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The Zohar teaches that every word in the Torah reflects higher wisdom and higher secrets.

More Than Just Stories

More Than Just Stories

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More Than Just Stories
The Zohar teaches that every word in the Torah reflects higher wisdom and higher secrets.

Rabbi Shimon said: “Woe to the person who says that the Torah comes to give instructions and tell descriptive stories and simple tales. If this were true, even in our own time we would be able to make “Torah” out of simple stories and praise and embellish them even better than all stories in the Torah. If the Torah came only to give instructions and tell the background history of the world, then even the ministers in the different governments of the world have stories that are more important and beneficial, from which one can learn wisdom and ethical behavior.

If that were true we should learn their examples and make a Torah after their examples. Of course this is not the case. Every word in the Torah reflects higher wisdom and higher secrets.

The narratives of the Torah are only the outer clothing of the Torah….

Come and see. The spiritual world and the physical world are weighed in one balance [because everything in the spiritual world has its reflection in this world]. So Israel is below and the heavenly forces are Above. It is written regarding the angels: "He makes His angels of spirit and his ministers of flames of fire." (Psalms 104:4) Now when these spiritual forces make a presence in This World, they have to take on the clothing of physicality. If they didn't appear in This World in appropriate form they couldn't survive in This World and This World would not be able to take their holiness and relate to them at all.

Now you can understand why the narratives of the Torah are only the outer clothing of the Torah. Whoever thinks that this outer clothing is in fact the Torah and there is nothing underneath the clothing is spiritually backward and has no portion in the World to Come. So it was that King David begged, "Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things in Your Torah." (Psalms 119:18)

The body is more important than the clothes and more important than the body is the soul….

Come and see. There are clothes that stand out to everyone, and when stupid people see someone in beautiful clothing, they don't look any further. The body is more important than the clothes and more important than the body is the soul. In the same manner is the "body" of the Torah; these are the commandments that are called her "body".

This body of Torah is dressed in stories from this world. The fools of this world only look at this outer clothing of stories. They don't delve into what is contained beneath the outer shell. Those who know better look into the body beneath the outer shell. The wise ones, servants of the Highest King, those who stood at Mount Sinai, see through to the soul of the Torah that is truly her essence and in the future will delve into the soul that is within the essence of the Torah.


Zohar, parashat Bahalotecha, page 152a; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Shmuel-Simcha Treister is a lawyer from New Zealand who made aliya to Safed with his family in 1993 to study Zohar. He continues doing so to this day. He also works in the Ascent multi-media center.
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