Is the study of kabalah, mysticism, an enhancement to the practical application of Torah?
I want to tell you something about this subject. This is something that is an illustration of what we were talking about tonight. People are always looking for something else, something different than what they have.
What do you need mysticism for? Do you already enjoy and understand all that is nigleh, all that is revealed? Now, if you were a gadol b’Yisroel like Rabbi Akiva, and now you wanted, in addition to all of your Torah knowledge you wanted now to enter into the pardess of secret wisdom, all right. But there’s so much to learn before you go to the pardess so why should you even yearn for such things?! You know, there are so many secrets that are lying on the surface of the Torah that you don’t even begin to know! So many open things that are secrets to you!
And therefore, our first job is to spend our lives gaining all of that knowledge and fulfilling all the principles that are on the surface of the Torah. Anybody who calls me up on the phone and asks me if I’m giving any lectures in kabalah, or where can they learn kabalah – it’s mostly single girls; single girls living in Manhattan, they call me to say that they’re interested in studying kabalah – so the first thing I tell them is, “Learn how to be a Jew.” And then you’ll see that there are many other things that come before kabalah.
TAPE # 517 (August 1984)