by Rabbi Ashlag
In the wisdom of Kabbalah there is taught a spiritual principle:
Every created thing is composed of two aspects. One is that created thing's essence or substance and the other is the body or form of that created thing.
Before I clarify this exalted matter, it is important for me to note that although all the readers seem to consider it impossible to clarify and bring such a matter closer to the human mind, except by relying on abstract, philosophical concepts, as is usually the case in such scrutinies, since the day I have discovered the wisdom of Kabbalah and dedicated myself to it, I have distanced myself from abstract philosophy and all its branches as the east from the west. Everything that I will write henceforth will be from a purely scientific perspective, in utter precision, and by means of simple recognition of practical, useful things.
In the above paragraph Rabbi Ashlag is explaining that Kabbalah is not something that is solely intellectual but is something practical that will impact each person's life to the level they are capable of integrating this teaching into his or her life.
Although I will mention their words below, it will be only to indicate the difference between what the human mind can conjure up and what can be understood using the concepts of the Torah and the prophecy, which are based on practical foundations (as I have shown in “The Essence of the Wisdom of Kabbalah”).
I would also like to thoroughly clarify the terms “body” and “soul” as they truly are, since truth and sound mind are one and the same. This is because the truth is available for anyone, but only by the spirit of the Holy Torah and by removing all the distorted concepts that have taken root among the people. These are primarily taken from abstract methods from which the spirit of our Holy Torah is utterly removed.
Rabbi Ashlag is telling us that the full truth can not be understood without Torah concepts that enable us to see the full truth. He also engages us with the concept that most of science and philosophy principles do not include Torah concepts. Please realize that Torah concepts are not religious concepts.
In general, we find that the methods that abound in the world concerning the concepts of body and soul are gathered into three methods:
1) The Method of Faith
The method of faith argues that all that exists is the spirit or the soul. They believe that there are spiritual objects separated from one another by quality. They are called “souls of people,” and that they exist independently, prior to dressing in a human body. Afterwards, when the body dies, the death does not apply to it, since a spiritual object is a simple object. In their view, death is but a separation of the elements comprising the object.
This is possible with physical objects, comprised of several elements which death disintegrates. But the spiritual soul, which is an utterly simple object, lacking any complexity, cannot be separated in any way, as this separation would annul its existence. Hence, the soul is eternal and exists forever.
The body, as they understand it, is like a clothing over this spiritual object. The spiritual soul clothes in it and uses it to manifest its forces: the good qualities and all kinds of concepts. Also, it provides the body with life and motion and guards it from harm. Thus, the body itself is lifeless, motionless, and contains nothing but dead matter, as we see it once the soul departs it—when it dies—and all the signs of life that we see in human bodies are but manifestations of the soul’s powers.
The title of this section "Faith" does not seem to have any connection to the writing of Rabbi Ashlag. "Faith comes into play to explain this idea of the body dies and the soul lives forever. it also comes into the idea that the soul is a unified whole - which it is not. The idea of the simple soul being whole and unified is an over simplification that helps us understand this concept of two opposites being unified. The two opposites is body and soul. In my opinion and from our study of the advanced reincarnation a soul consists of many parts or sparks. Each spark can be considered a desire to receive that is in the process of transforming from a desire to receive for oneself alone to a desire to receive in order to share. Also there is a deeper understanding that this transformation has many individual and unique states. It may have a binary type process which means that one spark leaves a lower level and rises to a higher level in its process to full correction or transformation. Or it may be an analog model in which it acts like a rheostat like a meter or a scale which measures how far along the process one spark has followed. Also we learn in advanced reincarnation that each spark can make its full correction / transportation and then leaves the whole soul and is replaced by another spark with a similar desire to receive to be that part of the soul / body combination. Yet it is easiest for us to perceive these sparks / parts as one whole with one name. Yes, it is complex but not truly complex when one contemplates this comment.
2) The Method of Believers in Duality
Those who believe in duality think of the body as a complete creation, standing, living, and nourishing, and safekeeping its existence in all that is required. It does not need any assistance from any spiritual object.
