What Can We Learn from Kabbalistic Teachings?
Kabbalah is a branch of Jewish mysticism that deals with seeking answers to questions about the essence of God. You might be familiar with Kabbalah from celebrities like Madonna, Britney Spears, and Mick Jagger, who have worn red string bracelets or spoken about their practice. While Kabbalah has become popular in the 2000s, the original texts are sourced from Medieval Hebrew and have been extensively studied by scholars ever since.
Concepts in Kabbalah
Kabbalah texts attempt to explain more about the stories in the Hebrew Bible through a non-rabbinic lens. Much of Kabbalah is an attempt to approach and understand God directly. For that reason, Jewish mystical study often focuses on the creation story and the story of Ezekiel and the chariot.
Some early Kabbalah texts posited that God could be understood through 10 distinct channels called sefirot. These concepts, linked to the Hebrew alphabet letters, describe how God manifests in creation and life. How the sefirot are linked is believed to represent the rhythm of creation and the search for harmony.
Some Takeaways From Kabbalah
Even without practicing every element of Kabbalah, there are many takeaways from the mystical faith that can be useful in anyone’s everyday life.
The relationship of the sefirot changes depending on which sect of Kabbalah you study, but most teachers agree that the way the letters are arranged relates to a metaphorical Tree of Life, bridging the gap between Heaven and Earth. For this reason, Kabbalah is often referenced in terms of healing. Sefirot can express what feels out of balance in life and search for equilibrium among the other branches of the tree.
Taking Time for Gratitude
Kabbalah traditionally involves saying prayers and blessings throughout the course of the day. For instance, the morning wakeup prayer is meant to express gratitude for each fresh new day. There are even some blessings meant to be said upon hearing bad news. Gratitude is a powerful tool to practice positivity and feeling at peace.
Kabbalah arose out of an attempt to find more answers to large questions about how we came to be and how we should live. This sense of curiosity is directed towards trying to lead more worthwhile lives. Regardless of what rituals you use to invite curiosity into your life, many of us can relate to the core concepts of Kabbalah as a search for meaning.
Another name for Kabbalah is Torat ha-Sod, a phrase often translated as “the secret teaching” or the “teaching of the secret.” For this reason, Kabbalah was often taught only from master to student directly, with restrictions about how the knowledge could be shared. Kabbalah has since evolved to express itself as the ongoing search for the secrets of the soul. Learning to embrace the mystical, metaphorical meanings in both these ancient texts and everyday life can help us lead richer, more expressive lives.
Kabbalah may offer a spiritual solution to some of life's common hardships and uncertainties, teaching us to cope with the way things are rather than feeling frustrated about how they should be. Even if you are not too familiar with this ancient movement, there are many takeaways from Kabbalah that can be applied to your everyday life for enhanced feelings of inner peace and overall spiritual balance.