It is interesting to observe how so many people from disparate perspectives have felt a connection to the storyline of the Matrix and character of Neo. Over the years, the many attempts to analyze the movie trilogy have fallen into either philosophical discussions or attempts to connect the more overt “messianic” themes to particular religious viewpoints. There have been a handful of sources attempting to make a ‘kabbalistic connection,’ but they have been shallow and inaccurate in terms of traditional teaching.
The idea of using a secular works like the Matrix movie to teach Torah concepts may seem peculiar to many people. Some even hold the view that such movies are “not Biblical” based on their particular doctrine or world view, and how they interpret the movie. From a Torah perspective, this way of thinking is based on an incorrect view of G-d and His Creation.
The study of the mystical aspects of Torah can seem like a “Catch-22” in that there are multitudes of concepts which are inter-related, and to properly understand one you need a grasp on all. Yet to get the “big picture” right, you need to know the role of each one. Aside from being willing to invest a huge number of hours to study, there are things that can help us out – though they too require patience.
A movie has the ability to place concepts into a ‘modern midrash’ that can serve as a great teaching tool – even a ‘secular’ film. (Rabbi Dorion Holland calls the movie a “Trojan Horse” with a hidden Torah message.) The reason for this is that everything that exists (past, present and future) is made in “B’tzelem Elohim” (the “Image of G-d”). This includes every thought and creative expression from every human mind. Whatever we conceive, design or make, is patterned after this Image. We can’t help it. It’s the “spiritual DNA” that underlies everything, including how G-d has designed our brains to work and relate to creation and to G-d.
There are some things that humans think of and create (i.e., books and movies) that express this Image of G-d more clearly than others. Some people are more ‘spiritually connected,’ though they may not even realize this about themselves. It is important to note that this has nothing to do with how they are ‘using’ this connection as far as “doing good or evil.” This is simply about the expression of various emanations of the Image without “assigning value” to them. For example, mercy, if “unchecked” can be bad, and judgment, if “corrective,” can be good.
Keymaker: There’s a building. Inside this building there’s a level where no elevator can go, and no stair can reach. This level is filled with doors. These doors lead to many places, hidden places, but one door is special. One door leads to the Source … But like all systems it has a weakness. The system is based on the rules of a building. One system built on another …
… Not one, twenty-seven.”
This study will continue to expand moving forward. For now, it consists of 27 parts divided into three major sections as follows:
The first section will identify main themes and ideas in the movies that align themselves with fundamental Torah principles as they occur in specific scenes and character development. We will compare these to concepts as found in traditional Chassidic/Kabbalistic thought as well as ideas expressed in the writings of the Tenakh and the New Testament.
The second section will focus on specific characters and their relationship to the various Sefirot, the emanations of the Image of G-d that we relate to in our world and beyond. While all of the characters include aspects of every Sefirah within them (as we do in real life) certain ones are dominant in the respective roles and at different times.
The third section will expand on some of the kabbalistic concepts and introduce new ones, opening the door for more study and dialogue. We will possibly add a Q&A section at some point. This study will remain open-ended.
A number of themes and concepts will repeat through these articles. Some will mention them more fully, others in brief with a link to a more comprehensive section, and in some places a particular relationship or nuance will be brought up.
This study makes use of specific kabbalistic ideas and language, but is in no way meant to provide a solid foundation for anyone new to this area of learning. Llinks to helpful resources are given in a number of places. We recommend sites such as Aish.com and Chabad.org for this, as well as kosher books by authors such as Rabbis Aryeh Kaplan and Yitzchak Ginsburgh to enhance your understanding of all the concepts. The Kabbalah Corner here on 13 Petals will continue to add what we feel are the best of the best links.