Kabbalah

Discussion in 'Magick' started by edgeworth, Jul 9, 2003.

  1. edgeworth

    edgeworth New Member

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    ADMIN EDIT: Link removed as this appears to be SPAM. But the topic raised is interestnig so I'll leave the initial title in case anyone wishes to comment on Qabbalah/Kabbalah.
     
  2. Arch

    Arch New Member

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    Deja-vu!
     
  3. brian

    brian Administrator Admin

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    You're right - but I'll close the other topic. This is possibly the best place for discussing the topic.
     
  4. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    Since Kaballah is Jewish mysticism, I'm not sure that it's technically "Alternative Spirituality". However, it's been adopted by several paths that fall under this heading, so why not? <grin>

    I'm still working on getting the "standard" stuff straight in Judaism, myself, after 17 years of exposure/study/conversion/etc. Kabballah goes off the deep end from there - but has so interpenetrated the mythos it's sometimes hard to figure out what's the mysticism part and which is the generally accepted/known part (e.g. the habit of writing gift checks for the numeric value chai {18} - the word for life - not to mention the 36/72 tsadiks mentioned in another thread here) - both those use Kabbalistic principles but are in general use.

    Personally, I'm looking forward to my new job so I get some incentive to catch up on reading & study. (I'll be travelling a lot, and it's easier for me to read on planes & in hotel rooms for serious topics than I find myself able to at home with all the distractions). I'll have to go find a Kabbala for Dummies book :)
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    If I remeber rightly, the Qabbalah itself is supposed to be based on Chaldean interpolations in the Torah - though I'm not sure whether this is legend or not. If so, it would be intriguing to know if there's an original copy. Somehow I doubt there is, but I'll be happy to be surprised. :)

    Certainly, it developed primarily as a branch of Jewish mysticism - but I thought this section the best place for discussion because it's not really a main feature of Judaism, but various aspects of it does form the backbone of modern ceremonial magick.

    Sometimes I wonder how muh writing on the subject has a real traditional source - because of its widespread influence on magicks, I suspect that it's undergone its fair share of development away from its primary roots. But then agani, I'm British, and cynicism is one of our national traits. :)
     
  6. brucegdc

    brucegdc Moderator

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    I think it would depend on which authors you're reading how far it has drifted. If the publisher is Llewellyn, it's probably drifted. If it's the JPS, probably not much.

    ... Bruce
     
  7. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Actually, Qabbalah can be a very interesting subject. Do you have any particular recommendations for any specific aspects of it, such as the history, early sources, and actual Jewish commentaries on it?
     
  8. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    in a lot of ways, kabbalah is alternative. in a lot of other ways, it's really not. lighting candles on friday night is kabbalistic if you do it with the correct yikhudim and kavvanot of mystical intention and mindfulness. it's not all about abulafian permutations and the unifications of the AR"I. i shall locate my ready-made guide.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  9. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    kabbalistic reading list

    although the jewish mystical tradition is generally referred to as “the kabbalah”, it is probably more correct to refer to it as the 'nistar' or hidden tradition as opposed to the 'nigla' or revealed tradition – ie, the day-to-day practice of jewish ritual and the observance of jewish law. The term itself comes from the early kabbalistic work 'Sefer Yetzirah', which is known to have existed at least 1100 years ago (commentaries on it date at least that far back) although in traditional thought it is attributed to the patriarch abraham.

    as you may guess, i am a student of nistar myself, but approaching it from a traditional perspective within normative rabbinic judaism. for those who are familiar with the terminology, i am not mequbal myself, but this is not necessarily a barrier for those who are prepared to do the work or study. NB - this doesn't mean i teach this stuff!

