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 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.

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