This is a series of ten
essays on the basic ideas that lay the groundwork for all advanced
concepts in Kabbalah. They are the fundamentals. Before someone can
truly understand things like angels, magic, and spiritual forces, he/she
needs some background.
A more thorough
version of this course is published as “A Map of the Universe: An
Introduction to the Study of Kabbalah” and can be ordered through
at a discount or for the regular price from
Certainly the kabbalists who are considered
masters of this information know and understand clearly the five books
of Moses, the eight major and twelve minor books of the prophets, the
eleven books called Writings, as well as the sixty tractates of the
Talmud. To become a master kabbalist takes many years of study with
proper teachers. What this series is designed to do is to take someone
who doesn't have the background knowledge through the essential ideas
that allow that person to grasp many of the more sophisticated concepts.
We've seen books written by people that don't seem
to grasp the basics, yet discuss very high-level concepts. I don't think
the writers or readers are getting the points clear. Unfortunately, the
books that are written by masters are mostly in Hebrew, and also assume
the reader knows the background. There are so many people that are
thirsting for this knowledge that can't enter into the "orchard".
May it be God's will that these essays serve as a
way for them to taste the essence of their traditions, and makes them
hungry for more.
The word "Kabbalah" is a feminine noun.
These ten essays are written for beginners. Kabbalah
is a field of study that is elusive and requires the neophyte to gather
bits of information and piece them together by himself. I will assume no
prior knowledge and explain each new idea on its own. However, one of
the principles of Kabbalah is that many things are left to the student
to comprehend on his own and cannot be explained. A true teacher of
Kabbalah, which I do not claim to be, is not permitted to teach every
concept he knows. Some concepts he is only permitted to hint to.
Therefore, whenever delving into Kabbalah you need to be willing to
think a bit more deeply into what's being stated in order to get closer
to the truth.
God is one, and infinite.
Kabbalah is traditionally a secret or hidden
doctrine. Even though the Bible uses the masculine pronoun "He" when
referring to God, obviously God has neither gender nor any physical form
whatsoever and can't possibly be male or female. The side of God that is
revealed we call masculine. That's why God in the Bible, His revealed
word, is masculine. The side that is hidden is His feminine side. There
are many references to feminine traits of God in the Prophetic writings
and the Hebrew prayer book. That which conceptually relates to male is
more external. Women have been known to be more in touch with
spirituality, intuition, and other hidden things. Women, historically,
have often been able to accomplish more behind the scenes than men have
being in the limelight. In this way Kabbalah, which is considered more
special, more powerful and more spiritual than the more revealed wisdom
of the Bible can be looked at as the "feminine" side of Judaism.
Kabbalah is part of Judaism.
Although some of the kabbalistic tradition
predates Moses, it is part of the Jewish belief that God gave Moses a
written law and an oral law. Kabbalah is part of that oral law.
Kabbalah is defined in different ways. It is most
basically the mystical aspect of Judaism. There are meditative aspects
of Kabbalah. There are dimensions of Kabbalah that could be called White
Magic. There are philosophical aspects. Kabbalah is not a separate study
that can be divorced from its roots. In order to understand it fully, we
must keep a perspective on traditional Judaism.
Kabbalah is the Hebrew word which means to
receive. There is wisdom that is learned through hard study. There is
wisdom that is understood through experience. But most mystical or
spiritual understandings of our reality can only be "received'. This
implies that the recipient must be ready for, and be a fitting vessel
for receiving such special and holy ideas.
Kabbalah’s basic ideas can be studied and
understood by anyone.
A clear understanding of Kabbalah is dependent on
an understanding of basic Judaism, the foundational sources, which are
the Bible, (the five books that God dictated to Moses), the books of the
Prophets, and the Talmud, (the compendium of Jewish oral law which was
handed down from God to Moses and from teacher to student in every
generation until its codification in about 400 C.E.) Even without this
knowledge, however, many insights into life's ultimate purpose can be
understood through the concepts of Kabbalah. You can also learn
invaluable things about yourself from studying these mystical concepts.
It is for these reasons and others that I have chosen to write these ten
essays called "Introductory Kabbalah".