Returning Light Meditation  Avraham Lowenthal Tsfat

Not taking Torah literally!

by yedidah on January 26, 2018



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.




Why is it important to understand the language of Kabbalah? Many people learn about Kabbalah using terms such as light, Sephirot, the Tree of life, without  really knowing what they mean. But this is a shame, because when we learn the meaning of these words terms accurately we  obtain a precious key to the wisdom of our Sages, and to our own lives.

The light of God, the Creator, is one, One indivisible goodness. But we cannot grasp any aspect of it unless we want it.

Rabbi Ashlag the great Kabbalist gives this example:

Take a sefer Torah:  The light is the white of the parchment. It contains all the wisdom of the Torah,  But if it were not for the black letters, I would not know what this wisdom is saying to me.

Black is the absence of light. So the letters of the Torah, black ink on white parchment  are actually absences of the light… yet the letters catch the light within their spaces. In our own lives when we lack something we yearn for it. It is our desires that make up the letters, words and sentences of our lives.

Our question today is, are the sentences we are writing today, truly reflecting our deepest desires?

By learning the words of the Torah and of the Kabbalah , accurately  we can see our own desires, more clearly.

Today we look at the term zivug, which is the Kabbalistic term for the entry of light into the vessel and is also the term used for the relationship between a man and wife.

On a personal note I wish to give thanks to HaShem that after a long period of illness I am able once again to write and broadcast these short shiurim, and to  my dear family and chevrutas who all helped me with their encouragement and prayers. 


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by yedidah June 22, 2016
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We have two ways of relating to the goodness that the Creator gives us: receiving or giving. But these two functions are very often mutually opposite, each feeling that its own way is the correct way, even though such function is often incomplete. But a greater harmony and balance is achieved by co-operation, thus causing a third, middle way to emerge. The Torah itself comes forth from and guides us to this middle way.

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The Torah as a Jewel

by yedidah June 8, 2015
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“She shall give to your head a garland of grace, a crown of glory she shall grant you” The inner beauty of the Torah speaks to our soul, as the essence of the Torah , the essence of the soul and the essence of the Creator are One. A life of Torah is a beautification of the Creation . From the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag on the Zohar and on the Etz Chayim of the Ari z”l

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The hidden beauty of the spiritual night

by yedidah May 17, 2015
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The term “night”, in the language of the Kabbalah refers to the time when the Creator’s presence is hidden from us. We yearn for the day… . But is there something we are missing? The Zohar hints to us that there is a special value to the time of the night. From the teachings of Rabbi Ashlag in preparation for the festival of Shavuot.

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Purim then and now: A message for our turbulent times

by yedidah March 4, 2015
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We are living in turbulent times; the light of redemption is close but so are the forces of destruction growing. How do we deal with this?The inner meanings of the Megillat Esther as explained by Rabbi Ashlag teach us what choices are available to us, and how to make these choices conscious and positive.

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