Dangers of Contemplation - The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism - Daniel Chanan Matt

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism - Daniel Chanan Matt (1996)

Dangers of Contemplation


WHEN YOU are praying, imagine God speaking with you, teaching and conducting you. You receive his words in awe, trembling, and sweat. Contemplate that everything God teaches humanity is infinite, yet thought expands and ascends to her origin. Upon reaching there, she is stopped and can ascend no further.

By way of parable: a spring of water emerging from its source. If you dig beneath it, to prevent the water spreading out in all directions, the water will rise to the level of the source and no further. Similarly, thought can ascend no higher than her origin.

If you dare to contemplate that to which thought cannot expand and ascend, you will not escape one of two consequences. From forcing thought to grasp that which cannot be comprehended, your soul will ascend, be severed, and return to her root, or else your mind will become confused.


WHEN OUR master Moses, peace unto him, said to God, “Show me your Presence,” he sought death so that his soul would obliterate the harrier of her palace, which separated her from the wondrous divine light she had aroused herself to see. But since the people of Israel still needed Moses, God did not want Moses’ soul to leave her palace to attain this light of his.

Now you, my child, strive to see supernal light, for I have brought you into a vast ocean. Be careful! Keep your soul from gazing and your mind from conceiving, lest you drown. Strive to see, yet escape drowning. Your soul will see the divine light—actually cleave to it—while dwelling in her palace.