The Torah is beautiful

The beauty of Torah: From the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag on the Zohar and the AriThe Creator is perfect and whole, the Zohar teaches us that the entire creation, the higher worlds and the lower worlds, and all that is in them, add nothing to His essence.

So what then is the purpose of the Creation? The holy Ari answers this question in the Etz Chayim:

 It arose, in his simple will, to create the worlds, and to bring forth the created beings, to bring to light the perfection of His works, His Names and His attributes, which was the reason for the creation of the worlds.

The inner meaning of the word “arose” as explained by the great Kabbalist Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag, is :

The vessel (Malchut) ascended in purity and dvekut in that it lessened the  will to receive that was inherent in it, in order to equate its form with that of the Highest light ( in other words, to become a giver just like the light is giving). And this was, even though the will to receive that is in the Ein Sof which is called the Malchut of the Ein Sof had no lack in its dvekut, in its unity with the Highest light because of a change of form, nevertheless it decorated itself to equate its form with that of the Highest Light.Or Pnimi

The idea of a decoration is of something that adds beauty. It adds an additional, wonderful dimension to our lives. The Torah itself is described as beautiful:

“For they are a garland of grace for your head, and necklaces about your neck” ( Proverbs 1:9).

A life of Torah is indeed a wonderful and beautiful life as the Sages teach:

Rabbi Meir says, “Whoever occupies himself with Torah for its own sake will merit many things. Not only that, but the whole world becomes worthwhile to him. He is called ‘friend,’ ‘beloved,’ ‘lover of the One,’ ‘a lover of all people,’ ‘one who gives joy to God,’ ‘one who gives joy to people’; he is clothed in humility and in the fear of being separated from the Creator. He is fitted to be a Tzaddik, a pious one, upright and faithful, keeping his fellow far from sin and bringing his fellow closer to the One. Others rejoice in his counsel and in his wisdom, in his understanding and his fortitude, as it is said, ‘I have counsel and wisdom, I am understanding, I have fortitude’ (Prov. 8:14). Sovereignty is given to him, governance, and resource in judgment. Secrets of the Torah are revealed to him and he becomes like an overflowing spring, like a river that does not cease. He is modest and long-suffering, forgiving those who insult him, and he is great and exalted over all God’s created beings.” (Ethics of the Fathers)

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Sephirot: What are they?

The tree of life, the ten Sephirot

A depiction of the relationships between the ten Sephirot called the “Tree of Life”.

The first thing people think of when you mention the word Kabbalah to them is often a chart of the Tree of life, the ten Sephirot. But such charts are misleading.

They take an aspect of consciousness and represent it in a two-dimensional way on paper. Such a chart has the same relationship to the Sephirot as has  a line drawing of a boy  to the real living and breathing child it represents.

In this talk we will be examining the basic terms of the Kabbalah and looking at their real meaning. We will be learning where these consciousnesses first arise in the Ein Sof, the infinite, and how they are integral aspects of our consciousness in our everyday lives and interactions.

Podcast based on the teachings of the Ari, from the Etz Chayim and from the commentaries of Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag’s Talmud Eser HaSephirot.

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With grateful thanks to Mia Sherwood Landau for the inspiration of this podcast; and to Avraham Lowenthal, for permission to reproduce his relational diagram of the ten Sephirot Tsfat Gallery of Mystical Art