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July 21, 2024

The One Book that Everyone Interested in Spirituality Should Read

The One Book that Everyone Interested in Spirituality Should Read

Why The Book of Zohar Is So Important for Your Spirituality

Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai (Rashbi) was the author of The Book of Zohar, which was written in the second century CE. It is the most important work of Kabbalah and considered to be its primary and most fundamental textbook. Rashbi lived between the Talmudic period and that of The Zohar and is regarded as a great researcher of both human nature and the upper world. He is also among the most important sages of the Talmud (his name is mentioned there some four thousand times). He was proficient in the languages of both the Talmud and Kabbalah, and he used both of them to describe the upper system of management, how the events of the present and the future are made to happen there—all the innovations and transformations—and how they come down from there to our world and manifest themselves in the clothing of this world.

The Zohar explains which actions influence the rest of the world from here below. Rashbi was the first Kabbalist to describe the reactions that we get from above for our thoughts. He described how they operate in the upper world and thus affect the unfolding of future events that are to descend to us. The Zohar is crucial to us because it encircles all the possible circumstances throughout human history.

 

The Unique Circumstances Behind the Writing of The Zohar

Before Rashbi began to write The Zohar, he established around him a group of disciples, where the soul of each disciple corresponded to a certain spiritual degree in the upper world. There were nine students, and he was the tenth. Together they formed one collective soul, corresponding to the complete structure in the spiritual world called the Eser (ten) Sefirot.

Thus, although Rashbi is the author of the book, each and every one of the students represents one of the attributes of the spiritual world he describes. He built a sort of prism, through which the simple upper light descends to our world and divides into ten parts, which are then divided into ten inner Sefirot. Their story is in fact a description of how those ten spiritual properties or forces come upon our world and lead it and how each person can use these forces for his or her own benefit and for others.

 

Why The Zohar Is Often Misunderstood

Rashbi said he could not have written the book by himself. He was supposed to write the book for the last generations and, in the meantime, conceal it so that it would only be revealed in the 16th century. To write this book in such a way that the intermediary generations would pass it by, he used his disciple Rabbi Abba. Rabbi Abba began writing the book while hearing and studying it from his teacher, but he wrote it in such a way that those who read it perceive only the outermost layer of the book.

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Forget the Da Vinci Code, Discover the Torah Code

Forget the Da Vinci Code, Discover the Torah Code

What Secrets Lie in the Torah?

People search for all kinds of codes in the Torah and find all the possible interconnections among its parts. Indeed, the parts of the Torah are interconnected in an infinite number of ways— the number of the letters, the words, the verses, and the phrases have been calculated. Recently, a fantastic work of calculation analyzed the inner structure of the letters and parts of letters. But those calculations give us nothing. They don’t teach us what stands behind each symbol or dot, or the shape of the letters and their combinations.

 

What the Dots and Lines in the Torah Mean

The Torah was first written as a single word with no spaces. Only later was that single word divided into individual words and the words into letters, and those letters were further broken down to their parts. In the end, these parts become a point and a line that extends from it. A black point on a white background symbolizes the source of the light: the light emanates from the single point. If the light descends from the upper force, from the Creator to the creature, it is a vertical line; if the force is ascribed to the entire creation, it is a horizontal line.

This is all the information that we get from the Creator. All the possible combinations between dots and lines depend on those two signs sent to us from the Creator:

  • The vertical line—a personal sign sent to humankind by the Creator
  • The horizontal line—a general sign sent to humankind by the Creator
  • All the situations in between

All the signs combined created the code for the relationship between God and humankind, and at any moment things can appear different because at any moment the soul is in a dif- ferent state.

 

Why The Book of Zohar Is the Key that Unlocks the Torah

A person who looks at the letters of the Torah, provided he or she has learned to read it correctly, can see his or her own past, present, and future through the combinations of dots and lines. But to see these things, one needs a key. With it, one can read the Torah like a tour guide to the spiritual world as opposed to simply a historic episode. This key is found in The Zohar, which interprets the Pentateuch and explains exactly what Moses meant by writing the Torah.

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Why Today Is the Age of Global Interconnection and Interdependence

Why Today Is the Age of Global Interconnection and Interdependence

The Development of Globalism Brings With It Global Interconnection

On the face of it, the 20th century seems like the beginning of a new stage in the evolution of desires. Every single realm of human engagement was revolutionized (and often re- or counter revolutionized) during this century. Indeed, the pace of change during this century has so increased, life has begun to change at an exponential pace.

But even more astonishing than the pace of progress was the pace of globalization. The process of becoming a single economic system that began with the Age of Discovery and colonialism culminated in the 20th century. At the century’s end, virtually no country remained completely self-sufficient.

In the year 1900, the world population was approximately 1.6 billion. By the end of the century, it was in excess of six billion. In 1900, the average top speed of a car was seven mph. A hundred years later, even typical family cars could reach 130 mph. Moreover, the primary means of transport had changed from carriages, bicycles, and walking to driving. By the turn of the 20th century, the majority of walking was done on treadmills at home, in parks, or in fitness gyms, and the same could be said for cycling.

For overseas journeys, jetliners have completely replaced passenger ships, and travel time between continents had dropped from several weeks to several hours (albeit for shipment of goods, the primary means of transport is still cargo ships rather than planes). And (quite literally) above all, to help ships and cars navigate, to alert them of bad weather, and to survey enemy territory, we have positioned satellites in space.

With respect to technology, life has changed not only in how fast and how comfortably we travel, but also in the instruments we use in our daily lives. Such devices as telephones (and later cellular phones), light bulbs, radios, televisions, and computers were either unheard oforwerejust making their debut inthe early 1900s. At home, life has never been easier. Washing machines, clothes dryers, refrigerators, freezers, vacuum cleaners, electric stoves, and (since the 1970s) microwave ovens, all have become household appliances.

Alas, the technological advances of the 20th century were (and still are) used detrimentally with devastating results: war, occupation, oppression, and tyranny became exponentially more effective and destructive, resulting in two world wars and several genocides within the time frame of a single century.

The two world wars changed the world map dramatically and ended the age of colonialism (with some exceptions such as India, which gained independence from England in 1947, or Algeria and other nations under french rule, which gained their own in the 1950s and 1960s). This allowed numerous new countries to experience independence for the first time, though the gap in wages, infrastructure, and standard of living between the powerful post-empires and the newly liberated countries not only remained, but even widened.

In the 20th century, science had drastically changed the way we view the world. Einstein’s Special and General Theory of Relativity, followed by the advent of quantum mechanics, have revolutionized the way scientists perceive the world, paving the way for numerous innovations from lasers to microprocessors and everything derived from them. Genetics was significantly developed, the structure of DNA was determined, and by the turn of the century, the first mammal, Dolly, the sheep, was cloned.

In astronomy, the Big Bang theory was proposed and the age of the universe was determined at roughly 14 billion years. Also, our observation capabilities have been dramatically improved with the 1990 launch of the Hubble Space Telescope.

All these and many more 20th century innovations and shifts made the past century a landmark of unique position in history.

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