to be carefully examine and verified with the Scriptures as the final
In Dvarim 29:29 warns us that "The secret things belong unto the HaShem δι our Elohim: but those things which are revealed belong unto
us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of
Kabbalah is literally 'the study of
HaShem δι's nature, anyway the fruit of Spirit already contain the very attribute of HaSheim. It
is studying HaShem δι in a mystical nature, beyond literal physical
knowledge. It has also been said that Kabbalah is like a Fire.
Handle with caution or else it can turn to cult practices, black
magic, satanic rituals, and false teaching, all does not honour
theTorah and does not seek to glorify HaShem δι. Beware of using
it for self glorification.
Tue, 21 Oct 2003 07:58:28 -0700 (PDT)
A History of the Kabbalah
This article originally appeared in ISSUES 12:2
"Kabbalah" means "received teachings" or simply
"traditions" and is derived from the Hebrew "kabel" which means "to
receive." It originally applied only to the Oral Law "received" after
the destruction of the Second Temple, in the form of the Talmud. However, in the twelfth century the term "kabbalah"
was also used to denote various mystical teachings that began to be
"received" by the Jewish communities of that day. This second set of
"received" teachings is the Kabbalah proper. Though it was
fully developed in the Middle Ages, the first seeds of a mystical trend
began to emerge in the talmudic literature, written well after the
destruction of the Second Temple—from 150 A.D. to 600 A.D.
The Hekhalot Literature
The earliest mystical texts of Judaism are contained in the Hekhalot (heavenly places) literature which are collections of fragmentary midrashim—rabbinic writings of the Talmudic period. They center on mystical interpretations of certain biblical passages.
For example, while commenting on the chariot described in Ezekiel 1, Ishmael ben Elijah1
describes his ecstatic ascent into the heavenly places where he beholds
the divine chariot, the heavenly places and the throne on which God is
seated as well as his visions of the divine palaces and his personal
experience of the Divine presence. The Hekhalot literature sets the scene for further "heavenly exploration."
Another important mystical text, developed between the third and six centuries a.d. is the Sepher Yetzirah
or the "Book of Creation." This canonical text for the later
kabbalistic movement sought to explain the workings and the origin of
the universe. It described the sefirot or "emanations," the ten
so-called "manifestations of God." Knowledge of these mysteries was
thought to confer magical powers on the initiated.
Neoplatonism and Gnosticism
Sepher Yetzirah was
influenced heavily by neoplatonsim, a late Greek philosophical school
that combined elements of Plato with Oriental belief systems. Plato
believed that our physical world is not the primary place of existence.
He posited a "higher" world where the true forms exist. Our world is,
he thought, only a mirror of the true world "above." Sefer Yetzirah placed
these ideas into a Jewish framework. The work was back-dated and its
authorship ascribed (in typical Kabbalistic fashion) to an
authoritative Jewish figure, in this case Abraham.
Gnosticism, another mystical trend of the time also influenced the
Kabbalists. Gershon Sholem, one of the great modern scholars in the
development of the Kabbalah defines gnosticism as "the
possession of knowledge that cannot be obtained by ordinary
intellectual means; the possession of a secret doctrine concerning the
order of the celestial worlds and the means that provide access to it."2
Gnosticism puffed-up the place of the individual and emphasized
that he or she must gain secret knowledge and develop personal power in
order to discover the road to self-enlightenment. Although the Kabbalah
never removed its adherents from the community-at-large, as other
gnostic sects did, Kabbalists latched onto the personal-experiential
appeal of gnosticism and grafted the idea into the Jewish context.
And so it can be seen that "from the Talmudic period forward,
Jews cultivated profoundly rich and highly diverse forms of mysticism."3
With the rise of Islam and the consequent persecutions of the Jews, the
religious center of the Jewish people shifted from Babylon to locations
in Europe, specifically to Italy, Germany, Spain and France.
It was in twelfth and thirteenth century France and Spain that the Kabbalah finally came into its definitive expression. In his article on kabbalistic texts, scholar Lawrence Fine defines the term "Kabbalah"
as "a specific historical movement which originated in the second half
of the twelfth century in that area of southern France known as
Provence, and in northern Spain in the thirteenth century."4
It was the appearance of The Book Bahir at that time, that signaled the first classical statement of kabbalistic beliefs and ideology.
