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Secrets of Torah

By Tzvi Fishman
4/15/2008, 12:00 AM

Whoever causes the Kabbalah and the wisdom of the inner Torah not to be considered a part of the Oral and Written torah, and causes others not to learn it (the inner wisdom) by saying that there is nothing more to the Torah and the Talmud other than the simple meaning of the text, it is certainly considered as if he had cut off the flow of blessing to the world. It would have been better for him if he had never been born, or ever learned Torah. It is considered as if he returned the world to a state of chaos and void, and brought poverty to mankind, and lengthened the exile of the Jewish People.

This isn’t Tzvi Fishman. This is a quote of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, from the “Tikunei Zohar,” Tikun 44).

When we talk about Kabbalah, we are not speaking about the fake, Kabbalah-For-Hollywood-Stars, that some hucksters try to peddle to the muddled masses, but the genuine Kabbalah as brought down to us by the great Sages of Israel.

Along with the following excerpt from the book, “Secret of the Brit,” is a series of photographs taken over the last two days of the revered elder Kabbalist, Rav Eliahu Leon Levi. On Saturday night, he gave a class at the Kotel on the inner meanings of the Pesach Seder. The last two mornings, he has been giving classes to Torah scholars at his synagogue in Bnei Brak, and handing out money for holiday expenses to married yeshiva students. In addition, he has been distributing truckloads of fruits and vegetables to the needy. Rabbi Leon stresses that along with the standard learning of Torah and Talmud, a serious student must also delve into the inner soul of the Torah by familiarizing himself with the basic tenets of Kabbalah.

Seder secrets
Why this night is different
This year in Jerusalem

Our Sages have repeatedly emphasized the necessity of learning the secrets of Torah at the time of Geula.

The holy Kabbalist, Rabbi Chaim Vital, foremost student of the Arizal, emphasizes in his introduction to the “Eitz HaChaim,” that the prolongation of the exile, and all of its sufferings, stem from the fact that the inner secrets of Torah have gone unlearned.

The Gaon of Vilna writes: “This Geula will only come about through the learning of Torah, and the main factor of the Geula depends on the learning of the Kabbalah” (Even HaShelma, 11:3).

Throughout all of his writings, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook stresses the necessity of learning the secrets of Torah at the time of Israel’s redemption:

“The revelation of the secrets of Torah in the last generation, in order to purify the hearts and to fill the minds with noble thoughts, whose source lies in the secrets of Torah, this is an absolute necessity in the last generation to insure the survival of Judaism” (Orot HaKodesh, Part 1, Pg. 141).

In his holy proclamation, “The Great Call,” Rabbi Kook wrote:

“Dear brothers, sages of Torah, and influential scholars! We too acted foolishly and sinned! We studied and researched the sources; we debated the fine points of the Talmud and discovered new insights; we wrote and explained; but we forgot Hashem and His might. We failed to hear the words of the true prophets, the exalted voice of our eternal Sages, to hear the voice of the Tzaddikim (righteous ones) and Hasidim (saintly ones), the Sages of Musar (ethics), and the possessors of the secrets of Torah, who called out and proclaimed in the most strident of voices, that in the end, the river of Talmudic analysis would turn arid and dry if the deep ocean of Kabbalah, and the Torah’s inner understandings, weren’t constantly drawn into the learning – the waters of the knowledge of Hashem, the pristine waters of pure faith which flows from our inner souls, and which stream forth from our life source” (Orot, pg. 101).

Regarding Eretz Yisrael, Rabbi Kook wrote, “Due to the alienation from the recognition of the secrets of Torah, the recognition of the holiness of Eretz Yisrael is perceived in a superficial manner” (Orot, Eretz Yisrael, 2).

Rabbi Kook sums up this same essay in a similar vein:

“We are not coming to negate any conceptualization or understanding that is founded on honest intellectual endeavor, sensitivity of thought, or the fear of Heaven, in whatever form they take – but rather only the viewpoint that seeks to negate the secrets of Torah and their tremendous influence on the spirit of the nation. This is a tragedy that we must battle against with counsel, wisdom, holiness, and valor” (Ibid.).

As we have mentioned on repeated occasions, the greatest secret of the Torah is the secret of the Brit, as the holy Zohar teaches: 

“And what is the most exalted secret of the Torah? It is contained in the sign of the holy Brit, which is called the secret of Hashem – this is the holy Brit (Zohar, Bereshit 236b).

It is sometimes thought that when the word Brit appears in the Torah and the Tanach, it is referring to a general covenant between Hashem and the Jewish People. The Zohar, however, makes clear that almost every reference to the Brit means guarding the sexual purity of Am Yisrael. Readers interested in learning about the connection between guarding the Brit and the holiday of Pesach are invited to see the essay, “The Secret of Pesach.”

Rav Leon's Yeshiva in Bnei Brak
Help for the needy
Finest fruits of the Land

Rabbi Levy emphasizes that our search for the pieces of bread in the house on Erev Pesach is much more than a hunt for the last scattered crumbs of chametz, which according to the Kabbalah are symbolic of the scattered souls that were spilled in vain during sexual transgression. These sins, known as transgressions to the Brit, whether it be sex out of wedlock, sex with non-Jews, adultery, sex during the Niddah period, homosexuality, masturbation, and improper sexual conduct between husband and wife, bring terrible punishments upon the Jewish People, may G-d have mercy. Therefore, Rabbi Levi advices that at the time of burning the chametz, everyone do sincere t’shuva (repentance) in this regard, and recite the “Tikun HaYesod Yeshuat Eliahu,” the “Tikun HaClalli,” and the “Tikun HaYesod” of the Ben Eish Chai, to rectify the damage of the past and restore all the lost souls to their holy, celestial source. In this way, a person can sit down at his Seder in a state of purity, liberated from the terrible exile and darkness of sexual sin. 

Warning: Those who scoff at this lesson are either unlearned in the inner understandings of the Torah, or have a problem in this area themselves. Readers are cautioned against being influenced by their misleading and unwarranted sarcasm.

Rav Leon's synagogue


Secrets of Pesach
In the Yeshiva
Shema Yisrael
Love your neighbor as yourself

Have a happy and holy Pesach!