Yehuda Ashlag

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Baal HaSulam)
Jump to: navigation, search
Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag is also known as the Master of the Ladder

Yehuda Ashlag (4 October 18866 October 1954) was a Kabbalist who lived in Jerusalem from 1922 until his death in 1954, who received the name Baal HaSulam (The Master of the Ladder) for his Sulam commentary on The Zohar. He advanced while writing the commentaries, and published his primary work, Talmud Eser Sefirot (The Study of the Ten Sefirot), which is considered the predominant Kabbalistic study text for our generation. He worked as an Orthodox rabbi, and was born in Warsaw, Poland, to a family of scholars connected to the Chassidic courts of Prosov and Belz. His son Baruch (1907-1991) extended the teaching lineage by pursuing his work.

Introduction to the Book of Zohar[edit]

  • In addition to the animal essence, we have something that is above animal existence. This something is called our egoism. It is based on our aspirations to wealth, honor, fame, power, and knowledge. Animals do not have these aspirations [...] — envy, inclination to pleasures, and aspiration to honor. These aspirations bring a person to a level above the animal. Since they are above animal qualities, these aspirations and qualities are praiseworthy. On the other hand, their common natural utilization puts us below all other levels [i.e. still, vegetative, and animate].

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book of Zohar", in Introduction to the Book of Zohar: Volume Two, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2005, p. 94.


  • [T]he thought of creation itself dictates the presence of an excessive will to receive in the souls, to fit the immense pleasure that the Creator thought to bestow upon them. For the great delight and the great desire to receive must go hand in hand.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book of Zohar", in Introduction to the Book of Zohar: Volume Two, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2005, p. 119.

Selected Articles[edit]

  • If one thinks that there is another authority and force apart from the Creator, he is committing a sin.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Divinity in Exile", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 190.


  • The essence of one's work is only to come to the sensation of the existence of the Creator, to feel the existence of the Creator, that “the whole earth is full of His glory.”

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Reason for the Heaviness in the Work", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 193.


  • One is where one thinks.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "One Is Where One Thinks", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 231.


  • Had Israel not sinned, they would have been given only the five books of Moses and the book of Joshua.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "An Allegory about the Rich Man's Son in the Cellar", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 232.


  • The aim of the Creator from the time He created His Creation is to reveal His Godliness to others.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 243.


  • All of Israel are responsible for one another.
  • Please note that in Kabbalistic terms "Israel" refers to a spiritual nation, rather than a religious faith or a nation-state.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Matan Torah (The Giving of the Torah)", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 249.


  • There are many sparks of sanctity in each person in [a] group. And when you collect all the sparks of sanctity into one place, as brothers, with love and friendship, you will certainly have a very high level of sanctity...

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Love of Friends", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 282.


  • Rabbi Elazar, son of Rabbi Shimon, says, ‘Since the world is judged by its majority, and the individual is judged by the majority, if he performs one Mitzva, happy is he, for he has sentenced himself and the whole world to a scale of merit. If he commits one sin, woe unto him, for he has sentenced himself and the whole world to a scale of sin.’ (...) Moreover, it is written, “one sinner destroyeth much good.” This is because one sin sentences the person and the entire world to a scale of sin.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 355.


  • [I]f all people were to come by equal concepts and inclinations, without any difference whatsoever, all the souls of all the people would be regarded as one soul. Its value would be like the light of the sun: the light clothes in all the inhabitants of the world, yet we do not discern that there are separate forms in the sunlight. Similarly, one conceptual soul would robe many bodies, since places do not separate at all in spiritual matters if there are no separate forms in their qualities.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 483.


  • Know that all the sophistications in the knowledge are mostly mistakes that should fall before the truth. Yet, the truth itself is simple, without any wit.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 487.


