire from the spiritual, eternal life.

Rav Isaiah Ben Abraham HeLevi Horowitz (the Holy Shlah), “First Article,” p 30

Redemption depends primarily on the study of Kabbalah.

The Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (GRA) [10]


Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai so cried over it, and called upon those who engage in the literal Torah that they are asleep …Indeed, this the fruit of the exile, that Israel have forgotten this path and remained asleep, immersed in their slumber, not paying attention to it… And we are here in the dark, as the dead, verily as blind searching the wall. It is unbecoming for the upright to walk on this path, but on the contrary to open blind eyes.

Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal) [11]

The study of The Book of Zohar is higher than any other study.

Rabbi Yosef David Azulai, HaChida [12]

The language of The Zohar is good for the soul … young and old are there, each according to one’s understanding and the root of one’s soul.

Rav Tzvi Hirsh Ben Yaakov Horowitz, Upright Conducts, Item 5


Yet, despite the yearning of these great Kabbalists to circulate the wisdom of Kabbalah, they had to be discreet, to reveal, yet to conceal. The generation was not fully ripe. Only today are people gradually beginning to rid themselves of the stigmas and realize that Kabbalah is not mysticism, magic, charms, magic cures, or blessings for a good life in this world.

The emptiness and the gap that has appeared in our generation toward corporeal life and the cravings for something new and fulfilling have brought us to a point where we are finally able to understand the value of Kabbalah. Here lies a method that elevates one to another level of existence—the level of the upper force. That ripeness proves that our souls have awakened, that they have reached an entirely new level of development. This degree allows for, or better put, necessitates the revelation of the wisdom of Kabbalah to the entire world.

If we examine matters from the perspective of Nature’s program of development, the approaching end of the allotted time for correction has brought human egoism to its final degree. Humanity has come into a comprehensive, existential crisis and deadlock. From this state, the need for a method to correct the ego becomes clear, and many people wish to perceive what in the past was perceived by only a few.

This is the reason why the correction method is being exposed today in full. Baal HaSulam interpreted The Book of Zohar and the writings of the Ari so that each of us could connect to them. This is why he said, “I am glad that I have been born in such a generation when it is already permitted to publicize the wisdom of truth. And should you ask, ‘How do I know that it is permitted?’ I will reply that I have been given permission to disclose” [13]. And also, “My being rewarded with the manner of disclosing the wisdom is because of my generation.” [14]

We are in a generation that is standing at the very threshold of redemption, if we only know how to spread the wisdom of the hidden to the masses. … And the dissemination of the wisdom in the masses is called “a Shofar” [special horn]. Like the Shofar, whose voice travels a great distance, the echo of the wisdom will spread all over the world.

Baal HaSulam “Messiah’s Shofar

It is important to remember that the Jewish nation was not formed on a racial or a national basis. Jews today are incarnations of the same souls that gathered around Abraham in ancient Babylon to realize the spiritual idea of “Love thy friend as thyself,” which leads to the discovery of the Creator.

Kabbalists explain that initially, the correction method was offered to every nation, for “The purpose of Creation lies on the shoulders of the whole of the human race, black, white or yellow, without any essential difference” (Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut” [Mutual Guarantee], Item 23). However, at the time, not a single nation was willing to take it because humanity still did not need it. This is why the method was given to the people of Israel, “By which the sparks of purity would shine upon the whole of the human race the world over … to such an extent that they can understand the pleasantness and tranquility that are found in … love of others” (“The Arvut” [Mutual Guarantee], Item 24).

The Jews must begin to reuse the wisdom of Kabbalah to shift from unfounded hatred to brotherly love, return to their spiritual roots, and to bring the light to the world—to be “a light to the nations.” [15]

By that, the two paths that parted ways in ancient Babylon—the people of Israel and the rest of humanity—will come together and the thought of Creation will be complemented: all creations will unite with the upper force, the power of love and giving.


