I am interested in learning more about it. Can you recommend a book for me? Preferably a book that discusses how it plays a role in real people’s lives, not merely an academic briefing on it. I’m sure there are plenty of websites on it, but I spend enough time on the computer as it is and would like an actual book to read that discusses how Kabbalah is put into practice in every day life. Thank you.

8 Responses to “Jewish friends: Do any of you here practice Kabbalah? ?”

  • Stephen L:

    Good luck in your studies, but understand that most Jews think of “Kabbalah” as something that Madonna’s involved in. It’s really not part of most modern Jewish thought.

  • J.P.:

    Kabbalah is not something you ‘practice’. It is a field of study under Judaism.

    You will be extremely hard pressed to find valid instruction in it unless you are a Jewish male, over 40, Orthodox, married and have kids.

    However, you can easily find the Sefer Zohar (Book of Light) and Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Formation) in various translations. These would be your best place to start. Avoid most Kabbalah centers. They tend to teach a watered down New Age version that has no real link to the original Kabbalistic teachings.

  • Ptah:

    Sepher Yetzirah.. Gershom Scholem… theory and history
    Garden of the Pomegranates… Israel Regardie… practical Kabbalah.

  • PaperbackWriter KosherNinja JPA:

    Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism, is indeed intriguing. It rather does depend on having a good grounding in Jewish theology first, but I think you know a fair amount from what I’ve enjoyed of your posts :)

    I recommend ‘Kabbalah For Dummies’ by Arthur Kurzweil. He also wrote ‘Torah For Dummies’. Ideally, I’d suggest you get both books – and read the TORAH book *first*.

    That way, the Kabbalah book will make far more sense. I like this author a great deal; his books are colourful, intelligent and offer basic information as well as touching on the more esoteric aspects of Judaism.

    Enjoy!

    EDIT

    A few good answers have been given. I would recommend, though, that you don’t start with the actual Kabbalistic texts – even Jewish scholars who have studied for years will require instruction when approaching Kabbalah in great depth. Start with a good overview, and go from there if you find it is something you wish to study in more detail :)

  • SheyneinNH:

    You’ve been given some good suggestions. But you are asking about “how Kabbalah is put into practice in everyday life”. So I think you’re asking for a book which specifically discusses how to live a life informed by mystical Judaism.
    I’d suggest: “God Is a Verb, Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism” by Rabbi David A. Cooper

    From a review:
    “Rabbi Cooper’s integration of study, daily practice, and contemplative exercises makes him an ideal guide into mystical Judaism.”

    I highly recommend it!

    Edit: Please avoid the “Kabbalah Center”. That’s the group Madonna joined. It’s a money-maker for the founders, but it’s not genuine.

  • PETER L:

    Authentic Kabbalah was concealed from society until 1995, which is why there are so many misconceptions and false practices out there. Kabbalah is the study of Spiritual Worlds with the goal of equivalence of form the the Creator. It has nothing to do with any religion. It is for anyone who has the burning question of what is the meaning of life? what is the purpose?

    Any book by Dr. Micheal Laitman will lead you to authentic Kabbalah. I would suggest “Attaining the Worlds Beyond” but if you feel an attraction to a different one go with that.

    Although you said you preferred not to go on line here is a link to a free series of classes that begin on Sept 3

    http://www.kabbalah.info/course/course.p

  • vansemmmanuel *JPA:

    Yes. I also wear Kabbalah string. I recommend getting Study packs at the Kabbalah store. I recommend the Wisdom pack. It contains the Kabbalah string,the red string book,God doesnt create miracles,The monster is real, the dream book and some other books. The titles are controversial but when reading you will really enjoy the book. The red string book is most recommmended for you because it gives more than “acedemic brifings” But form what i am reading i think you might want more advanced books as well so go on the Kabbalah website and look at their store.
    http://www.kabbalah.com/
    I hope you know Judaism is required to fully be a member of study. You have to have full knowledge of the Tanakah and Torah. I hold classes on Judaism and Hebrew for those who are intrested in Kabbalah and Judaism or in conversion. One time fee prices start at $125 or monthly choices starting at $20/month.
    http://www.beitmidrashonline.webs.com/