Assorted Themes[edit]

On Love for the Fellow Man[edit]

  • When humanity will reach its goal, regarding the success of the bodies, namely they will reach the perfect level of love for one another, then all the bodies will unite to one body and one heart, and only then all the hoped for happiness at its highest peak, will be revealed to humanity.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Freedom", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/matan_torah/freedom.htm


On Human Nature[edit]

  • It is well known to researchers of nature that one cannot perform even the slightest movement without motivation, meaning without somehow benefiting oneself. When, for example, one moves one’s hand from the chair to the table it is because one thinks that by putting one’s hand on the table one will thus receive greater pleasure. If one would not think so, one would leave one's hand on the chair for the rest of one's life without moving it an inch, all the more so concerning greater efforts.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Peace", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/matan_torah/peace.htm


On Thoughts and Desires[edit]

  • A thought is an upshot of the desire. When someone thinks about what he wants, he does not think of something undesirable. For example, a person never thinks about the day of his death. On the contrary, he will always contemplate his perpetuity, for this is his desire. Thus, one always thinks of what is desirable (...) It turns out that thought serves desire, and desire is the “self” of the person. Now, there is a great self, or a small self. A great self dominates the small selves. He who is a small self has no dominion whatsoever, and the advice is to magnify the self through the diligence of the thought on the desire, since it grows to the extent that one thinks of it.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "A Thought is an Upshot of the Desire", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/morning_lesson_articles/a_thought_is_an_upshot_of_the_desire.htm


On Politics[edit]

  • The duration of every political phase is just as long as it takes to unveil its shortcomings and evil. While discovering its defects, it makes way for a new phase, liberated from these failings. Thus, these impairments that appear in a situation and destroy it are the very forces of human evolution, as they raise humanity to a more corrected state.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Solution", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/morning_lesson_articles/the_solution.htm


On Human Development[edit]

  • There is a positive force, meaning constructive, and a negative force, meaning negative and destructive. They create and complement the entire reality in general and particular through their harsh and perpetual war with one another. As we have said above, the negative force appears at the end of every political phase, elevating it to a better state, and thus the phases follow one another until they reach their ultimate perfection (...) In addition, being a social creature, the individual development is not enough. Rather, one’s ultimate perfection depends on the development of all the members of society.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Solution", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/morning_lesson_articles/the_solution.htm


What is Corporeality?[edit]

  • Anything that is perceived and sensed by the five senses, or which takes time and space, is called 'Corporeal.'

   - Yehuda Ashlag, Talmud Eser Sefirot, Part 2, Table of Questions for the Meaning of Words, Question #14, http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/talmud_eser_sefirot/part_2/table_questions.htm


What is Spirituality?[edit]

  • The term “Spirituality” as it is expressed in books of Kabbalah, means that it is devoid of any corporeal contingency, meaning time, space, imagination, and so on. Sometimes, this term indicates only the Ohr Elyon (lit. Upper Light) in the Kli (lit. Vessel), although a Kli is also completely spiritual in every way.

   - Yehuda Ashlag, Talmud Eser Sefirot, Part 2, Table of Questions for the Meaning of Words, Question #66, http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/talmud_eser_sefirot/part_2/table_questions.htm


On Shame with regard to Receiving[edit]

  • It is much like a rich man, who takes a man from the market and feeds him and gives him gold and silver and all desirables every day. And each day he showers him with more gifts than the day before. Finally the rich man asks: Do tell me, have your wishes all been fulfilled? And the man from the market replies, not yet, for how pleasant and wonderful it would be if all those possessions and precious things came to me through my own work as they came to you, and I would not be receiving the charity of your hand. The rich man told him then: In this case, there has never been born a person who could satisfy your wishes.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Revelation of Godliness", http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/matan_torah/revelation.htm


On the Meaning of Life[edit]

  • Indeed, if we set our hearts to answer but one very famous question, I am certain that all these questions and doubts will vanish from the horizon, and you will look unto their place to find them gone. This indignant question is a question that the whole world asks, namely, “What is the meaning of my life?” In other words, these numbered years of our life that cost us so heavily and the numerous pains and torments that we suffer for them, to complete them to the fullest, who is it that enjoys them?

