Judaism has ancient mystical teachings Mysticism was taught only to those who had already learned Torah and Talmud Jewish mysticism is known as kabbalah, and part of it was written in the Zohar Kabbalah and its teachings have been distorted by mystics and occultists One well-known teaching is the Ein Sof and the Ten Sefirot When non-Jews ask about Judaism, they commonly ask questions like:
Judaism has ancient mystical teachings Mysticism was taught only to those who had already learned Torah and Talmud Jewish mysticism is known as kabbalah, and part of it was written in the Zohar Kabbalah and its teachings have been distorted by mystics and occultists One well-known teaching is the Ein Sof and the Ten Sefirot When non-Jews ask about Judaism, they commonly ask questions like: Do you believe in heaven and hell?
In angels or the devil? What happens to the soul after death? What is the nature of G-d and the universe? The answers to questions like these define most religions; in fact, I have heard some people say that the purpose of religion is to answer these kinds of questions.
Yet in Judaism, most of these cosmological issues are wide open to personal opinion. The areas of Jewish thought that most extensively discuss these issues, Kabbalah and Jewish mysticism, were traditionally not even taught to people until the age of 40, when they had completed their education in Torah and Talmud.
Mysticism in Judaism Mysticism and mystical experiences have been a part of Judaism since the earliest days. The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, from visitations by angels to prophetic dreams and visions.
The Talmud considers the existence of the soul and when it becomes attached to the body. Jewish tradition tells that the souls of all Jews were in existence at the time of the Giving of the Torah and were present at the time and agreed to the Covenant.
There are many stories of places similar to Christian heaven and purgatory, of wandering souls and reincarnation. The Talmud contains vague hints of a mystical school of thought that was taught only to the most advanced students and was not committed to writing.
There are several references in ancient sources to ma'aseh bereishit the work of creation and ma'aseh merkavah the work of the chariot [of Ezekiel's vision]the two primary subjects of mystical thought at the time. In the middle ages, many of these mystical teachings were committed to writing in books like the Zohar.
Many of these writings were asserted to be secret ancient writings or compilations of secret ancient writings.
Like most subjects of Jewish beliefthe area of mysticism is wide open to personal interpretation. Some traditional Jews take mysticism very seriously. Mysticism is an integral part of Chasidic Judaismfor example, and passages from kabbalistic sources are routinely included in traditional prayer books.
Other traditional Jews take mysticism with a grain of salt. One prominent Orthodox Jewwhen introducing a speaker on the subject of Jewish mysticism, said basically, "it's nonsense, but it's Jewish nonsense, and the study of anything Jewish, even nonsense, is worthwhile.
For example, the English word "cabal" a secret group of conspirators is derived from the Hebrew word Kabbalah, but neither the Hebrew word nor the mystical doctrines have any evil implications to Jews. The Misunderstood Doctrine Kabbalah is one of the most grossly misunderstood parts of Judaism.
I have received several messages from non-Jews describing Kabbalah as "the dark side of Judaism," describing it as evil or black magic. On the other end of the spectrum, I receive many messages wanting to learn more about the trendy doctrine popularized by various Jewish and non-Jewish celebrities.
These misunderstandings stem largely from the fact that the teachings of Kabbalah have been so badly distorted by mystics and occultists. Kabbalah was popular among Christian intellectuals during the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, who reinterpreted its doctrines to fit into their Christian dogma.
In more recent times, many have wrenched kabbalistic symbolism out of context for use in tarot card readings and other forms of divination and magic that were never a part of the original Jewish teachings. Today, many well-known celebrities have popularized a new age pop-psychology distortion of kabbalah I have heard it derisively referred to as "crap-balah".
It borrows the language of kabbalah and the forms of Jewish folk superstitions, but at its heart it has more in common with the writings of Deepak Chopra than with any authentic Jewish source. I do not mean to suggest that magic is not a part of Kabbalah.
There are certainly many traditional Jewish stories that involve the use of hidden knowledge to affect the world in ways that could be described as magic. The Talmud and other sources ascribe supernatural activities to many great rabbis.
Some rabbis pronounced a name of G-d and ascended into heaven to consult with the G-d and the angels on issues of great public concern. One scholar is said to have created an artificial man by reciting various names of G-d.
Much later stories tell of a rabbi who created a man out of clay a golem and brought it to life by putting in its mouth a piece of paper with a name of G-d on it.
However, this area of Kabbalah if indeed it is more than mere legend is not something that is practiced by the average Jew, or even the average rabbi.
There are a number of stories that discourage the pursuit of such knowledge and power as dangerous and irresponsible. If you see any books on the subject of "practical kabbalah," you can safely dismiss them as not authentic Jewish tradition because, as these stories demonstrate, this kind of knowledge was traditionally thought to be far too dangerous to be distributed blindly to the masses.
It is important to note that all of these magical effects were achieved through the power of G-d, generally by calling upon the name of G-d.Next, by using Daniel C. Matt’s The Essential Kabbalah, the Heart of Jewish Mysticism, I will hope to convey a general idea of the Kabbalist conception of God, and afterward, how it relates to Spinoza’s.
Lastly, I will suggest that though Spinoza’s ideas agree with aspects of the Kabbalah, there are still major differences between the two, and thus, one should refrain from believing that Spinoza’s understanding . The work of Moses de Leon, in the last quarter of the 13th century, marked one of the most important turning points in the development of Jewish mysticism.
Moses de Leon was born in the middle of the 13th century and died in ; he was the author of . 23 rows · In contemporary Judaism, the only main forms of Jewish mysticism followed are esoteric .
The Influence of Jewish Mysticism on the Early Christian Church Mystics know and experience God in a very different way than the ordinary believer. the jewish influence in the papyri is minimal and can easily be scoured out in practice.
a large majority of the most useful parts of the papyri are graeco egyptian in philosophy and the entities involved. Like most subjects of Jewish belief, the area of mysticism is wide open to personal interpretation. Some traditional Jews take mysticism very seriously.
Mysticism is an integral part of Chasidic Judaism, for example, and passages from kabbalistic sources are routinely included in traditional prayer books. Other traditional Jews take mysticism .