1) In this introduction, I would like to clarify matters that are seemingly simple. Matters that everyone fumbles with, and for which much ink has been spilled, attempting to clarify. Yet we have not reached a concrete and sufficient knowledge of them. And here are the questions:
- What is our essence?
- What is our role in the long chain of reality, of which we are but small links?
- When we examine ourselves, we find that we are as corrupted and as low as can be. And when we examine the operator who has made us, we are compelled to be at the highest degree, for there is none so praiseworthy as Him. For it is necessary that only perfect operations will stem from a perfect operator.
- Our mind necessitates that He is utterly benevolent, beyond compare. How, then, did He create so many creatures that suffer and agonize all through their lives? Is it not the way of the good to do good, or at least not to harm so?
- How is it possible that the infinite, that has neither beginning nor end, will produce finite, mortal, and flawed creatures?
3) Our sages said, that man is the center of reality, that the Upper Worlds and this corporeal world and everything in them were created only for him (The Zohar, Tazria, 40), and obliged man to believe that the world had been created for him (Sanhedrin 37). It is seemingly hard to grasp that for this trifling human, whose value is no more than a wisp, with respect to the reality of this world, much less with respect to all the Upper Worlds, whose Height and Sublimity is immeasurable, that the Creator had troubled Himself to create all these for him. And also, why would man need all that?
4) To understand these questions and inquiries, the only tactic is to examine the end of the act, that is, the purpose of Creation. For nothing can be understood in the middle of the process, but only at its end. And it is clear that there is no act without a purpose, for only the insane can act purposelessly.
6) Our sages have already said that the Creator created the world for no other reason but to delight His creatures. And here is where we must place our minds and all our thoughts, for it is the ultimate aim of the act of the creation of the world. And we must bear in mind that since the Thought of Creation was to bestow upon His creatures, He had to create in the souls a great measure of desire to receive that which He had thought to give them. For the measure of each pleasure and delight depends on the measure of the will to receive it. The greater the will to receive, the greater the pleasure, and the lesser the will, the lesser the pleasure from reception.
Thus, the Thought of Creation itself necessarily dictates the creation of an excessive will to receive in the souls, to fit the immense pleasure that His Almightiness thought to bestow upon the souls. For the great delight and the great desire to receive go hand in hand.
9) And you find that in spirituality the disparity of form acts like the ax that separates in the corporeal world, and the distance between them is proportional to the oppositeness of form. From this we learn that since the will to receive His delight has been imprinted in the souls, and we have shown that this form is absent in the Creator, because from whom would He receive, that disparity of form that the souls acquired separates them from His essence, as the ax that carves a stone from the mountain. And because of that disparity of form the souls were separated from the Creator and became creatures. […]
10) […] To mend that separation, which lays on the Kli of the souls, He created all the worlds and separated them into two systems, as in the verse: “God has made them one against the other,” which are the four pure worlds ABYA, and opposite them the four impure worlds ABYA. And He imprinted the desire to bestow in the system of the pure ABYA, removed the will to receive for themselves from them, and placed it in the system of the impure worlds ABYA. Because of that, they have become separated from the Creator and from all the worlds of holiness.
For that reason the Klipot are called “dead,” as in the verse: “sacrifices of the dead” (Psalms 106, 28). And the wicked that follow them, as our sages said, “The wicked, in their lives, are called ‘dead,’” since the will to receive imprinted in them in oppositeness of form to His Holiness separates them from the Life of Lives, and they are remote from Him from one end to the other. […]
11) And the worlds cascaded onto the reality of this corporeal world, to a place where there is a body and a soul and a time of corruption and a time of correction. […]
14) Thus you necessarily find that on the whole, there are three states to the soul:
The First State is their presence in Ein Sof, in the Thought of Creation, where they already have the future form of the End of Correction.
The Second State is their presence in the six thousand years, which were divided by the above two systems into a body and a soul. They were given the work in Torah and Mitzvot, in order to invert their will to receive and turn it into a will to bestow contentment upon their Maker, and not at all to themselves.
