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The Kabbalah of Pokémon GO

The Kabbalah of Pokémon GO

Can Nintendo save the world?


It’s confirmed. Nintendo has Kabbalists designing their games.

Game designers create worlds. I know because I taught game design in a school funded by Nintendo back in the ’90s.“Whatever you see or hear in this world is a lesson in your mission in life.”—Baal Shem Tov Studying and teaching their craft, I came to fathom the depth of the hidden knowledge of the cosmos.

And now, it’s out of the box. As any Kabbalist will tell you, the ultimate secret of the universe is the secret of the hidden sparks. They are all around us. Our souls came into this world and entered bodies as avatars to find and rescue these sparks. Some require coaxing, some require struggle, some just some specific activity.

How do you detect these sparks? How do you know how to rescue them?

Only because you have a device, namely Torah, that leads you to them and signals their presence. And then this Torah tells you what’s needed to release that spark and reconnect it with its origin, the origin of all sparks, where they are all one.

The Kabbalists at Nintendo get all that.Life is all about finding and liberating the hidden spark of meaning within each thing. They designed their game accordingly. They allowed us all a glimpse of a deeper reality, where a hidden world lies beneath the apparent world. They gave us a tool to imagine the world of the future, when those two worlds will merge. But there’s an essential element they left out.

The activities we do to rescue these sparks also liberate and fix up the world. In truth, that’s all those sparks are—the inner meaning and purpose of each thing. As we rescue all those sparks, the entire world comes to discover its meaning, until it sings its song in harmony.

So here’s the challenge for Nintendo. Will they take the next step? Will they provide meaningful activities for those who find a poké wherever they find it?

Like treating someone to a cup of coffee. Helping out a homeless veteran with a dollar and a few kind words. Or helping someone’s elderly mother with her shopping. Learning some words of wisdom. Or just sitting there to appreciate the awesomeness of this creation we stand within. And with that, their poké will truly find itsWith one small tweak, Pokémon GO could change the world. meaning.

Will Nintendo come to understand the power they have to better our world? Because, as any Kabbalist will tell you, if they wield that power wisely, it will be a very different world.

Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, a senior editor at, also heads our Ask The Rabbi team. He is the author of Bringing Heaven Down to Earth. To subscribe to regular updates of Rabbi Freeman's writing, visit Freeman Files subscription. FaceBook @RabbiTzviFreeman Periscope @Tzvi_Freeman .
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Anonymous far away July 31, 2016

Pokemon go is not dangerous! to all those people in the comments section saying that pokemon go is dangerous I have something to say. pokemon go, is the same as looking down at your screen, texting whilst walking. Pokemon is just the latest and greatest phase and will die out very shortly. also pokemon is only dangerous if you are being irresponsible and not looking at your surroundings. People are being very rude about pokemongo because they are jealous of peoples rare pokemon. just because I have a Pikachu, does not mean you have to disrespect me and write rude comments about my beloved game, just because you are peanut butter jealous Reply

PM Germany July 27, 2016

there is a slight difference With all due respect,Rabbi...
If our longing to break through the routine visible surface of reality has its roots in longing for Divine, offering pokemons to satisfy it is nothing else but stealing and trapping the seed, a.k.a. masturbation, isn't it?
Regarding the "positive" payload...
If worshiping an idol makes one perform a "good" act, does it excuse an act of idolatry? Indeed, "there is no one else but Him". But do we really need Nintendo to "help" our kids serve HaShem? Seriously? Reply

Dina Maine July 26, 2016

This Pokeman craze can be dangerous Someone mentioned this, & I want to add that not only have there been an increase in car accidents, but 2 kids following the Pokeman thing, accidentally crossed the border from Canada into Montana. They were so engrossed, they were totally I aware of their surroundings until picked up by US Border patrol. They were returned to their parents at the closest legal border crossing. If it happened on the Mexican border, it could have had dire consequences. Can you imagine an Israeli kid accidentally following a terrorists rendition of Pokeman? It's a computer game, so it can be hacked. Too dangerous for me. No way would I let any kid do this. Even crossing the street? I could hit someone who is too engrossed in following some odd creature on their phone. Stupidity is what I call it! Reply

K. Toronto July 26, 2016

And so let it be, selah I agree with Janice. Namely that the pokemon Go 'craze' could easily be gathered into awareness of our shared charitable needs.

Until i discovered that one of the smallest, least known but historically important downtown churches, nearly hidden in a deanery of better funded 'brethern', was one of the Pokemon sites, i was somewhat skeptical of the potential positive interactions...

