I am told that today's talk KABBALAH 101 went well. It is always difficult for me to know how clearly the material is being delivered and whether it resonates with the audience.
I definitely find this mystical, esoteric perspective on Judaism to be fascinating. It is quite different from the 'religion' I was educated into all those years ago. It is compelling because it offers a perspective on the metaphysical nature of reality which is not clearly 'rational'.
The mystical experience is essentially an altogether 'unworldly' one. It defies easy description with language. I joked with the audience that there is a word to describe something which cannot be described in words, 'ineffable'. Certainly this must be the case. It would strange if the world were totally comprehensible by the human mind. It would imply that we were the ultimate highest form of consciousness in the universe. That just doesn't seem likely.
But I also touched on the aspect of Kabbalistic teaching which has meant the most to me personally. It is a perspective which states that the universe was created with a defect. According to Rabbi Issac Luria, the 16th century mystic, Ein Sof [the endless, indefinable aspect of God] emanated a ray of light into the primordial vacuum. The light could not be held by the primitive 'vessels' that existed and the result was a 'shattering of the vessels'. The consequence was that divine light 'fell' into the physical world, was covered by shells of matter and exist that way until the present moment.
Mankind's role in the universe is to heal the fractured, damaged universe by liberating the holy sparks that reside within matter. We, too, are beings whose inner substance is divinity, the soul. We can assist in this rectification, this repair and healing through the performance of good deeds– kindness, charity, compassionate acts. We can also do so by performing religious rituals.
Personally, I believe that the acts of compassion are more important but I acknowledge that for some, the performance of religious ritual and duties are essential for spiritual growth.
Kabbalah has reminded me that all human beings have an essential role to play in the spiritual evolution of the planet. In this physical plane of existence, known as ASSIYAH, we are 'God'. The universe depends upon our performing acts of healing known as TIKKUN.
We know the truth of such actions by how we feel afterwards. That is the feedback we seek. It is the true meaning of healing.