Friday, May 24th 2024

What Kabbalah Is and Is Not


By Samuel Ben-Or Avital

"You can learn and inform yourself about the finger (detail);
But that does not mean you know the whole body (the whole)".
Samuel Ben-Or Avital

Since the Kabbalah is becoming very popular these days, an event that is very significant for the future of humanity and the Universe, it is very important to make few things clear about this sacred ancient, new, knowledge, wisdom and an exact science of the Cosmos, Cosmic laws, and the personal ability, the individual practical wisdom of natural balance, that can be harmoniously integrated in tune and resonating with all creation.


Many great minds in history have orbited around the Kabbalah to learn about life and the "mystery of our being here". Many have missed the target and gone with the wrong notion of what this enigmatic ancient knowledge has to offer and teach us about our being, who we are, and what we are doing in "this world", and what is our role in the life as a whole. Until now, sadly to say, most of us humans, using only one hemisphere of the brain to function and know.

Kabbalah is both a great "mystery" and also very simple to understand as a science and wisdom of the Cosmos, both simple and complicated, which seems to the ordinary person’s mind a "paradox", but, when one begins really to know, this is not a paradox. It is simply an integration of both aspects of our being, and since we humans are always at war with ourselves, since the dawn of time, it is a difficult thing to interact our lives with the oneness of the Creation.

Kabbalah is the science of actually learning, not just with words, and not just with the intellect, but also with using full intelligence and actual practices, kinesthetically speaking, that are very effective and generally not acceptable to the average human being today, who is all immersed in “playing the violin with one hand”. Kabbalah, among other aspects of knowing, teaches one to DARE TO BE fully oneself without fear.

Kabbalah teaches how the laws of the Cosmos and the creation and "this world" we live in now, works for us to manifest on all levels and dimensions of life, both visible and invisible.

These laws that can be mastered, work with and become tuned with, by specific practices of Tikkunim = restorations, in order to be and become the being we were meant to be, and to reach the stage of having the merit to be called "human".

Some basics are needed to know before embarking on learning and informing yourself on Kabbalah.

First, you must differentiate very clearly between information and knowledge . In this day and age of focus on information, and thinking that information is knowledge, you must be able to make a very clear distinction between these two terms.

Sure, it is good to be informed, and knowledge is an experience that comes from working on yourself with a genuine Teacher. And since there are many so called "teachers", you must use your common sense of sanity and lucidity, to recognize and really find an authentic teacher to guide you properly, be ready to engage deeply without fear or mind-heart limitations.

Know how to ask, and being in the true state of knowing how to be a “student”. The “Teacher* will recognize you, and then you will make the true contact, connection and begin your great adventure to know who you are, what is the genuine meaning of your life why you are living, and how you can learn and apply the laws of the Universe as the Kabbalah teaches.


1. Not a philosophy and not an only an intellectual pursuit.

2. It can never be learned academically in an intellectual way.

3. Not a religion.

4. Not black magic. It has nothing to do with to the occult and is not superstitious

5. Does not have any Greek, Egyptian or any other non-Jewish cultural elements.

6. It is not Christian, Rosicrucian, Masonic or any hermetic philosophies.

7. Has nothing to do with old or modern "new age" beliefs, has no connection with any eastern religions.

8. Kabbalah will never be understood until one begins to know what is the profound meaning of the terms: “human“,  “Jewish“, "Light“, “Love” “Life”, “vessel”, “Tree of Life”, “spiritual”, “Soul”, “Self”, ”time”, “Space” and many other words, concepts and terms, that contain within themselves a wholeness, full and complete notion, and specific relation to the whole Creation.

There are more, but for now these are essential and basic enough for you to begin to understand these important realizations.

