Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kabbalah For Consumers Vs Genuine Wisdom

By Bnei Baruch

The word "Kabbalah" arouses many, often conflicting, notions. Upon hearing this word, people are reminded of anything from "Madonna, healing spells, and red strings" to "ancient wisdom, eternity, and perfection." Is there any law and order to this mess of associations? And which of them pertains to the true, authentic wisdom of Kabbalah?

The answer is very simple: It depends on who's using this word. The fact is that a person is ready to hear and understand what authentic Kabbalah is only when his "point in the heart" awakens, that is, an aspiration to discover life's purpose and feel his connection to life's source, the Creator. Only such a person is able to grasp Kabbalah.

But for those whose "point in heart" is still dormant, the authentic wisdom of Kabbalah remains impenetrable. This is roughly the same as how we can't transmit the true essence of other types of knowledge to people who haven't first been prepared to use them correctly.

But at the same time, we see that many people "practice Kabbalah" with all sorts of intentions other than to attain a sensation of the Creator. For example, some people engage in Kabbalah in the hope of mastering miraculous abilities, controlling destiny and manipulating others. The truth is that these endeavors might actually "work wonders" for these people, due to their psychological effects on the people who believe in them.

For example, if a person is convinced that ever since he's started learning Kabbalah, he's acquired unprecedented strength and self-confidence - then he probably did! But this has very little to do with Kabbalah and a lot to do with psychology. (Think about the placebo-effect, where you take a sugar pill believing that it's medicine, and lo' and behold, you are cured within minutes...) Altogether, associations like red strings, holy water, magic, and luck have nothing to do with Kabbalah. As said above, Kabbalah is intended only for developing a sensation of the Creator; hence, it isn't intended to make a person psychologically stronger or more self-confident.

This is the core difference between "Kabbalah for consumers" and authentic Kabbalah. The first serves to benefit people who sell red strings, amulets, and other forms of psychological support; the second is for those who truly aspire to discover the Creator and the spiritual world. Everything depends on what a person wants from this wisdom.

If one has "a point in his heart," an aspiration for the Creator, then he has gathered the life experience to finally understand that he can never feel truly satisfied by anything of "this world." He realizes that nothing in this world can bring him true, lasting happiness, since true happiness exists only in the connection with life's source, the Creator. Once a person achieves this profound recognition from within, a Kabbalist is then able to convey spiritual notions and sensations to him, and "pull him up" into the spiritual world of infinity and perfection.

Bnei Baruch, is the largest group of Kabbalists in Israel, sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah with the entire world. Study materials in over 25 languages are based on authentic Kabbalah texts that were passed down from generation to generation.

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