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Kabbalah today!

 Kabbalah today? Can there really be something called a new kabbalah? Has the traditional one become obsolete? Does it still exist at all or has the fount dried up? Has the light been removed and the heart gone from the ancient formulation, and all that is left is a set of redundant rules? Since the holocaust, there are many people who claim that God is dead. Could it be that it is our perception of Him which has been interrupted?  That the channels are clogged?

Is it a new perception of God which we need? A new perception which takes into account the end of the old ways and the creation of a new reality, the total destruction caused by the holocaust and the brand-new reality resulting from the birth of the State of Israel? Do we need to open a new set of channels.

This is what the Kabbalah is all about. The word “kabbalah” means receiving, the reopening of old channels or the creation of new ones. It is never the text or the contents which matter, but a psychological change of attitude. The kabbalah was always a truly oral tradition. To understand it meant to feel and perceive it, and its students were never allowed to ask questions. Up to the holocaust, the knowledge was passed on directly by teachers, but most of them have disappeared at that time. Those who remained are trying to pass on a tradition, the time of which is over. The teaching can however follow unconventional ways . The spark can  jump over to a person at the periphery who  is not bound by  long dead myths or institutions. A contact like that may happen the way it happened to me, through a sudden vision which altered the course of my whole life. This was also the time, when I was shown that a new age needs new channels, expressed in new concepts. Thus: kabbalah today.

 Many will think me an heretic. But ….

 A hassidic story: “When the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of hassidism, felt some danger for his community, he went to a certain place in the forest, said a special prayer with a special melody – and the danger was averted. 

One generation later, when the community was threatened again, Rabbi Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mesritsch, went also into the forest and said: “I don’t know the special place, but I do know the special prayer and the special melody – and that must be sufficient. And so it was.

Another generation went by, and Rabbi Moshe Leib from Sassow found himself in the same situation. He too went into the forest and said: “I don’t know the special place and neither do I know the special melodies. But I do know the prayer. And that must be sufficient. And so it was.

When in later times Rabbi Israel from Rushin wanted to avert danger from his community, he said: “I don’t know the forest nor do I know the place.  The melody and the special prayer are also unknown to me. But I do have the same intention and that must  sufficient. And so it was.

 Each one of them became one with God in his own special way. And for those times, that was sufficient.

 Our generation has experienced the holocaust, a catastrophy which could not be averted by any of the traditional prayers. Did God abandon His people? Or did He show us that a new approach was necessary?

The kabbalah, the mystical tradition of the Jewish people is still alive, and its aim has remained the mystical unification with God, the Highest Being. The teaching however, must be formulated anew for each generation and everyone receives it according to his own terms. That’s why we cannot understand so many scriptures of the past. We feel that they contain a profound knowledge, but we cannot fully comprehend the language or the symbols, because they were written for the people of that time. People who were subjugated, living under constant persecution. All scriptures but one: the Torah, the teaching of which contains eternal truths and is valid for ever. The language too is so simple and clear that it can be comprehended by each person who reads it. Each one in his own way. Its mystical interpretation is the kabbalah and is to be formulated for each generation anew. Therefore, Kabbalah today is not a heresy but a renewal or even rebirth of an old tradition. A kabbalah for a free people.

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