Credo of a Modern Kabbalist
Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical tradition, is an object of great interest in a world satiated with material possessions and struggling to find meaning. There are people who present Kabbalah as a doorway into greater detachment and others seek the ability to gain control over their lives and fortunes. For us, the Kabbalistic tradition serves as the foundation for a rethinking of Judaism in light of the great changes taking place in human thinking and society. Because it is a record of the direct experience of the Divine by individuals and groups, it helps provide both language and concepts on which we can build, not a restored Judaism, but a renewed Judaism. We look to Kabbalah to help us redefine basic concepts, redesign individual and communal practice, while simultaneously remaining within the river of tradition we call Judaism. Thus, a renewed Judaism anchored in mysticism, will serve as a vehicle for the transformation of the individual practitioner, the community of spiritual seekers, the Jewish people, and, hopefully the larger world. By adding this book to the many already available, we hope that we succeed in connecting the text you will read here with your feeling world. We ask to develop a spiritual imagination as you read, so that you can enter into worlds that are already deeply within us and, at the same time, beyond us. It is for this reason that we have presented the material in a kabbalistic manner, based on the deep structure of the s’firot. By doing so, we hope that the integral horizon will become a way for you to look at the world and for seeing yourself in it. What we mean by Kabbalah goes even beyond the sense of a God in the center, surrounded by His creatures. For us, there must also be a sense of the truly monistic, that all is God, and that we are participants in the Divine life. We embrace the Jewish term for meditation, hitbon’nut, which stands for a stepping back, a looking at one’s place in the universe and becoming aware of the interrelation of all dimensions, embracing contradictions and paradoxes and the giving of assent that this is really so. At the same time, the study of Kabbalah without connecting the ethereal realms to the world of action makes both Kabbalah and the student into disembodied ghosts. Finally, we offer you this book in the spirit of this deep teaching. In the k’dushah / sanctification prayer in the musaf / additional service on Shabbat and holy days, we recite the question, ”Ayei m’kom k’vodo / Where is the place of God’s glory?” It is also possible to read this as a response. “Ayei / Where is,” is the place of God’s glory. The urge to search and look for God, that very search is the place of God’s glory.
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