Home Discussion Forum Does the Kabalah teach things such as astrology and spirits etc?

Does the Kabalah teach things such as astrology and spirits etc?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Kabbalah can only be studied by the high priest????
    Kabbalah came into existence long after there was a high priest!
    Kabbalah is the mystical form of Judaism and should not be studied until one has studied basic Judaism for many years. Look up the word mystical if you want to know what it’s about.
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  2. Candis is correct. I studied it decades before it became a “fad” thing. It’s essentially a pre-computer age database that organizes human thought forms and associations, and relates them to scripture, human experience, and the natural world.
    Absolutely everything imaginable can be assigned a value and place in the Tree of Life. Or it would not exist.
    It can be studied by anyone, but will generally be misunderstood by many; hence, the Jews felt it should be reserved for the more learned amongst them.
    It is, however, a universal database and is applicable to all human thought, regardless of religion or culture.

  3. Yes, Judaism teaches astrology and spirits, however not in the same way you know from popular literature or culture or the occult. [Those big “Kabbala Centers” that don’t require you to learn Torah teach pop psychology and whatever to sell their stuff are not Jewish or Kosher Kabbala. If they help somebody, mazel tov, but they aren’t Kabbala]
    History of Kabbala: First of all, Jewish mysticism, Kabbala (which just means “received”), goes back to the first writings in Torah, when Adam and Chava were in close communication with G-d. They received freely from the higher supernal realms. Kabbala is further developed when Avraham received the revelation of One G-d in 1760 BCE. There are Kabbalistic texts attributed to Avraham. Ezekiel’s vision of the Chariot is an important source for an entire mystical school (Merkvah) before the destruction of the temple.
    Not only is Kabbala not restricted to the high priest, the entire nation received Torah/Kabblah at one time. During these ancient beginnings, other religious traditions relied on a few scattered mystics or magicians here and there to connect to G-d. Israel, on the other hand, received, experienced and heard the Voice of G-d on Sinai giving Torah, around 1312 BCE as an entire nation.
    What is the purpose of Kabbala:
    Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira : There is no joy like that of rejoicing in the knowledge of the Torah’s secret wisdom, for this is the main reason that the soul comes into This World. – Shaarei Arucha, 47
    Yehuda Ashlag: The redemption of Israel and all the worth of Israel is dependent on the learning of the Zohar and the innermost aspect of the Torah.
    Zohar; Woe to those who make the Torah as a dry [barren] place and do not desire to involve themselves in the wisdom of the Kabbala. Woe to those, who bring about poverty and war and disgrace and murder and destruction in the world. – Tikunei Zohar, Tikun 30
    Symbols such as “gold”, “silver”, “left”, “right”, “water”, etc. are code words for larger meanings. One familiar with the larger meanings can read Torah in more profound depth, which is what the Jewish Oral Tradition does, namely explain the Torah in greater depth (Kabbalistically).
    Oral Torah (Kabbala) which had been transmitted from teacher to student began to be written down with the destruction of the last Temple, by order of Rabbi Judah the Prince, in the first century Common Era (CE). He was afraid too many of the living receptacles were being killed by the Roman persecutions, and so changed the law so it might be written down in order to save it from extinction. (Greenbaum, 2008). [Note there are also non-Kosher occult versions which the church actually commissioned to try to insert Christian dogma and later to malign with charges of Judaism being occult — after they put the “hermetic” materials in themselves – Robert Wang, 2001]. It is possible to distinguish between the distorted versions and the original ones. This is the same time in history the Gemara and Talmud was being written which had been Oral also. The Talmud contains considerable Kabbala.
    Kabbala is the deepest spiritual level of Torah study (No it is Not a “sect”) that reaches across all denominations of Judaism.
    Who Can Study Kabbala: Prohibitions against study have lifted, however as L’Chaim points out, without a thorough knowledge of Torah, deep Torah study is pretty meaningless.
