The wisdom of Kabbalah explains that all around us, there’s an entire world that we don’t feel—the spiritual world. As soon as we begin feeling it, we discover an entire array of new sensations, desires and delights that were there all along, but we simply didn’t notice them.
In other words, Kabbalah teaches us how to develop our latent sense of spirituality. But does this mean that we should strain to feel nothing but spirituality, and reject everything else? For example, should we eat less and avoid material pleasures as much as we can?
Contrary to many other practices, Kabbalah says just the opposite: in developing the sense of spirituality, we should not try to restrict ourselves in any regard. It explains that everything was created for a reason, and hence we should make use of all the resources available to us, including material pleasures.
In fact, as one develops his desire for spirituality, one also begins having a greater desire for material pleasures. Why? Because one’s general “vessel” for pleasures becomes bigger. Still baffled?
In Hebrew, the wisdom of Kabbalah means “the wisdom of how to receive.” It teaches us how to receive all the pleasure that was intended for us in the Thought of Creation: to delight the created beings. Therefore, by studying Kabbalah, one constantly increases his vessel to receive all the pleasure that the Creator wants to give him.
When a person has a “small vessel” for pleasure, he feels satisfied with little. Give him a glass of water and a slice of bread, and this will satisfy him. And here is actually the core difference between Kabbalah and many other methods or religions—since they usually teach a person to restrict his desires, his “vessel,” in order to feel happy with what he already has. This is what often makes one a “righteous person” in many religions and practices.
However, a “righteous person” in Kabbalah, or a Kabbalist, has the greatest desires in the world. In fact, his desires expand so much that he wants to swallow up the whole world. And this is exactly what allows him to receive the enormous pleasure that the Creator wishes him to receive. Sounds quite far from a “righteous person,” doesn’t it? The thing is that a Kabbalist knows how to receive—all he receives is in order to please the Creator.
In other words, if we have no desire for something, we will feel no pleasure from it. Think of that time when your spouse took you to a boring ballet show (or an awful car exhibition, depending on who’s reading this). Since you had no desire for this, you couldn’t enjoy it.
In Kabbalah, we develop a desire for the delight that’s intended for us in the Thought of Creation. That way we will be able to enjoy that enormous pleasure. At the same time, Kabbalah does not tell us to stop “receiving” other things or to limit any of our desires. On the contrary, it says that we should receive and enjoy ourselves as much as we possibly can—we only have to…