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The Kabbalah Portal

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Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה‎, lit. "receiving") is a discipline and school of thought discussing the mystical aspect of Judaism. It is a set of esoteric teachings that are meant to explain the relationship between an infinite, eternal and essentially unknowable Creator with the finite and mortal universe of His creation. In solving this paradox, Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and the human being, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ontological questions. It also presents methods to aid understanding of these concepts and to thereby attain spiritual realization. Kabbalah originally developed entirely within the milieu of Jewish thought and constantly uses classical Jewish sources to explain, demonstrate, or prove its esoteric teachings. These teachings are thus held by kabbalists to define the inner meaning of both the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and traditional Rabbinic literature, as well as to explain the significance of Jewish religious observances.

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Sephirot (or "enumerations", Sephiroth, Sefiroth (סְפִירוֹת), singular: Sephirah, also Sefirah (סְפִירָה "enumeration" in Hebrew)), in the Kabbalah of Judaism, are the ten attributes that God (who is referred to as אור אין סוף Aur Ain Soph, "Limitless Light, Light Without End") created through which he can manifest not only the physical but the metaphysical universe.

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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

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Credit: Árvore da Vida
A medieval representation of the Sephirot.

Selected holy book

The Zohar (Hebrew: זהר "Splendor, radiance")

is widely considered the most important work of Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism. It is a mystical commentary on the Torah (the five books of Moses), written in medieval Aramaic. It contains a mystical discussion of the nature of God, the origin and structure of the universe, the nature of souls, sin, redemption, good and evil, and related topics.

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Selected biography

Portrait of Rabbi Naphtali Cohen, from 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia.

Naphtali Cohen (1649-1718) was a Russo-German rabbi and kabalist born in Ostrowo in Ukraine. He belonged to a family of rabbis in Ostrowo, with his father, Isaac Cohen, they had fled during the Cossack 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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