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Hidden Meanings: Part VI: Misuse
By Saul Gorenstein - December 25, 2008


Will Worthington: Druidcraft Tarot
Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah are some of the most misunderstood parts of Judaism. Because of its focus on discovering secrets from ancient texts and some of the traditions that have flowed from these studies some out of the faith have even described Kabbalah as evil or black magic. Some of this obviously comes from a lack of information and still others stems from racism or anti-semitism that has plagued the Jewish people throughout the ages and still exists today.

Other people have taken the messages of Kabbalah and turned them into trendy doctrines that can be accessed by Jews and non-Jews alike. This is a more benevolent form of ignorance but if people think it helps them to grow spiritually or emotionally it may not be such a bad idea. The real danger of misusing the Kabbalah is when the teachings become distorted by mystics and zealots of other religions or societies that take the core messages of this Jewish religious tradition and transform it into occult or paranormal practices.

Unfortunately history is full of examples of this happening. After the rise of Kabbalah with the publication of the Zohar and Isaac Luria’s insightful writings and teachings Kabbalah became very popular amongst Christian intellectuals during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods. They reinterpreted the doctrines of the Kabbalah to fit into their Christian dogma and traditions.

One of the most famous non-Jews who studied and became fascinated with Kabbalah was Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church in the United States. In 1827 Smith began a religious group after he claimed that an angel had shown him a set of golden plates describing a visit of Jesus to the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
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