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June 15, 2024

10 of the Most Asked Questions about Kabbalah by Beginners … and Their Answers

The 10 Most Asked Questions about Kabbalah ... And Their Answers

We scoured the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education Center‘s Fundamentals semester student forum for the 10 most asked questions about Kabbalah by beginners, and here they are … with answers!

As for finding answers to these questions, how did we do it? We simply ran the following searches in Google’s search engine:

  • site:kabbalah.info write your question here
  • site:laitman.com write your question here

…and then sent the Q&A doc to a Bnei Baruch senior instructor for some basic editing and review, and here you have it.

Why are we mentioning how we ran the searches for the answers to the questions? The reason is that the websites kabbalah.info and laitman.com have so much content, including many full books, 1,000s of articles, videos and more, and many people do not know what a wonderful resource is at their fingertips waiting to answer any question they might have.

Give it a try! Don’t see a question you have here below? Write your question in Google’s search engine preceded by the “site:kabbalah.info” and “site:laitman.com” prefixes, and see what you can find!

10 of the Most Asked Questions about Kabbalah by Beginners

Click on a question here in order to go directly to its answer:

1. Is Kabbalah a religion? Do I have to be Jewish in order to study Kabbalah?
2. Does Kabbalah recognize the existence of Karma and how it manifests in this world?
3. What is spirituality and where does Kabbalah originate?
4. Is the revelation of the Creator achieved just through the study of various concepts of Kabbalah, or are there other techniques such as prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.?
5. How does Kabbalah practically assist and support us in everyday life?
6. How does Kabbalah define prayer?
7. Kabbalah is a science to enable us to know God, then what is the difference between Kabbalah and theology?
8. What is the cause of coincidences/synchronicities?
9. What does Kabbalah say about physical suffering? If God is all loving, why do people suffer?
10. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, please explain near death experiences?

1. Is Kabbalah a religion? Do I have to be Jewish in order to study Kabbalah?

Kabbalah is not religion. Revelation of the spiritual world (in Kabbalah) and belief in a spiritual world (i.e. religion) are two separate issues. Kabbalah is attainment of the spiritual world—attainment of the reality that exists, but that we don’t feel for the time being. [Source: “Revelation vs. Belief.” Video.]

Kabbalah is open to all. It is for those who truly wish to correct themselves in order to attain spirituality. The need comes from the soul’s urge to correct itself. That is actually the only test to determine whether a person is ready to study Kabbalah: the desire to correct oneself. This desire must be genuine and free of outside pressure, since only the person can discover one’s true desire. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Chapter 5. Who Can Study Kabbalah?,” in A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

2. Does Kabbalah recognize the existence of Karma and how it manifests in this world?

Any system that you might learn about, other than the wisdom of Kabbalah, whether superstition or religion, will forever remain at the level of our world, confined by its limitations. These systems have nothing to do with spirituality, but merely with psychological processes that occur around our bodies.

In order to reach spirituality, we must acquire a screen and break the barrier between the two worlds. That impediment can be crossed only by the system of Kabbalah.

Everything people may feel as karma, auras, etc. are psychological processes, though very subtle, which happen around the physical body. There is nothing unusual about them, nothing above our nature. In the future, our science will learn how to work with these systems very well. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Chapter 7. Beliefs, Mysticism and the Supernatural,” in The Kabbalah Experience: The Definitive Q&A Guide to Authentic Kabbalah. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

3. What is spirituality and where does Kabbalah originate?

The Kabbalistic sages tell us that spirituality is what creates and cares for all aspects of life, which is why spirituality is called “the quality of bestowal.” In order to know what spirituality is, we have to become like that quality of bestowal, and then we can enter and perceive what spirituality is.

Moreover, don’t take the Kabbalists’ word for it: everything needs to be tested and confirmed. In order to do that, we need to set aside our beliefs and assumptions and apply the Kabbalists’ method, just like in any science, and see whether or not it works. [Source: “Belief.” Video.]

5772 years ago, there lived a man who was the first human being ever to ask himself: “What is going on in the world? Where does it come from and why was it created? Who is the ‘boss’ that governs this world? Why is it rotating around Him and together with Him?”

This person’s name was Adam. By asking these questions, he tried to solve the mystery and not only did he unravel the “secret,” but he also wrote a book, The Angel Raziel (The Secret Angel), which means a “secret force,” since the word “angel” means “force.” From this book, we see exactly what he attained, felt, saw and described in his allegorical stories.

Adam started a whole galaxy of Kabbalists who described spirituality in an unprecedented and thrilling way. We feel the same things while reading their books, since the higher nature is unchangeable. It means that today, contemporary Kabbalists who discover nature’s system and the ones who lived 500, 1,000, 1,500 or even 5,500 years ago (like Adam) describe the same phenomena: that one, and only one, force descends into many sub-forces that influence us and define everything happening to us. This science is called “the wisdom of Kabbalah.” [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “If We Had Met Adam,” Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog. Article.]

