Now that the Messianic Age is beginning, many people are becoming interested in Kabbalah. However there is much confusion relating to this subject.
Much of this confusion comes from the fact that there are various disciplines which call themselves Kabbalah or Qabbalah. These are not all the same. There is traditional Jewish Kabbalah which is what will be taught in this series.
Different Traditions and Approaches
There are also various non-Jewish traditions chief of which is the Hermetic tradition (usually Christian) and various Magical (or Magickal) disciplines. If you are interested in any of these, they are easy to find on the web. These are different traditions and their teachings should be viewed separately from the Jewish tradition.
We feel goodwill towards all seekers of Truth, we are just pointing out that in this series when we say Kabbalah, we are referring ONLY to the Jewish tradition. This is to prevent confusion. We have often received letters and email telling us that we were "wrong" or that we differed from a "Qabalistic" teaching which the writer had previously seen. Often this was because this other teaching was not of the Jewish Tradition.
The Meaning of Kabbalah
The Kabbalah is the deep Secret Knowledge of the Jewish Religion. It is part of the Torah which was originally given to Moses on Mt. Sinai but was known even earlier.
The Kabbalah is called Razei HaTorah - the Secrets of the Torah. It also includes what is called Razei deRazin - the Secrets of the Secrets which is often given the separate name Chassidus.
We shall be covering both levels of Kabbalah in this series.
In general Kabbalah describes how G-d emanated and created the worlds out of His Own Infinite being through a process called the Tzimtzum - the Lessening (of the Infinite Light). Chassidus offers insights into the Infinite Light before the Tzimtzum and into the Atsmus - the Selfness of G-d.
Since it describes the emanation and creation of all the worlds,the Kabbalah contains all sciences and knowledges. Things that were discovered in past, things now being discovered, things to be discovered, things which will never be discovered are all explained in Kabbalah.
One last point, in the Jewish Tradition, the Unity of G-d does not refer to the fact that there is one rather than two gods. It means that there is only one Existence. There is only G-d and nothing else at all.
In this series we shall try as much as possible to present the Kabbalah in a non-secular manner. This is not always possible since we are presenting the Kabbalah from a Jewish perspective. So please keep in mind that we are in no way trying to preach or proselytize. This series is presented to be informative and open up a subject which was a closely guarded secret for a long time.
Some of you will consider the beginning of this series elementary as it will be presenting material which you already know. Please bear with us. This series is designed to be useful even for a novice.
We shall be using the Ashkenazik rather than the Sefardic pronunciations - E.g. "s" instead of "th".
Short pronunciation key and dictionary of key words:
- Kesser - Kether - Crown
- Chochmah - Wisdom
- Binah - Understanding
- Daas - Daath - Knowledge
- Chesed - Kindness
- Gevurah - Might
- Tiferes - Tifereth - Beauty
- Netzach - Conquest
- Hod - Splendour
- Yesod - Foundation
- Malchus - Malchuth - Kingdom
- Sefiros - Sefiroth
- Hisbonenus - Hitbonenuth - Contemplation
- Atsilus - Atzilut - World of Emanation
- Beriah - Creation
- Yetzirah - Formation
- Assiah - Actualization
- Yisroel - Israel
- Yaacov - Jacob
- Rochel - Rachel
- Musag - The concept as it is in Binah
- Muskal - The concept as it is in Chochmah
- ABY"A - An acronym for Atzilus, Briah, Yetzirah, Assiah
- Ratzon - Will
- Taanug - Delight
- Lillis - Lillith
- Kelipos - Kelipoth, Qelipot - Shells of externality
- Hishtalshelus - Hishtalshelut - Chaining down of the worlds.
- Midos - Midot - Emotive qualities - The seven lower Sefiros
- Hispaalus - Hitpaalut - Arousal
- Ein Sof - Without End Or - Light , Oros - Orot - Lights
- Kelim - Vessels
- Tzimtzum - lessening, contraction
- Reshimu - Impression
- Sechel - Intellect
- Moshiach - Messiah
Rabbi Joseph Markel
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