Questions and Answers - Official Kabbalah Publication of the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute
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Questions and Answers

Q: I was surprised to read in the Haggada (tales for Passover night) that Pharaoh made Israel come nearer to the Creator. How is a negative force capable of working for the Creator and against itself?

A: Pharaoh is the force of the Creator. It is a good force that takes a negative appearance in us, as it says: “Two angels lead one to the goal—the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’.”

The whole experience of progress in Kabbalah pertains to the acquisition of new forces of bestowal. If we had only good inclinations, we would never be able to advance. Therefore, it is important to relate to Pharaoh as the Force of the Creator that was given to us for our assistance. Pharaoh promotes us by awakening in our egos a desire to advance and develop materially. From awakening that desire, we begin to understand that material progress doesn’t give us anything, and that true development is spiritual.

When, under the influence of Pharaoh, we begin to develop spiritually, we search in the spiritual world for what could fulfill our desire for pleasure. Thus, our own egoism, Pharaoh, is the motivating force behind everything.

We can only enjoy the (very small) pleasures in our world. Once they are gone, they leave us feeling emptier and even more dissatisfied than before. Pharaoh must motivate us to spirituality so that afterwards, when we receive the spiritual delight, he (egoism) will take it for himself. This is why it is written that Pharaoh helped Israel (desires for the Creator) draw nearer to Him.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: What happens to my desires once I cross the Red Sea and enter spirituality?

A: When we enter spirituality, our will to receive grows in quality; we want to take pleasure in the Creator and not in pleasures of this world, which are mere costumes over the pleasure that comes from the Creator. In each spiritual degree, we are given a greater portion of desire to enjoy. …Each additional desire should be used in our search for a connection with the Creator.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: Is Kabbalah a mystical experience?

A: Kabbalah is not a mystical experience. It is an explanation of a system of natural laws of which we are all part, and which we must learn how to use to our benefit. These laws are active on all levels of nature—still, vegetative, animate, and speaking. Therefore, when we discover them, we can improve all aspects of our world, from climate change to social structures.

Q: Is it possible to change the future through Kabbalah?

A: The Kabbalah is meant for precisely that purpose.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: What is the difference between this world and the spiritual world?

A: This world is the lowest point that a Kabbalist attains. It is the total opposite of the Creator and is termed, “the exile in Egypt.” The natural power that works on us in that state, the power of our egoistic nature, doesn’t allow us to advance anywhere except to care for ourselves. This is called “the state of Pharaoh.”

Our egoism doesn’t let us feel the sublime and perfect state. It is egoism, man’s inner and vicious force called “Pharaoh,” that the Torah (Pentateuch) speaks of at length. The force that liberates us of that state and admits us into the spiritual world is called “Moses.” Pharaoh, Moses, and everything that is written about the exodus describe spiritual states and emotions.

--From the book, The Path of Kabbalah

Q: Some people suffer their entire lives … why do they suffer?

A: Everyone suffers all the time. Humanity in general has been suffering throughout its history. People lived, died, and never understood the actual reasons for their pain. The pain should accumulate and reach a certain level before we can discover the reasons for it, and who is responsible for it.

The wisdom of Kabbalah is a method that addresses the question of humanity’s suffering and how it can be resolved. As a whole, humankind has already accumulated enough pain to begin to ask about the reasons for it. This is why Kabbalists are now opening the wisdom of Kabbalah to everyone.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: What is the source of the name, The Book of Zohar?

A: Zohar means “splendor,” as it is written in The Book of Zohar: “The righteous sit with their crowns on their heads, and delight in the splendor of Divinity.” According to The Book of Zohar, the sensation of the Creator (the Light) is called “Divinity.” In any place where the books of Kabbalah write, “so it was written in the book…” they always refer to The Book of Zohar. All other books are seemingly not considered books because the word “book” (Sefer in Hebrew) comes from the word Sefira, which comes from the word “sapphire,” radiance, a revelation (of the Light, the Creator). And this is found only in The Book of Zohar.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: What is a holiday?

A: To know what we must correct, we have to see and feel what it is that needs correction. For that, there are ascents and descents that do not depend on us, called “an awakening from Above.” These are the holidays, the Shabbat (Saturday, the seventh day of the week), and the beginnings of the month, which are “given” to us from above.

--From the book, The Path of Kabbalah

Q: What is the meaning of Passover?

A: All the holidays represent specific phases in one’s path of discovery and understanding of the Upper World, the Creator, leading to the state of complete unification with Him. Pesach (Passover), for example, represents our exit from the sensation of the material world to the sensation of the spiritual world.

It happens when we begin to feel an external, broader world beyond our physical world. We begin to see how spiritual forces affect us, altering the course of physical events and processes in our world.

Passover is the only holiday that is still connected with our material world, or rather, to our exit from it. All other holidays signify a process of discovery and understanding of the spiritual world far beyond our own. To advance toward the spiritual worlds, we must be well versed in the rules that govern them.

--From the book, The Path of Kabbalah

Q: When I try to read The Book of Zohar, I find it very difficult to understand. Is it just me or is it truly a very difficult book to grasp?

A: The Book of Zohar is a very important Kabbalistic book, but it is written in a concealed way, making it impossible to understand until a person is in the spiritual world. Because of that, today we do not begin to study straight from The Book of Zohar. Instead, there are introductions and books by Baal HaSulam that teach us how to understand what is written in the Zohar.

The Book of Zohar is not a book through which one can attain spirituality; it was written for those who have already attained spirituality. To understand it properly, we need to study several other texts first, such as “Preface to The Wisdom of Kabbalah,” “Introduction to The Book of Zohar,” “Preface to The Book of Zohar,” and “Foreword to The Book of Zohar.” Without first acquiring clear and correct knowledge through those introductions, the book will remain completely abstruse to us.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience

Q: Lately, there have begun to appear various study groups for Kabbalah. Is it worthwhile to check them out?

A: It is always worthwhile to explore, at least once, who studies and how they study Kabbalah. It will also help you to get to know yourself. That is why I would advise you to check things out, and afterwards make up your mind.

It is not wise to hide from yourself deductions that you might later on discover. In Kabbalah, you mustn’t hide anything from yourself, or you will become used to lying to yourself. This will divert you from your inner struggle with yourself and you could begin to camouflage and ignore the drawbacks.

--From the book, The Kabbalah Experience