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Chief Rabbi of Safed declares Kabbalah study by non-Jews a positive development.

Kosher Kabbalah for Non-Jews?

Kosher Kabbalah for Non-Jews?

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Kosher Kabbalah for Non-Jews?
Chief Rabbi of Safed declares Kabbalah study by non-Jews a positive development.

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, the city that was once the world center of Kabbala study, says that the study of Kabbala by non-Jews can be "positive", but only if done in the proper manner. Currently the chief rabbi of Safed for over a decade, Rabbi Shmuel is the son of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, one of the most important living Sephardic Jewish legal authorities and kabbalists, and a former chief rabbi of Israel.

During an interview with the popular media resource, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said, "I believe that the study of the Zohar by Gentiles, as in the common phenomenon we see today with non-Jewish musicians and entertainers studying Kabbala, is a positive phenomenon - as long as it is done in the right way." He explained that it should not just be a matter of curiosity, but of a genuine search for the "Torah of life".

To see people searching for spirituality is a positive and important development….

Rabbi Eliyahu addressed the matter in light of the jump in sales of books of Kabbala. According to Meir Bar-El, Deputy Director of the Manufacturers Association of Israel, exports of such books have tripled in recent years due to the world-wide awakening to the study of Kabbala. He reported that thirty-five million dollars worth of Kabbala texts were exported around the world from Israel in 2005, and that total exports of Jewish holy books in 2005 grew by 119% over the year before, and totaled 70% of all book exports from Israel. He even said that there are not enough professional printers now in Israel to meet the continuing demand for holy books from Israel and that more training courses are needed.

"This is exactly what Elijah the Prophet told Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (Zohar author, circa 1st-century C.E.) and his group when they began writing the Zohar," Rabbi Eliyahu said, "that in the course of time, people will begin making a living from this work. Of course, Elijah was referring to the fact that it would have a spiritual effect on those who study it, but it can be understood this way as well."

"It is told about King David," the rabbi said, "that when he wanted to bring people closer to an authentic Torah life, he would teach them the secrets of Torah. In general, to see people searching for spirituality is a positive and important development."

[Adapted from an article by Hillel Fendel on israelnationalnews.com/ Wed, 01 Mar 2006]

Yerachmiel Tilles is the co-founder of Ascent-of-Safed, and was its educational director for 18 years. He is the creator of www.ascentofsafed.com and www.kabbalaonline.org and currently the director of both sites. He is also a well-known storyteller, a columnist for numerous chassidic publications, and a staff rabbi on AskMoses.com, as well as and the author of "Saturday Night, Full Moon": Intriguing Stories of Kabbalah Sages, Chasidic Masters and other Jewish Heroes.
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EHUMADU CHUKWUEMEKA LAGOS, NIGERIA via kabbalaonline.org August 22, 2016

I believe using the phrase "limited study of Kabballah" doesnt really express the experience I have when I study it because there are basic fundamental knowledge everyone must have to process the Kabballah in your mind and this is the same for everyone even Jews besides the sephirots are all interlinked so its all a matter of maturing spiritually to interprete at a deeper level of understanding available for appilcation
Its a great masterpiece and I simply call it the book of the World. Reply

Paul Bourgeois February 18, 2015

I am wondering: If a non-Jew is not bound by mitzvot then he/she cannot be bound by the restrictions. Not being bound a non-Jew may CHOOSE to eat kosher or light Shabbat candles or say Lecha Dohdi or Amidah or read Kabbalah because he/she believes and thinks these things are important to him/her. Reply

Paul Bourgeois Halifax, Canada February 4, 2015

The article says that the study of Kabbalah can be a positive thing but only if it is done in the proper manner. But isn't this equally true for Jews as for non Jews, that improper study of Torah or Kabbalah is not a positive thing. One should always do something properly. Now, the question is: How does the individual who is engaged in Torah study and Kabbalah study discover what is "proper" what is "improper"? Surely different people of different intellects and temperaments, whether Jew or non Jew, should not all study the same way. Reply

Noah770 MI February 4, 2015

To Paul:

I agree with you to a degree. The mitzvoth which are unique to the Jewish people and the soul/Kabbalah behind them I agree is for the Jewish people alone.