  • allonyoav:

    To start with- lets build a foundation to make what follows clear:

    Moses received the Torah on Mt. Sinai from God. The Torah consists of two parts
    1) The written part, the Chamishe Sifrei Torah (the five books of the Torah- Five books of Moses)
    2) The oral law, Mishnah, which was written down after the destruction of the second temple so it would not be forgotten or altered through inaccurate transmission.
    The rest of the Tanach (Torah, Nevi’im(prophets) and Ketuvim(Writings)) came later. The origins of the Kabalah are in there- the description of the heavenly chariot is considered one of the major mystical portions- and from which a lot of Kabalah is learnt, and some claim that the entire book of Job is one of Sod (literally secret and referring to Kabalistic meanings). Later, the Serfer HaYesod was written- which was then complemented with a far more complete work, the Zohar. But these books are not complete- somethings are not written down. These form the basis of what is known as Lurianic Kabalah, named after Rabbi Isaac Luria (Ha’arizal) who is considered one of, if not the, greatest Kaballist in history. A competing school of Kaballah is based around the teachings of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the originator of the chassidic movement, and summarised in the Tanya, written by Rav Schneur Zalman of Liadi- the founder of the Chabad Lubavitch movement (Chabad literaly stands for “Chochmah, Binah and Da’at- the three main sefirot in the tree of life as taught by the Ba’al shem tov)
    When jews study the Torah- it is looked at in various ways- and in each way, a word, or even a letter can mean something different or teach something different.
    1) Pshat- this is the plain, easily iunderstood meaning (yeah right- sometimes even this is difficult!)
    2) Halachic – the legal imterpretation- so taking the legal definition of a word rather than its straight meaning. This is really just a subset of pshat since they are both plain meanings though what is learnt may differ.
    3) Remesh – the alluded to meanings. This is where you get the alluded to meanings and the oral law meanings of the passages. Some of these are aggadot- more like morality stories or fables- though always meant to teach, others are halachic and give guidance on the laws.
    4) Sod- secret. This level of study is the most difficult and is not common. studying at this level is usually only done by a student and teacher in an one on one session and is not taught in large groups or classes. the reason for this is that the teacher has to make sure that the student fully understands what is being taught, ot the student may be led astray. A story in the Talmud, masechta Chagigah, is told of Rabbi Akivah, one of the greatest sages who, using kaballah from the lessons derived from the vision of the merkava (divine chariot), ascended to view the world to come, with four students- each a great sage in their own right. One student who was poure, did not guard himself and died from the view, a second went mad, a third died and the fourth became an apostate and started his own religion, dualistic in nature. The Talmud brings this story to teach 1) that this should never have been done in a group and 2) as a general warning that studying Kaballah is not for everyone.

    So let us now look at Sod- the area in which Kaballah is found.
    a) The earliest written work of Kaballah is generally stated as being the Book of Job. The Rabbis do not view this book literally but rather as an allegory in which many Kaballistic insights are taught.
    b) The earliest oral source of Kaballah is stated as being the Sefer Yetzira, which tradition states was authored by Abraham and passed down orally until it waas written down around 200CE since it was in danger of being corrupted or forgotten.
    c) The vision of the divine Chariot
    d) The Zohar – Tradition states that this was a compilation of lessons that Rebbe Shimon Bar Yochai collated and organised while he was hiding from the Romans around 200CE. Because it is in the realm of Sod- people were always reluctant to write down- but it was finally written down around the 1600s.

    Who studies it?
    Basically the majority of Orthodox Jews accept Kaballah as worthwhile studying, though there is a rule that we never alter the halachah (Jewish law) because of what is found in the Kaballah. The Torah, written and oral, takes primacy.

    However, Judaism is focussed on action- not belief, in doing, not in studying for the sake of studying. As such, the focus has always been on learning the Torah first- together with all the laws and how to perform them properly, before studying anything to do with the Kaballah. Thus for a long time no Kaballah was written down- and it was only directly taught by teacher to student in an one on one fashion. even today- the written works of the Kaballah do not contain everything- their are major elements that are only taught by teacher to student. As such- finding a teacher is paramount- and it is not

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