Kabbalah at L’DorVaDor
By Abe Fenster, PhD
Much has been written and discussed recently about Kabbalah, and I am constantly being asked,” What is kabbalah?” Statements like “We’ve heard so much about it but we don’t know what it is?” “We hear it has to do with mystics’, sorcery or the like.”
Well, that is far from the truth.
- Kabbalah is wisdom of the sages dating back to the days of Abraham.
- “Kabbalah is an ancient Jewish wisdom that explains the eternal laws of how spiritual energy moves through the Cosmos”
- Rabbi Labl Wolf, “Practical Kabbalah”
- Kabbalah means “to receive.’
- Learning Kabbalah is deep and trains one to seek answers to life’s mysteries.
What Kabbalah isn’t-
- It is not a religion
- Kabbalah isn’t pop psychology
- Kabbalah isn’t superstition
- Kabbalah isn’t secret formulas or mystical incantations
- Kabbalah isn’t a fad
- Kabbalah is not about a red string
- Kabbalah is not drinking kabbalah water
- Kabbalah isn’t easy
Kabbalah is a lifelong project- because by definition it means to continually study and to understand- to receive knowledge and apply that information to change your daily existence. It requires one to have an open mind and interpret the paradoxes that are developed. In discussions at L’DorVaDor, we attempt to unfold the mystery. BUT, before we can proceed we need to understand the basics.
What will you receive by attending our discussion groups?
Since most of the writings from the sages were in either Hebrew or Aramaic, interpretation can take on different meanings depending on the interpreter or knowledge of their times. Therefore absolute truth is constantly changing. Do you still believe the earth is flat? Ultimately the truth rests with the student of Kabbalah depending upon his or her beliefs systems or knowledge base. In fact, Kabbalah teaches to question everything and develop an understanding of what you are receiving which will depend upon your intellect and imagination and your resolve for what is the absolute truth of what you are receiving.
L’Dor Va Dor’s philosophical principle to Reform Judaism is to understand the torah and traditions with an open mind and to understand these concepts based on an understanding of the data you interpret, science, logic and reasoning.
In fact Maimonides suggests in “The Guide for the Perplexed,” that to understand torah and its laws, one must first understand natural science.
“These laws, however, presuppose an advanced state of intellectual culture. We must first form a conception of the Existence of the Creator according to our capabilities; that is, we must have a knowledge of Metaphysics. But this discipline can only be approached after the study of Physics: for the science of Physics borders on Metaphysics, and must even precede it in the course of our studies, as is clear to all who are familiar with these questions. Therefore the Almighty commenced Holy Writ with the description of the Creation, that is, with Physical Science; the subject being on the one hand most weighty and important, and on the other hand our means of fully comprehending those great problems being limited. He described those profound truths, which His Divine Wisdom found it necessary to communicate to us, in allegorical, figurative, and metaphorical language. Our Sages have said (Yemen Midrash on Gen. i. 1), “It is impossible to give a full account of the Creation to man. Therefore Scripture simply tells us, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. i. 1). Thus they have suggested that this subject is a deep mystery, and in the words of Solomon, “Far off and exceedingly deep, who can find it out?” (Eccles. vii. 24). It has been treated in metaphors in order that the uneducated may comprehend it according to the measure of their faculties and the feebleness of their apprehension, while educated persons may take it in a different sense.”
Maimonides, Moses. The Guide for the Perplexed.
With the tremendous amount of new science and technological developments occurring daily, how can kabbalah offer any new insight?
At L’DorVaDor, we tackle this conundrum and demonstrate that the thinking of the sages and today’s scientist are not that much different. The holistic view of the universe coincides with the view of the Kabbalists. Our discussions of kabbalah cover many topics relevant to also understanding “who you are,” and “why are you here at this time and place.” We then probe the fifth spiritual energy dimension with the help of Kabbalistic thinking.
During our discussions you’ll receive knowledge and wisdom by exploring the current theoretical cosmological concepts about the macro and micro worlds, creation, the concept of G-d, the concept of the soul, and many other topics from a Kabbalistic and cosmological point of view; and then we compare those views. We discuss how the sages and current cosmologists are and have been thinking alike. The only difference between the two is the terminologies that each use and a fifth energy force which is in the spiritual dimension.
Therefore, one will see that kabbalah is not a religion but spirituality. It is an attempt by the sages to explain the universe and how to live a complete life of satisfaction. This approach is not different from the approach of the new world thinking as espoused by such notables as Joseph Campbell, Deepak Chopra, and others.
Obtaining knowledge and wisdom about kabbalah is a lifelong project. At times it will become very complicated but having a background in physics, chemistry, biology and theology makes this discussion understandable. We introduce the basics necessary for this discussion. Once you get a grasp of the concepts, outlined in as simple terms as possible, you begin to have an appreciation of the wisdom of the sages. With this information, Kabbalah is no longer a mystery and you learn how to use this information to determine how to interact with others in a manner given to you from the G-d concept and “his” emanations (The Sefirot.) The beauty of the universe will become real to you as you learn the “Secrets” of the universe. Therefore we call these discussions, “The Scientific Face of Kabbalah-Unfolding the Mystery.” When we look into kabbalah from a scientific perspective we have a whole new view about what is kabbalah.
Kabbalah will no longer be a mystery. We demonstrate that the way the Kabbalistic sages looked at the universe some 3500 years ago is the same way that the theoretical cosmologists are viewing the world today, except the terminologies were different. In fact, when you start to understand the writings of some of the sages of authentic kabbalah such as, Abraham’s “Book of CREATION,” ( which by the way is really a book on geometry, astronomy and math besides insights into the world of spirituality written some 3500 years ago), the works of the Ari, Maimonides, Namonides, the Baal Sham Tov, Rav Nachman of Breslov and Rav Ashlag, you will begin to see the similarities to the thinking of the theoretical cosmologists of today.
Since everything starts with Creation, both the sages and the cosmologists tried to explain the concept of creation. The one particular difference between Kabalistic thinking and the theoretical physicist is that kabbalah incorporates a cosmological energy component. Otherwise the processes involved are the same. We take the concepts of creation one step further and demonstrate the impact on the individual as explained by Kabbalah.
All of the topics discussed will be made with reference to the best knowledge that we have today, and takes into consideration the input of the sages, kabbalah, metaphysics and cosmological science.
But what is truth?
We leave that decision to the participant!!!!!
Join us for our next discussion IN 2016.