Portal:Kabbalah

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Introduction

Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‬, literally "reception, tradition" or "correspondance") is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought of Judaism. A traditional Kabbalist in Judaism is called a Mequbbāl (מְקוּבָּל‬). The definition of Kabbalah varies according to the tradition and aims of those following it, from its religious origin as an integral part of Judaism, to its later adaptations in Western esotericism (Christian Kabbalah and Hermetic Qabalah). Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between God, the unchanging, eternal, and mysterious Ein Sof (אֵין סוֹף‬, "The Infinite"), and the mortal and finite universe (God's creation). It forms the foundation of mystical religious interpretations within Judaism.

Jewish Kabbalists originally developed their own transmission of sacred texts within the realm of Jewish tradition, and often use classical Jewish scriptures to explain and demonstrate its mystical teachings. These teachings are held by followers in Judaism to define the inner meaning of both the Hebrew Bible and traditional rabbinic literature and their formerly concealed transmitted dimension, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances. One of the fundamental kabbalistic texts, the Zohar, was first published in the 13th century, and the almost universal form adhered to in modern Judaism is Lurianic Kabbalah.


Selected article

Sefirot (/sfɪˈrt/, /ˈsfɪrt/; Hebrew: סְפִירוֹתsəphîrôṯ), meaning emanations, are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which Ein Sof (The Infinite) reveals Itself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms (Seder hishtalshelus). The term is alternatively transliterated into English as sephirot/sephiroth, singular sefirah/sephirah etc.

Alternative configurations of the sefirot are given by different schools in the historical development of Kabbalah, with each articulating different spiritual aspects. The tradition of enumerating 10 is stated in the Sefer Yetzirah, "Ten sefirot of nothingness, ten and not nine, ten and not eleven". As altogether eleven sefirot are listed across the different schemes, two (Keter and Da'at) are seen as unconscious and conscious manifestations of the same principle, conserving the ten categories. The sefirot are described as channels of Divine creative life force or consciousness through which the unknowable Divine essence is revealed to mankind.

Selected quote

This quote contains an interesting view on the interpretation that angels have to appear as us when descending onto our world; as does everything else:

From the mystical cabalist text, known as the Zohar

Selected image

Tree of Life, Medieval.jpg

A medieval representation of the Sefirot.

 

Selected holy book

The Zohar (Hebrew: זֹהַר‬, lit. "Splendor" or "Radiance") is the foundational work in the literature of Jewish mystical thought known as Kabbalah. It is a group of books including commentary on the mystical aspects of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and scriptural interpretations as well as material on mysticism, mythical cosmogony, and mystical psychology. The Zohar contains discussions of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, redemption, the relationship of Ego to Darkness and "true self" to "The Light of God", and the relationship between the "universal energy" and man. Its scriptural exegesis can be considered an esoteric form of the Rabbinic literature known as Midrash, which elaborates on the Torah.

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Selected biography

Portrait of Rabbi Naphtali Cohen, from 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.
Naphtali Cohen (1649–1718), also known as Naphtali HaKohen Katz, was a Russo-German rabbi and kabalist born in Ostrowo in Ukraine. He belonged to a family of rabbis in Ostrowo, where his father, Isaac Cohen, a great-great-grandson of the Judah Loew ben Bezalel, had fled during the Polish–Cossack–Tatar War. In 1663 Cohen fell into the hands of the Tatars, who kept him in servitude for several years. Escaping, he returned to Ostrowo, and was chosen to succeed his father as rabbi. In 1690 he was called to Posen, where he officiated as chief rabbi until 1704. There he devoted himself to the Kabbalah, and collected a large library of cabalistic literature.

Did you know?

  • ...that Da'at is mistakenly described as the eleventh Sephirot, but is actually a quasi-sephirot?
  • ...that kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria, is known as "the lion", or "the holy lion"?
  • ...that the character Isaac Mendez from the NBC TV series Heroes may have been named after Isaac the Blind (a kabbalist), with Isaac Mendez' eyes whiting out when he paints the future?
  • ...that Rabbi Baba Sali was the scion of a family of great Talmudical scholars and Ba’alei Mofet (individuals who have the ability through prayer of performing miracles)?
  • ...that the holy text, the Bahir, was first published in the 12th century; in the south of France?
  • ...that the mystical holy book the Heichalot is based upon earlier sources, including traditions about Enoch?
  • ...that Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag is considered one of the foremost Kabbalists of the 20th century?

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