Should You Learn Kabbalah?– The Supreme Importance Of Studying The Sod From Genuine Sources

A lot of people are afraid to learn Kabbalah. What is it really and what it entails?

There’s a lot of confusion as to what Kabbalah genuinely is and is not. In this article, I will venture to clarify as much as possible on this topic.

Kabbalah, the esoteric branch of Jewish “mysticism”, has been a subject of intense study and debate throughout Jewish history.

The Torah is the blueprint of the world, but it only reveals the external part. revealing the hidden wisdom of the Torah and providing a deeper understanding of the spiritual nature of the universe is the task of Kabbalah. Essentially, it’s the secrets of Creation.

Studying Kabbalah

Key principles in Kabbalah

Kabbalah seeks to explore the deeper, hidden dimensions of the Torah and the universe.

At its core, it is a system of thought that explains the nature of existence, the structure of the universe, and the relationship between humanity and the Divine.

One of the key concepts in Kabbalah is the idea of Ein Sof, a reference to Hashem’s unknowable essence, which represents the ultimate source of all existence and is beyond the limitations of time, space, and form. Ein Sof is often described as a divine light that fills all of Creation, and is the source of all that exists in the physical world.

It’s important to keep some of its key principles in mind:

  1. Hashem is One: The fundamental principle of Kabbalah is that Hashem is One, indivisible, and infinite. This means that Hashem is not just a personal deity but the essence of all existence. We, by nature of our limitation, perceive Hashem through his emanations called “Sephirot” (see below).
  2. The Creator is ultimately beyond human understanding: The Arizal teaches that the true nature of Hashem is beyond human understanding and that any attempt to describe Him is ultimately limited. However, we can reach a very high level of understanding.
  3. Creation is a process of emanation: The universe was created through a process of emanation, whereby Hashem infinite light was filtered through a series of vessels or sephirot, which gradually condensed into the physical world. This is explained in Etz Chaim.
  4. Prayer and meditation are essential: Kabbalists place great emphasis on prayer and meditation as a means of connecting with Hashem and accessing higher levels of consciousness.
  5. The Tree of Life with 10 Sephirot is a key symbol: The Tree of Life, a complex symbol that represents the flow of divine energy through the universe, is a central concept in Kabbalistic thought.
  6. Tikkun Olam is a central goal: Kabbalists believe in the concept of Tikkun Olam, which means “repairing the world” and refers to the idea that Jews and non-Jews can rectify the spiritual worlds through their Mitzvot.
  7. The ultimate goal is unification with Hashem: The ultimate goal of Kabbalistic practice is to achieve a state of unification with Him, known as devekut.

What are the Sephirot?

The concept of the Sephirot is central to studying Kabbalah, and offers a framework for understanding the workings of the universe and the human mind. The Sephirot represent ten aspects of divine emanation, each with its own unique qualities and attributes. By understanding these aspects, we can gain insight into the nature of the universe and our place within it.

The Sephirot are the building blocks of creation. They represent the various stages of Hashem’s creative process, from the infinite potential of Keter to the manifestation of Hashem’s will in the physical world through Malkhut. Each Sephirah is a vessel for divine energy, and together they form a complex network of interrelated energies that give rise to all of creation.

But the Sephirot are not only a cosmic phenomenon – they also offer a map of the human psyche. Each Sephirah corresponds to a different aspect of the human mind and soul, and understanding these correspondences can help us navigate our inner world. For example, the expansive energy of Chesed represents the power of lovingkindness, while Gevurah represents the power of judgment and discipline. By understanding the interplay between these energies within ourselves, we can develop a greater sense of self-awareness and personal growth.

Ultimately, the Sephirot offer a path to spiritual transformation and enlightenment, and are used extensively in the Kavanot of the Arizal. Many Rebbeim also attest that, by meditating on each Sephirah and cultivating its qualities within ourselves, we can draw closer to the divine and fulfill our spiritual potential.

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Understanding the 4 spiritual worlds:

The spiritual worlds are vast and complex realms that encompass multiple dimensions of reality. There are four primary spiritual worlds, each of which represents a different aspect of the divine emanation. These worlds are Atzilut, Beriah, Yetzirah, and Assiyah.

World of Atzilut:

According to Kabbalistic thought, the world of Atzilut is the source of all spiritual energy and the highest level of divine consciousness. It is the realm of divine unity, where all distinctions between creator and creation are dissolved, and the infinite light of Hashem is revealed. In Atzilut, the sephirot are not separate entities, but rather aspects of a single divine unity, reflecting the infinite nature of Hashem’s essence.

World of Beriyah:

In Jewish mysticism, the spiritual world of Beriyah is the second of the four primary spiritual worlds. It is considered the realm of creation, where the divine will begins to take shape and form. Beriyah is a world of archetypes and symbols, where the infinite potential of the divine is given concrete expression.

According to Kabbalistic thought, the angels reside in the world of Beriyah. These spiritual beings are the messengers of the divine will, sent to carry out Hashem’s commands and guide humanity on its spiritual journey. They are the guardians of the spiritual world, charged with maintaining the delicate balance of the universe.

The spiritual world of Beriyah can be accessed through deep meditation and contemplation. It is a realm of great beauty and wonder, filled with divine light and infinite potential. Those who enter into this world can tap into the creative energy of the universe and gain a deeper understanding of the divine will.

World of Yetzirah:

In Jewish mysticism, the spiritual world of Yetzirah is the third of the four primary spiritual worlds. It is considered the realm of formation, where the divine will takes on shape and structure. In Yetzirah, the building blocks of creation are assembled, and the universe takes on its many forms and shapes.