4. Is the revelation of the Creator achieved just through the study of various concepts of Kabbalah, or are there other techniques such as prayer, meditation, yoga, etc.?

As for how the revelation of the Creator, which is the quality of bestowal and love, is achieved, we need to be in a situation where we can choose between the Creator’s revelation (i.e. the quality of bestowal) and our own nature (i.e. the quality of reception). True freedom of choice is possible only if the Creator is concealed. This is because if one option seems preferable, our egoism leaves us no choice but to go for it. In that case, even if we choose to give, it will be giving in order to receive, or egoistic giving. For an act to be truly altruistic and spiritual, its benefits must be hidden from us.

If we keep in mind that the whole purpose of creation is to eventually be liberated from egoism, our actions will always be heading in the right direction—towards the Creator. Therefore, if we have two choices and we don’t know which of them would bring more pleasure (or less pain), then we have a real opportunity to make a free choice.

If the ego does not see a preferable choice, we can choose according to a different set of values. For example, we could ask ourselves not what would be more fun, but what would be more giving. If giving is something we value, this will be easy to do.

We can either be egoists or altruists, either think of ourselves or think of others. There are no other options. Freedom of choice is possible when both options are clearly visible and equally appealing (or unappealing). If I can only see one option, I will have to follow it. Therefore, to choose freely, I have to see my own nature and the Creator’s nature. Only if I don’t know which is more pleasurable can I make a truly free choice and neutralize my ego. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Chapter 6. The (Narrow) Road to Freedom,” in Kabbalah Revealed: The Ordinary Person’s Guide to a More Peaceful Life. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

This work does not require special techniques outside of the study of the wisdom and laws of nature that comprise Kabbalah. To summarize, Kabbalah is not and has nothing to do with religion, magic, mysticism, divination, cults, holistic medicine, meditation, philosophy, theosophy, psychology or parapsychology, ESP, telepathy, dream interpretation, tarot cards, yoga, red strings, holy water, blessings, past-life regressions, numerology, reiki, channeling, astrology, astral travels or projection, communicating with the dead, out-of-body experiences, voodoo, freemasonry, reflexology, UFO’s, creationism, Sufism or any “ism.”

Kabbalah has been around for a long, long time and is only now taking its place in general public awareness. Those who embrace it as the latest fad will perhaps move onto something else. But those who dig deeply into its principles are likely to find enough to keep them going for a lifetime. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Kabbalah Facts and Fallacies,” in A Guide to the Hidden Wisdom of Kabbalah, 3rd Edition. Book. Laitman Kabbalah Publishers]

5. How does Kabbalah practically assist and support us in everyday life?

Kabbalah provides the deepest, emptiest space in a person—the question, “What is the meaning of life?”—with fulfillment, which the person can apply at every moment of the day, in every desire, thought, interaction and relationship. By having an additional dimension open up in this initially empty space within, a person feels a whole new kind of happiness, pleasure and direction everywhere the person goes.

When childhood ends, our eyes gradually begin to open and we find ourselves in a particular world. It is possible to live in it without giving it much thought; to simply live “like everyone else,” watching others. But possibly, a person wants to understand a bit more in life. Everything depends on a person’s inner need that pushes from within.

One wants to discover the reality around oneself: one’s room during childhood, then one’s yard, city, country, the world, the whole planet, and then outer space. But in the end, the person reaches the understanding that all these attempts do not provide satisfaction.

Today humanity has even lost interest in space exploration. The only thing left of it is mercantile use for operating mobile phones via satellites or for espionage. We are no longer inspired by space travel to far-away galaxies. Man’s internal desire has changed and does not aspire to far-away, cosmic distances, but on the contrary, it aspires within.

So the question is: Where did this come from and what for? For the first time in human history, we are not simply trying to do “more,” but we first want to understand: Why should we do it? This is a question about our root: Where does everything come from? And where is it taking me?

Year after year, it becomes harder for people to sell new products, and that is because they are already satiated with everything. This does not mean that they do not have desires, but that you simply cannot give them what they want. That is why they are left unsatisfied, disillusioned, and begin taking drugs and/or partaking in all kinds of activities in order to forget about it all. They need an answer about the meaning of life, and not simply how to arrange a well-fed, comfortable existence for themselves that’s pleasant for the animate body.

This can even be seen in fashion by how much simpler and free it has become. This indicates that we are becoming free of material values as we no longer see meaning or fulfillment in them. We simply want to feel comfortable and not feel the lack of something material, without excessively focusing on it or taking care of it.