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to Talmud Eser Sefirot", Item 2, http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/introduction_to_talmud_eser_sefirot.htm


On Eternal Bestowal and Transient Reception[edit]

  • [S]ince the essence of the soul is but a will to bestow, and all its manifestations and possessions are fulfillments of that will to bestow (...) therefore it is immortal and irreplaceable. The soul, with all its manifestations is eternal and exists forever. Absence does not apply to them upon the departure of the body. On the contrary, the absence of the corrupted form of the body, greatly strengthens it, thus enabling it to rise to the Heavens. Thus we have clearly shown that the persistence in no way depends upon the concepts it has acquired, as philosophers claim, but its eternality is in its very essence, meaning in its will to bestow, which is its essence. And the concepts it acquires are its reward, not its essence.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book of Zohar", Item 24, http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/zohar/zohar_intro/zoharintro_1.htm


On Above Reason[edit]

  • No mind of a creature can attain Him.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, Talmud Eser Sefirot, Part 1, Chapter 2, Item 30, http://www.kabbalah.info/engkab/talmud_eser_sefirot/part_1/tzimtzum_and_kav.htm


On Freedom[edit]

  • [W]hen we examine the acts of an individual, we shall find them compulsory. He is compelled to do them and has no freedom of choice. In a sense, he is like a stew cooking on a stove; it has no choice but to cook. And it must cook because Providence has harnessed life with two chains: pleasure and pain (...) there is no difference here between man and animal. And if that is the case, there is no free choice whatsoever, but a pulling force, drawing them toward any bypassing pleasure and rejecting them from painful circumstances. And Providence leads them to every place it chooses by means of these two forces [i.e. pleasure and pain], without asking their opinion in the matter.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Freedom", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 376.


  • [W]hat a terrible wrong inflict those nations that force their reign on minorities, depriving them of freedom without allowing them to live their lives by the tendencies they have inherited from their ancestors (...) For we can see how all the nations that ever fell, throughout the generations, came to it only due to their oppression of minorities and individuals, which had therefore rebelled against them and ruined them. Hence, it is clear to all that peace cannot exist in the world if we do not take into consideration the freedom of the individual. Without it, peace will not be sustainable and ruin shall prevail.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "The Freedom", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 387-88.


On Creation[edit]

  • [A]ngels made no complaint about any of the creatures that were created during the six days of Creation, except about Man. This is because he was created in God's image and consists of Upper and Lower together. When the angels saw it, they were startled and bewildered. How would the pure, spiritual soul descend from its sublime degree, and come and dwell in the same abode with this filthy, beastly body? (...) The answer that came to them is is that there is already a tower filled abundantly, and empty of guests. To fill it with guests, we need the existence of this human, made of Upper and lower together (...) Know that this tower, filled abundantly, implies all the pleasure and the goodness for which He has created the creatures.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 440.


  • "Of all Your work, not a thing You have forgotten; You did not add, and You did not subtract." It is a mandatory law that perfect operations stem from the perfect Operator.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 463.


On Torah[edit]

  • [T]he whole purpose of the Torah is to correct the sin of the Tree of Knowledge, which induced the confusion of the conduct of the sustenance of reality.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, Panim Meirot uMasbirot", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 466.


  • "The whole Torah is the names of the Creator." All the stories and the laws and the sentences, all are His Holy Names.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 481.


  • Because there is no difference or disparity of form between them (...) "The Torah and the Creator and Israel are one."

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, p. 484.


  • [E]ven if a person excels in Torah and good deeds more than all his contemporaries, if he has not learned the secrets of Torah and the wisdom of truth, he must reincarnate in the world (...) Now the matter is clarified—the whole part of the revealed Torah is but a preparation to become worthy and merit attaining the concealed part. It is the concealed part that is very wholeness and the purpose for which man is created.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Introduction to the Book, From the Mouth of a Sage", in Kabbalah for the Student, Michael Laitman, ed., Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2008, pp. 484-85.


On Form, Essence & Matter[edit]

  • Know that the essence of a person, as such, is quite impossible to perceive without his material embodiment (...) This is because our five senses and our imagination do not offer us anything more than the revelation of the actions of the essence, but not the essence itself.

   - Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, "Preface to the Book of Zohar", in Introduction to the Book of Zohar: Volume Two, Michael Laitman, Laitman Kabbalah Publishers, 2005, pp. 30-31.


External links[edit]

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

[1] Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education & Research Institute