QUESTION: "I read that the kabbala is the tree of
life. I believe everything in the holy bible - my question is if the kabbala is
a biblical fact or is it another man's ideology?"
ANSWER: The main themes of Kabbalah were part of the revelation to Moses at Mt.
Sinai. Also, some of them were taught by Abraham our patriarch and even by Adam
the first human. However the original teachings were in concentrated
hard-to-penetrate forms, so there have been a lot of attached explanations down
through the generations.
QUESTION: "Can you define Ein Sof
a bit and
share with me how one approaches Ein Sof in Kabbalah as practiced in your
ANSWER: Ein Sof, "The Infinite", is by definition indefinable. (!) We can
access and manifest the light of Ein Sof only through total dedication
and self-sacrifice in the performance of those DEEDS that the Holy One desires
QUESTION: "Is Kabbala a religion? I've been told that
it is in fact NOT a religion, more like possessing an "inner light". I was
wondering if you could clarify that for me: is Kabbala's teachings open to
people of all faiths?"
ANSWER: Kabbala is not a religion. Authentic Kabbala is the core of the mystical
teachings --an "inner light", as you so eloquently expressed it-- of the Jewish
religion. At a basic level, the published teachings of Kabbala are available to
all, especially when rendered in the languages of the world, and even more so
when posted on the World Wide Web. Past that, there are natural limitations
relevant to knowledge of Hebrew, of Scripture, of Talmud, of Jewish Law, and the
innate connection of the Jewish teachings to the Jewish soul.
QUESTION: "I want to know about myself from your
kabbala system. How is it possible?"
ANSWER: In order to study Torah and Kabbalah, first you have to forget about
yourself. After you forget about yourself and study Torah and Kabbalah
intensively for a long time, you will find that you know a lot more about
QUESTION: "I am trying to understand the difference
between, or the relationship between, Chasidut and Kabbalah. I tried searching
the site, but couldn't narrow it down to less than 600 articles. Can you provide
a succinct definition? Thank you."
ANSWER: Kabbalah dates to a few thousand years ago;
Chasidic is less than 300 years old. The teachings of the Baal Shem Tov, the
founder of the Chasidic movement, were based on the teachings of the Holy Ari of
Nevertheless, there is a difference. Kabbala can be
much more theoretical and abstract; Chasidut is firmly rooted in having a direct
effect in the world. Perhaps we can describe it as a sort of applied Kabbalah.
QUESTION: "I’m 17. I've read a little about Kabbalah,
and understand that the point is for people to learn. I'm interested but I don't
want to know too much since even the little I know now scares me. I understand
the connection between people, that there's a universal law for all people, and
that we must seek the good and spiritual of all. Selfishness only brings us to
hate ourselves in the future, for we will only have ourselves to trust and that
world is scary. Even though money helps both in the negative and the positive, I
see it as a creation of difference between people.
To be 17, and say that I've gone through a lot might
sound childish, or even selfish, but it's true. I want to learn Kabbalah, but do
not know if it is the right time and which steps to take."
ANSWER: I think you should take your own advice and
study a little bit more - not a lot and not nothing. You might try sampling
different parts of our site till you find a topic or an author that you wish to
QUESTION: "I am very interested in learning more about
Kabbala and was hoping you can explain to me the differences between Judaism and
Kabbala. What are the differences in beliefs or is it just a difference in how
it is practiced?"
ANSWER: Kabbala is an integral part of authentic Torah
Judaism. For example, nearly the entire Kabbalat Shabbat service comes from the
Kabbalists of Safed. The Kabbalists do the same mitzvahs as all other Orthodox
Jews and are not separate from them, although they tend to have a lot of "extra"
strictnesses and emphases in many of them.
QUESTION: "How can Kabbala help me to change my life?"
ANSWER: Kabbalah can help you to re-examine and improve your relationship with
and understanding of G‑d Almighty."
QUESTION: "How or where can I get a kabbalistic
astrological birth chart done?"
ANSWER: Kabbalah does not do birth charts. The closest thing, if you are Jewish,
is on our home page: click on the button on the left side, Personal Torah Codes.
QUESTION: "Rabbi - Could you please give your honest
opinion regarding the "Kabbalah Center" organization (made famous by Madonna)
run by Rav Berg, his wife and sons, its courses, instructors and their
"translation" into English (from a Hebrew translation) of the Zohar. Is it a
legitimate/authentic way of pursuing the study of Kabbalah, or are their
problems with it, and, if so, what are they?"
ANSWER: I have no first-hand experience. What do I think based on what I have
Not endorsed, not legitimate. Possibly dangerous. There are plenty of exposes
available. You don't need us to pass around others' words.
QUESTION: "I have to admit from the get-go that I have
a great interest in learning more about Kabbala and its tools to deal with life.
I do however have a few questions in regards to understanding Kabbala.
When some Kabbala leaders go on the record and say for example that Madonna does
not speak of the ancient kabbala, but a more "modern pop-culturalistic" version
of kabbala, how do these two theories differ? And what does "ancient kabbala"
A final, somewhat silly, question. I am a bit confused, because as I have seen
kabbalah, it is NOT a religion, but rather tools for understanding life. But
does kabbalah not stem from the Jewish faith?"
