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I. Kabbalah Facts and Fallacies. 5. Kabbalah—Its History and VIPs

Just the Gist

Kabbalah doesn’t talk about the physical existence of the universe, but what it says about spirituality has a corresponding part in the physical world. In this chapter, you learn about the history of Kabbalah and the people who contributed to its position as a key player in the human drama...

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From the First Thought to the First Man

The history of Kabbalah corresponds to the history of creation. The Thought of Creation caused creation to happen. The Thought of Creation is called the Root Phase or Phase Zero. Phase Zero generated four more phases, which then generated a Root World, which is still a spiritual world, not a physical one. The Root World, called Adam Kadmon (The Primeval Man), generated four more worlds, called Atzilut, Beria, Yetzira, and Assiya. Those, too, are spiritual worlds, not physical ones...

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Adam, partner of Eve and temporary resident of the Garden of Eden, marks the beginning of the final phase in evolution: the spiritual phase. In Kabbalah, Adam is considered the Root Phase of human spirituality. This is why he is called Adam ha Rishon, The First Man...

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Abraham came 20 generations after Adam and was the first to conduct organized Kabbalah studies. He saw the wonders of human existence and asked questions of the Creator, and thus discovered the Upper Worlds. Abraham passed the knowledge and the method he used to acquire the Upper Worlds to the generations following him. In this way, Kabbalah was transferred from teacher to students for many centuries. Each Kabbalist added his unique experience and personality to this body of accumulated knowledge...

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The name Moshe (Moses) comes from the Hebrew word Moshech (pulling), as in pulling out of this world. Moses was different than other Kabbalists in that alongside his revelations, he was ordered to publicize them in writing and establish learning centers...

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Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai)

The Book of Zohar (The Book of Radiance), the next major work in Kabbalah and perhaps the most famous, was written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, “the Rashbi,” around the year 150 C.E. Rashbi was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva (40 C.E.–135 C.E.), famed first and foremost for his emphases on the rule, “Love thy friend as thyself”...

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Rabbi Isaac Luria (The Ari)

This stage in the development of Kabbalah is extremely important to the Kabbalah of our generation. This is the period of "the Ari," Rabbi Isaac Luria. The Ari proclaimed the start of a period of open mass study of Kabbalah. Until the arrival of the Ari, the predominant study method was that of the Ramak (Rabbi Moshe Cordovero) of Safed. It was a method where a Kabbalist simply experienced the Upper World, almost intuitively...

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In a Nutshell

The Creation according to Kabbalah consists of five phases...

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