How Literal is the Torah? – Source

Said R. Simeon: Alas for the man who regards the Torah as a book of mere tales and everyday matters! If that were so, we, even we could compose a Torah dealing with everyday affairs, and of even greater excellence. Nay, even the princes of the world possess books of greater worth which we could use as a model for composing some such torah. The Torah, however, contains in all its words supernal truths and sublime mysteries. … David thus said: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law (Ps. CXIX, 18), to witness the things that are beneath the garment… The senseless people only see the garment, the mere narrations; those who are somewhat wiser penetrate as far as the body. But the really wise, the servants of the most high King, those who stood on Mount Sinai, penetrate right through to the soul, the root principle of all, namely, to the real Torah. …Woe to the sinners who consider the Torah as mere worldly tales, who only see its outer garment; happy are the righteous who fix their gaze on the Torah proper. Wine cannot be kept save in a jar; so the Torah needs an outer garment. These are the stories and narratives, but it behooves us to penetrate deeper.

– Zohar, Vol. 3, 152a-b

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