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What is Kabbala?

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What is Kabbala?


Instead of tagging on to existing Threads, I would like to start a conversation about the Kabbala in its simplest form (if this is even possible). This course from aish.com may be just the thing.

Each article is quite short & provides the simplest overview. I have already read the first few articles.

Here is the first article: http://www.aish.com/spirituality/kab...s_Kabbala$.asp

Warning: this may not be necessarily tarot based, or even mystical as "mystical" is usually defined in these forums, but it is interesting to me nevertheless. Let me know what you think.

Click here for http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=92616
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I like how Rabbi Lieberman cuts to the chase with his assertion that what passes as Kabbalah isn't really Jewish mysticism at all.

I do not want to come across as belittling other forms of Kabbala, Christian Kabbala or Occult Kabbala. There is a place for everything, after all. I simply want to understand how this discipline is relfected in other faiths besides Wicca and/or Christianity. And perhaps in this simplification I can better come to grips with this wonderful system.

He does put the Kabbala in laymen's terms that I can easily understand.
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This seems to be an easy to understand description of Kabbalah for a person like me who knows nothing at all about it. Though it may not be tarot related, it does seem to touch on some metaphysical principles to which many on this forum probably can relate. It looks to be a good series of articles for further exploration and understanding of the kabbalah. Thank you for sharing this.

Disa
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I hope others share your optimism. I have found these articles helpful & have related them to my readings. More will be revealed. Stay tuned!
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A person wants to become familiar with Paris, he then buys himself a map and a city guide and studies it diligently until he know all the intricate details and pathways of the city; yet, it is self-explanatory that if he never visits the actual city, he will never truly know what Paris is really like. The heart beat and pulse of any city can only be known by actually experiencing it.
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Excellent analogy. This is how I was beginning to feel with all this esoterical stuff about Jewish mysticism. It is more fully experienced by immersing oneself in the study of the entire body of texts, not limiting myself to simply the Zohar, or the Talmud, or the Pentateuch.

I am not discrediting other sources of Kabbalah by limiting myself to Jewish Kabbalah. As I understand it, there are other disciplines as they pertain to other religions, such as Christian and Zoroastrian Kabbalah.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kilts_knave
Instead of tagging on to existing Threads, I would like to start a conversation about the Kabbala in its simplest form (if this is even possible). This course from aish.com may be just the thing.

Each article is quite short & provides the simplest overview. I have already read the first few articles.

Warning: this may not be necessarily tarot based, or even mystical as "mystical" is usually defined in these forums, but it is interesting to me nevertheless. Let me know what you think.

Click here for http://tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=92616
K_K, thanks for starting this discussion and for the links.
Considering the simplicity of form, well, we have to start somewhere, right?
And i think it could be done, finding the middle path between pop-psychology and hardly comprehensible medieval mysticism...
though, I guess that some orthodox scholars would strongly disagree with me
Concerning the connection with Tarot, i began studing both paths separately, but in time the connection became obvious and stuides of each contributed to my understanding of the other.
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I'm going to attempt this in a paragraph. It's an outsider's summary, but I've found the subject interesting enough to have read nearly two hundred books on the subject, though only a few in Hebrew.

Spelled Qoph Beth Lamed He or QBLH, the word refers to a "received tradition." The tradition includes: a) A large collection of mystical teaching stories; b) A system of Biblical and Talmudic exegesis, largely based on alphabet mysticism and numerology; c) A system of correlative thought, particularly using the scales and patterns of three, four, seven, ten, twelve, twenty-two and thirty-two; d) An ontological model of the process of creation that is also, in its inverse form, a program of spiritual evolution. The tradition is about eight centuries old, but it wraps itself in a much longer, bogus history to attract its more gullible believers. It also reaches back in time from its beginning to capture a small text, the Sefer Yetzirah, that may be as old as the 6th century, and borrows what I believe to be two Song Dynasty Chinese diagrams, called Wujitu and Taijitu, brought to Europe by the Arabs, renaming their ten spheres after certain characteristics of their own deity enumerated in the Jewish Bible. It retroactively makes these into fundamental components of its system. The system of belief bears at least as much resemblance to Gnosticism as to Judaism, and differs from Judaism most in its beliefs in an impersonal deity, En Sof (the Unlimited), reincarnation, spiritual evolution and redemption. The deity also has an important feminine aspect, named the Shekinah. The Jewish system has a much more open and eclectic Western European or Hermetic counterpart, which it scorns unnecessarily, as a people with such delusions of grandeur as to think themselves the favored children of the creator of the universe must believe of anything not wholly their own. It is deeply paranoid in this and other respects. Kabbalah's weakest feature is its a priori assumption that the Jewish Bible contains significant quantities of religious truths that are deeply buried, and that this is a primary locus of truth. Alleged historical connections to the Tarot are specious at best, but a significant amount of co-evolution has occurred in recent centuries, and the QBLH models of the scales of four and ten, as number archetypes, particularly as developed in the Hermetic QBLH, have much to offer towards an understanding of the Tarot's numbers and suits. The assignment of the Tarot's trumps to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet relies heavily on the assumption of a metaphysical significance to the linear sequence of that alphabet, which some of us with mental faculties still intact might regard as a bunch of hooey. But this does not prevent us from playing productive Glass Bead Games between the two systems.
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So beautifully put by ZenMusic:

"A person wants to become familiar with Paris, he then buys himself a map and a city guide and studies it diligently until he know all the intricate details and pathways of the city; yet, it is self-explanatory that if he never visits the actual city, he will never truly know what Paris is really like. The heart beat and pulse of any city can only be known by actually experiencing it."

One can become so incredibly entangled in left brain thinking, pondering, dissecting, arguing, and cerebral gymnastics about a subject that the essence of the issue is completely lost. This thread (I would imagine!) has already 'lost' the beginners. Has anybody read The Mystical Qabalah by Dion Fortune? It's not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but the woman was a highly intelligent, highly trained occultist and mystic, and had also studied analytical psychology. What we're talking (or trying to!) talk about here is a subject that defies language and linear analytical understanding, therefore something else has to come into play in order to get a 'sense' of what this is. I would recommend any newbie to get their hands on Dion Fortune's book and read read read.
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It is perhaps because of the wonderful analogy presented by ZenMusic that I would personally not recommend beginning with Dion Fortune - for therein is already a highly selective rendition of Kabbalah looked in large part through GD glasses.

If 'experiencing' Kabalah through a text is sought, then, at the very least in terms of beginning, the Sefer Yetzirah (with the wonderful commentary by A. Kaplan) or a text solidly grounded in its foundation - such as the books by R. Ginsberg, Halevi, Scholem, or Idel...

or indeed the wonderful (deceptively 'simple') little book by Laibl Wolf: Practical Kabbalah.
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