ANSWER: The original Kabbalah is the Jewish system of secret mystical teachings,
an integral part of the Jewish religion. Down through the ages their have been
Christian and Occult attempts to develop their own schools of Caballa/Qabalah,
and today there is the contemporary "Hollywood-style" attempt to popularize it.
If you want to know what Madonna thinks, go read a magazine. If you want to know
about the original Kabbalah, peruse our website.
QUESTION: "Could you please tell me what the kabbala
says about the hand symbol, if I can have it in my house, and, is it some type
ANSWER: The authentic Jewish Kabbalah is an integral
part of Torah. Occult and Christian kabala is not. The hand is supposedly for
protection. Whether the one you have can help for this or not I can't tell you
but for sure no harm will come to you from possessing it as long as long as you
do not treat it as an object of worship.
QUESTION: "I am doing my best to improve myself
....perform good deeds and to negate the negative. I have always been drawn to
the Spiritual and I have had dreams that have come true....aware of presences
when something is around...and generally intuitive.
I feel that a yearning for developing the spiritual
side has been ignored for too long...which is why I have found this web site.
I feel a bit lost because I don't really know what my
purpose is...I feel like an outsider ...which is ok...but I need to fill the
vacuum and put what I feel I have to good use...to develop it in a kosher way
with the permission of G‑d.
When I ask for a direction from Rabbis, mostly they
don't take me seriously...I don't blame them....after all how can you know if
someone is crazy or not? So, any advice? It's a stab in the dark (or should I
say, a stab in the light?)?"
ANSWER: I have a suggestion. Among those rabbis you
have been asking for advice, the ones that you respect as being also spiritual
as well as learned, instead of asking for advice, ask if they will study with
you a spiritual text. If they refuse for whatever reason, ask them to help
arrange it with someone they recommend.
My feeling from this letter is that you are too much
on your own, but of course I could easily be wrong.
QUESTION: "What is Kabbala's view on homosexuality,
living together and having children without marriage, multiple sexual partners,
fornication, adultery, abortion, and masturbation? What are their spiritual
consequences and how they be corrected?"
ANSWER: All are forbidden, all have dire spiritual
consequences including the creation of impure and sometimes dangerous impure
spiritual beings, and the key to rectification is to gain control over one's
desires, to realize that the mind can rule over the emotions, that "want to"
does not have to mean "have to".
If by "corrected" you were not referring to future
actions, but how to fix the negative consequences from the past, know that his
can be difficult but is doable. The starting place is prayer and good deeds,
including the sincere recognition and regret of one's wrong deeds and the honest
resolve to not repeat them.
QUESTION: "I was born in 1956 at 7 p.m., but am not
sure if my birthday falls on the 23rd or the 24th of Elul. Does it change every
year, depending on the candle lighting times? I was told the Torah reading
on my birthday would be connected to my life mission. I would like to
study my Torah parasha."
ANSWER: You have to ascertain the time of sunset at
the location where you were born in order to know which date is your birthday.
That Hebrew date is your birthday every year. In any case, that year they both
fell before Shabbat, so your reading is Netzavim-Vayelech, since that year it
was a double reading. Netzavim is always read on the Shabbat before Rosh
Hashanah, so you should concentrate there.
QUESTION: "I have been going to weekly Kabbalah
classes for about two months and studying Hebrew for about one year. I have been
contemplating quitting the classes, to give myself more of a solid foundation in
Talmud, Hebrew and Torah study (Halacha), before continuing my studies."
ANSWER: It is wise to concentrate on basic Jewish
studies till you get established. But you don't have to cut your connection with
the mystical levels of Judaism, through genuine Kabbalah or Chasidut. It can be
one class out of several.
QUESTION: "I felt uncomfortable learning about how to
use a pendulum to assess our "health". Somehow, I prefer....Rabbi Nachman's
teachings on outpouring of our souls in prayer and meditation. I would think I
would prefer to close my eyes and pray directly to Ado-nai to "move" my spirit
rather than using quartz. How essential and what is the function of pendulums in
Kabbalah study and practice?"
ANSWER: Your instincts are excellent. Pendulums in
Kabbalah class means it is occult Kabbalah, almost nothing to do with the
authentic Jewish Kabbalah. If you are Jewish, get out of there.
QUESTION: "What year did kabbala first start to get
ANSWER: At the time of the revelation at Sinai, 3318
QUESTION: "I am a Jewish woman but never really
practiced religion. This year I am home-schooling my children and would like to
introduce the teaching of the Kabbalah to them. Is there a book you can
recommend or a certain way to introduce/teach the study to them?"
ANSWER: I'd rather recommend books on basic Judaism.
They have a right to know about their heritage. Take a look on Judaism.com or
Eichlers.com. If you tell me what area you live in and the ages of your kids, I
might be able to find a volunteer to come and help.