During the time of that state, no correction will come to the bodies, only to the souls. This means that they must eliminate any form of self-reception, which is considered the body, and remain with but a desire to bestow, which is the form of desire in the souls. […]
The Third State is the end of correction of the souls, after the revival of the dead. At that time the complete correction will come to the bodies, too, for then they will turn reception for themselves, which is the form of the body, to take on the form of pure bestowal. And they will become worthy of receiving for themselves all the delight and pleasure and pleasantness in the Thought of Creation.
And with all that, they will attain strong adhesion by the force of their equivalence of form with their Maker, since they will not receive all that because of their desire to receive, but because of their desire to bestow contentment upon their Maker, since He derives pleasure when they receive from Him. […]
16) Therefore, one must not wonder at how it was that the choice had been taken from us, since we must be completed and come to the third state, since it is already present in the first. The thing is that there are two ways the Creator has set for us in the second state to bring us to the third state:
- The Path of Keeping Torah and Mitzvot.
- The Path of Suffering, since the pain itself purifies the body and will eventually compel us to invert our will to receive into the form of a will to bestow, and cleave to Him. It is as our sages said (Sanhedrin, 97b), “If you repent, good; and if not, I will place over you a king such as Haman, and he will force you to repent.” Our sages said about the verse, “will hasten it in its time”: “If they are rewarded, I will hasten it; and if not, in its time.”
This means that if we are granted through the first path, by keeping Torah and Mitzvot, we thus hasten our correction, and we do not need the harsh agony and the long time needed to experience them, so they will compel us to reform. And if not, “in its time,” meaning only when the suffering will complete our correction and the time of correction will be forced upon us […]
18) And we must not ponder the state of other beings in the world but man, since man is the center of Creation, as will be written below (item 39). And all other creatures do not have any value of their own but to the extent that they help man achieve his perfection. Hence, they rise and fall with him without any consideration of themselves.
19) Indeed, when all human beings agree to abolish and eradicate their will to receive for themselves, and have no other desire but to bestow upon their friends, all worries and jeopardy in the world would cease to exist. And we would all be assured of a whole and wholesome life, since each of us would have a whole world caring for us, ready to fulfill our needs.
Yet, while each of us has only a desire to receive for ourselves, it is the source of all the worries, suffering, wars, and slaughter we cannot escape. They weaken our bodies with all sorts of sores and maladies, and you find that all the agonies in our world are but manifestations offered to our eyes, to prompt us to revoke the evil Klipa of the body and assume the complete form of the will to bestow. And it is as we have said, that the path of suffering in itself can bring us to the desired form. Bear in mind that the Mitzvot between man and man come before the Mitzvot between man and God, because the bestowal upon one’s friend brings one to bestow upon his Maker.
33) Now remains the clarification of the sixth inquiry, which is the words of our sages who said that all the worlds, Upper and lower, were created only for man. It seems very peculiar that for man, whose worth is but a wisp compared to the reality before us in this world, much less compared to the Upper, Spiritual Worlds, the Creator would go to all the trouble of creating all that for him. And even more peculiar is what would man need all these vast Spiritual Worlds for?
And you must know that any contentment of our Maker from bestowing upon His creatures depends on the extent that the creatures feel Him—that He is the giver, and that He is the one who delights them. For then He takes great pleasure in them, as a father playing with his beloved son, to the degree that the son feels and recognizes the greatness and exaltedness of his father, and his father shows him all the treasures he had prepared for him, as it is written (Jeremiah 31): “Ephraim, my darling son, is he joy of his parents? For whenever I speak of him, I earnestly remember him still. Hence, My heart yearns for him, I will surely have compassion upon him, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31, 19).
Observe these words carefully and you can come to know the great delights of the Lord with those whole ones that have been granted feeling Him and recognizing His greatness in all those manners He has prepared for them, until they are like a father with his darling son, the joy of his parents. And we need not continue on that, for it is enough for us to know that for this contentment and delight with those whole ones, it was worth His while to create all the worlds, Higher and lower alike.
39) Now we have shown that the Creator’s desired goal for the Creation He had created is to bestow upon His creatures, so they would know His truthfulness and greatness, and receive all the delight and pleasure He had prepared for them, in the measure described in the verse: “Ephraim my darling son, is he joy of his parents?” (Jeremiah 31, 19). Thus, you clearly find that this purpose does not apply to the still and the great spheres, such as the earth, the moon, or the sun, however luminous they may be, and not to the vegetative or the animate, for they lack the sensation of others, even from among their own species. Therefore, how can the sensation of the Godly and His bestowal apply to them?
