Kabbalah is a mysterious derivative of Judaism. Kabbalah involves aspects of Jewish mysticism, philosophy, and science. In Hebrew, qabbalah literally means "reception." Kabbalah is an ancient practice of meditation, mysticism, and devotion that was taught in secret to a select few people. It is considered a deeper understanding of Judaism than traditional Judaism.
Kabbalah may be divided into three categories: theoretical, spiritual, and magical. Theoretical Kabbalah involves studying the system of Kabbalah. Proponents suggest that it provides a foundation of knowledge so that meditative and practical Kabbalah may be understood. Spiritual Kabbalah involves aspects of the spiritual world, including angels and souls. It also involves meditating as a means to achieve a higher level of consciousness or awareness. Magical Kabbalah involves altering or influencing the course of nature. Mystical exercises often involve the use of magical seals, magical stones, amulets, and incantations (spoken rituals).
Individuals who practice Kabbalah aim to understand the origin and fate of the soul, the meaning of life, and the nature of divinity. Jewish Kabbalists generally aim to achieve a union with God while maintaining a family and social life within the framework of traditional Judaism. However, Kabbalah is often considered more of a philosophy of life than a religion.
Kabbalah includes a practice called Integrated Kabbalistic healing (IKH) which has been used for centuries. IKH combines 13th-Century Kabbalistic wisdom with current theories from quantum physics, 20th-Century physiological insight, and teachings of nonduality. IKH may be used for self-healing or for healing others.
Although Kabbalah is founded on the Torah, the Jewish scriptures, and other sacred writings, some non-Jews also practice some aspects of Kabbalah to achieve spiritual enlightenment. This form of Kabbalah does not have a formal name, but it is often called Hermetic Kabbalah and it dates back to the late 15th Century.
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Kabbalists aim to answer deep, paradoxical religious questions about life and humankind, such as "what is the meaning of life?" and "why is the world finite?" However, the primary question that Kabbalists try to answer is, "how can humans know God when he is infinite, all good, and all-knowing?" Kabbalah attempts to answer the primary question in two ways. First, Kabbalists believe that because God is the sum of all things, he also contains contradictions. Therefore, God is good and evil, compassionate and merciless, and unknowable and knowable. Second, God is seen as a mirror that shines a brilliant light. This light is then reflected onto a second mirror, then onto a third, then to a fourth, and so on. With each succession, the reflected light loses some of its brilliance. When the light finally reaches the physical world in which humans live, it shines very dimly.
The concept of reflecting light is used to describe Kabbalah's theory of the creation of the world. According to Kabbalah, before the world was created, there was just God. God sent an emanation that is often described as a light. This first emanation gave rise to nine more, which are collectively called the sephiroth, meaning "enumerations." Kabbalists believe that the lights of the sephiroth make up God and the universe. Another common teaching of Kabbalah is that the soul descended from God and became trapped in the human body. Therefore, because humans are part of God, he is knowable.