This makes all the difference. I need a car, a house, and a thousand different things in order to live comfortably. But they are not interesting to me by themselves. I simply want to provide comfort for myself, but I actually do not need anything. They make my life easier, and that’s great, but all of this is not a goal in itself. I want to discover something else, something higher.

That’s where an inner question arises about the essence or meaning of life. A person can no longer find help in technology development, science, philosophy or psychology; nothing will be able to answer this question. And that is because it is a question about the person’s root: “Where do I come from?” “Do I have a higher purpose besides this animate life?”

I have already exhausted this life, but what else can I receive? One more super-fashionable toy or a TV? You can dream up any entertainment possible, but all of it comes from a level that I am no longer interested in. And I am not to blame. Inside of me are questions awakening which belong to another level. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “What Does Kabbalah Give a Person?Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog.

6. How does Kabbalah define prayer?

Are our prayers heard? Well that all depends on what you mean by prayer. Everybody prays in one way or another, but what are we really doing, when we start talking to what we think of as God and why is it that prayers are so rarely answered?

Kabbalah does not consider prayer something that’s done with the tongue; you know the saying of beautiful, inspiring words, that we read, praising the Creator, or even our own spontaneous words – that’s the religious model of prayer.

The Kabbalists tell us that the higher force doesn’t listen to words, but only responds to what is actually in our heart—and that it only answers one kind of prayer: a true prayer which is a bottom line, gut level need. That is the most powerful desire that we have at any given moment, and even then, it has to be the right kind of desire.

In religion, a person believes in a God, who is in control, and that there are events that happen or may happen to him or her that are felt as either good or bad. If they think that something bad is happening they start praying, and ask that God change His attitude and instead be kind and take away or prevent the bad event and make it good.

In this kind of prayer a person thinks that the Creator’s attitude is completely variable and the prayer is that “God should change” and “my life should remain comfortable.” The gut level desire here is that God should serve me. This kind of prayer is never answered because it has nothing to do with why the events are happen the way they do, or with the Creator’s attitude and nothing actually changes here, not the outcome, not God and not the person. In fact this isn’t prayer at all; it’s a kind of bribery, but to no affect.

In Kabbalah, we have a Creator and a person in this world, and events that are felt as either good or bad. But, because the Kabbalist starts from the principle that all actions of the Creator do not change, that the Creator’s attitude is always and only good, therefore all of the events in the person’s life are also always good, it’s just that he can’t feel it that way.

Thus, the problem is with the person, and not with the Creator. In that case what appeal can the person possibly make? The Kabbalist thus asks the higher force to change him, the person requesting, so that he can feel the event as good by altering his inner nature so that he can sense the loving attitude that the Creator has in sending him that event.

In fact that is the very reason he received that event, so that he would continue to develop and truly feel the need to rise to the attitude of the Creator, to want what the Creator wants to give him. That need is his prayer. And that prayer is answered immediately and the man’s reality truly changes because he begins to live in and perceive a very different world. [Source: “Prayer.” Video.]

7. Kabbalah is a science to enable us to know God, then what is the difference between Kabbalah and theology?

The science of Kabbalah is called the “science of reception,” from the word “Le Kabbel” (“to receive”): how to receive correctly in all of one’s desires an absolute and eternal pleasure. A person can achieve that, arriving at it only if the person begins to work correctly with the egoistic and altruistic parts of desires. When one is able to receive and give simultaneously, then the person receives such a desire where the pleasure never ceases. As a result of attaining the goal of the method through study, self research and analysis, one attains a clear perception and sensation of eternity and perfection.

Thus, “knowing God” in Kabbalah is not an intellectual pursuit of God, nor a feeling within what one can currently feel in one’s current perception of reality, but “knowing God” comes from “attainment of God,” which means that one’s entire nature of reception inverts to have a direction of bestowal and giving, as is God’s or the Creator’s quality.

8. What is the cause of coincidences/synchronicities?

We only think about these kinds of events as coincidence because we suddenly perceive the nature of something that’s hidden: “What is it that’s hidden from us, that it’s appearance is so startling and fascinating?”

In contrast to our normal perception, we’re astounded by the impression of an intelligent connection that seems to poke through our reality from some higher place. We’re absolutely certain that we’re sensing a purpose, yet at the same time it’s unclear what that purpose really is.

It’s a kind of awakening, an assurance that we’re not alone, that perhaps nature really is a caring force.

This wonderful feeling is a little taste of the enormous pleasure of sensing this force. It’s so impressive that even a bad coincidence inspires wonder, because you feel its nature regardless of the fact that it eludes your reason. Imagine the delight in actually uncovering the meaning of your life.

However, there is no such thing as coincidence.

The study of the structure of the upper worlds in the science of Kabbalah is nothing other than the layout of what you actually are. You had a glimpse at it, but only through two points and under the reversed assumption of your reason that somehow two entirely separate things magically became interrelated, which is not so because the force behind life is a complete holistic reality consisting of wisdom feeling and purpose, and every part of it is linked to every other part because it is one.

