Kabbalah Says: There Is No Coercion in Spirituality

What’s it like to be a Kabbalist? Can you see through walls? Do you live in seclusion, meditating all day and using just the barest necessities? Can you manipulate other people’s thoughts and feelings? Can you stop a train with just your thoughts?

The fact is that a Kabbalist’s only concern is to be in harmony with the force that enlivens the whole of reality, called “Upper Light.” When one gains contact with this Upper Light, one changes from within and begins to feel new sensations. Actually, what one feels are the qualities that are present in the Upper Light – qualities of love, bestowal, perfection, and eternity. The Kabbalist’s relationship with the Upper Light is called the “Upper World,” a realm beyond time and space.

As a result of the Kabbalist’s internal changes, his relation toward others also changes. He naturally begins to feel love toward other people, as if they were his kin. This is because he is occupied with his relationship with the Upper Light, and since the Upper Light is all love and bestowal, the Kabbalist naturally adopts these qualities as well.

However, this isn’t something that you will necessarily be able to discern on the outside. A Kabbalist doesn’t change because someone teaches him how to behave and preaches moral principles to him, or because he reads about “proper behavior.” Any changes in his attitude occur naturally, without any coercion or external instruction.

Kabbalah maintains that any teaching or activity that restrains a person is faulty. We cannot enforce any kind of behavior on people, since this is simply ineffective. Therefore, Kabbalistic education does not try to suppress any of our habits or preferences. Rather, Kabbalah guides a person on how to achieve balance and harmony with Nature from within, and only if the person desires this. Through Kabbalah, one learns about the qualities of the Upper Light, how to gain contact with it, and how to become similar to it.

Therefore, there is no coercion in teaching people the wisdom of Kabbalah. When Rav Kook, the great 20th century Kabbalist, was asked who could study Kabbalah, his answer was: “Anyone who wants to.” And in fact, it also works the other way around: You can’t really study Kabbalah if you don’t desire it; because what you study – the connection with the Upper Light – is felt specifically through your desire. So it would be incorrect to urge anyone to study, since it can’t bear any fruit.

Today, Kabbalah is available to all, and anyone who wishes is able to learn about the Upper Light, its qualities, and how to achieve harmony with it.