Yehuda Berg is an ordained rabbi and a leading authority on Kabbalah. In this ambitious work that proclaims itself to be "a user's guide to the universe," the reader will find chapters on who we are; creation; the puzzle of creation and the theory of reactivity; the game; the opponent; the art of spiritual transformation; the DNA of the soul and an appendix. Along with his father Rav P. S. Berg (The Essential Zohar), the author has taken the ancient and esoteric wisdom of the Zohar and tried to make it relevant to the lives of twenty-first century seekers. The Kabbalah Centre, which father and son run, has fifty locations around the world and is open to people of all faiths.
According to Berg, "the one percent reality" is the world of the five senses whereas the "ninety-nine percent reality" lies beyond human perception. It is the realm of light. Our lives are animated by desire; it is what drives us. But when our yearnings are not infused with Light, we experience unhappiness and anxiety. The purpose of life is spiritual transformation.
Now things really get interesting, according to Berg. Most of the time, we allow outside forces to control our lives and influence our feelings, positive or negative. Anger, fear, jealousy, and and other strong emotions drag us down. Kabbalah challenges us to resist this reactiveness and to see this as a way of creating Light in our lives.
Under this rubric, obstacles (such as laziness, judgment, control, the need to be admired) can all be seen as opportunities to connect to the Light. Berg notes: "Like spiritual Olympic athletes, we must train ourselves mentally and emotionally so that our divine nature can evolve and manifest. This training satisfies our need to earn and create the Light in our life, and eradicate the Bread of Shame."
Inner work, being proactive with our reactive impulses, leads to spiritual transformation. Berg concludes this engaging study of Kabbalah with an outline of the thirteen rules summarized in the book. One of the best is the last: "All of the negative traits that you spot in others are merely a reflection of your own negative traits. Only by fixing yourself can you change others."