So naturally everything that happens has an impact on every other thing that occurs or anything that is perceived, because it is already there, outside of time and space, just waiting for us to be able to sense it and attain it.

It’s like a looking at a chain of islands. If you could suddenly pull the plug and drain the ocean you’d clearly see the submerged mountain that was always there.

Kabbalah is a practical science that allows us to perceive what is hidden, so the adventure of connection, purpose and meaning becomes a constant in our lives, not just an anomaly.

The stronger your desire to know its nature the more it reveals its unchanging purpose and intention. [Source: “Coincidence.” Video.]

9. What does Kabbalah say about physical suffering? If God is all loving, why do people suffer?

Why do we need bodily suffering? Does it disappear as we begin to perceive spiritual suffering, such as the perception of lack of love for the Creator? At the end of his life, Baal HaSulam endured severe suffering and people asked him why he did not rid himself of it. He replied that if a person knew how much he benefits from it, then, even if he could do so, he would not run away from suffering. Our soul needs everything that we experience and then this passes into the Kelim (vessels) for receiving the light

Does this mean that we have to ask for more diseases and blows on our heads, in order to then receive more light? No. A person has to perceive everything as a means to correct the Kelim (vessels) of his soul that are not yet corrected.

Every suffering corresponds to the correction of a specific part of the soul. Sometimes the correction takes place due to the study of Kabbalah. Other times, various illnesses and suffering serve as correction. Along with suffering we receive various means that accelerate the correction, such as progress, medicine and mutual help. [Source: Dr. Michael Laitman, “Talk with the Beginners.” Transcript.]

10. According to the wisdom of Kabbalah, please explain near death experiences?

One Kabbalistic text states, “You will see your world while you are still alive!” And if you don’t reveal the Upper World, then you will die just like an animal. Afterward you’ll receive a new (protein-based) life – another opportunity to reveal the Upper World during your lifetime. Therefore, “If a person did not engage in studying Kabbalah, he will have to return to this world again” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Pi Hacham”).

A person is like an animal in every respect, and just like with animals, one’s death is final. There is one other alternative: to acquire the quality of the Creator, which is love for one’s neighbor. Through this quality, one is able to feel the upper life because one comes out of the self and enters others.

None of the religious promises about “life after death” (interpreted differently by every religion) will come true. There is no reward waiting for you “there” for anything you do here. We can attain all of creation and the Creator only “here,” in this lifetime.

Therefore, “Every person has to study Kabbalah. And even if a person has learned all the intricacies of the Torah and exceeds all the righteous people in the world, still, if he did not study Kabbalah, he will have to return to this world again in order to study Kabbalah” (Baal HaSulam, “Introduction to the Book Pi Hacham”). [Source: “How to Go on a Journey to the World on the Other Side,” Laitman.com – Michael Laitman’s Personal Blog. Article.]

To access the student forum (where all these questions were originally asked) and other services for students and beginners, sign up for the Free Kabbalah Course at the Bnei Baruch Kabbalah Education Center by clicking the banner below…

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  James D. Smith wrote @ March 26th, 2014 at 9:49 am

The answers are quite nice and illuminating what is the basics of Kabbalah. What I am not seeing is substance.

Who has revealed the “Upper world” in this life by doing something other than promoting Kabbalah through writing or teaching it directly?
Thus, who besides those who promote Kabbalah as a primary activity (this includes all the Kabbalist’s of old, Rabash Ashlag, Berg, Laitman, Brandwein, and Simeon Bar Yochai and all others of this stature and their direct students) revealed the upper world?
How does anyone know when they have connected and revealed the upper world in a way above the animal level?

It would be helpful if “other words” besides “screen”, “shells”, and “light” were used to bring this to a manifest level. The reason bringing the language to a manifest level is to break self-referent and circular proof and reasoning.

thanks, Jim

  Jack Holden wrote @ March 27th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

Thank you for providing these. However, there is one part I found confusing.
Dr. Laitman says two things: One, that we die like an animal, it is final, that there is nothing afterwards. But then he also goes on to say that if we do not discover the spiritual world, we will return to this world for another chance.
This makes no sense. It seems that he is describing reincarnation, yet also totally denouncing it at the same time.

Thank you!

  Royal wrote @ April 8th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

There is no afterlife. There is only life @Jack

  Mordekai wrote @ March 1st, 2018 at 10:14 am

What dictionary do you use for translating the Zohar?

Do you have any other Zoharic dictionaries to recommend?

Do you know of any jewish bookstores that sell in Michigan.

  Mordekai wrote @ March 1st, 2018 at 10:15 am

just looking for a Dictionary of the Zohar, What Dictionary do you use?

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