Now, The word "Jewish" in English may mean a historical, cultural understanding of the Jewish people, their experience and contributions over the history of humanity and over many generations. But in Hebrew the word simply means totally something else. YEHUDI comes from the tribe of YEHUDA, one of the 12 tribes of Israel. And in Hebrew it simply means:

1. Yod, He, Vav, Daleth, and Yod, means B E I N G... the root word of Yehudi comes from the Hebrew verb, Hay, Yod, and Hay meaning: T O B E. This is a stage of a spiritual development, that, when one realizes it, is called Yehudi.

2. According to the Zohar, the verb also means YIHUD = UNION, or TO BE ONE, and indicating the work of the being, to UNITE with the CREATOR of the Universe, with every thought and action, to always “UNITE all that is separated”, and in every situation in life, in all dimensions.Another hint for this beautiful verb is also comes from HODAYAH – Hay, Vav, Daleth, Yod, and Hay. HODAYAH means deep gratefulness for BEING. So from the same verb of Being in Hebrew the gratefulness for BEING is built in within the verb and the letters.

3. What to be? To DARE to BE and BECOME close to the Creator, and navigate life for the benefit of all, and your being "this life" of “matter” on earth, as it was meant to be in the “First Place”, by restoring oneself to that state of complete perfection, Homeostasis, right here on earth, and not after "death", right here and now, no postponing.

4. Through these Tikkunim = Restorations, one can purify the vessel to receive Kabbalistic insight about oneself and the Universe, and the learning process become so different from what passes these days as "education ", “information ” and “knowledge ”.


1. Kabbalah is rooted within the Jewish tradition, but it is not a religion, it is a sacred science, wise and practical of the universe. It was called “The mother of all sciences”. Kabbalah in Hebrew, means to receive, to receive what? That is the ancient/old exploration and the "mystery" of the human will, the purpose of Creation and being and becoming.

2. Kabbalah dwells with the essence of being, a code of becoming, an integration of thinking both with the right and left brain ways of orientation, both “inner and “outer space-time" of our human limitations, of navigating in “this life”. I consider the perfect art and Science of the Kabbalah as a Cosmic Computer that reveals all the “mysteries” of life on all dimensions, in a practical and logical manner also.

3. Are you willing to study the original language Hebrew or Aramaic to a certain degree, to go deep in the study of the Kabbalah?  That means to drink from the source, and not the stream? You must know by now, that most translations are treacherous in transmitting the authentic message or information.

4. So, when you want to study Shakespeare, I think you MUST learn it in English, and Moliere with French. But the translations also are good, but it is like drinking from the vessel of the vessel of the vessel, the soup of the soup of the soup, and dilution makes a very superficial learning.

5. That is why I say, you can read any book on Kabbalah and be informed to a certain degree. If you do not have access or build yourself the proper background to the original language with which it was written, you would never understand the totality of its “secrets“ or “mysteries” of their computations among other things. But as I said you could INFORM yourself, book learning is good information until a certain degree. Kabbalah is full with codes, both simple and complex, and it is recommended to drink from the source, rather than from diluted vessels or streams.

6. So, as I am used to saying when I teach certain BodySpeak™ exercises: “you can learn about the finger, but that does not mean you know the whole body.” You do not know the whole body by knowing only the finger. Unfortunately, in a shallow "culture" we live in these days, one learns about the finger and pretends to know the whole body.

7. Kabbalah is also the metaphysical understandings underlying the physical commandments (Mitzvot), and stories in the Torah given by the Creator to to the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai. The stories are there to keep the tradition alive and stored well all these thousands of years. The Kabbalist however, understands and dares to go beyond the “the stories”, with a specific system of study and Tikkunim to make oneself close to the creator, and work with the laws of the universe to restore the personal world and the whole world. This way the student of Kabbalah learns to use most or all one’s faculties of thinking, intelligence and the application of what one learns, to be and become with genuine knowledge.

8. Actually, Kabbalah is more than a subject of learning, it is a very exact science that embraces a whole practices that revives the life of the spirit that is concealed within the body of the stories in the Torah, and other sacred writings from various times, within every letter and word, between the lines and spaces the laws of Creation, and how to live in both worlds with total harmony, while developing one's spiritual evolution, and restoring oneself and the universe, at the same time, right here and now.

