Thursday, May 03, 2007

Kabbalah Part 2

As promised, the second part of yesterday’s shiur on Kabbalah.

It will deal with simply one idea: the evolution of what we know as Kabbalah.

In order to understand this, let’s first understand that all the books that have every been written are not actual Kaballah but rather nice shiurim ABOUT Kaballah. Kaballah is something that one received on his own, not something he is taught.

That being said, in time period, what we know as Kaballah comes out in a different format, most of the time answering challenges which existed in this period.

The first period of Kabbalah was the nevua. In the gemara, all sources which come from Neviim are called “Kabbalah”. A navi was like the mekubal in that time. If we look at the style of the speeches of the Neviim, we see that they are very close to the style of ovdei avodah zara, idolatrers. They would often speak of God as a regular person. The reason is simple: in order to fight Avodah Zara, the Neviim used the language of Avodah Zara. The leader of the Mekubalim in that time was Moshe Rabennu.

Then, the Zohar came out. It came out in a time where the Goyim also started some more mystical tendencies. Therefore, the challenge had then changed. Now, the challenge was mysticism. Therefore, the Zohar was written using a mystical language. This was lead by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

Then, the time came when the world started speaking of philosophy, around the time of Descartes. At that time, the Ari Zal came out with a new style for Kabala which was in a philosophical format.

Then, the time came when the world started talking about the spirit again. This happened in the world with the coming of Romanticism and all the sciences like psychology. That is when Chassidut came out: Kaballah which was talking only about the individual spirit. It’s important to note this meant Kabbalah was limited to its application to the individual and lost all of its national nature.

Finally, the world started speaking about 2 things which both talk about the collective: Nationalism and Socialism. This is when Rav Kook’ Torah came out which brought back Kabbalah to its original, nationalistic nature.

Ashreinu Shezachinu Lihyot Bedorenu!


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