22. Is there such a thing as being taught Kabbalistic wisdom by a spirit or soul?
The origins of Kabbalistic wisdom lay in prophecy and holy spirit - states of inspired consciousness in which higher knowledge enters the prophet directly through "hearing" it from a "spirit", "angel" or messenger. Numerous stories tell of how outstanding Kabbalistic sages such as Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, the ARI, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov and others were visited by heavenly messengers and souls who came to teach them secrets of the Torah.
It is known that Rabbi Joseph Caro (1488-1575), author of the Shulhan Arukh -Code of Jewish Law - would regularly recite by heart dozens of chapters of Mishneh until a heavenly Maggid would begin to speak through his lips and reveal Torah secrets, as recorded in his work Maggid Meisharim.
Another way in which knowledge may enter a person supernaturally is through Ibur, the literal meaning of which is "pregnancy", in which a departed soul might temporarily "attach" itself to and "enter" a living person in order to accomplish some necessary rectification. The person in whom the departed soul "resides" might attain levels of knowledge that he did not previously possess as a result of this "pregnancy".
The writings of the ARI discuss devotions to attach oneself to the souls of great tzaddikim. This may be done at the tzaddik's gravesite. Another method of attaching oneself to the soul of a great sage is through intense study of his teachings.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5763 - 2003 All rights reserved