9. Kabbalah also offers a very profound and proved system of meditations that enables the student to achieve the state of beyond, being close to the Creator, and achieve the perfect union with the one that uttered the word and the world become. Perfection is possible for the genuine student of Kabbalah.

10. The 613 Mitzvot of the Torah are the deeds and the Tikkunim that one practices with focused intention, = Kavvanah, in order to orbit more around the Presence of The Creator, and merge with that oneness with the whole beingness of all life. One learns to integrate the personal universe within us all, with the outer universe that seems to us as a separate reality.

11. The more you develop this healthy, logical, intuitive and sane attitude of learning, the more you get closer to the authenticity, and the proper way to study this sacred science of the Kabbalah. And it is widely known that, without this proper preparation and the “Conscious Innocence**” attitude, Kabbalah can be really “dangerous”, and harmful for your health and for your life.

12. There is as I said, a vast literature about Kabbalah in many languages, the authentic books on Kabbalah and its practices are somehow translated, to a degree for you to be informed, it does not offer you any experience and practical wisdom to use in life and know who are you, what is your meaning of life and Creation, and what is your purpose of being in “this world”.

13. When these profound questions of self examination begins really to dwell within your thoughts in an urgent way, and really ask deeply what is the purpose of your being here, and the purpose of creation, and your soul yearns and cries out for you to search profoundly, and yearn for that perfect state of being, you will find your living teacher, and begin on this meaningful journey toward discovering yourself, and begin to make a difference in your life and the lives of the “others.

14. The Book of the Zohar, the Sefer Yetzira, and others are a glimpse of the various deeper interpretations of the Torah. Few Kabbalists have explored deeper and recorded their teachings in a certain way, in order to learn and practice. However a ”guide” is necessary for you to learn how to explore yourself, a knowledge that has been kept very closely concealed for thousands of years, and is released today to the ones who are ready for it, and for a specific purpose to help us change this world into a harmonious and balanced state of being and living. A “Guide” might be your spiritual environment itself, until you learn how to walk by your self in the “ocean of wisdom and great wonder”.

One of the most important aspects of Kabbalah study is to learn to use one’s thoughts consciously, with a benevolence direction, and to transform one’s negative inclinations into positive creative source of the Good. The Kabbalah student must understand and practice the focused and intentional thought fully for the benefit of the “other” and oneself.

When one learns to love the “other” MORE than oneself, one connects with the Power Source of the Creator, and acts with the same benevolence, humility and mercy of the Creator.

So, my friend, with our focused, directed and intentional thoughts, we CAN learn to align ourselves with that sacred energy, and attract ourselves to what we simply call, “LIGHT” = OR. We actively mold or shape our personal, mental, spiritual and physical reality to manifest the good in “this world”.

This aspect of Kabbalah study and practice is a very powerful and creative process, to silently and discreetly observe and use it for the benefit of all beings, in all worlds of the soul’s existence.

So, Kabbalah is both, a concealed and revealed vast body of knowledge, a practical science of wisdom that one can learn easily, intuitively and logically, and available today to those who are honestly ready and seeking the authentic knowledge in “this world and beyond.

This article was transcribed from a Public Talk, Boulder, Colorado. March 1989

* See the article "Finding Your True Living Master Teacher" by Samuel Ben Or Avital, Creator and teacher of BodySpeak™ Moving Body and Mind, with the addendum called "The "Presence" of the Teacher, and the Emanation of Energy", or email Samuel Avital for more information about this article.

** See more about Conscious innocence in “DefintuitionsThe BodySpeak Manual, page 127


About Kabbalah Now

Kabbalah is both a concealed and revealed vast body of knowledge, a practical science of wisdom that one can learn easily, intuitively and logically, and available today to those who are honestly ready and seeking the authentic knowledge in "this world and beyond."