Now the days are near when all will know and recognize that the salvation of Israel and the salvation of the entire world depend only on the appearance of the wisdom of the hidden Light of the internality of the secrets of Torah in a clear language.

Rav Raiah Kook, Letters 1, Item 92


The study of The Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah connect people from all over the globe, regardless of race, sex, nationality or religion. This wisdom bridges over mentalities, character, age, and socioeconomic differences. From all over the world, tens of thousands of people gather each year in many different places in the world for conventions of Kabbalah studies. There is hardly a country in the world without a representative. In these conventions, everyone bonds with brotherly love for the purpose of discovering the Creator, proving defacto the truth in the words of the prophets and Kabbalists of all generations.


When the Children of Israel [those who aspire Yashar El (straight to God)] are complemented with the complete knowledge, the fountains of intelligence and knowledge shall flow … and water all the nations of the world.

Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Panim Meirot uMasbirot,” Item 4



The Allegory about the King and the Queen

In all of Israel’s exiles, He set a time and an end to all of them. And in all of them, Israel return to the Creator, and the virgin of Israel, Malchut, returns to her place at the set time. But now, in the last exile, it is not so. She will not return as in the other exiles. This verse teaches, “She has fallen; she will not rise again—the virgin of Israel,” and it does not say, “She has fallen and I will not raise her again.”

It is like a king who was angry with the queen and expelled her from her palace for a certain period of time. When that time was through, the queen would immediately come and return before the king. This was so once, twice, and thrice. But on the last time, she became remote from the king’s palace and the king expelled her from his palace for a long time. The king said, “This time is not as like the other times, when she came before me. Instead, I and all my household will go and seek her.”

When he reached her, he saw that she was lying in the dust. Who saw the glory of the queen at that time, and the king’s requests of her? Finally, the king held her in his arms, raised her, and brought her to his palace. And he swore to her that he would never part from her again and will never be far from her.

It is similar with the Creator: every time the assembly of Israel were in exile, she would come and return before the King. But now, in this exile, it is not so. Rather, the Creator will hold her by the hand and will raise her, appease her, and bring her back to His palace.

Zohar for All, VaYikra [The Lord Called], Items 78-81

In all the previous exiles, Israel wished to come out of exile and return to its native land. They wished to return to the spiritual degree that was held while still in exile. Today, however, everything is ready for redemption, yet Israel has no desire to rise.

Why is it so? In the last exile, there was such intense egoism in Israel that they had neither a way nor a will to come out of it. Like the queen, Israel now lies in the dust, immersed in corporeality as though hypnotized, living like zombies. In truth, the world is filled with light. If Israel only opened its eyes a little, they and the world would discover it. But for now, dust fills their eyes.

In the spiritual sense, the word “exile” is an advanced state, a moment before redemption, when one feels that all that’s needed is the revelation of the upper force. This feeling can generally be described as such: “I may have everything in the corporeal sense, but I feel that it is all worthless, that I am completely dissatisfied. Why? I haven’t a clue but it is what I feel. I have a home, I make a good living, I can afford to travel, to enjoy myself, I have friends, yet something is missing.”

In previous generations, people lived far worse than we do. Compared to them, our lives are lives of kings, yet they are tasteless. The emptiness experienced today is leading us to discover what lies behind the verse, “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” which Kabbalists offer to us as the remedy.

We must discover the upper force that creates us, that takes us through this process, and that is now pulling us back to it through the question, “What am I living for?” This question is really like a door handle. If we open that door we will discover heaven.

In truth, the King has already come to the Queen, The Book of Zohar has already been revealed, the King is here and He already wishes to raise the Queen out of the dust. All that is needed now is getting the Queen’s attention.