Humankind alone, having been prepared with the sensation of others of the same species, who are similar to them, after delving in Torah and Mitzvot, when they invert their will to receive to a will to bestow, and come to equivalence of form with his Maker, they receive all the degrees that have been prepared for them in the Upper Worlds, called NRNHY. By that they become qualified to receive the purpose of the Thought of Creation. After all, the purpose of the creation of all the worlds was for man alone.
40) And I know that it is completely unaccepted in the eyes of some philosophers. They cannot agree that man, which they think of as low and worthless, is the center of the magnificent Creation. But they are like a worm that is born inside a radish. It lives there and thinks that the world of the Creator is as bitter, as dark, and small as the radish it was born in. But as soon as it breaks the shell of the radish and peeps out, it claims in bewilderment: “I thought the whole world was the size of the radish I was born in, and now I see a grand, beautiful, and wondrous world before me!”
So, too, are those who are immersed in the Klipa (singular for Klipot) of the will to receive they were born with, and did not try to take the unique spice, which are the practical Torah and Mitzvot, which can break this hard Klipa and turn it into a desire to bestow contentment upon the Maker. It is certain that they must determine their worthlessness and emptiness, as they truly are, and cannot comprehend that this magnificent reality had been created only for them.
Indeed, had they delved in Torah and Mitzvot to bestow contentment upon their Maker, with all the required purity, and would try to break the Klipa of the will to receive they were born in and assume the desire to bestow, their eyes would immediately open to see and attain for themselves all the degrees of wisdom, intelligence and clear mind, that have been prepared for them in the Spiritual Worlds. Then they would themselves say what our sages said, “What does a good guest say? ‘Everything the host has done, he has done for me alone.’”
41) But there still remains to clarify why would man need all the Upper Worlds the Creator had created for him? What use has he of them? Bear in mind that the reality of all the worlds is generally divided into five worlds, called a) Adam Kadmon, b) Atzilut, c) Beria, d) Yetzira, and e) Assiya. In each of them are innumerable details, which are the five Sefirot KHBTM (Keter, Hochma, Bina, Tifferet, and Malchut). The world of AK (Adam Kadmon) is Keter; the world of Atzilut is Hochma; the world of Beria is Bina; the world of Yetzira is Tifferet; and the world Assiya is Malchut.
And the Lights clothed in those five worlds are called YHNRN. The Light of Yechida shines in the world of Adam Kadmon; the Light of Haya in the world of Atzilut; the Light of Neshama in the world of Beria; the Light of Ruach in the world of Yetzira; and the Light of Nefesh in the world of Assiya.
All these worlds and everything in them are included in the Holy Name, Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey, and the tip of the Yod. We have no perception in the first world, AK. Hence, it is only implied in the tip of the Yod of the Name. This is why we do not speak of it and always mention only the four worlds ABYA. Yod is the world of Atzilut, Hey—the world of Beria, Vav—the world of Yetzira, and the bottom Hey is the world of Assiya.
42) We have now explained the five worlds that include the entire spiritual reality that extends from Ein Sof to this world. However, they are included in one the other, and in each of the worlds there are the five worlds, the five Sefirot KHBTM, in which the five Lights NRNHY are dressed, corresponding to the five worlds.
And besides the five Sefirot KHBTM in each world, there are the four spiritual categories—Still, Vegetative, Animate, and Speaking. In it, man’s soul is regarded as the speaking, the animate is regarded as the angels in that world, the vegetative category is called “dresses” and the still category is called “halls.” And they all robe one another: the speaking category, which is the souls of people, clothes the five Sefirot, KHBTM, which is the Godliness in that world. The animate category, which are the angels clothes over the souls; the vegetative, which are the dresses, clothe the angels; and the still, which are halls, revolve around them all.
The dressing means that they serve one another and evolve from one another, as we have clarified with the corporeal still, vegetative, animate and speaking in this world (Items 35-38): the three categories—still, vegetative, and animate—did not extend for themselves, but only so the fourth category, which is man, might develop and rise by them. Therefore, their role is only to serve man and be useful to him.