"The Book Bahir, whose few pages seem to contain so much that is pertinent to the mystery of the origin of the Kabbalah, has the form of a midrash, namely, a collection of sayings or very brief homiletical expositions of biblical verses."5 The title "Bahir" means "bright" and is taken from Job 37:21 which is the first biblical text cited. The authorship of The Bahir was attributed to Rabbi Nehunya ben ha-Kanah, a talmudic sage of the first century.6
The Bahir caused division within the Jewish community of
France, with some hailing it as a brilliant text from times of yore,
whilst others, like Meir ben Simon, a contemporary of the early French
Kabbalists, decrying the book as heretical.7 The adherents to the Kabbalistic movement in France and Spain wrote, some two-hundred years after the publication of The Book Bahir
that towards the middle of the thirteenth century the prophet Elijah
appeared in visions to some of the leading men of Provence and that he
had inspired them to write The Bahir. The historical evidence strongly suggests that the book was written in France during this time.
The Bahir soon became another canonical text for further
kabbalistic studies and was accepted by many as being a work of much
earlier date. The "Kabbalah" or received mystical traditions,
were being penned, back-dated and received simultaneously! In fact, the
precise move that had been made by the rabbis of the Talmud in
order to validate their work as hailing from Mt. Sinai, was now
repeated by the Kabbalists of France in order to authenticate their
"new-found" teachings as given by the venerated rabbis of the Talmud.
These men, who were grappling to reformulate Judaism after the
destruction of the Temple, are construed by the Kabbalists as mystical
genies who promulgated the mystical secrets of Judaism. Lawrence Fine
remarks that The Bahir represent[s] the "emergence of a striking set of Gnostic motifs within the heart of rabbinic Judaism."8
The Zohar (Book of Splendor) appeared on
the kabbalistic scene around 1250 a.d. Lawrence Fine describes how
Moses de Leon "began circulating manuscripts which he had written, but
which he claimed were ancient midrashim 'interpretations of
biblical texts.'" Moses pretended merely to be copying from a
manuscript which, he argued, "had originated in the circle of the
second-century Palestinian rabbi, Shimon bar Yohai, but had only
recently found its way into Spain. In all likelihood, de Leon opted to
write in this pseudepigraphic way out of the conviction that a work of
antiquity would be more readily considered to be authoritative truth."9
History has it that one Isaac ben Shmuel, who later became a leading
14th century Kabbalist, arrived in Spain after fleeing Mamluk's attack
on the land of Israel. In his diary (Sefer Ha Yamim) we read that he was amazed to hear about the newly "discovered" manuscript of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai.
"The book had supposedly been written in Israel, but Isaac was from Israel and had never heard of it!"10
Isaac's diary informs us that he went to see Moses de Leon at his home,
only to learn that he had died. His widow greeted Isaac at the door and
in response to his request to see the original parchment of Shimon Bar
Yohai, she informed him that the document had never existed but that
the Zohar had been written solely out of her husband's head.
However, the effort to back-date a kabbalistic text again succeeded. Despite early warnings regarding the errors of the Zohar
the book soon became acknowledged as the mystical revelations of the
great sage Shimon bar Yohai. In the text, Shimon is pictured in various
settings discoursing with his pupils at every opportunity on the great
matters of mystical inquiry. The language of the text is Aramaic,
"contrived, replete with medieval usages, in grammar, syntax,
vocabulary and ideas."11 "Behind the veil of the Aramaic, the Hebrew of the medieval era can be clearly detected."12
The only Aramaic which Moses de Leon knew was that which he had learned
from his talmudic studies. And so it was that one of the most important
books of the Kabbalah came into being.
The Safed Period
The expulsion of the Jews from Spain in
1492 caused a rupture in the Jewish world. The defeat of the Mamluks
and the conquest of the land of Israel by the Ottomans afforded the
Jewish refugees from Europe an unexpected safe-haven in the Holy Land
No longer under hostile Islamic dominion, a new center of Jewish
learning sprang up. Safed was a thriving agricultural and commercial
town situated in the Galilean hills about 20 miles north of the Sea of
Galilee. Not only that, Safed was the burial place of a number of
rabbis of the Talmudic period. In fact, a little outside the town lay
the resting place of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, the supposed author of the
Book of Splendor-the Zohar.
It was in Safed that the Zohar gained its kabbalistic
preeminence. From there Moses Cordovero would compose his lengthy
commentaries on what had become the central kabbalistic text. It was
also from Safed that Rabbi Isaac Luria would develop his "redemptive"
brand of kabbalistic philosophy. The climate of political upheaval and
the massive forced removals of the Jewish people had given rise to
speculation that the world was in the midst of the "birth-pangs" of the
Messiah. Luria was hard-pressed to explain the terrible state of exile
that characterized the Jewish people. He expanded the kabbalistic
doctrine of the exile of the Shechinah (or Divine Presence)
into a mystical theology of redemption and promoted a rationale for the
performance of good deeds which was designed to hasten and even produce
the coming of the Messiah.