But gentiles, Noahides, have aspects of Torah and mitzvoth that they are also required to study and practice and there is soul/Kabbalah behind these as well because its all one Torah. I believe it should be perfectly fine for Noahides to study the Kabbalah on this level as well.

Furthermore, the 10 sefirot or "middot" in part, reflect the fact of all people being made b'tzelem Hashem, in the image of G-d. For example, the recognition that chessed is a G-dly attribute manifested in this world and to work toward being a better reflection of chessed in this world certainly applies to all humanity.

My point here is that limited study of Kabbalah by non-Jews should be permissible just as the limited study of the Torah is permissible provided it is those parts of the Torah that apply to them.. Reply

Paul Bourgeois December 11, 2014

To study Kabbalah a Jew has to practice the 613 commandments, the Mizvot as written in the Shulcan Aruch. This develops character and improves his relationship with the world. This connects the Jew with the Divine and raises the world. Through action the Jew becomes the embodiment, the body, of Torah. The Kabbalah is what lies behind the mitzvot, the body. The soul. It is not a question of right or wrong. If a non-Jew is not part of Torah as a Jew is then how can a non-Jew, who is not obliged to follow mitvot, even understand what Kabbalah is? Reply

Paul Bourgeois Halifax, Canada December 11, 2014

Torah Study is not an end in itself. The Universe is built on three pillars Study, prayer and action. Study give you knowledge, prayer keeps you focused so you know the right action, and action creates. So yeah, personal reasons are very important if you want to raise sparks in the world. You are part of the world. The people closest to you are part of the world. Shimon HaTzaddik was from the remnants of the Great Assembly.
He used to say:
On three things the world stands.
On Torah,
On service [of God],
And on acts of human kindness

Mishnah, Ethics of the Fathers Reply

Noah770 MI December 11, 2014

I think that, perhaps the main reason why the chief Rabbi of Safed feels that the interest in Kabbalah on the part of non-Jews is positive is because it shows a hunger for spirituality on the one hand and a willingness to seek answers from Jewish tradition on the other.

In other words, the world is getting ready for the redemption and part of this will certainly be the nations recognizing the spiritual role of Klal Yisrael in this process. It is similar I think to the growing Noahide movement of which I have been a part of for many years now.

I agree that it is right to be concerned that the approach to this study is done in the proper way. Personally, I am in favor of Noahides who are thoroughly familiar with the study and observance of the seven Noahide laws having access to Kabbalah knowledge, as it applies to them, through deep study.

That said, I do feel that the basic ideas of Kabbalah can be useful in developing good character, regardless of any higher understanding. Reply

Anonymous Rock Island, WA via kabbalaonline.org October 20, 2014

Thank you for the article. Maybe if the reasoning for studying Kabbalah is for personal reasons ... or for control... or whatever it can give them, it is definitely WRONG!!! But... if it is for a deeper study of Torah... only in what is allowed for a non-Jew to study... is this a good thing? Please reply... It is important to do the right thing and to "sort thru" the wrong directions...so to speak... Reply

Paul Bourgeois June 9, 2014

I've got a secret for you! What is required of Kabbalah study before you begin is a solid course of character development. But I have found that once I improved my relationship with my wife, my children, the people around me, controlled my anger, found humility, and seen all people as equals (and I am and will always be in that process of becoming) that those were the reasons for studying Kabbalah. One Hassidic master said once: "Sure, I could move a mountain, but why would I? Everything is already in it's place." Reply

Anonymous Malaysia via kabbalaonline.org April 27, 2014

Rav Yitzchak Ginsburg has written a book on 'Kaballah and Mediations for the Nations of the world' and rabbi dovid sears of breslov has written a wonderful book, also, titled Compassion to Humanity the Jewish tradition. it also covers for us noahides. Reply

