Awhile ago, someone posted a comment on my blog about visual effects of Zohar text. The question was presented this way:
“As a beginner, I have what may be considered (and rightly so) a most naive and childish question. I’ve been reading some sites about the Zohar, where it is claimed that the letters (characters) themselves serve as a “vehicle” of sorts to open the Mind, and that “scanning” makes all sorts of wonderful things to happen.”
I heard these claims before, so let’s see what Kabbalah tells us about this.
To understand this small article, you have to be familiar with basic terms such as Kli (Vessel), Light, Reshimo. If you haven’t had a chance to research these terms, please make sure you understand them before you continue to avoid misunderstanding of the material.
As a quick reminder for folks who have read my articles in the past, when we talk about Kli, we’re referring to the one and only thing that was ever created – desire to receive. Light – what comes from the Creator and fills the Kli; Light has one key quality – desire to bestow. Reshimo – also known as Karma in Western civilization – is a ledger of desires that periodically arise in us, thus forcing us to take a specific action in our corporeal world. You can view Reshimo as a set of instructions that tells our bodies what to do. You probably ask yourself – if Reshimo tell us what to do each moment in our lives – where is our freedom of choice? Good question, but subject to another post.
So let’s quickly refresh our memories.
Stage 0 – Everything is filled with boundless Light. Creator decides to create the Creation
Stage 1 – a Kli appears, filled completely with Light
Stage 2 – the Kli feels shame from only receiving the Light, thus it decides to give it all back
Stage 3 – the Light is the source of Life for the Kli, and it can’t sustain itself without it, thus it decides to receive some portion of Light, and give some portion back
Stage 4 – as much as Kli wants to bestow its nature – the desire to receive – is bigger, and thus after seeing itself in previous stages, Kli decides to fill itself with the Light.
Stage 4 is called the actual Creation. Why? What is the difference between Stage 1 and Stage 4 as the Kli is filled with Light in both stages?
The difference is small, but substantial. In Stage 1, the Kli appeared filled with Light based on Creator’s thought, while in Stage 4 the Kli itself decided to be filled with the Light. These four stages provide important foundation to the entire Universe – they create an element out of something Divine and Perfect with opposite qualities to its Creator – and the most important part – with its own free will.
There are additional stages after Stage 4 of course, where all the details of the Universe are finalized, such as the five Upper Worlds (Adam Kadmom, Atzilut, Briya, Yatzira, Asiya), system of forces to oversee and govern the Universe (angels, etc), and of course the final, lowest stage of the creation is the place Kabbalists call “Our World”. It’s so remote from the Creator, that we can’t see the divine Light and can’t sense His presence.
The toughest thing to comprehend for people who start studying Kabbalah, is that there is nothing in the entire Universe except two elements – The Divine Light and the Desire to receive (Kli) that was created by it. Absolutely everything – the Worlds, Angels, Sephiroth, Reshimot – anything you can imagine – is only a combination of Light and Kli.
The diagram below depicts the structure of Partzuf – spiritual body. I don’t expect you to comprehend it yet, but want to point out a few elements.
Ohr Yashar – Direct Light (Light that comes from the Creator into the Kli) and tries to enter the Kli. Based on Kli qualities, a portion of Light is allowed to be entered – this Light is called Ohr Pnimi (Inner Light). Ohr Hozer (Returning Light) is what Kli “reflects back” to the Creator.The action of Direct Light is called Taamim – cantillation (chanting) notes used when the Torah is read publicly, the cantillation marks indicating what notes to use; also called “flavors”
The action of Returned Light is called Nekudot – dots under the letters.
The feeling of Kli at the moment when Light enters it (Ohr Yashar) is called Tagin – (crowns on top of the letters), and thus provides first part of the Reshimo.
The feeling of Kli at the moment when it returns the Light (Ohr Hozer) is called Otioit – Hebrew letters.
The diagram below shows it.
Now I hope you understand that beyond every letter in Torah there is a detailed description of every spiritual object and every spiritual state of every element of the Universe. Thus Torah can be viewed as single comprehensive repository of Reshimo that describes everything that ever happened in the past, and will happen in the future.
Now back to the original question – can visual scanning of Torah (or Zohar, which is commentary on Torah) help a person in his/her daily life? Yes and no.
Imagine yourself a radio. There are dozens of stations, but you can tune to only specific ones. Until you tune to them – they don’t exist for you, even though their radio waves never stop being transmitted.
The same with letters from Torah – until you can “tune yourself to this mode” – you can scan the pages of this incredible book a thousand times a day, you can buy multiple copies of Zohar and put it on your bookshelves, you can even use the pages as wallpaper (hopefully you won’t do it, but who knows…) – yet it won’t do you any good.
There is only one method to tune yourself to this frequency – the frequency where these letters and stories start to make sense, the frequency that allows you to see and sense the entire universe without the need to blindly believe in something you can’t see, and this method is called Kabbalah!