Yet the body is not considered man’s essence. Man’s primary essence is the perceiving soul, which is a spiritual object, as in the view of the supporters of the first method.
The difference between these two methods is only in the concept of the body. Following the extensive developments in physiology and psychology, they have found that Providence has provided for all of life’s needs within the machine of the body itself. This, in their view, restricts the role of the soul’s functionality within the body solely to concepts and virtues of the spiritual kind. Thus, while they believe in duality, in both methods together, they say that the soul is the reason for the body, meaning that the body is a result, extending from the soul.
see my commentary below
3) The Method of the Deniers
The method of deniers of spirituality, who acknowledge only corporeality.
Supporters of this method completely deny the existence of any kind of abstract spiritual object within the body. They have evidently proven that man’s mind, too, is but a product of the body, and they depict the body as an electronic machine with wires that stretch from the body to the brain, and operate by encounters with external things.
Also, they send their sensations of pain or pleasure to the brain, and the brain instructs the organ what to do. Everything is run by wires and cords built for this task. They move the organ away from sources of pain and towards sources of pleasure. Thus, they clarify all of man’s conclusions from life’s events.
Also, what we feel as concepts and rationalities within our minds are but images of corporeal occurrences within the body. And man’s pre-eminence over all animals is that our minds are developed to such an extent that all the body’s events are depicted in our brains as images that we experience as concepts and rationalities.
Thus, the mind and all its deductions are but products that extend from the events of the body. In addition, there are proponents of the second method who completely agree with this method, but add the spiritual, eternal object to it, called “the soul that dresses within the machine of the body.” This soul is man’s essence, and the machine of the body is but its clothing. Thus, I have laid out in general terms all that human science has thus far contrived in the concepts of “body” and “soul.”
This section is incomplete with respect to current science. The body has an autonomic nervous system in addition to the description from Rabbi Ashlag's presentation from above. The autonomic nervous system is how we react to pain stimulus like a hot stove faster than the process of thoughts as described above by Rabbi Ashlag. This additional idea does not change the reality as to how the body works on a physical level.
But if one is a genuine student, he will walk around this axis all of one’s life, since yesterday’s certainty has become today’s uncertainty, and today’s certainty become tomorrow’s uncertainty. Thus, it is impossible to determine any definite conclusions for more than a day.
In my opinion, Rabbi Ashlag is explaining that man's scientific development is step by step. thus a conclusion today becomes incorrect as additional information becomes available. this applies to the idea of the flat earth theory as an example. Based on physical observation from the surface of the earth the flat earth theory can be considered certain and unchangeable. As the concept of a sphere theory regarding the shape of the world took center stage and Columbus proved that the horizon did not end by falling off the end of the earth the flat earth theory was no longer certain. It became changeable.
Today’s science has sufficiently understood that there is no absolute certainty in reality. Yet, our sages arrived at this conclusion several thousand years earlier. Hence, concerning religious matters, they have guided and forbidden us to not only refrain from drawing any conclusions based on theory, but even prohibited us from being assisted by such theories, even by way of negotiations.
Our sages divided the wisdom into two matters: revealed and concealed. The revealed part contains everything we know from our direct consciousness, as well as the concepts built upon practical experience, without any assistance from scrutiny, as our sages said, “a judge has only what his eyes see.”
The concealed part contains all those concepts we had heard from trusted people or have acquired by ourselves through general understanding and perception of them. However, we cannot sufficiently approach it so as to criticize it with a healthy mind, with straightforward cognizance. And this is regarded as “concealed,” where we were advised to accept matters with “simple faith.” And with all that concerns religion, we have been strictly forbidden to even gaze at matters that could arouse us to scrutinize and study them.
Yet, these names, “revealed” and “concealed,” are not permanent names, applying to a certain kind of knowledge, as the uneducated think. Rather, they apply only to the human consciousness. Thus, one refers to all those concepts one has already discovered and has come to know through actual experience as “revealed,” and regards all the concepts that are yet to be recognized in this manner as “concealed.”
Thus, throughout the generations, all people have these two divisions. The revealed part will be permitted for study and research, as it relies on a true basis, and the concealed part is forbidden for even a shred of scrutiny, since one has no real basis there.
