What is Kabbalah?

Discussion in 'Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality' started by rhitland, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    By Tzvi Freeman


    Kabbalah: That which is received. That which cannot be known through science or intellectual pursuit alone. An inner knowledge that has been passed down from sage to student from the earliest of times. A discipline that awakens awareness of the essence of things.

    We enter this world and our senses meet its outer crust. We touch the earth with our feet, water and wind splash against our skin, we recoil from the bite of fire. We hear sounds and rhythms. We see shapes and colors. Soon we begin to measure, to weigh and describe with precision. As scientists, we record the behaviors of chemicals, plants, animals and human beings. We video-tape them, observe them under a microscope, create mathematical models of them, fill a supercomputer with data about them. From our observations we learn to harness our environment with inventions and contraptions, and then pat ourselves on the back and say, Yes, we got it right.

    But we ourselves, our consciousness that is examining this world, we reside on a deeper layer. That is why we cannot help but ask, What about the thing itself? That which is there before we measured it? What is matter, energy, time, space -- and how do they come to be?

    To explain our world without examining this inner depth is as shallow as explaining the workings of a computer by describing the images viewed on its monitor. If we see a ball moving up and down on the screen, would we say that it is rebounding against the bottom of the screen? Do the gadgets on your scroll bar really exert some force on the page inside the window? Does the menu bar really have drop-down menus hidden behind it?

    The author of a user-friendly software environment has followed consistent rules so that we can work comfortably within it. If it is a game of any complexity, he had to determine and follow a very large set of rules. But a description of those rules is not a valid explanation of how it works. For that, we need to read his code, examine the hardware, and--most importantly--look through his original concept paper. We need to see it the way its author sees it, as it evolves step by step from a concept in his mind through the code that he writes, to the glowing phosphor pixels on the screen.

    The code behind reality, the concept that breathes life into the equations and makes them real. Men and women have sacrificed their food, their comfort, traveled great distances and paid with their very lives to come to know these things. There is not a culture in the world that does not have its teachings to describe them. In Jewish teaching, they are described in the Kabbalah.

    According to tradition, the truths of the Kabbalah were known to Adam. What his mind held, no mind since has been able to conceive. Yet he was able to transmit a glimmer of this knowledge to a few of the great souls that descended from him, such as Hanoch and Methuselah. They were the grand masters who taught Noah, who in turn taught his own students, including Abraham. Abraham studied in the academy of Noah's son, Shem, and sent his son Isaac to study there after him. Isaac in turn sent his son Jacob to study with Shem and with Shem's great-grandson, Ever.

    Adam, Noah, Abraham--these were fathers of all humankind. That is why you will find inklings of the truths they taught wherever human culture has reached

    Nevertheless, the essential source for the Kabbalah is not Adam or Noah or even Abraham. It is the event at Mount Sinai, where the primal essence of the cosmos was laid bare for an entire nation to see. It was an experience that left an indelible mark on the Jewish psyche, molding all our thought and behavior ever since.

    At Sinai, inner wisdom became no longer a matter of intuition or private revelation. It was now a fact that had entered our world and became part of history and the experience of common mortals.

    That is why Kabbalah cannot be called a philosophy. A philosophy is the product of human minds, something that any other human mind can come play with, squeezing and stretching it according to the dictates of his own intellect and intuition. But Kabbalah means, that which is received. Received not just from a teacher, but from Sinai. Once a student has mastered the path of this received knowledge, he or she may find ways to extend it further, as a tree branches out from its trunk. But it will always be an organic growth, never touching the essential life and form of that knowledge. The branches and twigs and leaves will go just where they should for such a tree--never will a Maple become an Oak, never will a student reveal a secret that was not hidden in his teacher's words.
     
  2. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    Weekly Kabbalah Tune Up

    September 12— 18, 2010
    BRAND NEW DAY

    [​IMG]
    The Kabbalists say that every single day, it's as if the world was just created.

    That thought has two distinct but equally powerful ramifications. First, every day is a fresh start: It doesn't matter what happened yesterday or the day before. When we wake up in the morning and take that first breath, it's a new day, a new lifetime.

    So in a positive sense, if yesterday was a disaster, or if you were a tyrant, today you can begin anew and become a completely different person.

    Yet on the other hand, because each day is its own 'lifetime', you cannot rest on the work you did yesterday, last week, or last year. You can't say, "I've done enough." You may have been doing this spiritual work for the past 15 years, but if you're not changing today, the work you did before doesn't matter.

    We don't get points today for having done the work yesterday.

    Every single day, everything starts anew.

    So it becomes about what you are doing today and what you're going to do tomorrow. If it’s not, you sever the connection to the Light. If you're not constantly initiating a connection with the Lightforce of the Creator, it becomes static and breaks.

