When can one start learning Kabbalah

Question: Shalom Felix
How much should I study guemara before starting study kabbalah .

I have many books about kabbalah.
I didn´t want start studying Zohar and Tes before  I knew enough Talmud.
Anyway I don´t control many treaties , on the contrary I know very few. Can I study Kabbalah now ?

Baal HaSulam writes in Introduction to Talmud Eser HaSefirot that one should learn his books in parallel to other studies. ARI writes that one must learn each day 5 parts of Torah – mikra, mishna, talmud, Kabbalah and halacha – thus he authored the book called Chok Le-Israel which has all 5 parts in very compressed form for people who work full time (assuming one learned these topics before and can relate to them). Proper learning of Zohar is only possible when one went through Talmud Eser HaSefirot.

The books are aligned with Spiritual worlds as following:

  1. Torah – Asiya – The five books of Moses appear as set of corporeal events. Light is hidden and is only visible to those who know the mysteries of sacred knowledge
  2. Mishna – connected to the world of Yetzira
  3. Talmud – connected to Beriya (but has Mishna in it + some Torah, thus so popular now days as primary learning material)
  4. Kabbalah – connected to Atzilut – language of Lights and Vessels

Our sages stated that Halacha is the most desired learning, and it could be understood well based on Baal HaSulam’s approach to service to HaShem. If person learns how to observe Creator’s commandments (mitzvot) to bring pleasure to the Creator, he is working on his character to become Mashpia – the giver to the Creator; not because the Creator needs anything from us as He lacks nothing, but because this is His will in this world.

As for books – the books need to be authentic and one need Rav to guide him. As much as brilliant Baal HaSulam was his explanations are still hard to comprehend without proper guidance. Therefore the first step is to find the guide who teaches based on authentic books and also has proper midos

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14 Responses to When can one start learning Kabbalah

  1. I like very much the answer of Felix, but I would let myself to say, that I a little bit disagree with the word “pleasure” in the statement that “If a person learns how to observe Creator’s Mitzvot to bring pleasure to the Creator…”, actually in Hebrew it is written ” Nakhat Ru’akh” and the English “pleasure” isn’t the best word to express the meaning of the Hebrew “Nakhat Ru’akh”, I like better the Baal haSulam’s comparision of the Father being happy and glad that his son has understood and has chosen and is going the Right way of Development, and he feels sure that his son knows better each day what is Good and what is Evil, because the Creator isn’t a dictator to say us what to do and to get the pleasure of our obidience, but He does know what kind of work is the work that the Creation =Malkhut Ein Sof has taken on Herself= to become the one of the bestowing quality by her own choice and the Creator helps us to make that work in the best and most productive way, which is through Learning Torah and performing Mitzvot and not through the suffering and pain, Baal haSulam’s explanation of a father feeling so very happy to see that his son goes the right way, the way of the experience and the knowedge of the Sages and learning to convert his wish to get for the sake of getting into the wish to get for the sake of bestowing in the most creative and honourous way, beause the way of suffering and pain is a very humilating way and first of all for the person himself, and it hurts the Creator very much to see our misunderstanding of the purpose of the creation and our role in this life and when the father sees that his son grows in the most effective manner for his spiritual development and use learning Torah and performing Mitzvot for his correction and not subdue himself to the endless suffering and pain, he does feel “Nakhat Rua’kh”, because as it is written in Shammati, in the first article, that when we suffer, the Devine Presence=Shkinna HaKdusha suffer much more for seeing our disability to see the way for the honorable correction, and our privite suffering may never be compared with the suffering of the Shekhima for the spiritual blindness and deafness of Her children, disabled to see what is as evedent as the Day, that there are only two ways of correction: suffering and pain-Death=Mavet, and Torah and Mitzvot-Life=Ha’im, ” veBakhartem beHa’im” says Torah.

  2. Another point I would like to clear out is the expression “giver to the Creator”, as Felix rightly stated the Creator lacks nothing so there is nothing we may ever possibly give to Him, the Creator is a pure bestowing and there is no getting vessel in Him for us to be able to give him something, what will be more apropreate to speak about is the Creator’s giving to us THE possibility to become His co-creators, His giving us THE place to finish and to put into realazation His Idea of the Purpose of the Creation, His giving to us a possibility to find out and to discover the most effective and creative ways of the fulfilment of the Plan of the Creation, as we said already, the realtionship between the Creator to His creation should come to the level of Father- beloved son, and as in this world exactly a father is so glad and proud that the son continues his business and make it more prosperess and brings new inovations and developments, and as Baal haSulam and Rabash explain to us that BOTH vessels and Lights are given to us by the Creator, but the work for the discovery and implamantation of the vessels and the joy and happiness of getting the Lights for the sake of bestowing the further development of the realization of the Plan of the creation, and not bestowing the creator with something, are given to us, and so the status between the Creator and the creation will always be of cooperation and co-creation and mutual love and understanding, and not of the giver-taker, which is the level of a pet-animal and his owner.

