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Kabbala Center

What is wrong with going to a Kabbalah center? thank you very much..

If Kabbala is studied under a teacher who is not sufficiently knowledgeable in the subject there are some critical dangers. These dangers are not necessarily because you’ll use a ‘spell’ or a mystical formulation in a manner that will cause harm to innocent people or the like. I’m not aware of any such things happening, or that they could happen. I just don’t know. What I do know is that Kabbala deals with aspects of G-d, how He has revealed Himself in this world, in highly esoteric terms. If one is not sufficiently knowledgeable in Kabbala among the dangers are they may, G-d forbid, ascribe corporeal features to G-d, or multiplicity to G-d. Beliefs of multiplicity or corporeality in relation to G-d are heretical, and heresy is a grave transgression. A Heretic can lose his portion in the World to Come.

Also, if one doesn’t know how to interpret kabbalistic passages there’s a strong tendency to invent an interpretation. Since the interpretation veers far from the truth such an exercise can, unfortunately, amount to complete nonsense. It’s a disgrace to our precious Torah for it to be used for such games. Disgracing the Torah is also a matter of great danger.

To study Kabbala in a mature, responsible (and safe!) manner it must be from a truly knowledgeable teacher. Plus, the student himself must possess a vast knowledge of Torah. Below I included a piece from a book which you can find here . It should clarify a great deal about the nature of Kabbala study. [Also see this post on Cross-Currents]

Best Regards,
Rabbi Mordechai Dixler



by Yaakov Branfman and Akiva Tatz

Reprinted with permission from RABBI SIMCHA SPEAKS, by Yaakov Branfman and Akiva Tatz, Mesorah Publications, Ltd., Brooklyn, NY, 1994.
Rabbi Simcha Wasserman’s insights and teachings on vital principles of life and faith.



If the Creator is so friendly to us, why are we born with the torture
of having questions for which we have no answers? Kabbalah, Jewish
mysticism, contains the answers to those seemingly unanswerable
questions. There are no secrets in Torah—the question is only
concerning which level you have reached.

The word Kabbalah means received transmission or received tradition.
It is one part of the Oral Torah which was not written down explicitly
after the Torah was given by G-d to the Jewish Nation almost 3,500
years ago. It was written down in very difficult codes, which compels
a student to turn to someone to help him decipher them. Thus, to learn
Kabbalah we have to depend on a person-to-person transmission.

The question remains even after the basic definition: What is


Maimonidies writes that Kabbalah is “the subject which philosophers
have pondered for generations.” One description of philosophy is to
say that philosophy deals with questions which are very clear, but the
answers to these questions are not so clear. It’s not science. In
science, you can have a question, then you make a discovery, and you
have an answer. But there are other questions which we cannot answer

What is the human being? All we see of the human being is his body. We
see his limbs. The body is a garment, and the limbs are tools that the
human being utilizes. But what is the human being, the person himself?
The question is very clear. But for the answer you can only speculate.
This is the area of philosophy. It deals with those questions for
which we cannot find a clear answer.

There is no doubt that there is such a thing as moral law, but what is
it? Why should we follow it? What is the definition of good and bad?
These questions are as old as humanity itself. No clear solution to
moral problems has yet been found by the human mind. Morality is still
a subject of philosophy and is taught as such in the universities. If
even a relatively definite solution of the moral problem would have
been found, morality would have been transferred from the philosophy
department to the field of science.

We see that the Creator is good to us. He wants us to enjoy ourselves.
There is a special blessing which we recite when we go out in the
spring and see a plant blooming. It’s a joy to see. We make a
blessing, and we thank G-d that He has created things just for our
pleasure. So why did He give us such an area that brings us to sadness
and torture? To have a question and not find an answer is a torture.

Ecclessiastes (the book of Koheles) asks the same question. It is
essentially a manual of philosophy. King Solomon, the author, quotes
many philosophical theories. He discusses many issues. In the end he
concludes that no theory answers the questions. He writes, “After you
have heard everything and you see that nothing answers you, be in awe
of G-d, observe His commandments, and you will have your answers.”
King Solomon is saying that there are answers given to us, even if we
cannot yet understand them, and that they are in the Torah.


The answers to all the philosophical questions was given to Moses by
G-d to transmit to the Jewish people. This is what Kabbalah is: the
answers to all the unanswerable questions. The questions may only be
unanswerable to us on our level. The answers are not “secrets,” and
they are not “mysteries.” They simply exist on a higher intellectual
level, which we have to be intellectually prepared to reach.