[1] Isaiah, 14:14

[2] “The world exists for six thousand years.” Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 97a

[3] Genesis, 11:1

[4] Genesis, 25:6

[5] “Torah means the light that is clothed in the Torah. That is, what our sages said, ‘I have created the evil inclination; I have created the spice of Torah,’ refers to the light in it, since the light in the Torah reforms him” (Baal HaSulam, Shamati [I Heard], Article No. 6). “The Torah is the only spice to annul and subdue the evil inclination” (Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence). “the Torah is Simple Light that expands from His Essence, whose sublimity is endless” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to The Mouth of a Sage”). “The word ‘Torah’ comes from the word Horaa [instruction]” (Baal HaSulam, Letter No. 11).

[6] Based on Midrash Rabah, Eicha Rabah, Introduction, Paragraph 2

[7] Johannes Reuchlin, De Arte Cabbalistica

[8]The Book of Zohar, VaYera [The Lord Appeared], Item 460

[9] A town in the upper Galilee, Israel, known for the Kabbalists that lived in it around the Ari’s time.

[10] The Gaon, Rabbi Eliyahu of Vilna (GRA), Even Shlemah [A Perfect and Just Weight], Part 11, 3

[11] Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal), Shaarey Ramchal [Gates of the Ramchal], “The Debate,” p 97

[12] Rabbi Shalom Sharabi, (The Rashash), Light of the Rashash, p 159

[13] Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

[14] Baal HaSulam, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence”

[15] “I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness, and I will hold You by the hand and watch over You, and I will appoint You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the nations” (Isaiah, 42:6).


Part 1: The Wisdom of the Zohar. Chapter 2: Nature and Us

Found in the book “Unlocking The Zohar


Nature and Us


It is best for us to accept the words of Kabbalist, that HaTeva [the nature] is equal [in Gematria] to Elokim [God].

Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”

The Book of Zohar 
explains that we exist in a single, vast system, called “Nature” or Elokim [God], yet we sense only a fraction of that system, a fraction called “this world.”

The purpose of our existence is to rise above the boundaries of this world and feel the entirety of the system known as “Nature,” the upper force. When we achieve this degree, we will be filled with abundance, infinite pleasure and light, with sublime perception and understanding, a sense of balance, wholeness, and harmony as they exist in the overall Nature.

To understand what we must do to arrive at all this bounty, The Zohar recommends that we examine Nature’s conduct from a slightly broader angle than usual.

Our world is a closed world. We exist in a single, general system whose every part is interconnected. We cannot consider ourselves above Nature and omnipotent; it is a sure way of destroying ourselves. We also cannot escape Nature because we are an integral part of it. Hence, we must study the general law of Nature and go hand in hand with it.

Our urge to evolve is wonderful, but we must do it in the right way, towards a healthy connection between us and the rest of Creation in a way that does not violate the harmony and the overall balance of Nature. This, in fact, is the basis of the wisdom of Kabbalah.

Observing Nature teaches us that all living organisms are built on the basis of caring for others. Cells in an organism connect to each other by mutual giving for the purpose of sustaining the whole organism. Each cell in the body receives what it needs for its existence and spends the rest of its efforts caring for the entirety of the organism. An inconsiderate cell that does not take its environment into consideration and harnesses it for its own good is a cancerous cell. Such a selfish act eventually leads to the death of the entire organism.

At the levels of inanimate, vegetative, and animate, the specific acts for the good of the general and finds its completeness in that. Without such harmonious activity, existence would not be possible. The only exception is human society. Why? Because unlike the other degrees, where Nature’s law enforces balance and harmony, Nature has given human beings free choice, a place for their conscious participation in the overall harmony of Nature.

If we take part in the system incorrectly, the corruption we inflict reflects on us and we experience it as suffering. Thus, gradually, over thousands of generations, Nature is leading us to understand that we must study its overall law and eventually act accordingly.

The problem is that we do not feel Nature’s comprehensive force affecting us—the force of love and giving—also known as the “Creator.” However, today science is advancing toward discovering that Nature has a “mind,” “emotion,” and the power of great wisdom that sustains and governs everything. And yet, our egos do not wish us to see it.