    When Rav Kook, the great 20th century Kabbalist and the first Chief Rabbi of Israel was asked who could study Kabbala, his answer was unequivocal: “Anyone who wants to.” His answer signaled a change from 200 years of prohibition on learning Kabbala.
    Prior to this sages said one had to be:
    1. At least 40 years old
    2. Male and not female.
    3. Married and not Single or Divorced or Widowed.
    4. Must you have had children – exactly one boy and
    one girl each.
    5. Jewish.
    6. Mastered Torah, Talmud and Jewish philosophy.
    We know these prohibitions are temporary and recent since Moshe Cordovero, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (RaMChaL), and Rebbe Nachman all wrote major Kabbalistic works throughout their 20s and 30s. None of these men lived past the age of 40! Some were widowed, only had girl babies, and some taught non-Jews willing to learn. They all however had mastered Torah, Talmud and Jewish philosophy.
    Rav Kook believed that when someone has longings to know something out there more than meets the eye, then G-d would like them to come close. So, all human beings who want to, should study Kabbala at their own individual level.
    Jewish Astrology: Two examples containing Astrology and basics of the Tree of Life are The Bahir and Sefir Yetzira, which were committed to writing around the first century. (They were around much prior to that Orally, e.g. forbidden to be written down). Later works like the Zohar (a mystical commentary on the first 5 books of the Bible) which also mention it, began to circulate in the middle ages.
    A number of Chief Rabbis in Orthodox, Modern Orthodox and Reform arenas reject astrology as primitive superstition and unacceptable. Their primary authoritative reference for this is Mamoinades who rejected astrology in favor of astronomy. Other rabbis, mostly Sephardic (Spanish, Mediterranean, Arab) disagree. Rabbi Ariel barTzadok, however, believes that Mamoinades was stating what he had to be acceptable to outsiders at the time, and then proceded to infuse his writings on astronomy with Kabbala. He gave lessons on Mamoinades’ “Laws of Torah Foundations” which contain and explanation of Jewish Astrology and Ma’aseh Bereshit, Ezekial’s Vision of the Chariot, a nice introduction to Kabbala. http://www.koshertorah.com/mp3a.html
    Most Rabbis schooled in Kabbala are of RamChaL’s opinion echoed by the Orthodox Union article below, “The Significance of Astrology in Judaism”.
    “In Judaism, Astrology is not regarded as ‘idol worship,’ even though the generic name for “idol worship” is “Avodat Kochavim U’Mazalot,’ ‘Worship of the Stars and the Signs of the Zodiac.” From the Jewish perspective, the stars are related to events on earth, you just don’t worship them. It is not irrelevant whether one was born on Pesach, or Yom Kippur, or Lag Ba’Omer or on any particular day. Each day is special and has a unique imprint. On the other hand, if an individual was born under the “sign” of Mars, the Talmud says that they will have a tendency to spill blood. This tendency can be realized in a number of very different ways, however, which are subject to an individual’s choice. In this case, options might be a soldier, a surgeon, a murderer, a “shochet,” a ritual slaughterer of animals, or a “mohel,” one who performs ritual circumcisions. These options correspond to a potential hero, a healer, one who violates the “image of G-d,” to those who do “holy work” of different types.
    There is a principle, “Ayn Mazal L’Yisrael,” “Israel’s fate is not determined by the stars.” The Jew, raised in traditions and Torah values, feels the reality of “freedom of choice”… So deeply ingrained is this knowledge and feeling, that the Jew rarely has cause to think about astrological factors. It is the popular belief that one cannot escape from the grip of the stars that distinguishes Jewish Astrology from “Worship of the Stars and Signs of the Zodiac.” In Judaism, it is always possible to define one’s fate, by choosing behavior which is guided by morality and integrity, [prayer, Torah study, calling on the Name of God,] within the parameters – intellectual and emotional, physical and spiritual, which a person is given to work with.” -from the Orthodox Union
    The AskMoses link below describes some Kosher Astrology. One of the striking differences you may notice is that Jewish Astrology is not interested in finding the “right day” to do things, or “what’s going to happen”, rather is concerned about the right day and conditions to improve one’s character and move forward spiritually.
    That may be more than you wanted to know, but hopefully addressed some of the misinformation that inevitably surfaces around Kabbala. The first step is to learn Torah.

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