  3. As for the expression ” His Will”( there is no Hebrew word for the english Will, we use the word Ratzon=wish, or Ko’akh Ratzon the power of the Wish, because as Baal haSulam explains, everything starts with the wish, and all the rest of the human abilities are used to serve the fulfilment of that wish, the power of the stopping the “natural flow of the things” is called Massakh and it is may be called Will, or Will Power, the power of ovecoming or the power of resistence, but it is needed for the creation only, because we are those with the ego nature and we are those who wish to get the bestowing nature.

    We have to remember that their is one of the strongest dislikes which are inserted in a person and it is to obey somebody’s will, including the “Will” of the Creator. Will implies “Power”, action performed out of lack of choice, out of somebody’s dependence from somebody else, something like- if you don’t do what I wish I would use my power to make you do what I wish.

    The opposite meaning of the Will is the “Power” of overcoming of something according to our own wish and will, where it is you who decided what to like and what to dislike, and what is right and what is wrong, and you are ready to fight with all your might for the freedom of choice in all the fields of the Life to have the right to decide for yourself and to have the independency in your decision form the other’s wishes and wills.

    Now to understand it better we have to understand the Creator’s sending us to the Egypt and then to four Exiles and His “thretening us with consealment and even double consealment= Hastarat Panim” in Torah and esspesially the principle of ” LaLekhet beKerri”. which means that ‘if you dare to go against My Will , I will go againt you, till complete distraction of your life, G-d forbid to get under such situations”, and Karret-disconection of the soul from the People of Israel.

    And on the other side a famous answer of a man which was blamed by the other one, to be so absolutly ugly,- ‘”Go and tell the Master, how ugly is the vessel He has made!”

    In short if I am a creation, why should I be blamed for the way I am created, and the nature I was born with!? And how dare the Creator to exercise His Will over me, and make me do what I don’t want to do! And How cruel One has to be to dare have plaesure in making me to obey His Will and depriving me of freedom of choice and independence !!!

    to be cont.

  4. And the answers to all the !!! and !? we have exclamed in the previous comment is very simple, if we believe that the Creator is Good and bestowing us with Good only,and that He created two systems of Good and Evil to give us the freedom of choice and sent us to the four exiles that we would learn by each and every of our physical cell in our body and by each and every part of our soul, what is the meaning of the slavery and the outcomes of the dependency, not from the Sages but by our blood and flesh and the pain and suffering of the lack of choice and independence, only such a knowledge inprinted in our material and spiritual genes may garranty our wish to get free and to gain independency from the “Egypt”= our ego and make us fight for the independency -our bestowing nature= our soul.

    The Creator wishes only to help us in this fight and as he knows that we are all “the body”, and there is only one small point in our heart which is the point of the bestowing nature, so He gave us the set of exercises for each and every “part of our body- wish to get” to make it wish to join the bestowing realm=the realm of the Creator, as we know the final result will be that we will learn to love the Creator with both our parts: the getting=body and bestowing=soul, by two our Hearts.

    As for the blaming the Creator for making us “ugly=egoistic”, for making us work and fight for our individuality, freedom of choice and independency, we have to know that the creation is one that started this “game” in the first place, as the Sages expalin to us, each our life is just a part of the 6000 years long chain of the reincurnations, where we gain the level of co-creators and not getting it free, because getting it free, gives the taste of “bread for nothing” or the feeling of being a “well-made” robot “, so again it was our Wish to become the Creator’s co-creators and it came to us because we are the children of the Creator and so we have a part of His nature in us, but this part of the Creator’s nature make us wish to be as bestowing as the Creator Himself is, and so we do all we can to come to this level of existence, and the learning Torah and performing Mitzvot for the sake of correction, help us to make this way more effective and pleasant, with less suffering and pain of a “worn in the radish” and gives us only the pain and suffering of missing the “Loved One”. As Rabash says- all we need is the faith above the knowledge attitude and the belief in the Sages’s statement that the Creator is good and His only wish is to bestow us with the Good= to let us come to the bestowing nature out of our free choice and faith in Torah and Mitzvot as the best, shortest and most beautiful way to gain the Bestowing nature= Akhishe’ina and not Be’itta.

    As for the “Kerri”, and “Karret” we have to understands that for the game to be fair, it should have its rules, and these rules may not be broken by any of the sides, be it creation or the Creator Himself, but the Creator left Himself a possibility to tell us “warm-warmer- Hot” or “cold-colder-Freezing”, He also gave us a set of rules for the “Game”-Torah and the main principles to avoid the “freezing pits”-Mitzvot, if you wish to play a game without rules, it isn’t the “Game”, it the childish mess with the fire, and if the Creator slaps you on hands=goes with you “beKerri”, or pushes you away from the “Electricity”=Karret=disconection from the Game, He does you a great favour, leaving you a chance for the next try, but it is better not to get out of the Game, because you never know when you will be invited to play again= the exit of the Double Esster=consealment is according Hittareruda deleIlla and not according your own wish to take a part in the “Game” again.

    Do not miss a chance to become a Champion !

  5. yehudith says:

    For those who at least understand Hebrew, there is a good solution of a problem on “… and one needs Rav to guide him”, as Felix absolutly correctly puts it, there is a good possibility to use the kabbalah Channel by Rav Gottlieb, which may be used after registration on the Arutz Birkat haShalom, you may find it through:

    http://www.kabbalah.org.il

    and there are very good lessons on Parashat haShavu’a, and work of Baal haSulam and Rabash as understood for the inner work of a kabbalist, on the rav Gottlieb’s site in Hebrew, there is a link on Felix’s site LINKS-HEBREW

    kabbalah school by rabbi Gottlieb

    Thanks G-d today all you need is the wish to study, and the quidence will come in the form of Kosher sites, books and editions, audio and video lessons and may be even a real kabbalah group with the Rav, what really matter is to start and never agree to compromise the authentic way and teaching of Baal HaSulam and rav Baruch Ashlag=Rabash, G-d bless their names.

  6. If somebody wishes to understand how the kabbalah is implemented in every day life, in all the spheres one should visit the sites of: http://www.aish.com and http://www.torah.cafe.com and if you add /Jonathan-Sacks you get an ocean of kabbalah implementation examples

  7. I would also recomend the book of Moshe Zalman Feiglin “Where There are No Men” and other publications of his, which may be found on Amazon.com, for those who wish to see how the kabbalah and Torah principles are mirrowed in the politics and the worldview of this polititian.

  8. Let’s not forget, that Felix gives the link to the “Ohr Pnimi” Kabbalah institute of America and it is in English for those who have difficulties with Hebrew and there are a lot of recorded lessons on this site and there are most of the introductions there, but as we said, one should use english as a temporary way of study, till he/she learns hebrew and is able to read the kabbalah books in their original language and to listen to the Ravs which gives the lectures mostly in Hebrew.

  9. yehudith says:

    There are some intresting articles by ravs in english on kabbalah 101, or http://www aish.com/sp/k

  10. yehudith says:

    A Lot of traanslations in einglish of very famous kabbalah works, including some of Baal haSulam on http://www.kabbalaonline.org/kabbalah/article

  11. yehudith says:

    To make the point clear, we want to say, that One may find another sites and places and schools for learning Kabbalah, it is important that his soul would feel ascending when he/she learns at that place,but more important is the point that Felix gave in another comment, which is also very true here to repeat: one should stick to one certain path and not jump from one into another and another, you may look for some time in some places, but once you decide, let youself not look for the other places, but learn and intergrate with the group you have chosen, because our wish to get may play a lot of tricks on us, and one of ITS best is that there is no good group enough for me to study, or Be’it Knesset to pray, or a spouse to marry and so on.

    The principle is the following we get a wish or an idea of studing something or doing something-Right Line, then we investigate the topic, gather all the possible information-Left Line, but finnaly we decide on something by Faith above the knowledge, because there is no way to know which way or place or person is the best for us -putting Right Line -Ammuna above the Knowledge-Da’at( we believe that after our investigation we are still as blind as we were before the investigation, but we pray to the Creator to help us to choose right, and we believe that the Creator is the most merciful and loving and that He helps to choose as mostly right for our level of development as it only may be imaged, and even more, that we even may not see or at least image that this place or group or the person is the best for our correction!, and the moment we have made our choice, we go through this choice with all our might and strength of the soul-( our bestwoing part us we know), and make ourselves sure that It Is the best choice by thanking the Creator and find the best side and reason to enjoy our choice, and we go through all the difficulties by Faith above the Knowledge and we finally suceed= we get next spiritual level).

  12. I would like to add as a resource in English the Nehora School where I give classes over Skype to small groups. As you may know, my late husband and I (Mark and Yedidah Cohen) translated the Introductions to the Kabbalah in Hebrew in “In the Shadow of the Ladder” I subsequently brought out a compilation of texts by the Baal haSulam to provide a commnetary on his Introduction to the Zohar in a book called
    “A Tapestry for the Soul” This book was endorsed by Rabbi Jonathon Sacks. All our books are sold by Rav Gottlieb’s Beit Ha Midrash
    Information on http://www.nehorapress.com
    Thanks Yedidah

  13. yehudith says:

    There is one more website with the number of english speaking lecturers which give the lessons on kabbalah and on the work of Baal haSulam and Rabash in particular (on of them is Peter Mond)

    http://www.tzfat-kabbalah.org

  14. There is a website which except of free lecture on Torah and jweish ethics gives the live and online programms for those who wish to come closer to his/her jewish roots

    Torahinmotion.org

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