QUESTION: "Can Kabbalah help a life that seems
ANSWER: YES, Kabbalah can help a life that seems hopeless. So can a positive
change of attitude, even without Kabbalah. Especially if you have faith in G‑d
the Creator, the source of the secrets of Kabbalah
QUESTION: "I have some questions regarding Kabbalah
About the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles…(I have not visited there)…I have read
all of the books available from the center. I was wondering what you thought of
the center and the books. Have you read any of these books? Do you agree with
the teachings? I also have read almost all the online articles available on the
inner.org web site. They definitely have a different feel to them than the
Center, not just that one is a "slicker" presentation than the other. What is
the difference spiritually between the two sources? Thank you for your kind help
with these questions. I look forward to hearing from you soon."
ANSWER: Your questions are difficult to deal with in
an email format, where I don't know whom I am discussing with or what your
relationship to Judaism and Torah is.
To simplify: to answer the question of who, and what, is kosher we have to rely
on contemporary rabbinic authorities. Nearly all of them seem to agree that it
is important to avoid the Bergs and their Kabbalah Center. The chief rabbi of
England recently ruled that it is forbidden to purchase anything from them.
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, whose teachings constitute the basis of inner.org has
his own slant on Kabbalah. He is a brilliant Torah and Kabbala scholar as well
as a mathematician, a pious Chasid, and 100% kosher according to all opinions.
He is perhaps the most significant native English-speaking teacher of Kabbalah
I appreciated your sensitivity as to the difference between the sites, and I'd
be curious to know your reaction to ours.
QUESTION: "I studied Kabbalah with a Kabbalist (a man)
who is gay. Can you explain to me what is going on there?"
ANSWER: Not really, since I don't know if he is Jewish, nor if you are Jewish,
nor what it is that he taught you. If it is a form of non-Jewish Kabbalah he is
teaching, so that in itself is an answer to the question you are asking.
But in Jewish tradition, someone who knows he enough to teach an aspect of
Torah, which authentic Kabbalah is, yet flaunts his non-compliance with
one of the commandments (as all the students seem to know his sexual
preferences), is making big spiritual problems for himself and his students have
to step extremely warily not to be affected as well.
QUESTION: "Could you explain to me how Kabbala, Zohar,
and the Talmud are connected?"
ANSWER: Talmud, the expansion of the Mishna, is the basic compendium of the
Jewish Oral Law.
Zohar is the basic text of Kabbala study. It was
compiled before the Talmud, during the period of the Mishna.
Kabbala is a collective name for the mystical
teachings and traditions of the Jewish people, of which the Zohar is an
QUESTION: "Is the teachings of Kabbala
different from Moses' teaching in Judaism?"
ANSWER: It is part of it.
QUESTION 1: "What is the meaning of the name
ANSWER 1: Kabbala means "received teaching" in Hebrew.
QUESTION 2: "How long has it existed?"
ANSWER 2: Some say since Moses, some say since
Abraham, some say since Adam.
QUESTION 3: "Are there still Kabbalists in our time?"
ANSWER 3: Yes.
QUESTION 4: "Who are the Kabbalists?"
ANSWER 4: You have to come to Israel to find them.
QUESTION 5: "Can I become a Kabbalist too?"
ANSWER 5: It takes many years of hard study, purification, commitment and
character refinement. It would be up to you to answer the question depending on
how much you want it.
QUESTION: "Do you have to believe in God to believe in
Kabbala? If you believe in Kabbala are you a Kabbalist?"
ANSWER: Authentic Kabbala is an integral, and inseparable, part of the Jewish
religion. G‑d is its main subject! Belief in its teachings does not make one a
Kabbalist. Knowledge and purity are the main requirements.
QUESTION: "Do people recognize, when another soul
"visits" them (ibur)?"
ANSWER: They may feel something, but unless they are quite spiritually sensitive
and knowledgeable they probably won't know what it is.
QUESTION: "Is Kabbala magic? What can be gained by
ANSWER: Kabbala is not magic. However, studying it has
a purifying effect.
QUESTION: "Why is the journey directly to God within
the kabbala dangerous?"
ANSWER: It is dangerous when one is not pure enough, knowledgeable enough, and
balanced enough for the wisdom received. This is not an issue until the more
QUESTION: "What's the evil hidden in the woman?"
ANSWER: There is no evil inherent in women. That is a Christian belief, not a
Jewish one. There are problems however, in some of the desires that some men
have towards women.
QUESTION: "Could you explain to me, please, the
meaning of "cheshbon Ha-nefesh"? Does it mean something like an
"accounting of the soul?"
ANSWER: It doesn't mean "something like"; it means exactly that. It refers to
doing an honest spiritual reckoning of where you are at. It also means asking
yourself on a nightly (preferred), weekly, monthly, and annual basis: "What did
I do? What should I have done? What could I have done?"
QUESTION: "Who is it that you worship in Kabbalah? Who
is your god?"
ANSWER: The One G‑d, the Creator of heavens and earth, Who gave to the Jewish
people the commandments at Mt. Sinai. Kabbala is an aspect of Judaism.