The current state of the world proves that such blindness and unawareness of Nature’s system cannot last. Baal HaSulam wrote about it in the 1930s:

“Now it is vitally important for us to examine Nature’s commandments, to know what it demands of us, lest it would mercilessly punish us.”

(Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”)


Discovering Nature’s Overall Law


The will to receive is the whole substance of Creation from beginning to end.

Baal HaSulam, “Preface to the Wisdom of Kabbalah,” Item 1


When we want to be impressed by something, whether emotionally, intellectually, or otherwise, we must be on the same “wavelength” with it and thus possess the same quality. For example, to detect radio waves, the receiver must produce the same wavelength, and only then can we detect the wave on the outside.

Nature’s overall force is a “desire to give,” to bestow, to impart abundance. Conversely, our nature is one of “desire to receive delight and pleasure,” a desire to enjoy for ourselves alone. Our nature is self-centered; it is how we were made, as Kabbalah tells us. In other words, we are in contrast with the upper force, opposite from it, and hence we cannot sense it.

Is there anything we can do to sense it? We cannot destroy our nature and our will to receive, nor do we need to. We should continue with our lives as usual, and at the same time acquire new tools of perception.

But where can we find such an instrument that will supplement us with the new nature—to give—in addition to our original nature—to receive? Here, the wisdom of Kabbalah comes to our aid. At the moment, we are receivers. We absorb. And if we do give something to someone, it is only after we have calculated that it is worthwhile for us to do so. Our nature prevents us from giving without receiving something in return. It simply denies us the energy to perform an act that does not yield profit.

We are willing to give $50 if we receive $100 in return. We might also give $80 in return for $100. But if we try to give $101 in return for $100 it is impossible. This modus operandi is true not only with money or an act toward others, but for anything, as Baal HaSulam explained it:


It is well known to researchers of Nature that one cannot perform even the slightest movement without motivation, without somehow benefiting oneself. When, for example, one moves one’s hand from the chair to the table, it is because one thinks that by putting the hand on the table will be more enjoyable. If he did not think so, he would leave his hand on the chair for the rest of his life without moving it at all. It is all the more so with greater efforts.

Baal HaSulam, “The Peace”


Even people who assist other people more than most, such as volunteers at hospitals or elsewhere, do it only because, at the end of the day, it gives them pleasure.

Baal HaSulam explains that within humanity, there are always up to ten percent “natural born altruists.” Such people respond to others a little differently than most. They sympathize with others and feel their pain as though it were their own, and this feeling compels them to try to help others. Naturally, this altruistic inclination rests on a self-centered basis that requires correction, too, but it is hidden from the eye, as studies in behavioral genetics demonstrate. [1]


Man’s very essence is only to receive for oneself. By nature, we are unable to do even the smallest thing to benefit others. Instead, when we give to others, we are compelled to expect that in the end, we will receive a worthwhile reward.

Baal HaSulam, “A Speech for the Completion of The Zohar”


When a baby is born, it begins to hear, to see, and to react. It learns and develops from examples that we present to it.

If we left the baby to grow in the woods, it would imitate the animals and grow like an animal. With the exception of a few instincts and reflexes, everything about us comes from learning.

Can we learn the upper system in the same way if we do not feel it? How can we be like that baby, or even a drop of semen that only wishes to be born into a new quality called “giving”?

In other words, a human infant evolves out of a drop of corporeal semen. It learns from examples and eventually becomes a grownup. And now, a drop of spiritual seed, called “the point in the heart,” appears in that person, a new desire—to know what he or she is living for, to reach what exists beyond life, the force that affects us and operates us. In corporeal growth, the ego develops and the quality of reception for oneself becomes improved. In the process of spiritual growth, the quality of giving develops in us.

So what do we need in order to commence the process? We need examples—spiritual teachers. This is why The Book of Zohar was written. Just as children stare with eyes wide open and jaws dropped, craving to devour the world and learn all about it, we should approach The Book of Zohar, which provides us with examples of the quality of giving.