    from my point of view, the best thing you can do is read enough to understand its context in order to be able to distinguish between kabbalah as understood/practiced within a traditional Jewish framework and kabbalah as a general system of mystical thought and correspondence. For this purpose, the ideal starting point for the non-Jewish student are these FAQS - http://www.ecauldron.com/kabbalah.php. However, much of this type of learning involves learning what to avoid - books to stay away from entirely are those by 'rabbi' philip (shraga) berg of the “kabbalah centre” of whom all those celebrities are patrons. There are tens of volumes, all of which are aggressively marketed to fund the organisation's dubious objectives. AVOID. For why, see here: http://www.rickross.com/groups/kabbalah.html

    on the caveat front, i would say that without a teacher, it is best to avoid source texts such as the Zohar, the Bahir or the Sefer Yetzirah, all of which are widely available in translation, the latter two with excellent commentaries by the renowned and recommended, although strictly orthodox and therefore highly subjective aryeh kaplan. The only one that is likely to offer any kind of illumination for a beginner, or even somebody with some knowledge, is the SY - and that only if you have a good deal of knowledge of physics or mathematics.

    likewise, books such as "the last kabbalist of lisbon" are also fiction and the practices described within them bear no resemblance to anything kabbalistic that i am familiar with - don't draw any conclusions about kabbalah from what you find in them.

    nonetheless, for the beginner, there is only one place to start:

    Kabbalah

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6744598/sr=1-4/ref=sc_b_4/102-3156966-9352920

    Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6744598/sr=1-3/ref=sc_b_3/102-4478363-0779347

    On the Kabbalah and its Symbolism

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6744598/sr=1-2/ref=sc_b_2/102-3156966-9352920

    Origins of the Kabbalah

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6744598/sr=1-5/ref=sc_b_5/102-4478363-0779347

    On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...6744598/sr=1-1/ref=sc_b_1/102-3156966-9352920

    all by gershom scholem. I'd recommend reading them in the order suggested. for the less academic and more practical student, the best place to start is

    Innerspace by Aryeh Kaplan

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...44278/sr=1-10/ref=sc_b_10/102-3156966-9352920

    or Practical Kabbalah by Laibl Wolf

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/t...104-4652318-5987915?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

    or if you want something complicated, anything by moshe idel, who gives scholem (who was mostly an academic historian) some much-needed context. for an overview, i have little hesitation in recommending this book by lawrence kushner, who i have heard lecture several times and has a unique perspective, although i haven't actually read the book itself. it's an overview and from what i know of both him and it, seems to be a sound way to begin within a framework.

    The Way into the Jewish Mystical Tradition

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/A...44278/sr=1-10/ref=sc_b_10/102-3156966-9352920

    please bear in mind that my personal opinion is that although kabbalah has much universal significance, it is ideally intended by its traditional practitioners to exist within the framework of an *observant* jewish life, particularly as far as kaplan and to some extent kushner are concerned, although scholem is more of a historian than anything else. you get out of kabbalah according to what you put into it and this for me presupposes at least some familiarity with hebrew and/or aramaic.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  10. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    A very informative post - thanks for that.

    I really ought to track down some of those books online, if they exist in any form. I still have to properly develop the Islamic and Judaic sections of this site - though the amount of work involved in posting up the Talmud is more than a little daunting.
     
  11. Chaka

    Chaka New Member

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    There is actually tons of really good starter info about Kabbalah on the web. Here's a good spot to get the basics. I actually started studying Kabbalah about a year ago and it just now occurred to me to see if there are any Kabbalah related forums out there.... So, hello everyone.

    Chaka
     
  12. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    um... all the books recommended there are by berg, aren't they? i would advise people against giving his organisation any money. see my comments above. £20 for "holy water"? pheuuuuwwwww.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  13. Nogodnomasters

    Nogodnomasters New Member

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    The Chaldeans were famous as astrologers. My theory on the Kabbalah that it is only in part correct. After the Roman wars, many Jews abandoned the mystical aspect of the texts since their prediction of victory was hopeless. Some of the ideas were handed down orally, but many details were lost over the years. When they began to write their ideas down again, they had missing data, and winged it with the current prevailing knowledge of the era.
     
  14. Blackrose

    Blackrose Luciferian Witch

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    So would this be the place to discuss the qlippoth and averse tree as used in magick and the black artes? Conversely, would their be anyone else interested in the topic? I have just started studying it and find the topic interesting yet my knowledge is still limited.
     

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