Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 4 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Reading Kabbalah
06-12-2007, 01:14 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-19-2007, 01:15 AM by Director Michael.)
#1
Reading Kabbalah
Is it OK for a Gentile to read the Zohar? If so, what translation is the best?
Reply
06-13-2007, 06:26 AM, (This post was last modified: 10-02-2008, 03:35 PM by Director Michael.)
#2
RE: Noahide Torah Study (updated/clarified)
It is forbidden for a non-Jew to learn Kabbalah in general, in the same sense that is forbidden for a non-Jew to learn the Talmud in general.

But in both areas, there are some specific parts that relate to aspects of the Noahide Commandments and the Noahide Faith, and a Gentile may learn those parts, even in depth.

In Zohar, those would be the parts that teach about the One G-d, and about His Unity.

But aside from that, there is a prohibition for a Jew to teach a non-Jew original works of Kabbalah (e.g. Zohar), and for one to delve into the secrets of the Torah without a qualified teacher is a folly. Thus it is not practical for a non-Jew to study these topics on his/her own from original sources, since one may not do so without a qualified teacher, and Jews are forbidden to teach this to non-Jews.

The parts of Zohar that are related to the Noahide Code (i.e. teachings about G-d and His Unity) have already been explained in straightforward and logical terms, by reliable Rabbinical authorities, and translations of these works into English are available.

For example, the study of Chassidic spiritual insights that strengthen a person's faith in G-d, and arouse a person's love and awe of G-d, are permitted to be learned by Noahides.

On a personal note, I have heard from Master Kabbalists that in order to be ready to be accepted as a student of Kabbalah in general, they require that the person be learned in all of the Written Torah with its commentaries and fully versed in the Oral Law with all its commentaries, and be over the age of 40, married with children. I have seen them strongly discourage students who are unready and unqualified to delve in Kabbalah.
Rabbi Yitz
Reply
07-10-2007, 08:25 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-10-2007, 12:58 PM by Director Michael.)
#3
RE: Noahide Torah Study
Does this prohibition include basic understandings like "Kabbalah 101" web sites?
Reply
07-10-2007, 01:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-30-2011, 09:22 AM by Director Michael.)
#4
RE: Noahide Torah Study
Randy Wrote:Does this prohibition include basic understandings like "Kabbalah 101" web sites?

It is OK for a faithful Noahide to read reliable sources for a basic understanding of the ten sefirot (the three "intellectual" and seven "emotional" Divine attributes) and the four "worlds" (Atzilut, Beriah, Yesirah and Asiyah), since this is important for understanding the essential unity of the One True G-d. However, Ask Noah does not give any blanket endorsement of other web sites for Noahide learning at this level. Recommended sources for this branch of study are already posted on the "Recommended Books" page of AskNoah.org. For example:

"Mystical Concepts In Chassidism," by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, pub. Kehot (174 Pages)

Some web pages on these subjects are posted on AskNoah.org:

http://asknoah.org/essay/wellsprings-of-...al-insight

http://asknoah.org/essay/true-existence

http://asknoah.org/essay/chassidic-meditation

http://asknoah.org/essay/the-rainbow-colors

http://asknoah.org/faqs?cat=19 [heavenly levels]

http://asknoah.org/faqs?cat=82 [angels]
Reply
11-01-2009, 05:14 AM, (This post was last modified: 05-08-2015, 12:54 AM by Director Michael.)
#5
Noahides and Kabbalah
Sh'lom! I have a question:
Is it good for Noahides to learn about Kabbalah, or is it for Jews only?
If we can learn about it, do you know any good web-site about it, or any web-class? Maybe books that are suitable for Noahides?
I'm very careful about reading about Kabbalah on the internet, because i think there are many web-sites that are not good and not true to the real Kabbalah. If we can read about Kabbalah at all, which web-sites shall we NOT visit? I think we need to know which are not good so we don't read anything false.

If it is good for a Noahide to study Kabbalah, why is it like that? What is the benefits of it? I think it would be nice to know more about... everything, and about spirituality (i don't know if that is the real word for it). Does it help us to improve our spiritual lives?

And if we shall NOT study it, why? Is it because we would need to know parts of the Torah which we shall not read?

