Kabbalah: Jewish Mysticism

people might have heard about Kabbalah through celebrities becoming
fans of it – Madonna in particular. However, the way in which
Kabbalah is presented in the media does not reveal its deeper and
more mystical aspects. The word kabbalah is Hebrew and means “to
receive” and like other mystical traditions found in Buddhism,
Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, Kabbalah is about directly
receiving or perceiving the truth. Kabbalah as a tradition differs
from Judaism in that beliefs and doctrines are not at the centre of
its practice. The ‘truth’ embodies the answers to questions about the
meaning of existence, how the universe is governed, our relationship
to God, and the nature of the soul.

as a school of thought originated in the 12th Century AD,
yet supposedly its ‘truth’ has been around for a lot longer.
According to the tradition, humans have received the truth of kabbalh
on three separate occasions. The first time it was revealed to Adam
by the Archangel Raziel when him and Eve were banned from the Garden
of Eden. The second time it was revealed to Abraham (at around 1700
BC) when Abraham swore his allegiance to God. Unfortunately, the
truth was then lost when the Jews were enslaved in Egypt. And lastly,
the third time it was revealed to Moses, when he went to Mount Sinai
to meet God, to be shown the Ten Commandments, then the truth of

Kabbalists, from the 12th Century AD onwards, believed
that they were studying this lost truth, and their interpretation of
the Torah (first five books of the Bible) was completely at odds with
the interpretations of mainstream Judaism. By looking at the classic
Kabbalistic texts, we can see how mystical and unique this form of
Judaism really is. One central text is the Sefer Yetzirah,
also known as The Book of Formation,
and there are four different versions of it. The text is concerned
with God’s creation of the world. It is extremely difficult to
understand, firstly because it is written in an obscure style, and
secondly because there is a lack of context to it – there are
different opinions on the exact age and origin of the book, for

book explains the idea that language is the basis of creation and
reality. When it says in Genesis that God said “Let there be light”
and there was light, the Kabbalists interpret this as meaning that
God’s act of speaking really did create the physical world.
Furthermore, the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, combined in all
their different ways, are said to be the basis of the the universe
and mankind. Interestingly, the writer Terence McKenna believed that
his intense experiences with psychedelics revealed to him that
reality is made up of language. So, McKenna and the Kabbalists
reached the same conclusion about the nature of reality, but through
different methods (the Kabbalists through studying the Bible, and
McKenna through taking psychedelic drugs).

the Sefer Yetzirah, the origin of the three basic substances (air,
water, and fire) is described as arising from the three Hebrew
letters, Aleph, Mem, and Shin. These three letters are the three
“mothers” from which all the other letters of the alphabet are
formed. Likewise, air, water, and fire are supposed to be the
elements of nature from which all other substances are formed. Based
on the idea that God created the world through language, the book
says: “Twenty-two letters: 
God drew them, hewed them, combined them,
weighed them, interchanged them, and through them produced the whole creation
and everything that is destined to come into being”. It is helpful to
think of the Hebrew letters as like the chemical elements, which can be
combined in different ways to produce the diversity and intricacies of the

Another central idea in the text is that the
world is defined by pairs – more specifically, pairs of contrasting essences.
These contrasting essences are constantly in a battle with each other, yet this
violent contrast can be pacified by God. In a person’s life, there will be
contrasts between: beauty and ugliness; life and death; wealth and poverty;
wisdom and folly, etc. Interestingly, the book says that good and evil have no
independent existence, since something is only good if there is evil to contrast
it with, and vice versa. The Zohar, a collection of books about the mystical
nature of the Torah, is also considered to be foundational in the Kabbalistic
tradition. To Kabbalists, The Zohar is a practical guide that allows one to
achieve higher states of perception. These commentaries on the Torah were kept
secret for 900 years, because those who possessed it thought that others did
not need it, or that they would misunderstand it.

Kabbalah also uses a mystical symbol called
the “Tree of Life”. It contains the ten Sephirot, which are the ten attributes
of Ein Sof (a term used to describe God before he manifested himself in the
world through creation). Ein Sof also means the Infinite or the Endless. The
ten attributes of Ein Sof are: Crown (which stands for Divine Will), Wisdom,
Understanding, Knowledge, Kindness, Severity, Beauty, Victory, Splendor,
Foundation, and Kingship. The symbol is intended to be a full model of reality,
depicting how God created the world from nothing, man’s place in the universe
and the way in which to follow the spiritual path.

The Crown is at the top of the tree and can
be thought of as the primordial energy out of which everything else is created.
It is beyond our comprehension. In the Kabbalistic school of thought, this tree
is also said to be the template of the two trees in the Garden of Eden: the
tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. The tree of life is a
symbol found in many other traditions as well. It is the Yggdrasil of the
Nordics, the Tree of Life of the Aztecs and Mayans, and the Bodhi Tree of the


  1. at its core sound is energy, energy is plasma /light.. it is the fourth state of matter.. plasm is communication, it is consciousness it is your soul… we can interact with other plasma creatures and we can also use energy to create… i have done the former and working on the latter, but truly would be happy just to communicate with loving plasma creatures.

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