Maimonidies explains that Talmud is a mind-grinding tool. The entire
function of it is to grind, to sharpen, and to develop the mind to be
so refined that we will be able to understand the questions and the
answers. While we are learning, our intelligence is being shaped,
refined, and trained in handling abstractions. It is being led towards
the abstract parts of Torah. He writes in the Introduction to the
Talmud that the purpose of all learning of Torah is to prepare the
intelligence to be able to come close to “hasagas haBorei”
(understanding the Creator). Some things are hidden because we are not
prepared. They are too fine to be handled with the normal tools of our
unprepared intelligence.

It says in the Torah, “Let My lessons pour on you like rain, My
sayings like dew; like storms on grass and like drops of liquid.” The
15th century Sforno likens this to the different ways in which people
learn new information. For those who are great, there is so much
information that it pours on them like rain. The average person also
receives information, but it is less in quantity, relative to his
capacity, and it is pleasant, like dew.

The great man may find information as he is learning that will shock
him, shake him. That is like storms on grass. The grass represents the
green cover of the earth. The great people see the entire picture, as
in one sweep of green grass covering the earth. They are constantly
making discoveries which they did not expect and are constantly being
shaken up by them.

When we learn Torah, we must know that Torah is a replica of the
universe, and its depth is endless. The Talmudic section, Ethics of
the Fathers speaks of this and says that “it is not up to you to
finish the work.” Imagine, for example, a large park with a gate at
the entrance. Once you go through the gate, you can go as far as your
feet can take you. There is no end. But you go as far as you can.

This is what a “gate of understanding” is. It is an opening, and each
and every one can go in. One gate leads to another, and it is endless.
They are all different sections of Creation. The levels are infinite,
and each person grasps on his own level. All that G-d wants from us is
to go, to proceed as far as we can.


We have to understand what is meant by the expression “secrets of
Torah.” It is not proven that we cannot have answers to our questions.
One thing is proven: The unaided human mind cannot find an answer to
many problems and questions of philosophy. The great philosophers have
tried for thousands of years, and no one has come up with answers.
They have come up with theories, but not clear-cut, definite answers.
Thus, by experience, we have to conclude that the human mind cannot
find an answer to those questions. But it is not proven that the human
mind cannot grasp an answer if it is given. However, that answer has
to be given from without, from a higher source. The assumption is that
logically, once an answer is given, it can be grasped. If it cannot be
grasped, it would be a terribly illogical arrangement. It would mean
that I can be tortured with questions for which I cannot get an
answer. It would not be fair to be given questions such as these. And
we find that the Creator is fair.

We say that those answers were given together with the revelation of
Torah. However, not everyone is ready to grasp the answer when it is
given to him. Would you teach mathematics in pre-kindergarten? You
don’t want to keep it a secret from the children. But they are not
ready for it.

Every person has two levels of intelligence. There are things he can
find out and solve on his own, and there are things which he cannot
find out on his own; but if someone comes and gives him the answer, he
will understand it. All the areas where a person can find out things
himself may be called level A. The level where he can understand the
answer, if given to him, may be called level B. Not everybody has the
same level of intelligence.

Reuven has a certain level where he can answer questions himself. This
is A. But the next level for him is B. Here he cannot answer, but if
you will explain it to him, he will grasp it.

Shimon is a little more intelligent. What is B to Reuven is A to
Shimon. But what is B to Shimon is entirely off limits to Reuven—he
will not understand it even if someone tries to explain it to him. The
highest person has an A which may be understandable to the person just
under him, if explained, but the highest person’s B is off limits to
everyone else.

Therefore, when we say there are questions which the human mind cannot
answer, we are talking about questions which a very few can understand
when they are given the explanations. There always remains something
that is beyond B to everyone. That may be the actual essence of the
G-d Himself, which Moses asked to have revealed to him, and which he
was told was impossible even for him. He was told by G-d, “Nobody can
see Me and live.”

But the answers to all the other questions were given to Moses and
passed on to us. The higher levels are called the “hidden” parts of
Torah. But there is no mystery. They are just something of a higher
intellectual level that one has to be prepared for by going through
the ‘’brain-grinding” and refining process of learning and observing
Torah. They are understood in their fullest and deepest meanings by
only the highest level people. Each person is obligated to proceed as
far as he can go, even though “It is not up to you to finish the


It is important to understand the mechanism with which we explain
things to each other. What we are doing at those times is transferring
ideas from mind to mind. A conveyer belt is needed to accomplish this.
That conveyer belt is language. If a person never saw a table in his
life, I might want to give him an idea of what a table is. First, I
myself have to understand that the table is a complex of elements.
Does the other person know elements? Does he know shapes? Shape is
also an element of a table. Does he know color? Can he figure out how
to put things together? Then I tell him, ‘’Listen, this is of a hard
material. The shape is like a rectangular board. But I want the board
to be at the level where it is easy for me to use, so I take something
and I support it. Then I raise it, and I have it at the level where I
can do something with it.”