Are there rules for Noahide spiritual life?
Reply
11-10-2009, 07:50 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-30-2011, 09:25 AM by Director Michael.)
#6
RE: Noahides and Kabbalah
sodergard Wrote:Is it good for Noahides to learn about Kabbalah, or is it for Jews only?

From the explanations in "The Divine Code," Volume 1, p. 90:

The parts of Kabbalah (the "secret" part of Torah) that relate to the Noahide Commandments (e.g. parts relating to knowledge of the greatness of G-d, His Unity, etc.) are permitted for Noahides to learn about, and are recommended. These parts from Kabbalah are explained in later books that are recommended [which correctly and clearly explain the original esoteric Kabbalah sources]. Studying from original Kabbalah sources without guidance is impractical and not recommended.

sodergard Wrote:If we can learn about it, do you know any good web-site about it?

Please see, for example, our web pages listed above in Post #4.

sodergard Wrote:Maybe books that are suitable for Noahides?

For example, see our list of recommended books for "Chassidic Insights," with links, at the location
http://asknoah.org/books?cat=48

"Nothing Besides Him," by Rabbi Manis Friedman, set of 7 CD's based on the second book of Tanya (called "The Gate of the Unity and the Faith").

"True Existence," by Rabbi Shmuel Schneerson (The Rebbe Maharash), 1869 C.E., pub. Kehot (98 pages)

"The Four Worlds," by Rabbi Yosef Y. Schneersohn (The Rebbe Rayatz), 1937 C.E., pub. Kehot (94 pages)

sodergard Wrote:I'm very careful about reading about Kabbalah on the internet, because i think there are many web-sites that are not good and not true to the real Kabbalah. If we can read about Kabbalah at all, which web-sites shall we NOT wisit? I think we need to know which are not good so we don't read anything false.

You should avoid "pop-culture kabbalah" web sites, and you should be wary of on-line kabbalah being taught by non-observant and unreliable persons. The correct and understandable explanations of true Kabbalah are provided by Chassidic teachings.

sodergard Wrote:If it is good for a Noahide to study Kabbalah, why is it like that? What is the benefits of it? I think it would be nice to know more about... everything, and about spirituality (i don't know if that is the real word for it). Does it help us to improve our spiritual lives?

The parts of Kabbalah (as explained through Chassidic teachings) that are beneficial for a Noahide to learn are those that relate to the Noahide Code - e.g. parts relating to knowledge of the greatness of G-d, His Unity, His Divine Providence, etc.

sodergard Wrote:And if we shall NOT study it, why? Is it because we would need to know parts of the Torah which we shall not read?

Torah-based Kabbalah is governed by the same principles as Talmud, regarding the parts that a Gentile may learn. For the parts that don't relate to the Noahide Code, for a Noahide it would be delving into Torah just for its own sake, since the Gentile won't learn anything from it that is of practical use for his/her Divine service.

sodergard Wrote:Are there rules for Noahide spiritual life?

See for example the meritorious acts and traditions on the page
http://asknoah.org/faq/righteous-traditions
Reply
11-22-2009, 12:59 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-24-2009, 09:10 PM by Director Michael.)
#7
RE: Reading Kabbalah
I have read in many places that reading kabbalah is permissible for non-Jews.
Reply
11-24-2009, 09:09 PM, (This post was last modified: 11-24-2009, 09:14 PM by Director Michael.)
#8
RE: Reading Kabbalah
You misunderstood the web pages you were looking at.

One web pages says only that it is permitted for a Jew to teach Righteous Gentiles (observant Noahides) how to cultivate righteousness and spirituality, and that this includes permission for a Jew to teach them certain Kabbalistic principles that are applicable to Righteous Gentiles (i.e., not any of the Kabbalistic principles that are not applicable). Firstly, this instructs a clear limitation on which Gentiles are permitted to receive this teaching, and secondly, it does NOT mean or imply that it's OK for any Gentile to read original Kabbalah sources on his/her own, without a qualified and worthy (i.e. reliable Orthodox Torah-scholar) Jewish teacher.