So it is in all the spiritual worlds. The three categories—still, vegetative, and animate—appeared there only to serve and be useful to the speaking category there, which is man’s soul. Therefore, it is considered that they all clothe over man’s soul, meaning to serve him.
43) When man is born, he immediately has a Nefesh of Kedusha (Holiness). But not an actual Nefesh, but the posterior of it, its last discernment, which, due to its smallness, is called a “point.” It dresses in man’s heart, in one’s will to receive, which is found primarily in one’s heart. […]
55) Thus, we have clarified what we asked, “Why does man need all the Upper Worlds, which the Creator had created for him? What need has man of them?” Now you will see that one cannot bring contentment to one’s Maker, if not with the help of all these worlds. This is because he attains the Lights and degrees of his soul, called NRNHY, according to the measure of the purity of his will to receive. And with each degree he attains, the Lights of that degree assist him in his purification.
Thus, he rises in degrees until he achieves the amusements of the final aim in the Thought of Creation (Item 33). It is written in The Zohar (Noah, Item 63), about the verse, “He who comes to be purified is aided.” It asks, “Aided with what?” And it replies that he is aided with a holy soul. For it is impossible to achieve the desired purification for the Thought of Creation, except through the assistance of all the NRNHY degrees of the soul.
57) Now you can understand the aridity and the darkness that have befallen us in this generation, such as we have never seen before. It is because even the worshipers of the Creator have abandoned the engagement in the secrets of the Torah.
Maimonides has already given a true allegory about that: If a line of a thousand blind walk along the way, and there is at least one leader amongst them who can see, they are certain to take the right path and not fall in the pits and obstacles, since they are following the sighted one who leads them. But if that person is missing, they are certain to stumble over every hurdle on the way, and will all fall into the pit.
So is the issue before us. If the worshipers of the Creator had, at least, engaged in the internality of the Torah and extended a complete Light from Ein Sof, the whole generation would have followed them. And everyone would be certain of their way, that they would not fall. But if even the servants of the Creator have distanced themselves from this wisdom, it is no wonder the whole generation is failing because of them. And because of my great sorrow I cannot elaborate on that!
58) Indeed, I know the reason: it is mainly because faith has generally diminished, specifically faith in the holy men, the wise men of all generations. 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, since they could easily fail with materializing. 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.
And I have named that commentary The Sulam (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. But the ladder is not a purpose in and of itself, for if you pause on the rungs of the ladder and will not enter the attic, your goal will not be achieved.
And so it is with my commentary on The Zohar, because the way to fully clarify these most profound of words has not yet been created. But nonetheless, with my commentary, I have constructed a path and an entrance for any person by which to rise and delve and scrutinize The Book of Zohar itself, for only then will my aim with this commentary be completed.
59) And 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 Zohar was 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 contemporaries.
60) And as for me, since the day I have been endowed, by the Light of the Creator, with a glance into this holy book, it has not crossed my mind to question its origin, for the simple reason that the content of the book brings to my heart the merit of the Tanna Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai) far more than all other sages. And if I were to clearly see that its author is some other name, such as Rabbi Moshe De Leon, than I would praise the merit of Rabbi Moshe De Leon more than all other sages, including Rashbi.
Indeed, judging by the depth of the wisdom in the book, if I were to clearly find that its writer is one of the forty-eight prophets, I would consider it much more acceptable than to relate it to one of the sages. Moreover, if I were to find that Moses himself received it from the Creator Himself on Mount Sinai, then my mind would really be at peace, for such a composition is worthy of him. Hence, since I have been blessed with compiling a sufficient interpretation that enables every examiner to acquire some understanding of what is written in the book, I think I am completely excused from further toil in that examination, for any person who is knowledgeable in The Zohar will now settle for no less than the Tanna Rashbi as its writer.
61) Accordingly, the question arises, “Why was The Zohar not revealed to the early generations, whose merit was undoubtedly greater than the latter ones, and were more worthy”? We must also ask, “Why was the commentary on The Book of Zohar not revealed before the time of the Ari, and not to the Kabbalists that preceded him”? And the most bewildering question, “Why were the commentaries on the words of the Ari and on the words of The Zohar not revealed since the days of the Ari through our generation”?
