20 October 2010

How to learn Kabbalah easy and fast

I have been a student of Kabbalah for approximately ten years. My favorite authors are Gershem Scholem and Aryeh Kaplan; I own a number of their books. Some of them are challenging. Those two fellows, in particular, show that it is easy for a gifted scholar to spend an entire career studying the various topics within this vast subject area.

If you know nothing about Kabbalah and are curious, I have good news for you. It is easy to sit down and learn enough to converse intelligently with just about any adept. You may be able to do so after you spend ten minutes reading this post.

The central ideas in Kabbalah are summarized on a diagram called the Tree of Life. It has ten nodes and twenty-two line segments connecting various pairs of nodes. The ten nodes are named (in English, in order): crown, wisdom, understanding, mercy, strength, beauty, victory, glory, foundation, kingdom. These are ten common words, but they are not ordinary words. They are extraordinary words.

You can prove this to yourself in five minutes. Look up these ten words in a Biblical Concordance. You will immediately see that these are ten of the most prominent words in the good book. And you may have all of the information you will need to quickly teach yourself most of the important lessons in all of Kabbalah for you.

One qualification is needed; you must first have a basic Jewish or Christian education. There are tens of millions of such fully qualified people in the United States. If you went to church and Sunday school for a period of a few years, you have all the background needed.

Assuming you fulfill this small prerequisite, here is my recipe for teaching yourself Kabbalah easy and fast. To be more exact, what you will be teaching yourself are the most salient points of Kabbalah that apply to your own life. Take the ten concordance entries for crown, wisdom, &c. For each entry, look at the dozens of scripture verses listed and see what stands out for you. Verses you recognize, stories you recognize, books that are your personal favorite. It would take a long time to examine every entry, but it may take a very short time for you to gather an important and personal connection for each of the ten words. When you have finished this, you are done. You are a Kabbalist. You may not be an adept, but you may have a better Kabbalah education than Madonna. For sure you will have as good a Kabbalah education as Britney Spears.

I will finish with an example. The most often recited passage in the entire Bible from the compiling of the book through all recorded history and onward through all conceivable human life going forward is the Lord's prayer from the book of Matthew. The last line goes like this:

"Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever."

Kingdom is node 10 on the Tree of Life. Glory is node 8. Power (strength) is node 5. Thirty percent of your work is now done for you. When I said this is easy and fast, I meant this is easy and fast.

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About Craig

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Houston, Texas, United States
I have been living in the lovely neighborhood of Spring Branch in the great city of Houston since late in 2005. I started out with the idea of making this blog about my life in this neighborhood. That did not last long. Right now I am posting every five days on the alternating topics of literature, philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics. This project has been ongoing since July 27, 2010 and I believe it will continue for at least a few more months.