Kabbalah: Teachings, History, Locations
- Kabbalah: What Is It?
Kabbalah originated in ancient Judaism. Many believe it to have been a precursor to organized religion and thus responsible for traditional beliefs regarding the origins of the earth and the universe, as well as the basis for all art, science, and philosophy. Hasidic Judaism popularized Kabbalah in the 1700’s and the 20th century has seen interest in Kabbalah that spans denominations; this has resulted in non-Jewish Kabbalah.
- Kabbalah and Religion
Kabbalah has no relationship to any formal or organized religion and considers itself to be a supplement to traditional religious teachings rather than a religion in its own right. Kabbalah teachings assert that all religious beliefs are simply offshoots of the Universal Wisdom, whether that Wisdom is referred to as God, Jehovah, Creator, Allah, Buddha, or any other divine entity. The emphasis is on pursuing one’s relationship to the Universal Wisdom rather than trying to understand it or limit it to a specific religion.
The Kabbalah teaches that since the Universal Wisdom is infinite and mankind is finite, it is impossible for an individual to understand the Universal Wisdom. Thus, the focus on the individual relationship to the Universal Wisdom. Since God is incomprehensible, he is referred to in Kabbalah teachings as “Light.”
Some Biblical events, such as the crossing of the Red Sea, are considered to be codes to both universal laws and to life; they hold keys to mankind’s relationship to the universe and his interactions with it.
- Origins of KabbalahTwo theories exist on the origins of Kabbalah: One, and the most widely held today, is that the Kabbalah was originally part of the Torah that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. The other is that the Kabbalah originated with Adam.
- Teaching KabbalahSince the Kabbalah is considered to be highly complex, traditional rabbis felt that the it could be easily misinterpreted. Therefore, its teachings were primarily given to males who were over 40 years of age. The age requirement was intended as a threshold to maturity and wisdom; those who were younger were thought to have insufficient knowledge of the Torah and the mitzvahs.The Talmud, the oral word of God, specifies how Kabbalah is to be taught, who can teach it, and to whom.
- The Kabbalah CentreFounded in 1965 in New York City, theKabbalah Centre teaches students the precepts of Kabbalah without the need for prerequisite knowledge. Those who have no knowledge of Judaism, Hebrew, or Judaic texts are welcome and instruction is based on that premise. In 1984, a Kabbalah Centre was established in Los Angeles and there are now more than 50 locations throughout the world, including both North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.In addition to Kabbalah, the Centre teaches astrology, believing that it was studied by Jewish scholars throughout history and that it is part of Judaism. Understanding the cosmic forces that affect all parts of life can greatly enhance the journey that leads to the higher vibration levels of an enlightened soul, known as Neshamah in Kabbalah teachings. The Centre also teaches the importance of proper love making techniques and defines specific processes that should be followed in order to eliminate selfishness and gain the maximum benefit from the experience.