The answer is that the world, during the six thousand years of its existence, is like one Partzuf divided into three thirds: Rosh (head), Toch (interior), Sof (end), meaning HBD (Hochma, Bina, Daat), HGT (Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet), NHY (Netzah, Hod, Yesod). This is what our sages wrote, “Two millennia of Tohu (chaos), two millennia of Torah, and two millennia of the days of the Messiah” (Sanhedrin 97a).
In the first two millennia, considered Rosh and HBD, the Lights were very small. They were regarded as Rosh without Guf (body), having only Lights of Nefesh. This is because there is an inverse relation between Lights and vessels: with the Kelim (vessels) the rule is that the first Kelim grow first in each Partzuf; and with the Lights it is the opposite—the smaller Lights dress in the Partzuf first.
Thus, as long as only the upper parts are in the Kelim, the Kelim HBD, only Lights of Nefesh dress there, which are the smallest Lights. This is why it is written about the first two millennia that they are considered Tohu. And in the second two millennia of the world, which are Kelim of HGT, the Light of Ruach descends and clothes in the world, which is considered the Torah. This is why it is said about the two middle millennia that they are Torah. And the last two millennia are Kelim of NHYM (Netzah, Hod, Yesod, Malchut). Therefore, at that time, the Light of Neshama dresses in the world, which is the greater Light, hence they are the days of the Messiah.
This is also the conduct in each particular Partzuf. In its vessels of HBD, HGT, through its Chazeh (chest), the Lights are covered and do not begin to shine open Hassadim, which means that the appearance of the sublime Light of Hochma occurs only from the Chazeh down, in its NHYM. This is the reason that before the Kelim of NHYM began to show in the Partzuf of the world, which are the last two millennia, the wisdom of The Zohar in particular and the wisdom of Kabbalah in general were hidden from the world.
But during the time of the Ari, when the time of the completion of the Kelim below the Chazeh had drawn closer, the Light of the sublime Hochma was revealed in the world, through the soul of the Godly Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari), who was ready to receive that great Light. Hence, he revealed the essentials in The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of Kabbalah, until he overshadowed all his predecessors.
Yet, since these Kelim were not yet completed (since he passed away in 1572), the world was not yet worthy of discovering his words, and his holy words were only known only to a chosen few, who were prohibited to tell them to the world.
Now, in our generation, since we are nearing the end of the last two millennia, we are given permission to reveal his words and the words of The Zohar throughout the world to a great measure, in such a way that from our generation onwards the words of The Zohar will become increasingly revealed in the world, until the full measure is revealed, as the Creator wills it.
63) Now you can understand that there really is no end to the merit of the first generations over the last, as this is the rule in all the Partzufim (plural for Partzuf) of the worlds and of the souls, that the purer one is the first to be selected into the Partzuf. Therefore, the purer Kelim, HBD, were selected first in the world and in the souls.
Thus, the souls in the first two millennia were much Higher. Yet, they could not receive the full measure of Light, due to the lack of the lower parts in the world and in themselves, which are HGTNHYM.
And afterwards, in the two middle millennia, when the Kelim of HGT were selected into the world and in the souls, the souls were indeed very pure, in and of themselves. This is because the merit of the Kelim of HGT is close to that of HBD. Yet, the Lights were still concealed in the world, due to the absence of the Kelim from the Chazeh down, in the world and in the souls.
Thus, in our generation, although the essence of the souls is the worst, which is why they could not be selected for Kedusha thus far, they are the ones that complete the Partzuf of the world and the Partzuf of the souls with respect to the Kelim, and the work completed only through them.
This is because now, when the Kelim of NHY are being completed, and all the Kelim, Rosh, Toch, Sof are in the Partzuf, full measures of Light, in Rosh, Toch, Sof, are now being extended to all those who are worthy, meaning complete NRN. Hence, only after the completion of these lowly souls can the Highest Lights manifest, and not before.
