Possibly the key measurement of one’s religious devoutness is the extent to which one observes the commandments of one’s denomination. In orthodox Judaism, this might mean observing certain dietary rules, or saying certain graces at certain times or situations during the day. For Muslims, it might be observing the Ramadan fast and making a pilgrimage to Mecca, and for Christians, it might be going to Church on Sunday or, if you are Catholic, making confessions.
In Judaism, commandments are called Mitzvot, and a person is regarded as religious when he or she observes what is called Torah and Mitzvot, meaning the Mitzvot that are written in the Torah—the books of the Old Testament, as well as rules that were established later and were detailed in later texts.
Many people regard the wisdom of Kabbalah as a branch of Judaism, or as the esoteric, or mystical part of Judaism. Some even regard it as a religion all on its own. As a kabbalist who has received his knowledge from the most authoritative source—RABASH, the first-born son and successor of Baal HaSulam—I can tell you that it is none of them. Kabbalah is a scientific approach to life. It teaches the basic laws of existence and tells you what you can expect if you follow them. However, it leaves it to you to do the experiment on yourself and find out if the laws it teaches are correct or not.
Kabbalah, therefore, is not a religion, and certainly not mysticism. It is a rigorous method whose only difference from hard science is that the subject of experimentation is the experimenter. In other words, in the wisdom of Kabbalah, the observer and the observed are one and the same.
The wisdom of Kabbalah predates religion. The Jewish religion we know today evolved in the final centuries of Israel’s presence in Judah, approximately 2,000 years ago. The wisdom of Kabbalah began with the book Angel Raziel, attributed to Biblical Adam, but even more prominently with Abraham’s teachings. Abraham also composed books, but the only one that has survived is Sefer Yetzira [The Book of Creation].
Understanding that Kabbalah is a scientific method is important because one of the key concepts in it is Torah and Mitzvot. However, the Torah and Mitzvot that Kabbalah speaks of has nothing to do with the Torah and Mitzvot that Judaism speaks of.
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, the Torah is simply the general law of reality. All the galaxies, stars, planets, all the people, and everything that exists follows a certain code of law. That code of law is called Torah. The word Torah has several origins to it, but one of them is hora’a, which means instruction. Therefore, the laws of behavior of everything that exists are called Torah.
Within the reality that abides by the laws of the Torah are people. People lead their lives in certain ways, think different thoughts, and have all kinds of intentions behind their actions. When they conduct their lives according to the common law of reality, namely the Torah, it is considered that they follow nature’s imperative [tzivui]. This is the origin of the word Mitzvot [commandments].
Every religion promises that if you observe its Mitzvot, your life will be good. Kabbalah says the same, but for a very different reason. In Kabbalah, there is no supreme deity to reward you for obeying its commands. All that exists are the laws of Torah, the laws of reality. If we live according to these laws, our lives become comfortable. It is like rowing upstream or downstream, where downstream is like obeying the laws of reality, and upstream means resisting them, which is what we currently do because we do not know them.
The laws of the Torah are very simple: Everything is balanced. Giving and receiving are balanced and maintain a dynamic equilibrium just as the body maintains homeostasis. If we study these laws and know how to maintain balance with reality, our lives become easy and painless. If we do not know the rules, the opposite occurs.
Kabbalah teaches us what these rules are and how to be in balance with all of reality. The more we reveal the laws of reality, the more we reveal what is called the Creator—the law that has created and sustains reality. The Hebrew word for Creator is Boreh, from the words bo–re’eh [come-see], meaning come and see the laws of creation. If you see them, you will know how to lead a balanced, happy life. This is also why kabbalists aspire to reveal the Creator, because it means knowing all of creation and how to conduct ourselves in it.
As we can see, there is nothing mystical or religious about the wisdom of Kabbalah and its terms. It is very important to keep these concepts in mind when we read the texts of Baal HaSulam and the rest of the kabbalists.
Good luck revealing reality!