Thursday, September 01, 2005

Going Back to the Beginning

Dear Kristi, Maria and All,
As I mentioned, after reading an article on the ABCs of the Kabbalah, I got the idea to assemble ideas in this blog on the deeper meaning of light. Since ideas from the Kabbalah led to this discussion in the first place, let's start out by exploring teachings of the Kabbalah that relate to light. I need to be clear from the beginning. I'm no expert. I'll simply share some things that experts on the Kabbalah have to say. Being an expert on the Kabbalah is a life-long endeavor, and my own exposure is limited to having read a handful of books - which equates to very little.
Having said that, let me first offer a thumbnail explanation of what the Kabbalah is, for those who may be unfamiliar with it.
The teachings of the Kabbalah essentially represent Jewish mysticism and Orthodox Jewish thought. The word itself means "tradition" or "received knowledge." No one knows the origin of the Kabbalah, but some believes it goes as far back as Abraham. One Jewish woman I know described Kabbalistic teachings as the secrets the angels whispered to Abraham. Keep in mind we're talking about mysticism - as opposed to facts that can be proved. Jews believe that the writings in the Torah were accompanied by an oral tradition, and that the teachings of the Kabbalah come from this oral tradition.
The Kabbalah teaches that God is perceivable as ten different forms of light, together known as a serifot. Further, Hebrew characters are associated with each of the 10 serifot. The Kabbalah then becomes a way of understanding both scripture and the very meaning of life.
To start out, we'll review concepts from the book The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, by Daniel C. Matt.
We'll start with the next post.


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