It’s quite clear, then, that the Torah itself has an interior and exterior (aspect) just like everything else in the universe. (It thus follows that) those who study Torah (also) fall into (one of) those two categories, and that the more one toils in the interior (aspect) of the Torah and its mysteries, the more able is he to elevate the interior (aspect) of the world, i.e., the (actual) Jewish Nation, higher and higher over its exterior (aspect), i.e., the other nations; and (the more able is he) to have them recognize and acknowledge the significance of the Jewish Nation.
And (when that happens,) then the words, “God will have mercy on Jacob and will indeed choose Israel and set them in their own land: the foreigners will be joined with them and will cleave on to the house of Jacob.” (Isaiah 14:1), and “Thus says God the Lord, Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; and they will carry your sons in their arms, and carry your daughters on their shoulders” (Isaiah 49:22) will be realized.
But if, God forbid, the opposite occurs, and a Jew places less value on the (study of the) interior (aspect) of the Torah which deals with the ways of our souls and their levels as well as with the reasons for the mitzvot than he does upon (studying) the Torah’s exterior (aspect), which deals with practicalities alone…
If a Jew who has access to Kabbalah refuses to take it seriously because it isn’t as weighty or relevant as the “revealed” Torah in his eyes, since Kabbalah doesn’t touch upon practical halacha or help to explain abstruse themes in the entire Jewish Bible in more practical terms…
… then even if he does in fact delve into its interior (aspect) once in a while and grants it a little of his time, as if it were somehow superfluous, God forbid, … such a person degrades and demeans the interior (aspect) of the world and grants power to the exterior (aspect) of the world over them, and (he thus enables them) to humiliate and disgrace the Jewish Nation and to have it regarded as superfluous and worthless, God forbid.
That is, if even Torah scholars deem Kabbalah of little worth, they’ll thus foster a sense among non-Jews that the Jewish Nation, who embody the heart of Torah that Kabbalah, is also of little worth. In fact …
Not only that, but he’ll even enable the other nations’ exterior (aspect) to overcome its interior (one).
As we learned, the other nations’ interior aspect is comprised of their righteous individuals while its exterior one is made up of their crass and destructive elements (see 65:1).
Then the lower (elements) of the other nations, those (among them who) destroy and ruin, will gain power and begin to tower over their interior (elements) and be able to bring on (more of the sort of) ruination and heinous slaughter that our generation has witnessed, may God protect us from that now on!
Thus we see that the redemption and ascendancy of the Jewish Nation (does indeed) depend upon our studying the Zohar and the (rest of the) interior (aspect) of the Torah.
This harkens back to the end of the last chapter where we learned that the Zohar indicates that our redemption will only come about through the study of the Zohar and Kabbalah.
And (you likewise see that) on the contrary, all the ruin and decline of the Jewish Nation is a result of our abandoning and belittling the Torah’s interior (aspect) and considering it superfluous, God forbid.
(c) 2013 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman
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Rabbi Yaakov Feldman has also translated and commented upon “The Path of the Just” and “The Duties of the Heart” (Jason Aronson Publishers).