The Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה) is a great body of spiritual wisdom passed down from ancient Jewish sages. This ancient collection of wisdom has been an integral part of Jewish mysticism, and it has only grown in popularity in the West with the rise of the New Age in the 1960s. Literally, the word “Kabbalah” means “to receive” or “tradition” in Hebrew. These mystical texts explain many things about the nature of reality, time, space, God, and higher spiritual dimensions.
The history of the various texts that constitute the Kabbalah is a tale spanning over 4,000 years. Most Kabbalists believe that the very first important Kabbalistic text was the Book of Formation, known in Hebrew as the Sefer Yetzirah. Scholars believe that Abraham wrote this text after he perceived the deep spiritual realities of God’s nature and the interconnection of all phenomena. The Book of Formation is actually a very short text, but it is rich in implications and spiritual might. Most Kabbalists begin their study of these mystical texts with the Sefer Yetzirah.
Another important Kabbalistic text was written down in the 1st century. This text was written by Rav Abba, a very capable student of the famous Rav Shimon Bar Yochai. Yochai spent 13 years of his life in a cave located in Peki’in, Israel. Initially, Yochai fled to this cave to avoid Roman persecution for studying the Talmud. While staying in the cave, Yochai reportedly had many visions and conversations with Moses and Elijah, both of whom transmitted sacred wisdom to Yochai. After these 13 years, Yochai got his student Rav Abba to write down his visions in a text which later became known as the Zohar. Many scholars consider the Zohar to be one of the greatest texts on Kabbalistic wisdom. Not only is this text full of scientific revelations (including uncanny descriptions of the Big Bang), but it also teaches anyone who reads it invaluable meditation strategies to get in touch with the divine right here and now.
Although there are many more texts to list in the venerable history of Kabbalistic wisdom, these two texts are frequently challenged today at the Kabbalah Centre International. Actually, the founder of the Kabbalah Centre, Rav Yehuda Ashlag, was the first to translate the Zohar from Aramaic into contemporary Hebrew in the 1920s. This translation helped bring the Kabbalistic wisdom out of the ivory towers and into the homes of average people around the world.
Making the Kabbalah relevant for the modern world is the driving force behind the Kabbalah Centre. This international organization, which was officially formed in 1984, is headquartered in Los Angeles. This organization’s main goal is to bring people of different faiths together to deepen their spirituality through intensive study of the Zohar and other texts. Teachers assume no prior knowledge of the Hebraic tradition or the Talmud. All that these teachers desire from their students is an open mind and a real interest in the spiritual mysteries of the Kabbalah.
Anyone interested in joining the Kabbalah Centre should be able to find one if they live in the U.S., the Americas, Europe, or Israel. Just a few of this non-profit organization’s many locations include Boca Raton, Dallas, Santiago, Caracas, London, Moscow, Berlin, and Tel Aviv.
Visit the Kabbalah Centre’s livestream page to learn more.