According to Kabbalistic thought, the angels who inhabit the world of Yetzirah are responsible for shaping the physical world. They work tirelessly to ensure that the universe remains in balance and that all living things are given the support and guidance they need to thrive.

The spiritual world of Yetzirah can be accessed through the practice of deep contemplation and visualization. By meditating on the symbols and archetypes of this realm, one can gain a deeper understanding of the forces that shape our lives and the universe around us.

World of Assiyah:

In Kabbalistic thought, the spiritual world of Assiyah is the lowest and most physical of the four primary spiritual worlds. It is the realm of action, where the divine will is made manifest in the physical world. This is the world of material creation, where all physical objects and beings exist.

Despite its lower status, the world of Assiyah is considered a vital component of the universe. Without physical reality, the other three worlds would have no means of expression or manifestation. The angels of Assiyah are responsible for ensuring that the physical world remains in balance and harmony, and that all living things receive the sustenance they need to survive.

Accessing the spiritual world of Assiyah requires a deep connection to the physical world. By paying attention to the details of our lives and the world around us, we can begin to see the divine spark that exists in all things. This awareness can help us to connect more deeply to the divine and to live our lives with greater purpose and intention.

Sources to inspire you to start studying Kabbalah:

“And I have come to reveal this great and precious secret to the world, so that they will return to Hashem with a perfect heart. For the world is being destroyed due to the lack of knowledge of Hashem, and the exile and darkness are lengthening. And the Torah cannot be redeemed from exile except through the study of Kabbalah.”

In this passage from Etz Chaim, Rav Chaim Vital emphasizes the crucial importance of studying Kabbalah for the spiritual well-being of humanity and the redemption of the world. In other words, the lack of knowledge of Hashem (i.e. Kabbalah) contributed to the destruction and darkness in the world, and only by studying Kabbalah can the Torah be redeemed from its state of exile.

This perspective reflects a deep belief in the transformative power of Kabbalistic thought, and underscores its potential to help individuals understand Hashem’s divine providence. This realization is profoundly powerful and can inspire an individual to do Teshuva.

Other sources:

  1. “One who has not delved into the secrets of the Torah has not tasted its sweet waters.” – Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan
  2. It is impossible to truly understand the Torah without delving into the secrets of the Kabbalah.” – Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Derech Hashem
  3. “The study of Kabbalah is not only for the elite, but for anyone who seeks to connect with Hashem on a deeper level.” – Rabbi Isaac Luria, Etz Chaim (written by R’ Chaim Vital)
  4. The study of Kabbalah is a means of elevating oneself to a higher spiritual plane and connecting with Hashem.” – Rabbi Avraham Abulafia, Chayyei ha-Olam ha-Ba
  5. The study of Kabbalah reveals the deeper meanings behind the commandments and allows one to fulfill them with greater understanding and devotion.” – Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Meditation and Kabbalah
  6. The study of Kabbalah teaches us to recognize the Divine spark within every aspect of creation and to appreciate the infinite wisdom of Hashem.” – Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot
  7. “Kabbalah provides a deeper understanding of the spiritual nature of the universe and our place within it.” – Rabbi Dov Ber of Mezeritch, Maggid Devarav le-Yaakov
  8. “Kabbalah is the means by which we can attain the highest levels of spiritual attainment and understanding.” – Rabbi Isaac of Akko, Me’irat Einayim
  9. The study of Kabbalah reveals the hidden wisdom of the Torah and the workings of the universe.” – Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Zohar
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Concluding remarks

This is just a little introduction to studying Kabbalah.

The truth is we barely scratched the surface simply put because Creation is complex and is ultimately a reflection of what we can understand from Hashem Himself. The way He runs the world reveals who He actually is.

Of course, skeptics will argue that “the world is messed up” and rightfully assert that “evil has a current stranglehold on how world affairs are conducted”. But this is where Emunah comes into play: If you understand what the world is all about and how the theatrics are being played (and why they are being played), you will see that Hashem truly is wise, compassionate, just, and the source of all good.

Everything is connected, and everything follows an ultimate master plan. If you are persistent and want to approach this body of knowledge with good intentions, then Kabbalah becomes a self-evident truth. You see it working in the physical work and you are led to understand some of the many wonders of Creation.

Nowadays, there’s a sort of consensus that one can fulfill his obligation of studying Kabbalah with Chassidut. For many people, Kabbalah is difficult, boring, or simply not interesting. Chassidut tends to be more easily digestible, and nowadays you have a lot more books with translation and commentary on it than Kabbalah.

I hope this little guide helps you find your way in studying Kabbalah as we should.

What are your thoughts on it?

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Chaim Apsan

Chaim is a teacher and Kabbalah enthusiast. He loves helping Jews connect with true Torah teaching and enhancing their spiritual growth. With a focus on meditation, he guides individuals on transformative journeys of prayer, contemplation, and connection with Hashem. He lives in Jerusalem with his wife and kids, and is committed to sharing the wisdom and power of Kabbalah in a genuine way.

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2 Responses

  1. I am not Jewish, also have a interest in Kabbalah however which where and how would be my question. Maybe I would not qualify because of not being Jewish. I have visited Israel,Jerusalem quits honestly it was like coming home. So really asking for guidance which I would have much Gratitude for. Thank you.

    1. hi Michael, happy to hear from you. Yes, there’s a special energy from Jerusalem and Israel which attracts spiritually sensitive people.
      I’m sending you an e-mail so we can talk better.

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