The more we learn how to give, the more we will resemble Nature’s comprehensive power, the power of love and giving. In Kabbalah terminology, it is called “equivalence of form,” which is a gradual process that leads to our sensing Nature’s overall force to the extent that we become similar to it.



[1] Changing certain gene sequences affects a person’s ability to be good to others, Prof. Ebstein and a team of researchers in behavioral genetics discovered. The researchers assume that there is an immediate reward for altruistic behavior in the form of a chemical called “dopamine,” released in the benefactor’s brain and prompting a pleasant feeling.

  1. R. Bachner, I. Gritsenko, L. Nemanov, A. H. Zohar, C. Dina & R. P. Ebstein, “Dopaminergic Polymorphisms Associated with Self-Report Measures of Human Altruism: A Fresh Phenotype for the Dopamine D4 Receptor”, Molecular Psychiatry10 (4), April 2005, pp. 333-335


The Zohar—a Book of Many Layers


Studying The Zohar builds worlds.

Rabbi Shalom Ben Moshe Buzzaglo, The King’s Throne [1]


Ten Kabbalists, headed by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi), joined together at the highest spiritual degree. From their union, they wrote The Zohar for us. The Zohar is not merely a book. It is a closed system, from our level to the highest level of reality. It is a system designed to launch us into experiencing unbounded existence, both in understanding and feeling the whole of Nature.

The book is built in a very special way. It speaks of things that seemingly happen in our world: stories about people, animals, trees and flowers, mountains and hills. However, in truth, it tells us about the soul and the higher forces.

Thousands of years after the writing of The Zohar, the greatest Kabbalist of the 20th century, Baal HaSulam, wrote the Sulam [Ladder] commentary on The Zohar, where he explained The Zohar in the language of Kabbalah. The language of Kabbalah helps us put the pieces together and understand what is really being said in The Zohar.

When you read The Zohar with the Sulam commentary, even without first understanding how everything unfolds, The Zohar begins to change our perception into an opposite perception. It changes our attitude toward the world. The Zohar provides examples that connect us to our next state, a more evolved state in giving.

It is similar to the way we rear our children. We continue to show them examples of a slightly more advanced state in order to develop them. Thus, we gradually bring them to more evolved states. The Zohar affects us similarly, unveiling the next degree that awaits us.

The world we currently experience is the lowest and worst state that exists in reality. We have been deliberately brought down to it through 125 degrees from the highest state of the overall power of reality.

In our initial state, our current one, the next degree is right before us: me+1. Then comes the next degree: me+2, then me+3, and so forth. There are 125 before us, each containing a piece of information that defines the way we should be. In the language of Kabbalah, this piece is called Reshimo [recollection]. We will elaborate on it further in the book because it has a crucial impact on our lives.

The connection between our current selves and the self of our next degree is formed using The Book of Zohar. Just like a parent, The Zohar elevates us from one world to another. A “world” means the current state we are in, and a “higher world” or “upper world” means our higher state.

It is important to understand that in the course of our spiritual development, we do not “vanish” from this world. We do not stop working or functioning as usual. Rather, a sensation of the force that actually operates in reality is added to our lives. We come to a state where the whole of reality appears as a single entity, a single system. We feel that there is one force operating here—eternal, whole, beyond time, space, and motion. This is what The Book of Zohar helps us to discover.


All the conducts of Creation, in its every corner, inlet, and outlet, are completely prearranged for the purpose of nurturing the human species from its midst, to improve its qualities until we can sense Godliness as one feels one’s friend.

Baal HaSulam “The Essence of Religion and Its Purpose”




[1] Rabbi Shalom Ben Moshe Buzzaglo, The King’s ThroneTikkun [Correction] 43, Item 60


Letters and Words


Let us now approach the first reading of The Book of Zohar. The excerpt below is taken from the portion VaYikra [The Lord Called], and discusses letters.