66) Bear in mind that in everything there is internality and externality. In the world in general, Israel, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, are considered the internality of the world, and the seventy nations are considered the externality of the world. Also, there is internality within Israel themselves, which are the wholehearted workers of the Creator, and there is externality—those who do not devote themselves to the work of the Creator. Among the nations of the world, there is internality as well, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World, and there is externality, which are the rude and the harmful among them.
Additionally, among the servants of the Creator among the Children of Israel, there is internality, being those rewarded with comprehension of the soul of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, and externality, who merely observe the practical part of the Torah.
Also, there is internality in every person from Israel—the Israel within—which is the point in the heart, and externality—which is the inner Nations of the World, the body itself. But even the inner Nations of the World in that person are considered proselytes, since by cleaving to the internality, they become like proselytes from among the Nations of the World, that came and cleaved to the whole of Israel.
67) When a person from Israel enhances and dignifies one’s internality, which is the Israel in that person, over the externality, which are the Nations of the World in him, that is, when one dedicates the majority of one’s efforts to enhance and exalt one’s internality, to benefit one’s soul, and gives minor efforts, the mere necessity, to sustain the Nations of the World in him, meaning the bodily needs, as it is written (Avot, 1), “Make your Torah permanent and your labor temporary,” by so doing, one makes the Children of Israel soar upwards in the internality and externality of the world as well, and the Nations of the World, which are the externality, to recognize and acknowledge the value of the Children of Israel.
And if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and an individual from Israel enhances and appreciates one’s externality, which is the Nations of the World in him, more than the inner Israel in him, as it is written (Deuteronomy 28), “The stranger that is in the midst of thee,” meaning the externality in that person rises and soars, and you yourself, the internality, the Israel in you, plunges down? With these actions, one causes the externality of the world in general—the Nations of the World—to soar ever higher and overcome Israel, degrading them to the ground, and the Children of Israel, the internality in the world, to plunge deep down.
68) Do not be surprised that one person’s actions bring elevation or decline to the whole world, for it is an unbending law that the general and the particular are as equal as two peas in a pod. And all that applies in the general, applies in the particular, as well. Moreover, the parts make what is found in the whole, for the general can appear only after the appearance of the parts in it, according to the quantity and quality of the parts. Evidently, the value of an act of a part elevates or declines the entire whole.
That will clarify to you what is written in The Zohar, that by engagement in The Book of Zohar and the wisdom of truth, they will be rewarded with complete redemption from exile (Tikkunim, end of Tikkun No. 6). We might ask, what has the study of The Zohar to do with the redemption of Israel from among the nations?
69) From the above we can thoroughly understand that the Torah, too, contains internality and externality, as does the entire world. Therefore, one who engages in the Torah has these two degrees, as well. When one increases one’s toil in the internality of the Torah and its secrets, to that extent, one makes the virtue of the internality of the world—which are Israel—soar high above the externality of the world, which are the Nations of the World. And all the nations will acknowledge and recognize Israel’s merit over them, until the realization of the words, “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord” (Isaiah 14, 2), and also “Thus says the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my standard to the peoples: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders” (Isaiah 49, 22).
But if, God forbid, it is to the contrary, and a person from Israel degrades the virtue of the internality of the Torah and its secrets, which deals with the conduct of our souls and their degrees, and the perception and the tastes of the Mitzvot with regard to the advantage of the externality of the Torah, which deals only with the practical part? Also, even if one does occasionally engage in the internality of the Torah, and dedicates a little of one’s time to it, when it is neither night nor day, as though it were redundant, by that one dishonors and degrades the internality of the world, which are the Children of Israel, and enhances the externality of the world—meaning the Nations of the World—over them. They will humiliate and disgrace the Children of Israel, and regard Israel as superfluous, as though the world has no need for them, God forbid.
Furthermore, by that, they make even the externality in the Nations of the World overpower their own internality, for the worst among the Nations of the World, the harmful and the destructors of the world, rise above their internality, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World. And then they make all the ruin and the heinous slaughter our generation had witnessed, may God protect us from here on.
Thus you see that The redemption of Israel and the whole of Israel’s merit depend on the study of The Zohar and the internality of the Torah. And vise versa, all the destruction and the decline of the Children of Israel are because they have abandoned the internality of the Torah. They have degraded its merit and made it seemingly redundant.