Anonymous NE November 1, 2013

I am confused... Are women permitted to study Kaballah? Reply

Anonymous Estado de México, Estado de México via kabbalaonline.org June 21, 2013

I agree that Kabbalah chooses the person and it is up to this person to open as many doors as he wants to open. The weird part is that at first he is directed to the most accessible and easy door to open, next to a more difficult door, and then another higher door and so on, according to his pace and understanding. I find this so strange. Reply

Anonymous June 16, 2013

It is true that there needs to be an authentic source for Kabbalah study ,
because there are so many feel-good 'Kabbalah' texts out there sometimes written by non-Jews. I'm able to tell the difference now thanks to your Kabbalah Online.org site. I also appreciate how much I have begun to learn about the Torah, the depth of understanding the Jewish teachers and scholars can share is just amazing, you won't don't find this precious knowledge elsewhere. They also teach you how to apply the learning in your daily life , which makes it an authentic experience. Reply

noahide770 MI April 26, 2013

I love this site!...And what an interesting article. I am a non-Jew who studies the sheva mitzvos B'nei Noach. I also study (certain parts) of the Tanya and Kabbalah. I think the best/safest route for Jew or non-Jew is to first build a solid foundation of Torah learning (again sheva mitzvos for Noahides). This way one won't get caught up with cultish groups on the one-hand or self aggrandizing on the other. Further more, from what I understand, if one doesn't know what he is doing, the study and practice of Kabbalah can be psychically and spiritually dangerous. So, of course I agree with the article, but I advise caution. It's like electricity or radiation...very powerful and very useful, but to be handled with care by people who know what they are doing. Reply

Steve Crowl Mt Shasta, CA / USA via kabbalaonline.org December 5, 2012

I just read your article. I know this is going to sound wierd, but I cannot be any wierder than you for posting this article. I am a hunter of Light. I am sure there are many. I think I have found the lost Sparks of Light that will help us raise the consciousness of the physical plane and signal the beginning of the new Messianic reality. Who do I speak with to confirm my finding? I am not Jewish but my family is. Reply

Anonymous USA November 3, 2012

I have just discovered your site. I am excited because of the abundance of good information and teaching about Kabbalah found here. I am seeking G-d more deeply than ever. I thirst of Torah knowledge and for a deeper prayer life and closer relationship with G-d. Reply

Anonymous México, Estado de México via kabbalaonline.org October 15, 2012

I am a non Jew and I am very much attracted to Kabbalah. I have been studying for seven years. what is at the root of this? Is it possible that all people of the world will come one day under it? Reply

Anonymous cary, nc via kabbalaonline.org October 15, 2012

i loved the article that it is good to study holy Zohar, but i wanted tro share my own experience with readers that while i was in a very distressed situation and one friend guided me to Kabbalah Center --the non-kosher one loved by pop singers-- then i purchased their 23 books of Zohar for $450 and their red string and their other books, before i learn that the center was not approved by the holy Rabbis, then i had a difficult times to get rid of their stuff, since we could not discard holy names then G-d guided me to ask help from holy scholars and now i just pray from tehillim(artscroll) and siddur(artscroll) to be sure that my books are kosher then i just purchased from artscroll.com and purchase kosher kabbalah books from www.inner.org and www.kabbalaonline.org and i am very careful now, because of the so much suffering that i felt from non-kosher kabbalah then please be aware and visit www.rickross.com for more information and eye opening site to be very aware. Reply

Anonymous Kenner, LA/USA via kabbalaonline.org September 10, 2012

Kabbalah chooses the person and with that is up to the individual to decide how many doors he wants to open as he earns a key for it.... I will always keep trying to earn as many keys that I can and that will be the result of how much effort I'll put in it. Jews and non Jews have the same decision to make. Everyone is a part of ONE and one is part of EveryOne. Reply

Julie Durham, UK June 6, 2011

I would very much like to receive instruction in the Kabbalah. I think it is important for the world to understand the esoteric and for each religion to understand each other religion through the esoteric. Anyone else out there with a similar idea?
By the way, for the record, I am an artist, play the piano, write poetry...etc. and my daughter is an undergraduate at Cambridge university, my eldest son is a writer and my youngest a musician! Reply

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