WHAT IS KABBALAH?

The word "Kabbalah" is a Hebrew word meaning "received." In the Talmud the word KABBALAH was used to describe the portion of the Bible following the Torah. In post-Talmudic literature the term KABBALAH was used to describe the Oral Law. However the word KABBALAH has come to be used to describe only the area of Jewish Mysticism.

During the middle ages the Jewish Mysticism of Kabbalah came to be abused by proponents of witchcraft and Hermetic Magick. As a result many people falsely identify Kabbalah itself with witchcraft and Black Magick.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Kabbalah can be a dangerous thing. If properly understood it can greatly enlighten ones understanding and relationship with the Infinite One. However if misunderstood Kabbalah can be perverted into Paganism, Polytheism, Black Magick, and Witchcraft. Kabbalah is like fire. In the stove fire is beneficial but outside the stove fire is extremely dangerous and destructive.

Kabbalah must be utilized and understood within the context of Torah Observant Judaism. Outside of that context it can destroy you.

In Rabbinic Judaism today Kabbalah has its foundation in three important books:

  • The Sefer Yetzirah
  • The Bahir
  • The Zohar

However Jewish Mysticism existed long before these books and in fact Jewish Mysticism is reflected in certain documents in the Dead Sea Scrolls as well as the writings of the first century Jew Philo. In ancient times Kabbalah was called by other names. These include Sitrei Torah, Razei Torah and Torat HaSod. In those days Jewish mysticism was divided into two areas called Ma’aseh Bereshit (the Account of in the Beginning) and Ma’aseh Merkavah (Account of the [divine] Throne-Chariot). This mystical material was regarded as sacred. The ancients knew how dangerous it could be.

As a result the Mishna tells us:

m.Hagigah 2:1 - They do not expound upon … Ma’aseh Bereshit before [more than] two, or Ma’aseh Merkavah before [more than] one unless he was a sage and understands of his own knowledge.

If you choose to study Kabbalah we HIGHLY recommend you also pursue Torah understanding and observance. We are more than happy to help you with this, just e-mail us at sanj@nazarene.net and let us know of your desire to study Torah with us.

It is very important to realize that when we speak in terms of Kabbalah we almost always speaking of things on the Drash and Sod levels of understanding. We will be speaking of G-d in terms of masculine and feminine attributes. This is to be understood on the allegorical and mystical levels, taking this literally will lead you directly into paganism.

By James Scott Trimm
All Rights Reserved, Reprinted with permission
2000, The Society for the Advancement of Nazarene Judaism:
P.O. Box 471, Hurst, Texas 76053
www.nazarene.net

For more Messianic Torah-based information on Kabbalah go to: http://www.ihms.net/kabbalah/


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