A second web page says that Gentiles studying Kabbalah is a positive thing, if it is done in the right way. I'm sure that the second Rabbi would agree that the first Rabbi is describing the "right way," when it comes to study of original Kabbalah sources.
Reply
11-29-2009, 05:31 AM, (This post was last modified: 11-29-2009, 04:36 PM by Director Michael.)
#9
RE: Reading Kabbalah
Director Michael,

My Rabbi, in response to my question-- so Noahides are commanded to imitate G-d. e.g. He is merciful, so I am to be merciful. So He is just, so I am to be just. etc. The Torah commands us in certain middot (character traits). I am confused. There are thirteen attributes of G-d. I found a book outlining 24 middot. My Rabbi says there are ten middot outlined by Kabbalah. I have in my possession a book by Rambam, Laws of Personality Development (part of the Mishneh Torah).

So we are to imitate G-d's middot. Besides what is written by Rambam on Laws of Personality Development, is there an authoritative, comprehensive book on how many middot there are? and how we acquire them?

G-d bless
Reply
11-29-2009, 04:34 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-30-2011, 09:32 AM by Director Michael.)
#10
RE: Reading Kabbalah
Your confusion is understandable, because the term "middot" has different meanings, depending on the context.

1) One meaning of Divine "middot" is the descriptions by which the Hebrew Prophets praised G-d, in the verses of the Hebrew Bible. These are called "G-d's ways," which we should strive to develop in our own behaviors and personalities. These are: "Gracious," "Merciful," "Holy," "Slow to anger," "Abundant in kindness," "Righteous," "Just," "Perfect," "Strong," and the like. By praising G-d with those terms, the Prophets revealed to us that we should try to emulate those positive characteristics. See for example Exodus 14:18, which was spoken by Moses.

2) Another meaning of "middot" is the natural traits of human personality or character. These can be positive (e.g. kindness) or negative (e.g. cruelty). We should strive to develop and strengthen good traits within ourselves, and weaken and eliminate bad traits within ourselves. But if we leave the definitions of "good" and "bad" up to our own human intellect, the results will sooner or later be disastrous. There will be people who act with cruelty, and it will be called kindness, and there will be people who act with kindness, and it will be called cruelty. Therefore, a person needs to align him/herself with the Divine perspective on what is actually good and bad in the realm of human character and behavior. This is the subject of Rambam's "Laws of Personality Development," in which he explains the following ideals:

Chapter 1:
- To follow a "middle path" in our character traits, or with careful self-examination, to lean toward a direction of greater piety
- To emulate "G-d's ways," as explained above

Chapter 2:
- How a person can correct a character trait that has become seriously corrupted. This is by acting in the opposite extreme, until the person trains and refines himself to stay on the "middle path."

Chapter 3:
- To control and properly direct one's desires. In summary, the Jewish Sages directed and said: "And all your deeds should be for the sake of Heaven." This is what King Solomon declared in his wisdom: "Know Him in all your ways and He will straighten your paths" (Proverbs 3:6).

Chapter 4:
- The importance of maintaining good health. (This consists of Rambam's medical advice circa 1200 C.E., according to the medical knowledge at that time.)

Chapter 5:
- The higher standards of conduct for Torah scholars.

Chapter 6:
- To associate with people who are righteous and wise
- To use a proper and sensitive manner of correcting one's colleague
- Not to embarrass others, and not to oppress the unfortunate

Chapter 7:
- Not to gossip, not to take vengeance, not to bear a grudge.

3) A Kabbalistic use of the term "middot" refers to the "13 Attributes of Mercy," contained in the verses Exodus 34:6,7 which were spoken by G-d:
"L-rd, L-rd, benevolent G-d, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness and truth; He preserves kindness for two thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, and He cleanses."

Kabbalistically, these attributes refer to 13 conduits of G-dliness in the supernal realm of Keter ("Crown"), that transcends all of the created spiritual worlds.

4) When your Rabbi said that G-d has 10 "middot," he was referring to the 10 emanations of G-dly of attributes (Sefirot), which are the spiritual "building blocks" of everything that G-d created, and through which He interacts with the creation. These are discussed on our web page

http://asknoah.org/essay/the-rainbow-colors

- Wisdom [ = Chokhmah]
- Understanding [ = Binah]
- Lovingkindness [ = Hesed]
- Strength/Judgement/Restraint [ = Gevurah]
- Beauty/Mercy [ = Tiferes]
- Eternity/Victory [ = Netzakh]
- Splendor/Humility [ = Hod]
- Foundation/Connection [ = Yesod]
- Sovereignty [ = Malkhus]
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)