Lurianic Kabbalah would ultimately give rise to
Sabbatianism, the messianic movement of the seventeenth century that
proclaimed Shabbetai Zevi as King Messiah and in so doing, led Jewry
into despondency for decades. Lurianic Kabbalah would also,
through the popular mystical Chassidic movement, exert a strong
influence on the future thinking of Judaism. Modern Judaism and its
raison d'être is heavily grounded in the Lurianic notion that the
Jewish people exist in order to prepare the world for the arrival of
1A third generation talmudist, lived roughly between 120-200 A.D. 2Origins of the Kabbalah; Gershon Scholem, Jewish Publ. Society, 1987, p.22 3Back to the Sources; ed. Barry W. Holtz, Simon and Shuster, New York, 1984, p.307 4Back to the Sources; p.308 5Origins, p.49 6Ibid, p.39 7The Bahir
suggested the possibility of the transmigration or reincarnation of
souls, a doctrine foreign to biblical Judaism itself, which teaches the
resurrection of the dead. 8Back to the Sources; p.308 9Ibid.,
p.310 10Zohar, Book of Enlightenment; Daniel Chanan Matt; Paulist Press, Toronto,1983, p.3 11Back to the Sources; p.313 12The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia (7th Edition), Ed. Dr. Geoffrey Wigoder, 1992, p.999
and learn of the following
concerning about Real Kabbalah:
Real Kabbalah Is:
* Real Kabbalah is the metaphysical understandings underlying the physical commandments
and stories of the holy Torah given by G-d to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai.
* Real Kabbalah is more than a subject of learning,
it is a method of practice that revives the living spirit of the Torah
that is concealed within it’s every word and letter.
* Real Kabbalah explains the deepest meanings and reasons
for observing the Torah and Rabbinic commandments.
* Real Kabbalah reveals the secret spiritual laws that govern the human soul,
individual and collective destiny and spiritual evolution.
* Real Kabbalah reveals G-d’s master plan of the external universe and how,
by our observance of the 613 Torah commandments,
we integrate the outer universe with the personal universe that is inside us.
* Real Kabbalah is the secret wisdom that is studied by holy Rabbis today
enabling them to perform miraculous deeds.
* Real Kabbalah offers the most profound, experiential system of meditation
that enable one to achieve Devekut (ecstatic, prophetic union with G-d).
* Real Kabbalah study and practice is considered by the Ari’zal, the Ba’al Shem Tov
and others to be an essential and required part of Torah learning.
The Gaon of Vilna states that without proper Kabbalistic insight
even the simplest of Torah knowledge remains unclear.
* Real Kabbalah is an integral part of Torah and Halakha (Jewish Law).
The two can never be separated.
Only through the proper vessels can the Divine light shine. One must be completely observant of Jewish Law
in order to properly study Kabbalah.
Without this, Real Kabbalah can be quite dangerous!
Real Kabbalah Is Not:
is not black magic. It has no connection to the occult and is not superstitious.
* Real Kabbalah does not have any Greek, Egyptian or other non-Jewish cultural elements.
It is not Christian, Rosicrucian or Hermetic.
* Real Kabbalah has nothing to do with modern "new age" beliefs or eastern religions.
* Real Kabbalah is not just a philosophical outlook on life that can be divorced
from the full observance of Jewish Law (Orthodox Halakha).
* Real Kabbalah can never be correctly learned academically in a secular environment.
Mere human intellect is not strong enough to receive the Light of G-d.
* Real Kabbalah will never be understood unless one is fully observant of Jewish Law,
which is the vessel that receives the Kabbalistic insights.
With these insights you are now ready to proceed.
When you accept the Torah, fully and completely, you may then proceed to explore Her many areas.
Kabbalah is the secret innermost chamber of the Torah.
No one can ever start the study of the Torah at the end, but only at the beginning.
Let the sweet flavor of the Kabbalah linger in your mouths as you study Torah, Gemara and Halakha. Once the
Shekhina of G-d has witnessed your sincerity in the study of Her Torah,
She will eventually open up to you Her inner chambers.
Follow Her Ways (the Halakha), live by them, for they are the holy robes that cloak the Shekhina and crown Her with glory.
one has cast aside all falsehoods of the non-kosher Kabbalah and
becomes fully observant of the Divine commands will be welcomed by the
Is the Shekhina seeking you right now?
