Ask most people what they know about Kabbalah, and they will probably answer with something about mysticism and Madonna. While both have certainly played a role in the popularity of the belief system, Kabbalah’s history is even longer and more complicated than the music career of the “Material Girl”. While we could come up with a much longer list, we didn’t want to cross the “Borderline” given that short blog posts are what is in “Vogue” these days. Okay, we’ll stop (after we “Take a Bow”).
5 Things About Kabbalah You Probably Didn’t Know
1. Though its roots are from the 2nd Century, Kabbalah really began to flower for the first time during the 13th Century, specifically in Spain with the writings of The Zohar. The Zohar is a collection of commentaries on the Torah designed to guide readers toward understanding the nature of the connection between the divine world and its relationship with themselves.
2. Many elements of the mysticism involved in Kabbalah have made their way into mainstream Judaism. For example, the notion of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, comes directly from Kabbalah.
3. Interest in Kabbalah has seen a major uptick over the last 30 years. For most of the Western world’s modern existence, Kabbalah was shrouded in mystery at best and relegated to magic mumbo jumbo at worst. However, with the rise New Age spiritualism and a mainstream openness toward mystical experiences, Kabbalah has seen a major resurgence. Its newfound popularity has also given rise to more academic study, especially the ground-breaking works of Gershom Scholem.
4. While you’ve probably never heard of Rav Yehuda Ashlag (1885-1954), he is arguably most responsible for reintroducing Kabbalah back into the world. Ashlag translated The Zohar to modern Hebrew and his work, Talmud Eser Sefirot, is regarded as the most important textbook for students of Kabbalah.
5. It’s not just Madonna… Kabbalah’s mystic practices have infiltrated celebrity culture in recent years. Kabbalah’s many adherents include Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow Ariana Grande and Mick Jagger, just to name a few.
Want to know more about Kabbalah? Beginning on Tuesday, May 9th, Sixth and I begins a two part lecture series called Take on the Kabbalah, hosted by Rabbi Scott Perlo. For tickets and more information, click here!
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