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.
FIRST RULE—THE HEART UNDERSTANDS.
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.
SECOND RULE—MAN IS A SMALL WORLD
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.
THIRD RULE—THE LIGHT IN IT REFORMS
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.
FOURTH RULE—NOTHING DEFEATS THE WILL
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.
FIFTH RULE—AS ONE MAN IN ONE HEART
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 All, VaYechi [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 All, VaYishlach [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 .
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.
 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 All, VaYishlach [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 All, Bo [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 All, Bo [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  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.
 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 .” 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.
 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 All, Ki 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.
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 Hesed, Gevura, Tifferet.
Zoharfor All, Ki 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 All, Aharei 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 All, VaYishlach [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 All, Hayei Sarah [The Life of Sarah], Item 219
Question: Why do we need The Zohar if we already have the Torah?
Answer: The 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” . 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. 
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 All, BeHaalotcha [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 All, Emor [Say], Item 3
 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.”
 For more on this topic, see Baal HaSulam’s “Introduction to The Study of the Ten Sefirot”