Do you seek Her??
The fruit of
the Spirit is
there is no law.
"(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all
goodness and righteousness and truth;)" (Eph 5:9) Gal
5:22-23 fruit. Singular , indicating the crop of nine qualities produced
by the Spirit in those who walk in dependence on Him (v. 16).
The 7 Sefirot (Attributes) of HaShem δι:
- Crown EHYEH ASHER EHYEH - I AM THAT I
AM as of Ha AVI - I will reveal myself in the outworking of events. Absolute mercy and
compassion, fill the world with rejoicing friendship and peace. Use
to represent the Yud
– lovingkindness. This is also known as Ahavah (Love). This quality refers to the unconditional
acceptance and love of others. Might, authority, transcendence. Absolute mercy,
compassion, forgiveness, miltigates punishment, can save even the unworthy.
- Understanding as of the Ruach HaKodeshh This
refer to redemption, freedom, delieverance, salvation. Acts as a supernal Mother,
connects and blesses all the sefirot. Gives freedom and salvation. spoken Elohim
- WISDOM the ETERNAL as of the SON : /font>This
the one alludes to the realm of mercy, where there is no sadness or misery,
one who wipes the tears from our eyes. Compassionately forgives and compensates
for inadequacy. Source of miracles, wonders, limitless, supply. Facilitates
ascents, redemption and the return to the original divine desigen, to restore.
- KNOWLEDGE - ALL KNOWING ONE
Gevurah – severity or strength,
Fear. This quality is also known
as Yirah (Awesome or Fear) justice and judgment. It is
the power of inhibition, discrimination and judgement
that allows one to make wise and right choices. The Strong One, Mighty
one, foremost One, EL over all other gods. Ruler over the affairs of men
Tiferet – beauty,
As in Yaakov This quality is also known as Rachamim (Merciful). The Passionate, He who speaks, I cause
to be, The essence of EL The greatest and holiest name. Embodies all of
EL's names in the ToRaH. Teaches the essence of the Creator. Sustains and
enriches all that exists. Protects from evil. gives happiness, strength,
joy and vitality.
Netzach – victory or triumph
as in Mosheh, the giver. This
HASHEM Tzevaot (Lord of Hosts) - As Below
Hod – glory
splendor Majesty as in Aharon ha Kohan, the receiver.This is the quality that lights up a person’s face,
the inner strength that causes the face to glow with confidence, peacefulness,
serenity, dignity, honor and majesty. Supreme commander over heavenly and earthly
forces. Source of prophecies, visions, wonders and miracles. Wages and wins
Adonay's wars. Saves the lovers of EL. Consoler, comforter, mourners and
those in pain. Rescind judgments and grants favors to the guilty depending
on their repentance or teshuvah. Receives petitions of those who ask for
Yesod – foundation or intimacy.
Self-control, as in Yosef, EL HAI, EL SHADDAI This
refer to the living EL with power strength stability. Source of eternal
life, gives mercy to those who intend to mend their ways. Sustains all creatures,
all sufficient one
Malkhut – kingdom or majesty. This quality represents manifestation, the
translation of energy into action and activity and literally means “kingdom”.
The great provider, KING of kings and LORD of Lords, Governs all creatures.
gives life and death. Have the keys of hell, the one who heals,the one who
restores through this ONE enters the presence of the EL
Example of how the
spiritual exercise works (refer to table distributed):
Day 1: One would meditate
totally on the Lovingkindness of God.
Day 2: One would combine
Severity or Strength with Lovingkindness.This could be a day to think on what has come
to be known as “tough love”.
Day 3: One would think about
the Beauty of Lovingkindness.
Day 4: One would think about
becoming Victorious through Lovingkindness.
Day 5: One would think on
the Glory that is found in Lovingkindness.
Day 6: One would think on
the personal Intimacy that will be forthcoming through a life of Lovingkindness.
Day 7: One would think about
the Majesty of Lovingkindness.
Day 8: One would focus on
tempering Strength with Lovingkindness.
Day 9: One would focus only
on Strength or Severity. How we ask our Father to strengthen us in the Faith.
Day 10: One would focus on
the Beauty of Strength.
Day 11: One would focus on
the Victory to be found when we are spiritually
Day 12: One would focus on
the Glory found in Strength.
Day 13: One would focus on
what it means to be Intimate in a setting of Strength.
Day 14: One would focus on
the Strength and Majesty of or King Yeshua.
What to do
during the 49 days of Counting the Omer (Sefirat Ha
The counting starts on the
second night of Passover.