There are three levels of insight into the mystery of God.
First, there was the level exemplified by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who came and told us about the Divine presence in the Zohar, which is full of such fantastic tales, strange configurations, images, and countenances that one could hardly believe him.
Then, after a number of generations, came the level exemplified by the Ari.
And his pupils wrote down the evidence he conveyed with all its greater attention to detail.
Finally, the Baal Shem Tov came, and he exemplified the third level and brought the reality of the Holy One, blessed be He.
And it was no picture or abstraction of Divinity, but an actuality, and all that was required was that one should look at it and see it for what it was.”
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz