Kabbalah

This article is a work in progress and is not meant to be give a comprehensive understanding of this topic area.

First let us establish that Kabbalah is not a book.  Although there are many books on this topic, it is not a book in itself.  It is more of a field of study, similar to science, to understand the universe, the Creator, the plan of salvation, and our relationship to all of it and each other.

If you haven't spent the last 10yrs studying Torah, you probably shouldn't even be considering this area of study.
If you are thinking to yourself that you can handle it, your pretty smart, then you should probably not be considering this area of study.

Study in this field is rooted in Torah. If you have your New Testament memorized, but do not understand the importance of being a Torah observant person, the context of these teachings will be confusing and will not make sense.

I am not saying these things to be overly arrogant or pious, although I do recognize that it appears that way, but out of concern for your spiritual well being and your place in the Olam Haba (World to Come).

The ideas in Kabbalah, when taken out of their intended context, can lead a person to polytheism and a loss of faith. They can even be twisted into witchcraft - as is often the accusation by those who have not properly understood the subject. There are many leaders in the community today who insist that kabbalah is witchcraft. However, despite their personal experience, it is obvious that they did not understand something in their studies and in that lack of understanding were deceived. So in their experience, perhaps kabbalah was witchcraft due to the way they were applying it to their lives and their understanding of what they were studying.  However, it should not have been so.

Most people don't realize they are engaged in practical kabbalah in their regular practices. This last statement probably shocks you. Let me give some examples:

  • When you rise in the morning and give thanks to Elohim for bringing you back from being so close to death and thank him for a new day.
  • When you light the Sabbath candles on Friday night.
  • When you eat Kosher foods and avoid non-foods that are presented as foods
  • When you observe and keep the Sabbath and annual festivals described in Torah
  • When you perform or attempt to perform the commands of the Torah
  • When you perform acts of chesed (mercy)
  • When you perform acts of geveruah (judgement)
  • When you pray for your friends and family
  • When you pray for your enemies
  • and more..

All of these are acts of practical kabbalah. They establish patterns of energy in the spiritual planes, referred to as the "Four Worlds", that tighten our bonds with Elohim and reflect back to us.   They establish your reward in the world to come as the scripture says:

Psalm 19:12 Moreover by them is Your servant warned; in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 11:18 The wicked earns deceitful wages; but he that sows righteousness has a sure reward.
Matthew 5:12 Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for persecuted they the prophets <which were before you>.

This is less a matter of salvation, but more a matter of where you will be and under what conditions you will be when salvation is manifest in the world to come.

Kabbalah in its basic functions help us to understand the Creator of all things.  Because the Creator is beyond limits or boundries, the Creator is impossible for the human mind to envision.  In Hebrew this is referred to as Ein Sof, אין סוף.  Which means "no end".

The Zohar explains Ein Sof as:

Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate Him by a single letter or a single point. . . . But after He created the form of the Heavenly Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to be called after His form, which is the sacred name 'YHWH'

Instead, we deal with the attributes of the creator that are made manifest to us within the reality that we perceive.  The attributes are actually listed in scripture in various places.  Within kabbalah these attributes are referred to as "Sephirot" Hebrew - סְפִירוֹת.

The sephiroth manifestations are espressed in three catagories:  Masculine, Feminine, and the balanced blending of the two.

A basic listing of the attributes follows - in no particular order:

  • Keter/Da'at - Crown/Knowledge
  • Binah - Understanding
  • Chokhmah - Wisdom
  • Chesed - Mercy/Kindness
  • Gevurah - Severity/Judgement
  • Tiferet - Beauty
  • Netzach - Eternity
  • Hod - Splendor or Glory
  • Yesod - Foundation
  • Malkuth - Kingdom or Kingship

From here we will go into an explaination of each of the attributes and reference their place within the context of Scripture.  In this way the student can confirm that we are not just making this up or following after fables or traditions that do not have scriptural support.

Within the explanations of each aspect or emanation, we will also attempt to show their grouping as Masculing/Feminine/ballanced and where in the four worlds or realities they fall.  We will also attempt to explain in a small way the four worlds.

Keter/Da'at

Keter is the highest aspect of the manifestations of Elohim that can be perceived by humanity.  This sefirah is not often discussed because this attribute is so fundemental and deep that it is not quite quantifiable.  It is the divine will or desire of Ein Sof that is projected into this universe.    Yet it is beyond that as it reflects the motivation behind the will.  We can see why Elohim is doing something or has demanded something to a certain point.  But at some level it is just "because".  Because what?  Because that is what Elohim wants.  Any further reasoning is lost. 

You may ask, "Why did G-d do or not do <fill in the blank>?".  One may respond, " To guide his creation to a righteous path".  Then, "why does Elohim want to do that?".  Who knows what the core reasoning of the divine will is. 

It is what it is, it will be what it will be:   Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (Hebrew: אהיה אשר אהיה) - from (Exodus) Sh'mot 3:14, which is also one of the 7 names of Elohim afforded special care within Jewish tradition.

Keter is the border between the infinit and the finite.   It is the neaest to Eyn Sof.  It "Crowns" all the Sepherot below it.  It is said to eminate the next sephirah - Chokmah (Wisdom) as seen in the book of Job:

Job: 28:12 - Wisdom (Chokmah) comes into being from nothing (ayin).

Keter resides in the middle pillar of the Tree of life as it encompasses both masculine and feminine attributes expressed into our worlds.   Keter is also refered to at the Spirit of YHWH.   This is referenced in Isaiah 11:2:

Isaiah: 11:2 - The Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him,
                      The Spirit of Wisdom (Chokmah) and Understanding(Binah),
                      The Spirit of Counsel(Atzah) and Might(Gevruah)
                      The Spirit of Knowledge(Da'at) and of the Fear (Yirah) of YHWH).
                

In the above passage the word for spirit is Ruach.  One of the many meanings of the word Ruach is "Mind set". Thus re-enforcing the idea of Keter being the will or intent of Eyn Sof expressed into our universe.  Six other attributes are also referenced in this passage, as such we will be sing it again.

Chokmah

As referenced above Chokmah is the first attribute or Sepherah eminated through Keter:

Job: 28:12 - Wisdom (Chokmah) comes into being from nothing (ayin).

Chokmah means wisdom.   This is the first Sepherah that we can comprehend at some degree.  Scripture refers to Chokmah as having been with Elohim at the creation of the world:

Proverbs 8:12 - I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of devices.
...

Proverbs 8:22 - YHWH made me as the beginning of His was, the first of His works of old.

Chokmah is considered a masculine attribute, is associated with Abba (Father) in most traditions, and is seen as a "right" brain attribute.  This particular Sepherah is also associated with Messiah in the Ketuvim Netzarim as He, like Wisdom, was there at the beginning:

John 1:1-3 - In the beginniner was the Word, and the Word was with Eloah, and Eloah was the Word.  This was in the beginning with Eloah. Everything existed through Him, and without Him not even one thing existed of that which existed.

Binah

The main meaning of Binah is Understanding and is also known as intellect.  Binah has a relationship with Chokmah.  Binah provides definition  to the principles and concepts of Chokmah (Wisdom).

Isaiah: 11:2 - The Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon him,
                      The Spirit of Wisdom (Chokmah) and Understanding(Binah),
                      The Spirit of Counsel(Atzah) and Might(Gevruah)
                      The Spirit of Knowledge(Da'at) and of the Fear (Yirah) of YHWH).

Binah is understood to be a feminine attribute, a counter part to Chokmah.  They work together to maintain balance.  Binah is the head of the feminine and restrictive attributes and is associated with Ima (Mother) in most traditions.  Binah is identified as a "Left" brain attribute.  It is also said to be associated with the human organ "heart".

 

Da'at

 

First of the four worlds.

 

The Sages have said:

The rabbis have taught, the Holy One, blessed by He, will say to Messiah ben David, may he be revealed soon in our days. 'Ask of Me anything and I shall give it to you.' For it is written, Adonai said to me, 'Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee. Ask of Me and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance (Psalm 2:7-8).' And when he will see that Messiah ben Joseph will be slain, he will say before Him, 'Master of the World! I ask nothing of you except life.' G~d will say to him, 'Even before you said, "life," your father David prophesied about you, as it is written, 'He asked life of thee, Thou gavest it to him. (Psalm 21:5)'

Babylonian Talmud

[Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a]