Rabbi Ashlag

Returning Light Meditation  Avraham Lowenthal Tsfat

Not taking Torah literally!

by yedidah on January 26, 2018

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Zohar:

Rabbi Shimon said: Woe to the man who says that the Torah comes to tell literal stories and stories of people like Esau and Laban and such like. For if this were so, even in these times we could make a Torah out of the words of ordinary people — even nicer stories than these.

If the purpose of the Torah were to show the matters of the world, even the rulers of the world have more excellent matters than those in the Torah. Then we could go after them and make from them a Torah, in the same way.

But all the words of the Torah are high matters and are of the highest inner meanings!

Rabbi Ashlag, when he came to the Land of Israel, originally thought to join with the Kabbalists of the Holy Land. But he was bitterly disappointed to find that they were occupying themselves only with the external forms of the writings of the Zohar and of the Ari, without trying to understand them at al. Indeed, they were laboring under the apprehension that it wasn’t necessary to try to understand these writings at all. They even thought that such understanding wasn’t meant for humans.

Rabbi Ashlag felt the injustice being done to the Torah. His disappointment renewed his desire to bring wisdom and understanding into this crucial, but so neglected part of the Torah.

In this podcast we hear his impassioned outburst, his determination and his yearning. It is a fire we can kindle within ourselves too.

This shiur, is dedicated in loving memory of Feiga bat Shmuel and Rvikah and for the elevation of her soul.

The material for this shiur is taken  from  the forthcoming book, “ The Master of the Ladder, the Life and teachings of the Baal haSulam, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag, by Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb, translated and edited by Yedidah Cohen, Nehora Press. 

The picture is the Returning Light Meditation by Avraham Loewenthal of Tsfat, with grateful acknowledgement.

 

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a tree with roots, illustrate the  relationships  of elements in this world with the elements in the higher worlds of consciousness.

Root and Branch: The Language of Kabbalah

by yedidah on November 23, 2017

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When we read books of kabbalah, as for example English  translations of the Zohar , or look at diagrams of the Sephirot, we often end up more puzzled than enlightened. This is because Kabbalah actually uses a specific language.

As we know, every discipline has its own language. We wouldn’t expect to understand a book on  engineering unless we had already mastered the terms used. So why do we get so surprised when we don’t fully understand what we’re reading in the Kabbalah?

The answer is based on the way the Kabbalah sees reality. Every element in this world comes from the spiritual worlds above. It is a branch, the root of which is to be found in the higher spiritual worlds. Therefore, the sages found that by using ordinary, everyday language that pertains to elements in this world, they could in fact reference their roots in the higher spiritual worlds. Of course, the sages would have a clear perception of the relationships between the elements of this world — the branches— and their equivalent roots in the higher spiritual worlds.

So we find that the sages of the Kabbalah used our  everyday language, but in a way that we, ordinary mortals, who don’t have direct perception of the higher spiritual worlds, can easily be misled by.

That’s why we were so fortunate in our generation to have had   a great Sage like Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag who acted  as translator. He translated  from the language in which the Zohar and other Kabbalah texts are written in and and brought their meanings into our ordinary spoken language. In our generation, we have been so blessed to have had this great Sage in our midst, to open for us wisdom that through its code had been locked for centuries.

This shiur, is dedicated in loving memory of Feiga bat Shmuel and Rvikah and for the elevation of her soul.

 The material for this shiur is taken  from  the forthcoming book, “ The Master of the Ladder, the Life and teachings of the Baal haSulam, Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag, by Rabbi Avraham Mordecai Gottlieb, translated and edited by Yedidah Cohen, Nehora Press. 

 

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The words, letters, and sentences that make up our lives.

by yedidah June 19, 2017
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The words of the Torah are the vessels for its wisdom. They are written as black letters on the white parchment . The white is the light of the wisdom of the Torah, but if it were not for the letters we would not know what it says. Similarly our lacks and desires make up the words of our lives. By learning the meanings of the words of the Torah and of the Kabbalah we can understand our own desires more accurately . We look at “zivug”, the union of opposites and see how it applies to relationships.

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Sounding our own Shofar

by yedidah September 21, 2016
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The great light of God that comes into the world on Rosh Hashanah is identical to that which came into the world at the time of its Creation. But if we were to receive it “straight”, as it were, it would be dangerous for us. The shofar sounds the voice of loving-kindness and compassion, which clothes this great light so all the world may benefit from the light of God in its bounty and blessing.

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What do we ask forgiveness for?

by yedidah August 25, 2016
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In Judaism the word “sin” actually means missing the mark. When we look back on our lives , we may see many things we wish now we had done differently. It transpires that the main sin is that we didn’t ask for help when we needed it. An article from the Kabbalist Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag

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The story of the Children of Israel in Egypt is our story

by yedidah April 17, 2016
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Rabbi Ashlag teaches the redemption of the Children of Israel from Egypt as an on-going process within ourselves. He teaches that Egypt is within us, personified as our egoism, and this constitutes our bondage. The elements of the Pesach preparations and Seder night guide us so we can also celebrate our own redemption by the Hand of the Almighty with joy.

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