This is the process of translating ideas. You take apart the concept
that you have to explain and bring it down to its elements. You give
him the elements and you also tell him how to construct it. Therefore,
if I explain something to you, there are preconditions that you, as a
listener, must possess. You have to be familiar with all the elements
that I am discussing, and you have to be able to follow instructions
in order to construct something from what I tell you. If my listener
is missing one element, he will get a picture, but not a true picture
of the table. If he has all the elements but he cannot follow
instructions on how to construct it, then he will have the legs of the
table on top of it.

Therefore, every teacher must be very careful that the students get
the right ideas. Otherwise, the teacher may say something and the
student will understand something else. Every teacher has had that

G-d wants us to be knowledgeable people. Therefore, He gave us the
Torah, which is a replica of the universe. Along with that, we were
given the mitzvah of Talmud Torah—learning Torah. We find that by
learning Torah, we learn about the entire universe.

G-d wants us to have that information, but He wants us to have the
real picture. Therefore, the Torah warns us not to teach people who
are not prepared for that teaching, because if they are not prepared,
they will learn something other than what you tell them. Maimonidies
makes a statement in his Laws of Torah Study that ‘’if you have a
student who is not ripe to understand you, what you teach him is
nonsense, because what you say makes sense, but what he hears is

There is a story about two Sages in the Talmud. Each was particularly
expert in a different part of Kabbalah—one was a master of maaseh
merkavah (the wisdom of the holy Chariot) and the other was a master
of maaseh Bereishis (the Creation wisdom). They said, “Let us teach
each other. You teach me your wisdom and I’ll teach you mine.”

The first one taught the other one maaseh Bereishis. Then he said,
‘’Now it’s your turn to teach me.” The other answered him by saying,
“I cannot teach you. While you were teaching me, I saw your level, and
you are not ready for it.”

This means that what I can understand, I understand. What I cannot
understand, I am better off not touching, because I will only
misunderstand it. Misunderstanding is not just a zero. It is a minus.
When a teacher is teaching, he should always be checking to see if the
student is on the level of the teaching. This limits misunderstanding
of the things that the Torah wants us to know.

There is no end to the depth of any created thing. It is only a
question of how far you can go. If you take a match apart and you
consider all the laws of physics in it, you can make a lifetime study
out of one match. Similarly, Torah has no end. But if you are not
ready for it, you can burn yourself.

Kabbalah gives you what is beyond the normal limits in the search for
truth. But man does not always search for truth. He often looks for
convenience. Some people think that Kabbalah is some kind of a
‘’power” which they can call upon and use. This is often how people
look at Jewish mysticism. Their entire concept of mysticism centers
around the performance of miracles. They think Kabbalah contains
blessings or gimmicks. That kind of mysticism is close to paganism.

Certain academics—known as “experts” on Kabbalah—talk about
Kabbalah, but they do not know what they are talking about. They have
their own imagination of something, and they are teaching it as

Often they think of Jewish Kabbalists as people who found “the key”—a
good thing—and these Kabbalists keep it for themselves, not giving it
to anyone else.

There are some things that are forbidden to be taught to three
students at a time. But the “experts” misunderstand the reason for it.
The reason is as follows: If one of the students misses a word, he may
ask another one, “What did the rabbi say?” In the meantime, while
those two are conversing, the rabbi is continuing with his teaching
because there is a third person to listen. Then the first two will
miss something. However, if just two people are being taught, it is
impossible that the rabbi will continue teaching. If they are talking
with each other, he will stop.

It is forbidden to learn maaseh Bereishis even with two students. If
one teaches two students, he adjusts the teaching to an average
between the two. Therefore, neither one can get the maximum. And
maaseh Bereishis needs so much precision that you cannot trust your
explanation unless it is directed to just one student.