    You may be completely different today from the moment you began your spiritual path, but that's not enough. It’s all about who are you going to be, not who you have been. If you look back, you're like Lot's wife, who was told not to look back, and according to the story, became a pillar of salt. Looking back at what we've done is what does us in.

    We must always look forward.

    This week, become conscious of the laurels you're resting upon. Look at the diplomas and trophies not as marks of what you've accomplished, but rather what you're capable of accomplishing next. And if you're feeling stuck, satiated, holier than thou - there's no time better than the present to get back on the path again.
    All the best,
    Yehuda
    www.yehudaberg.com
     
    Chaz likes this.
  3. Frater Cliff Porter

    Frater Cliff Porter Premium Member

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    What if you are all of them, past, present and future...all at once. The material quantum enigma...which is an enimgma since the quantum enigma would suggest that you don't exist in the material...anyway, just musing allowed. Good stuff.
     
  4. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    this is from Yehuda Berg as well he has a great way with Kabbalah


    Tuesday, Oct 19, 2010
    When someone ruffles our feathers, it’s because we are seeing an aspect of this person that exists in us as well. We attract people who mirror our own negative traits.

    That’s why these people are in our lives – to offer us an opportunity to transform ourselves, and our anger. It is in moments of darkness that we can find the Light. If we transform our nature and we don’t react with anger, life will become a little better each time we change. And slowly we can experience the purpose of our life – fulfillment.
     
  5. mch4970

    mch4970 Premium Member

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    I am surprisingly enjoying these, Rhit. Please keep them coming.

    I would argue the first three sentences. The last three are fantastic.
     
  6. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

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    ok this is the last one I will steal from Yehuda Berg for awhile but I do love the mans wisdom. Go visit his site it is full of nuggets if you like to mine for wisdom.

    Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010
    This story is something I heard while traveling around, and it’s such a powerful lesson that I believe it deserves repeating. I don’t know its origin, but if you do please email me and let me know.

    Inside each of us two wolves are fighting. One wolf represents anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, and resentment. The other stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, truth, and compassion. This same fight is going on inside of you, and me and every other person.

    Which wolf will win?

    The one you feed most.

    Which wolf are you feeding today?
     
  7. 6229 MAC

    6229 MAC Registered User

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    The Wolf question, is in fact; The most important to answer...

    Seems as Masons we were told "you must choose your own materials", in constructing the "Temple"
    Ah Ha, NE; midway between...

    Good Stuff, Brother Rhit
     
  8. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Kabbalah is about mysical union with God, or at least as close to this as Jewish ontological theology permits, which would be the experience of being at the Throne of God without having died first.
     
    Warrior1256 likes this.
  9. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    From what I have seen and read I believe that this is a succinct and correct interpretation. I find the subject extremely interesting.
     
  10. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    This may be the single worst definition of philosophy that I have ever encountered. Philosophy is the search for truth in all things. It is using the arts of grammar, rhetoric, and logic to share understanding and seek knowledge.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  11. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    >Philosophy is the search for truth in all things.

    Unfortunately "truth" is a reification. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reification_(fallacy)

    I consider it more correct to refer to being true to some frame of reference.

    Thus a plumb line can measure if a post is vertical - except in places of anomalous gravity.
    http://www.ga.gov.au/ausgeonews/ausgeonews200809/gravity.jsp

    The plumb line is true to a gravitational context and not the absolute truth about being upright.

    Similarly it is very difficult to make a statement that is true to all contexts. What then does "truth" mean?
     
  12. BryanMaloney

    BryanMaloney Premium Member

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    Philosophy is what somebody ended up calling what a bunch of Greeks started in the pre-Alexandrian period. It was not about truth so much as about determining the proper way to live. Truth, on the other hand, was merely a tool to use or discard as necessary. Plato's Republic, for example, is based entirely upon what he, himself, called the "noble lie". If a lie served the goal of living properly, according to Greek philosophy, it was better than truth.
     
    Morris likes this.
  13. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    I see truth as a Construct, which is defined here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construct_(philosophy) as:

    "A construct in the philosophy of science is an ideal object, where the existence of the thing may be said to depend upon a subject's mind. This, as opposed to a real object, where existence does not seem to depend on the existence of a mind."

    I see truth as an "ideal object", perhaps it could be imagined as a target at which we aim. This is why I stated "Philosophy is the search for truth in all things".
     
  14. JamestheJust

    JamestheJust Registered User

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    I think that is the core: is truth an object or is being true a relationship?

    Similarly knowledge is treated as an object that can be put on to paper and stacked up in libraries. But can knowledge exist without a knower?
     
  15. pointwithinacircle2

    pointwithinacircle2 Rapscallion Premium Member

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    Is truth a noun or a verb? Good question. The same question can be asked of knowledge, or of deity for that matter.

    Personally I have always liked deity better as a verb. It seems to express the nature of the Great Architect better than a noun.
     

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