As I am not a Kabbalist I may be misunderstanding some of the terminologies but having recently read a work by Rav Kook zt"l regarding the Souls of the World of Chaos I noted that the overall thrust of his argument is that the irreligious Zionists who were building the State of Israel were, Kabbalistically speaking, higher order souls than the Jew who studied Torah and kept the Mitzvot. Moreover, he argues, that this is the case because they are part of the mystical 'light of the Messiah' and specifically because of their irreligiosity.

I would like to understand how this approach differs (if it does) from the Sabbatean mystical approach, championed by Nathan of Gaza (may his name be blotted out) and sourced in Lurianic Kabbalah, that sees sinning in the Messianic age as permissible and even preferable as a way to elevate hidden sparks of holiness captured by the forces of evil.

  • Can you source the Sabbatean viewpoints? I find it unlikely that even a heretic will advocate sinning, in general, as the key to holiness. Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 20:17
  • 2
    @ClintEastwood there is a vast amount of Sabbatean literature on this. Primary source material is called D'rush ha'Taninim. Wikipedia is a good starting source as is Gershom Scholem's Sabbatai Sevi. The basic ideas are contortions of statements from Chazal and Lurianic kabbalah such as a sin done for the sake of heaven is greater than a mitzvah not done for the sake of heaven Commented Aug 15, 2023 at 20:24
  • I think it can be true : We have Yaakov and Rivka deceiving Yitzchack for the sake of heaven to prevent Eisav's self serving father service from being rewarded. We also have Yaakov marrying two sisters and tamar bring with Yehuda even though she was betrothed to his third son. Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 3:02
  • 2
    I think Clint is right, we need specifics. Comparing two highly complex, yet very subtle philosophies is impossible without that. Especially because one of them is heretical, so it's easy to misstep, jump the gun, or let fear or bias get in the way
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 18:44
  • 1
    Rav Kook didn't seem to be saying the sinning was permitted, just that post-facto this was how things needed to develop
    – AKA
    Commented Dec 17, 2023 at 4:17

1 Answer 1


The answer is simple. Firstly this idea is found in Kisvei Arizal in the Sefer Shaar Gilgulim הקדמה לח ד״ה וכן תראהwhich in essence states that at times in order for XYZ to happen it’ll involve tricking the sitra achra (I.e by way of sin) to allow XYZ to happen. For an example, Dovid and Batsheva needed to occur to bring Shlomo to the world etc… Therefore, Rav Kook is applying this Arizal here by saying that it was via these people (I.e the Sin) that the greatness (I.e the “to be state” of Israel came to be)… However, Nathan of Gaza took this formula to the extreme by stating how by way of this avera will bring down something great (b/c it’ll trick the sitra achra) so sin

  • 1
    In short - Nathan of Gaza advocating for everyone to do this formula all the time b/c he believed (thru his warped narrative of this Arizal) we should sin to bring down the greatest stuff. Whereas R Kook never felt that everyone should do that, rather, once it occurred he supported what happened based on this Arizal. Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 2:43
  • 1
    Can you provide a precise source in the Shaar Hagilgulim?
    – Yehuda
    Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 3:08
  • 1
    See Hakdama 38 with the words וכן תראה Commented Dec 14, 2023 at 20:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .