You are here:

Kabbalah/Kabbalah Controversy

Advertisement


Question
Hello Mr. Waxman,
Are Qabalah, Cabalah, and Kabbalah the same?
Some people within Jewish communities keep insisting that they are all one and the same, and therefore non-Jewish people cannot study them or practice any of them.

Thank you for your consideration.

Answer
Hi Carrie - thank you for your question about who can study Kabbalah.

Please understand that whoever you've been speaking to about the relationship between Judaism and Kabbalah is not offering accurate information.

First of all, the vast majority of Jewish people do not study or practice Kabbalah. Additionally, within the "Jewish community" there are various levels of beliefs. For example, Humanistic Judaism is nontheistic and doesn't recognize a "supernatural authority." On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Lubavitcher Chasidim maintain Orthodox beliefs regarding The Torah, ancient traditions, interpretations, prayer and study. So, the practice of Judaism, and the belief systems of its many communities, are certainly not "one and the same."

In terms of Kabbalah, there are no rules or regulations which state that only Jewish people can study its teachings. This type of thinking goes back to the 1200's - 1500's CE when only Jewish rabbis over 40 were allowed to study Kabbalah. Ironically, one of the greatest Kabbalistic scholars, Rabbi Isaac Luria, studied Kabbalah before the age of 40 (he died at the age of 38). Consequently, all these man-made rules from the Middle Ages are not taken seriously anymore (except possibly by the Ultra-Orthodox).

Anyone can study and practice Kabbalah. It's a universal mystical philosophy that includes the perennial wisdom of the ages. No individual or organization can lay claim to any authority regarding "who can" or "who cannot" study this esoteric branch of Judaism. Even the Chief Rabbi of Safed stated in 2006 that: "Kabbalah study by non-Jews is a positive development." Additionally, Rabbi Michael Laitman, one of the foremost experts on Kabbalah said, "Everyone should study Kabbalah regardless of their intention!"

So, please feel free to study this beautiful, timeless philosophy, and rest assured, there are no limitations anyone can set for you.  

Carrie - your question is an important one because some individuals believe that Kabbalah must be kept within the sole domain of the Jewish people. Also, please be aware that there are other forms of Kabbalah: 1) the Hermetic tradition spelled: Qabalah and, 2) the Christian tradition spelled: Cabala.

I hope this information has been helpful for you.

Best Wishes, Bob Waxman, Ph.D.  

Kabbalah

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Robert Waxman, Ph.D.

Expertise

Please ask any questions that are relevant to Kabbalah or Jewish mysticism. Other topics to inquire about include: science and Kabbalah, parallel universes, reincarnation, after-death states, cosmology, numerology (gematria), hidden meanings of the Bible, the eternal validity of the soul, Plato, and Kabbalah, Vedanta and Kabbalah, and the meaning of life according to Kabbalah.

Experience

Author of "Kabbalah Simply Stated" published by Paragon House Publishers and distributed in 12 countries. Other books: "2012: The Meaning and The Message", "Seven Fundamental Propositions of Esoteric Philosphy" and "The Power of AWE!". Studied Kabbalah with Rabbi Azriel Abraham of Jerusalem from 1985 - 1998 and have been teaching Kabbalah and other subjects since 1998. Classes include: Kabbalah According To The Scholars, (Scholem, Kaplan, Tishby & Idel), Comparative Spirituality, Latest Research on the Near Death Experience (NDE), Spirtually Transformative Experiences & Cognitive Dissonance, Common Threads of Wisdom in Religion, Science, and Consciousness Studies. Thousands have attended these classes over the years. Additionally, on-going classes are given all year round along with guest speaking presentations at a wide variety of religious and philosophical organizations.

Organizations
Founding Member and guest speaker at The Open Center in Sarasota, FL. International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) Longboat Key Education Center Unity Life Enrichment Center American Seminar Leader's Association

Publications
(3) Books, many original articles that can be found on the internet (ezine, netterweb, searchwarp, etc.) "Beyond Madonna - Kabbalah according to the Great Scholars" and "Beyond The Da Vinci Code".


Education/Credentials
Ph.D. from Saybrook University; Master's Degree from Skidmore College with a concentration in Comparative Religion; (2) B.A.'s from The American University. Additional courses in Philosophy at Columbia University.

Awards and Honors
Many certificates of appreciation and recognition from various organizations.

Past/Present Clients
Over the last 15 years classes have been held at The Open Center, (5) Jewish Community Centers in South Florida, synogogues, Longboat Key Education Center, The Center For Positive Living, Interfaith Centers, Unity of Sarasota, and other religious & philosophical organizations.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.