“Ask for a letter from the Lord your God; ask either in the depth, or raise it above. What is the difference between the first generations and the last generations? The first generations knew and observed the high wisdom; they knew how to put together the letters that Moses was given in Sinai. …And we know that in the upper letters that extend from Bina, and in the lower letters that extend from Malchut, it is wise to conduct actions in this world.” [1]

Where do letters come from? They come from the upper force. I must demand of the upper force to give me letters.

What are “letters”? Letters are forms by which I turn my substance—the will to receive, the ego—into being similar to the upper force—the power of love and giving. Each letter is a new form of giving that I have built within me, and in which I am somewhat similar to the upper force.

I must put the letters that I receive together into “words,” which are spiritual operations of transforming from one form to another, from the form of one letter to the form of another letter. When I perform such actions, it is as though I am “speaking” with the upper force, and it is speaking with me. Thus, we have a common language.

When such a “conversation” between me and the upper force takes place and I become capable of “listening” to its words, I become its partner and I acquire all of the high wisdom. This is how Baal HaSulam explains it in his essay, “The Teaching of the Kabbalah and Its Essence.”



[1] Zohar for All, VaYikra [The Lord Called], Item



“And the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament”…

They are the ones who exert in this brightness, called The Book of Zohar.

The Book of Zohar, Behaalotcha

[When You Raise], Item 88

The Book of Zohar 
contains a very special force that can bring us to perfect, utter bliss. It is thrilling, exciting, and mesmerizing to the point that those who read it crave never to stop reading. For those delving into it, The Zohar is a source of energy and vitality. With The Zohar, we can begin a new life and bond with the good and pleasurable that exists in the world.

Unlocking the Zohar is the introductory volume in a series of books titled Zohar for All, which is a reader-friendly edition of The Book of Zohar. To make the best of the series, it is recommended to first read this book, which will usher the reader into the right approach when reading The Zohar, thus maximizing the benefits of engaging in it.

No prior knowledge is required when reading this book. Part 1 explains the essence of the wisdom of The Zohar, the reasons for its concealment for so many years, and how it can benefit us today. Part 2 talks about the way we perceive reality and the plan of Creation, and finally, how we will unlock The Zohar together to hopefully decode its secret.

As a special treat for the curious among the readers, Appendix 3 contains selected excerpts from Zohar for All. After reading this book, you will be able to feel the power of The Zohar and enjoy its benefits.


The Zohar is to be concealed … until the arrival of the last generation at the end of days, and then it will appear.

Rav Isaiah Horowitz (the Holy Shlah)



One who has never seen the light of The Book of Zohar has never seen light in his life.

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Ziditshov [1]


The prohibition from Above to refrain from open study of the wisdom of truth was for a limited period, until the end of 1490. Thereafter, it is considered the last generation, in which the prohibition was lifted and permission has been granted to engage in The Book of Zohar. And since the year 1540, it has been a great Mitzva (commandment) for the masses to study, old and young.

Abraham Ben Mordechai Azulai [2]


And because Israel are destined to taste from the tree of life, which is The Book of Zohar, through it, they will be delivered from exile with mercy.

The Book of ZoharNasso [Take], Item 90


Now the time requires accelerated acquisition of the inner Torah. The Book of Zohar breaks new paths, makes a highway in the desert. The Zohar and all its yield are ready to open the doors of redemption.

The Rav Raiah Kook [3]


The livelihood of the person of Israel depends on The Book of Zohar.

Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno [4]


[1] Rabbi Tzvi Hirsh Eichenstein of Ziditshov, Ateret TzviBehaalotcha [When You Raise]

[2] Abraham Ben Mordechai Azulai, Introduction to the book, Ohr HaChama (Light of the Sun), p 81

[3] The Rav Raiah Kook, Orot [Lights], 57

[4] Rav Yitzhak Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno, Notzer Hesed [Keeping Mercy], Chapter 4, Teaching 20