this may sound like a silly question but....

Discussion in 'Judaism' started by cerridwen, May 12, 2004.

  1. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

    ... what exactly is Kabbalah? I know a bunch of celebrities are all into it, and I've heard that it's a cult and others say it's really a religion... I don't know.
  2. binah

    binah Member


    Here's an answer to your question taken from You should defintely check this website can chat 24/6 with Jewish scholars about every topic under the sun. Also check out this link to find other kabbalah-related questions and answers from askmoses,

    Hope this helps!


    What is Kabbalah?

    A. What’s the difference between Kabbalah and the stock market? One’s a mysterious otherworldly dimension, and the other’s just a simple, very abused discipline.

    B. Kabbalah (pronounced Kah-BAH-lah) is a Hebrew word meaning “reception.” Kabbalah is Jewish mysticism, as received by Moses from G-d, by his students from him, and by their students from them, down through the ages. Kabbalah is a spiritual interpretation of all Torah. Kabbalah is the understanding of the inner workings of things, of the world, of G-d, of the soul, of Torah, and the vast collection of printed and oral wisdom that comprises and records that understanding.

    C. There is no “Book of Kabbalah”--but there are Jewish books of Kabbalah and on Kabbalah. The most well-known is the Zohar, written by Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai of Israel in the 2nd Century CE. It is a compilation of Kabbalistic understandings of the Five Books of Moses. Over the ensuing centuries, dozens more books were written by Rabbi Shimon’s students, grandstudents, great-grandstudents and so on, until today. A true student of Kabbalah is called a mekubal (pronounced meh-koo-BAHL), meaning recipient in Hebrew—someone who has received the teachings of Kabbalah from his mekubal master, going all the way back up to Rabbi Shimon and beyond.

    Why are so many people studying Kabbalah today? Can I study Kabbalah too?

    1. Mufasa, or Frank?

    Why did Disney choose to name the Lion King’s dead dad Mufasa, and not Frank--because Mufasa means something in some obscure African language? Possibly, but here’s the real reason: because it’s exotic and mysterious and mystical and magical and all that jazz, just like the movie itself. It excites people. Not only would Frank be notoriously out of place, frankly, Frank is flat. It just falls out of your mouth and splats on the floor like a dead fish. But just chant “MU-FA-SA” nice and slowly, and your imagination carries you away to Africa, borne on wings of mystery and adventure. That’s why “Kabbalah” catches people: exotic, mysterious and out-of-the-ordinary words imply exotic, mysterious and out-of-the-ordinary things. Think about it—what would pique your interest more: “spirituality”, or “KA-BBA-LAH”? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not spirituality.

    2. The End is Nigh!

    A more serious reason is simply that the world is experiencing a spiritual revolution in the midst of mass aimlessness. People have never had more conveniences in history, but people really want to cut through it all. They want an authentic spiritual experience, and they turn to Deepak Chopra, feng shui, meditation, and more--whatever seems to be a source of self-improvement, depth, and spirituality. It’s the 60s repeating itself, but in an antiseptic, professional and PC-packaged way. Kabbalah fits the bill just fine, but only if you know where to look, avoiding...

    3. Snake Oil!

    True Kabbalah has been much muddled by confusion-causing entities such as 1) the proliferation of books on the subject, 2) courses and "Centres" claiming to teach "Kabbalah," and, 3) the growing number of celebrities who study what they mistake for Jewish mysticism (often at the same "Centres"). Avoid them all. How does one separate fact from fiction? For starters, watch out for those books. A Barnes and Noble selection on "Kabbalah" is like the fictional Bypass Surgery Made Easy: written by a non-doctor about non-medicine. Courses and "Centres" are the same: since Kabbalah is based on the Torah, you can neither study nor appreciate Kabbalah without basic Torah observance, just like you can’t walk off the street into a "bypass surgery center" if you haven’t studied and practiced basic medicine for several years first. True Jewish mysticism is based wholly on the Torah, the practical guidebook of Judaism, and the lifestyle that it mandates, and not on "drawing down lights." Contrary to public opinion, Kabbalah is not magic: it does not involve any strange rituals or supernatural events. Neither does it have anything to do with pop psychology. And it certainly won't give you psychic powers. So, if you want to get Kabbalistic, ask yourself, "Why?" Is it because you like that mystical, magical ring? If so, remember that real Kabbalah is not about special effects, and just stick to the tried-and-true Torah. But if you still really want to study Kabbalah, pay an e-visit to or, or, for a real live human being, contact your local Chabad center.
  3. cerridwen

    cerridwen in stitches

    thanks so much for the reply! Very insightful... I also like that site you posted! Thanks!
  4. Nigal

    Nigal Member

  5. MattInVegas

    MattInVegas John Denver Mega-Fan

    #A was all ya had to post. But, you made your point...

    As a species, we're STILL Wandering on our journey...
  6. in light of the dictionary response, its jewish mysticism, and thats as far as i got

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