Jewish Sexuality dot Com
|Kabbalah For Movie Stars|
|Written by Michael|
|Wednesday, 27 September 2006|
A while ago, I read a feature article in Time Magazine about the growing popularity of Jewish Mysticism. Recently, classes in Kabbalah have started in our community. While I am curious to see what it is all about, the rabbi of our shul says that Kabbalah should only be studied after someone has first learned the Chumash, Mishna, and Talmud. Since I have only been a baal t'shuva for a little more than a year, I am still pretty much a beginner. What is your opinion?
First, it is important to understand the growing interest in the study of Kabbalah.
According to reports in the media, Hollywood personalities, stockbrokers on Wall Street, and students in college are flocking to Kabbalah classes. While the efficacy of this learning is questionable so long as the would-be mystics remain ensconced in their usual, unholy lifestyles, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook teaches that the reason behind this spiritual quest stems from a deep, common source:
"In the last generations, in which the darkness of lust has so greatly increased, and the strength of the body has weakened, until it has become impossible to stand firm against this material onslaught, it is imperative to illuminate the darkness with the mystical secrets of Torah, which know no boundaries, and which elevate seekers on wings of lofty freedom to the highest ascents, and which spread the transcendental joy of the beauty of holiness to depressed and spiritually darkened souls" (Orot HaKodesh, Part 1, Pg. 92.)
Living in a capitalistic, consumer-oriented society, we are bombarded by material messages. An obsession with the material world can block out spiritual light completely. Only an intense inner purification, and a connection to transcendental realms, can free people from the physical lusts which block the connection to G-d. It is precisely the secrets of Torah which can lighten the path of t'shuva needed to return to our original pristine source (See, "The Art of T'shuva," by Rabbi David Samson and Tzvi Fishman, Chapter 18.)
Long ago, the Sages of the Talmud warned that as the time of Mashiach approached, a great darkness would envelope the world and the traditional learning of Judaism would be scorned (Sotah 49B.) Today, the world is ready to embrace a universal vision of unity, where all particulars are recognized as part of the whole. The great popularity of the Internet, which connects every household with the global, cyberspace village, is a sign of this quest for universality. In contrast, the normative study of Torah is seen as something specifically Jewish, bounded on all sides with restrictive laws which sever its practitioners from the wide world and its infinite horizons. However, to an experienced "surfer" in the great sea of Torah, what expanses of unity and endless cosmic horizons can be discovered by delving into the secrets of Torah!
Nonetheless, it is true that before G-d allows a person to understand the secrets of Torah, a student must first be well-grounded in the foundations of Torah study, including the study of Talmud and the Halachic codes.
The Kabbalist Elder Rabbi Eliahu Leon Levi of Bnei Brak adds that a person should be 35 years old, married and with children before delving into the secrets of the Torah.
Furthermore, in order to enter the secret chambers of Jewish learning, a person must concurrently undergo a great spiritual purification. He must strive to put his life in line with the great moral light of the Torah. This involves the difficult work of refining character traits and abandoning sin. A person who seeks to get closer to G-d must embrace the commandments of the Torah with all of his heart and might. And one must make a supreme, constant effort to sanctify one's sexual life.
Kabbalah and a commitment to the laws and moral teachings of the Torah go hand-in-hand. To the extent that a person purifies himself through repentance and self-sanctification, his study of the secrets of Torah will be blessed. Without this, his "study of kabbalah" is mere self-deluding nonsense and another passing fad.With the blessing that you find a true, Divinely-inspired teacher to guide you into the unsurpassed beauty of Torah, as it says, "With joy you shall welcome a new learning from the elite Tzaddikim." (Isaiah, 12:3, Targum.)
|Last Updated ( Wednesday, 27 September 2006 )|
|< Prev||Next >|
Fatal error: Class 'JTEXT' not found in /home/jewishse/public_html/components/com_joomlastats/count.classes.php on line 889