Maaseh merkavah is so deep that it is not trusted to be handed over to
even one person. It is forbidden to teach it to even a single person,
unless he is a chacham (wise) and understands himself; then the rabbi
may guide him to discover more for himself. Chacham refers to one who
knows the whole Torah, in quantity. This means that he has learned and
understands the entire Mishnah component of the Talmud, which is a
compressed miniature of the whole Torah. This is quantity, but not
depth, because in depth there is no end.


We live in a period of great scientific discovery. Many people are
finding out about the wonders of Creation. But instead of coming to be
in awe of the Creator, they go in the opposite direction. Therefore,
to learn the marvels of Creation, it is safer for us to learn it
through a page of Talmud. There we also see the wondrous beauty of the
Creation—in a depth without end.

There is a concept of mechuseh, something which is covered up and
nistar, something which is completely hidden. If I put an object in my
coat, with the bulge visible, that’s called mechuseh. You do not see
what I carry, but you see that I carry something. The Books of the
Prophets are in the category of mechuseh. Sometimes there are very
difficult sections there that absolutely require investigation and
interpretation in order to be understood on any level. One knows there
is something being said other than the simple, surface meaning. That’s
not nistar—hidden.

In the Torah, the five books of Moses, which is in the category of
nistar, the art is so great that you don’t even notice that there is
something under the surface. The twelfth century Rashi, in his
commentary on the Torah, points out for us the places where we need to
investigate further. He has put together in the Torah all the elements
which he felt a Jewish person needs. But there are difficult parts in
Rashi also, which bear further investigation:

... In the beginning of Genesis it says, “Let there be a firmament in
the middle of the waters.” Rashi says that the firmament is exactly in
the center between the lower waters and the upper waters. The twelfth
century Nachmonidies writes that what Rashi is saying here is one of
the most hidden statements of the Torah; he says, “Do not expect me to
explain it, because even those who know should not explain it; and
even more so, myself.”

Now why did Rashi write this if it is so deep that it cannot be

Let us give an analogy to explain this. Torah is compared to bread.
The Midrash says that Moses did not eat bread or drink water for forty
days. The Midrash then asks, ‘’What did he live on?” And the answer
is, “On Torah. From the light of the Shechinah, (the Divine
Presence),” and then it says that the angels also exist on the light
of the Divine Presence.

Moses, during the time he was being given Torah, received his
sustenance from Torah, which is the bread of the soul and the food of
the personality.

When you eat bread, the first thing you do is chew it. When you chew
it, you enjoy it. We say that G-d is tov u’meitiv—He is good and He
gives goodness. This means: He is good—He gives us food; and He gives
goodness—He enables us to enjoy it. But this enjoyment is not the
function of the bread. The function is nourishment, and it is not
nourishing until it is swallowed.

It is the same with Torah. When I am learning, that which I understand
is like the taste which brings me a feeling of great satisfaction and
enjoyment. But there is more: When the bread—the Torah—goes into the
system, it nourishes; it goes in with an entire depth, the entire
power and strength of Torah, much more than I consciously know, just
like food which is digested automatically and nourishes the body even
though I am unaware of it.

There are times when a person needs a food, but it is too hard to
chew. So it is put in a pill, like vitamins. It is swallowed, and then
one has the needed element without having to taste or chew it. When
Rashi put together all the elements we need in learning Torah, there
were parts which he knew we could not understand. When Nachmonidies
talks about that part in Genesis which we cannot understand, he is
saying, “It’s a vitamin pill. Swallow it. You need it, and you’ll get
what you need. But don’t try to understand it—you’ll break your

Whether we realize it or not, Torah is full of tremendous force and
brings great inspiration.


A simple battery is full of energy. An atomic bomb looks very
innocent. But with one press on an innocent-looking button we can
release enormous energy. Likewise, the whole of Creation looks very

One of the greatest miracles of Creation is not the energy, but the
locking in of that energy. Kabbalah refers to the locking in of energy
as tzimtzum, and shows that this is gevurah (power, strength). The
tzimtzum of Creation is the greatest power that exists. The world was
created in such a manner that the raw energy was locked in and chained
down to us on our level, in order for us to be able to approach it.

The Torah is also a creation by the same Creator. Torah is also full
of tremendous force—dynamite. Rashi says in the beginning of the Book
of Genesis, that the original light of Creation was much more powerful
than the light we have for our use, the light of the sun. The Creator
said, continues Rashi, that the original light was too good to give
into the hands of the wicked, so He hid it away and reserved it for
the righteous in the World-to-Come. It was hidden in the Torah.

When we learn Torah—when we swallow it—we don’t realize the fullness
of its inspiration and its power. It is full of tremendous power and

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