In my opinion, this section is describing what the modern world refers to as the conscious - ness and unconscious - ness. Conscious - ness is the revealed; Unconscious - ness is the concealed. Please realize that we have not defined either consciousness or unconsciousness although Rabbi Ashlag has quoted certain suggestions or laws by our sages. Right now these quotations are not clear to me.
Hence, we who follow in the footsteps of our sages are not permitted to use the human science, except with knowledge that has been proven by actual experiences, and of whose validity we have no doubt. Therefore, we cannot accept any religious principle from the above three methods, all the more so concerning the concepts of body and soul, which are the fundamental concepts and the subject of religion as a whole. We can only accept concepts of life sciences taken from experiments that no man can doubt.
Clearly, such a proof cannot be found in any spiritual matter, but only in physical matters, set up for perception by the senses. Hence, we are permitted to use the third method, to an extent. It engages only in matters of the body, in all those deductions that have been proven by experiments, and which no one doubts. The rest of the concepts, which combine the reason of their method and other methods, are forbidden to us. One who uses them breaches, “Turn you not unto the idols.”
Yet, this third method is foreign and loathsome to the human spirit. There is hardly any truly educated person who is able to accept it. This is so because according to them, man’s humane form has been erased and vanished. Man has been made into a machine that walks and works by other forces. According to them, man has no free choice whatsoever, but is rather pushed by nature’s forces, and all his actions are compulsory. Hence, man has no reward or punishment, since no judgment, punishment, or reward apply to one who has no freedom of will.
Such a thing is utterly unthinkable, and not only for the religious, who believe in reward and punishment, since believing in His Providence, that all of nature’s forces are guided by Him, assures them that everything has a good and desirable cause. Yet, this method is even stranger in the eyes of the nonreligious, who believe that everyone is given to the hands of a blind, mindless, and aimless nature. These intelligent ones are like toys in its hands, led astray, and who knows where? Hence, this method has become despised and unaccepted in the world.
But you should know that the method of those who conceive duality came only to correct this above-mentioned wrong. For this reason, they have decided that the body, which is but a machine according to the third method, is not at all the real human. Man’s real essence is something altogether different—invisible and imperceptible to the senses. It is a spiritual entity, clothed and hidden within the body. This is man’s “self,” the “I.” The body and everything within it are considered possessions of that eternal and spiritual I, as they have written.
Yet, by their own admission, this method is lame, since they cannot explain how a spiritual entity, being the soul or the self, can move the body or decide anything concerning it. This is because following the philosophical precision itself, the spiritual has no contact whatsoever with the physical. It has absolutely no impact on it, as they have written themselves.
This section is amazing yet it takes one who is willing to look beyond these words. In order to truly learn the full methods of healing of the body we would need to understand the relationship between the body and soul at the mind / brain level. Yet according to the Sages instructions we can only determine this truth through psychic and higher levels of mind. This is my opinion. As science is starting to document these experiments we have a hint that every human being is capable of these psychic abilities. Yet remember science that hints at this is a wrong approach. The correct approach is to experience your own use of these abilities and see where they lead you. My intuition tells me it will lead us to cleave to HaShem if we proceed without falling to the Idol of Science.
Yet, even without this question, their method would have been forbidden among Israel, as we have explained above. It is important to know that the whole accusation of Rambam by Israel’s sages and the harsh judgment to burn his books, were not because they had any doubt of the righteousness and piousness of the Rambam himself. Rather, it was only because he used philosophy and metaphysics, which were at their peak at the time, as assistance in his books. The Rambam wished to save them from it, yet the sages did not agree with him.
Needless to say, today our generation has already recognized that metaphysical philosophy contains no real content upon which it is worthwhile to spend one’s time. Hence, it is certainly forbidden for anyone to take any spices from their words.
To understand this section one must delve into the conflict between Maimonides and the Bet Din that ordered the burning of his books. The important aspect that the modern generation needs to take away from this section is to use logic and science methods carefully and with a significant amount of distrust. This has not been the training and education of the western world and also these methods which are tools of Satan has penetrated the eastern world as well. If you have the merit to read this section take this warning to heart, please.
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