Kabbalah is theology in the fullest sense - including ontology, cosmogony and cosmology.

It is not speculative philosophy based on human insight nor theories derived from human reasoning.

It is a study, as it were, of Divinity and of the relationship between G‑d and His Creation, based on the premises of revealed truth.

The Kabbalah takes man beyond the normative understanding of reason.

It goes beyond the exoteric part of Torah and transcends normative existence.

It uncovers many of the infinite layers of the secrets of life, of Creation, of the soul, of the heavenly spheres.

It penetrates beyond the garments and the body of the Torah.

It is the very core and soul of Torah, the ultimate revelation of Divinity - exposing the inner meaning, effects and purpose of Torah and mitzvot.

The illumination emanating from the Kabbalah ignites the soul of man, setting it on fire in the awareness of a deeper and higher reality. Its study and insights are themselves mystical experiences.

The Kabbalah is all this - but always and exclusively within the context of Torah.

As a body cannot function without a soul, so the soul is ineffective without the body.

The soul of the Torah (nistar, the esoteric part of the Torah) can never be separated from the body of the Torah (nigleh, the exoteric parts; Halachah, the commandments and practices prescribed by the Torah).

Kabbalah reduced to spiritual or philosophical symbolism, stripped from the observance of the mitzvot, is worthless mumbo- jumbo, an empty shell.

This is the first and foremost difference between Jewish mysticism and all other kinds and forms. That is why Jewish mysticism can never fall into the category of a cult.

The great mystics and philosophers outside Judaism, in the East and in the West, were honest and sincere sages.

They did seek truth.

They did not look for answers to justify or verify any of their preconceived notions. They were not indulging their egos. And many did discover and develop profound theories and insights which stir the imagination and move the human spirit.

Some had glimpses of ultimate reality. Yet, in spite of all this, they worked in a chameleonic void. They could move only as far as finite and fallible man is able to reach on his own.

Their insights or findings, therefore, are either humanly verifiable (that is, logically self-evident truth or tautologies) or else speculative truth which at best contains an element of possibility but never the assurance of certitude.

The Kabbalah, on the other hand, builds on the revealed truth of Torah.

The validity of its speculative theories and subjective experiences must be, and is, tested and verified by that truth in order to be worthy of consideration, to be viable and acceptable. It has, and continually uses, objective criteria to make it consistent with, and as reliable as, Halachah.