Miracles are possible. i've never seen a generation pass by yet that has not been lead by the lightest of souls, especially at the level of 'love thy brother' .... perhaps it will lead to the fall of xenophobic barriers between orthodoxy and 'reform' jews. Hallelujah. Reply

Deborah July 25, 2016

Pokemon Go I can't help but feel that this game is brainwashing people and is not good at all but Dominic and even though we can bring the word of G-d to people is spread fast through internet but we must be careful because after all it is called the world wide Web and like the spider web any one touches the web gets stuck to it and it's a matter of time before the spider( Satan) comes giving the fact nothing good has come from this game it can't be good at all but a trap Reply

Anonymous Toronto via July 22, 2016

What kind of Pokemon are at the kotel Reply

Janice Memphis TN July 21, 2016

What a great article!! I don't play video games but haven't missed out on knowledge of the Pokemon craze. I love the idea of tzim tzum and the scattering of divine sparks at creation - learned about it in Intro to Kaballah at University of Memphis some years back. It would truly be cool if Nintendo encouraged those who find a poke to then do a deed of kindness . It would go a long way towards redeeming our world! Thanks!! Reply

Daniel strickler Winston-Salem July 21, 2016

Lol my bad, this is for moderater Didn't scroll down further... yall amazing and I'm proud to be a jew and spread your words to the world, thank you for everything

Anonymous Montreal via July 21, 2016

It's one small step for a Pokemon, one giant leap for Mankind Reply

Anonymous USA July 21, 2016

I feel that this is dangerous and scary, I fear for our children who already have enough to cope with just by living life. Fantasy games or whatever you want to call them are not the answer and could possibly promote mental illness in some. We must be led by God and not plastic gadgets. Reply

Anonymous Phoenix July 21, 2016

Dog walking Have you seen the story about the use of Pokemon Go to find dog walkers? Maybe it is up to us to take from what we see and transform its use? Great essay. Reply

Anonymous USA July 21, 2016

Is it ok to catch pokemons in a synagogue? On week days? Hidden sparks! They are in churches now across Europe. Also, putting them to election points may improve campaign participation and can even affect the voting process if you put lives and bonuses over the right voting button. Reply

Imanuel Xianning July 21, 2016

"With one small tweak, Pokémon Go could change the world." Yes, in the very wrong direction. Think. Reply

Anonymous Malverne July 21, 2016

Mitzvah-Mon My 18 year old son has joined the ranks of the many Pokemon Go players. The good news is that it gets him out of the house, away from his desktop computer and into the sunshine, fresh air, outdoors. The bad news is that while he enjoys catching these adorable digital creatures, he could be spending his time instead doing mitzvot during his summer vacation between high school and college. He doesn't receive any prize for collecting Pokemon so I don't know why he is so excited by the game. I would like him to instead collect "Mitzvah mon" and receive the satisfaction that volunteering brings. If only Nintendo could work with volunteer organizations in some way... Reply

robert July 21, 2016

From what I have heard: the game is good. But it's designed so hackers can easily get the players personal info. Reply

Anonymous July 21, 2016

Not a Fan Really interesting article, Rabbi. If true, it's a really bad idea, imho. Lots of reports that this new 'toy' is a CIA gadget to get cameras on the ground instantly. We're also learning that these gadgets may be altering our DNA. Better just to be righteous and let it happen naturally than to artificially induce 'sparks.' Leads to 'knowledge disparity' and the 'power to enslave.' Too much 'right brain' stuff for kids happening now anyways. Only supposed to be 10%. Need to be out playing, making their hearts beat. For me, it appears that Corporate Totalitarianism is trying to mold the minds of our children and I'm not a fan. Reply

Anonymous London July 21, 2016

Pokemon New Age occult nonsense if you ask me Reply

Anonymous July 21, 2016

Pokemon and other inventions I did read somewhere that the founder wanted to get people to do things in the real world. There will be good and bad , but I saw children going out and about with their parents on a rainy day so at least it is helping to motivate the couch potatoes to go outdoors.
Having grown up in the land of Pokemon (though not of the Pokemon generation) I have a love and cringe relationship with these inventions, so thank you for your positive perspective. I was being judgmental but now look at some of the good things about it. Reply

Anonymous Israel July 21, 2016

FYI, Pokemon Go wasn't created by Nintendo... Reply

Anonymous Dubai July 21, 2016

Did I just read this right?
Pokemon = Demon

Our kids should stay away from it, they aren't serving G-d nor their communities when they play Pokemon-Go Reply