Kabbalah is truly an ancient esoteric thought originating in Babylon over four thousand years ago, much of it has been hidden throughout the ages and only now, becoming easily assessable, hence the reason Madonna is able to study it. I dated Steve over 20 years ago it was not open to the public back then. Kabbalah often referred to as Jewish mysticism had been called many things, such as magic, miracles, or curses and spells, largely because it has been misunderstood.
Kabbalah is simply a philosophy of a way of understanding the nature of the creator, and highly influenced by Jewish medieval thought. Now I am no expert in Kabbalah but Matt and I have taken a few lectures at the synagogue where the Rabbi gave us a crash course. I find that it can really get to be confusing the more you study it.
The Kabbalah is a sequence of roots, (think of a tree) with the higher good to the top and the baser instincts of man to the bottom. The Kabbalah teaches us for every action there is a consequence and the rules for these consequences are fixed. Kabbalah looks at nature as a series of forces and all these forces or roots are ways to understand God the creator and our relationship with this mighty force. The Kabbalah teaches that the prophets, the wise men are the chosen to receive this wisdom and to understand God. Hence the reason my friend Steve said he could only study it at 35.
I notice that this ancient mysticism is not much different from Christian mysticism, in the sense that the great Christian philosophers of the medieval times such as Thomas Aquinas also held the believe that no man could understand the true God, and learned men such as himself would make a life quest of trying to do just that.
The tree of roots flows from above (descending from God) by Partzufim, and Sefirot and from the bottom upwards, (manÂ’s attempt to become good and godly).
Sefirot is the 10 emanations of God and how he created the universe- these are the roots or branches of the tree.
To perfect Kabbalah it takes years of study while living a good life in service to God. During the question period at the Kabbalah lectures, a few congregationalisms, mentioned they were studying Kabbalah and found a profound change in their life since then. They were generally more at peace and more happy with their lives.
A person becomes more proficient in the ways of the Kabbalah through what is called, Â“attainments or degrees of prophecy and Holy Spirit.Â” As the seeker ascends the levels of baser needs they eventually reach a point where the Godly blessing, spirituality and knowledge is descended downwards to them, hence the reason the Congregationalists spoke of how their lives were so much better, so much richer after studying the Kabbalah.
NOTE: The word Â“attainmentÂ” (Heb: Hasaga) implies the ultimate degree of understanding. It derives from the phrase Â“that thy hand shall reachÂ” (Heb: Ki Tasig Yadcha). That means that before something becomes utterly lucid, as though gripped in oneÂ’s hand, Kabbalists do not consider it attained, but understood, comprehended and so on.Â”
The Kabbalah teaches how the human does not know the essence of God, the human knows his action and judges accordingly but that is not the essence, it is not even close. I find Christian teaching to parallel this concept and I have been taught that man cannot truly understand God.
I know that this segment of my article might appear contradictory to what I have previously written but it is not, it is an affirmation that man must study, must, reach each level of understanding and advance much like school. First you went to elementary school, there was no way you could comprehend the subject matter in high school and beyond, but as the years of study progressed you gain more and more wisdom and you passed each level until you reached your goal, the same holds true for Kabbalah, the more you study and pass each level of understanding the closer you will get to wisdom and the understanding of the nature of God the creator.
The Kabbalah teaches of four worlds, Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya, The Atzilut is the highest world of the spiritual realm and assiya is the lowest world or the world we humans live in, that being the natural world. The worlds are interchanged as they descend but the purest world is atzilut and our world the least pure of all. There are four worlds in each world. This is a bit confusing but all elements are in each world so what we find in the highest world will be copied in the lowest one. So there would be good in the highest world there will be good in the baser world as well. There will be knowledge in the higher worlds there will be knowledge in the lower world (the degree of knowledge is qualitative from what I understand). The lower world, our world is said to be a branch or root of the higher worlds. There is nothing in the lower world, our world, that is not found up above and yes that includes our baser instincts, what is considered bad etc.
I bring back my friend Steve here who said only men of 35 and older could study the Kabbalah, before then humans lack the wisdom necessary to understand, when I see this quote from Maimonides, also known as the Rambam, Â“One does not study the Kabbalah on oneÂ’s own, unless he is wise and understands with his own mind.Â” Basically Maimonides is saying one might hear the words and read the teaching, without understanding them.
The Kabbalist and his student will have a common language that the non- spiritual of the corporeal world, our world cannot understand.
It is not possible to understand the wisdom of the upper levels from the lower roots, one must be on the journey of spiritualism and be on the upper levels to study and see the connection of the roots at the base of this structure. The student still continues to move upward in understanding as new wisdom from both within his own being and from his teacher is attained. Is this enough? NO there is the element of the creator, which will instill wisdom to the truly deserving as well.
The books of the Kabbalah include: TheZohar, the Tikkunim, and the books of the Ari.
Types of meaning found in the Kabbalah
- Peshat (lit. "simple")Â—the direct meaning.
- Remez (lit. "hint[s]")Â—the allegoric meaning (through allusion).
- Derash (from Heb. darash: "inquire" or "seek")Â—midrashic (Rabbinic) or comparative meaning.
- Sod (lit. "secret" or "mystery")Â—the inner meaningÂ—a foundation of the kabbalah.
The names of the ten Sephirot are:
- Keter (will)
- Chochmah (wisdom)
- Binah (understanding)
- Chesed (sometimes referred to as Gedolah or Gedulah) (loving kindness)
- Din (sometimes referred to as Gevurah or Geburah) (judgement)
- Tiferet (harmony)
- Netzach (victory)
- Hod (glory)
- Yesod (foundation)
- Malchut (sovereignty)
These concepts are a system of ethics, found in all four worlds
The human soul has several components,
The Nefesh is the animal, body, basic instinct of the human soul
The Ruach, is the spiritual soul that is responsible for morals, and the knowledge of good and evil.
The Neshamah, is the higher soul that contains intellect only available to man and not the lower animal forms, it is also the soul that is aware of the existence of God and the afterworld.
Why Study Kabbalah, according to my friend, Norman Rubin,
Â“Kabbalah - the world's oldest body of spiritual wisdom - contains the long-hidden keys to the secrets of the universe as well as the keys to the mysteries of the human heart and soul. Kabbalistic teachings explain the complexities of the material and the nonmaterial universe, as well as the physical and metaphysical nature of all humanity. Kabbalah shows in detail, how to navigate that vast terrain in order to remove every form of chaos, pain, and suffering.
For thousands of years, the great kabbalistic sages have taught that every human being is born with the potential for greatness. Kabbalah is the means for activating that potential.
Kabbalah has always been meant to be used, not just learned. Its purpose is to bring clarity, understanding, and freedom to our lives - and ultimately to erase even death itself.
See the Kabbalistic Center - http://www.kabbalah.comÂ”