Hidden Meanings: Part III: Kabbalah
Saul Gorenstein - December 25, 2008
Kabbalah is perhaps the best known and least understood strains of Jewish mysticism. It has become one of the great debating points of Jewish history and each subsequent generation of Jews has added their own voices to the dialogue. Even the origins of Kabbalah are subject to a number of debates about where and when this study of Jewish mysticism actually came about.
Sixteenth Century Woodcut
One traditional source actually traces the origination of Kabbalah to the Garden of Eden. Others point to the Talmudic studies of early Judaism when various rabbis and religious scholars began to try and unravel the mysteries of the Torah as its source. One more view of the origins of Kabbalah point to the mystical writings of the first and second centuries like the Heichalot and Sefer Yetzirah and an even more modern view traces the roots of Kabbalism to the writing of The Zohar by Moses de Leon in the 15th century.
Whatever the original source of the Kabbalah it is the ideas and concepts of this form of mysticism that has captured the interest and attention of Jews and even those outside of the Jewish religion for so many years. This includes of course the potential of Kabbalah to reveal the secrets and inner meaning of many long held mysteries, but also to help people understand the divine potential within them and the universe.
At its core Kabbalah is about the eternal truth of understanding HaShem and helping everyone interpret His teachings and how He relates to them in their every day lives. For Jews it is much real more since it about their personal relationship with a Creator that has chosen them as His special people and the messages that He has given them in the divine text that he has provided to their ancestors.
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