There has been a remarkable interest in the subject of Kabbalah of late. Indeed, a New York Times study indicates that mysticism and especially Kabbalah is the number two category of book purchase made at present. Kabbalah centers are springing up all over North America and Europe. Many of those Jews studying Kabbalah are unfamiliar with other basic Jewish ideas…
Some see this phenomenon as a passing fad, others as a golden opportunity. It is undoubtedly true that many of those Jews studying Kabbalah are unfamiliar with other basic Jewish ideas or requirements. Nevertheless, they have for the first time in their lives chosen to positively identify with overtly Jewish teachings.
What exactly are they learning and what choices are there?
There are a number of groups teaching Kabbalah. Some offer a Judeo-Christian version of Kabbalah, some offer pagan or new-age experiences, others offer an instant fix, self-help type of program. One of the main study texts is the Zohar, even though most participants don't know the alef-bet, let alone the vocabulary. It seems that many groups encourage the gazing at the Aramaic as a mystical psycho-spiritual curative! The beauty of Jewish experience is the harmonious fusion of the spiritual buds above with the physical flowerings below…
Some of these programs are costly to attend, and you must have all the books on the recommended reading list. The vast majority of available texts are written by people detached from Jewish observance, and show a shameful lack of understanding of genuine kabbalistic literature.
If people had access to accurate and honest translations of the source texts and clear commentaries, it would break the stereotype that observant Judaism in all its facets is not, as many would have us think, a close-minded shtetl/ghetto existence with countless restrictions and punishments and no time for enjoyment, enlightenment or free expression. On the contrary, the beauty of Jewish experience is the harmonious fusion of the spiritual buds above with the physical flowerings below. And that to be a mitzvah-Jew is of immense significance in the Supernal plan. This message can be strongly brought out in the particular style of commentary and the way it speaks to the reader.
At Kabbalaonline, we draw from writers and translators with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some are chasidim, some are scientists, some are rabbis, some are poets. All the sources we draw from understand Kabbalah within the greater context of Awe of G‑d and Jewish Law.