70) This is what is written in the Tikkunim (corrections) of The Zohar (Tikkun 30): “Awaken and rise for the Holy Divinity, for you have an empty heart, without the understanding to know and to attain it, although it is within you.” The meaning of it is, as it is written (Isaiah 40), that a voice pounds in the heart of each and every one of Israel, to cry and to pray for raising the Holy Divinity, which is the collection of all the souls of Israel. But Divinity says, “I have no strength to raise myself off the dust, for ‘all flesh is grass,’ they are all like beasts, eating hay and grass.” This means that they keep the Mitzvot mindlessly, like beasts, “and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field, all the good deeds that they do, they do for themselves.”
That means that with the Mitzvot they perform, they have no intention of doing them in order to bring contentment to their Maker. Rather, they keep the Mitzvot only for their own benefit, and even the best among them, who dedicate all their time to engagement in the Torah, do it only to benefit their own bodies, without the desirable aim—to bring contentment to their Maker.
It is said about the generation of that time: “A spirit leaves and will not return to the world,” meaning the spirit of the Messiah, who must deliver Israel from all their troubles until the complete redemption, to keep the words, ‘for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.’ That spirit had left and does not shine in the world.
Woe unto them that make the spirit of Messiah leave and depart from the world, and cannot return to the world. They are the ones that make the Torah dry, without any moisture of comprehension and reason. They confine themselves to the practical part of the Torah, and do not wish to try to understand the wisdom of Kabbalah, to know and to understand the secrets of the Torah and the flavors of Mitzva. Woe unto them, for with these actions they bring about the existence of poverty, ruin, and robbery, looting, killing, and destructions in the world.
71) The reason for their words is, as we have explained, that when all those who engage in the Torah degrade their own internality and the internality of the Torah, leaving it as though it were redundant in the world, and engage in it only at a time that is neither day nor night, and in this regard, they are like blind searching the wall, by that, they intensify their own externality, the benefit of their own bodies. Also, they consider the externality of the Torah higher than the internality of the Torah. And with these actions they cause all the forms of externality in the world to overpower all the internal parts in the world, each according to its essence.
This is so because the externality in the whole of Israel, meaning the Nations of the World in them, overpowers and revokes the internality in the whole of Israel, which are those who are great in the Torah. Also, the externality in the Nations of the World—the destructors among them—intensify and revoke the internality among them, which are the Righteous of the Nations of the World. Additionally, the externality of the entire world, being the Nations of the World, intensify and revoke the Children of Israel—the internality of the world.
In such a generation, all the destructors among the Nations of the World raise their heads and wish primarily to destroy and to kill the Children of Israel, as it is written (Yevamot 63), “No calamity comes to the world but for Israel.” This means, as it is written in the above corrections, that they cause poverty, ruin, robbery, killing, and destruction in the whole world.
And through our many faults, we have witnessed to all that is said in the above-mentioned Tikkunim, and moreover, the judgment struck the very best of us, as our sages said (Baba Kama 60), “And it start with the righteous first.” And of all the glory Israel had had in the countries of Poland and Lithuania, etc., there remains but the relics in our holy land. Now it is upon us, relics, to correct that dreadful wrong. Each of us remainders should take upon himself, heart and soul, to henceforth intensify the internality of the Torah, and give it its rightful place, according to its merit over the externality of the Torah.
And then, each and every one of us will be rewarded with intensifying his own internality, meaning the Israel within us, which is the needs of the soul over our own externality, which is the Nations of the World within us, that is, the needs of the body. That force will come to the whole of Israel, until the Nations of the World within us recognize and acknowledge the merit of the great sages of Israel over them, and will listen to them and obey them.
Also, the internality of the Nations of the World, the Righteous of the Nations of the World, will overpower and submit their externality, which are the destructors. And the internality of the world, too, which are Israel, shall rise in all their merit and virtue over the externality of the world, which are the nations. Then, all the nations of the world will recognize and acknowledge Israel’s merit over them.
And they shall follow the words (Isaiah 14, 2), “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord.” And also (Isaiah 49, 22), “And they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.” That is what is written in The Zohar (Nasoh, p 124b), “through this composition,” which is The Book of Zohar, “they will be delivered from exile with mercy.” Amen, would that be so.