La Rectificación del Mundo (La Parashá en profundidad) (Spanish Edition)
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Many surveys show that intermarried couples are not nearly as engaged in the Jewish community as non-intermarried couples. The solution is to engage intermarried couples. The affiliation of children of intermarried couples who are themselves active in the Jewish community is statistically comparable to the children of non-intermarried couples. Dorff and his wife Marylynn were married in a traditional Conservative Jewish ceremony in In general, intermarriage is very problematic. Most statistical data and anecdotal information show that in the majority of cases when a Jew marries a non-Jew and raises a family, their children have much less of a connection to Israel, are less likely to raise their children Jewish and, in general, they are less connected to the Jewish community.
For instance, the relationship of the Jewish grandparents to the grandchildren of intermarriage is very important. We need to be more welcoming to non-Jewish spouses, and conversion needs to be a much more workable system and opportunity. We also need to show intermarried couples all of the wonderful things that make Judaism such a great religion and, in particular, connect them to Israel in more effective ways.
As an Orthodox rabbi, I say that if a Jew falls in love with a non-Jew, the non-Jewish partner should be encouraged to convert to Judaism. I also have to say that, when a Jew is dating, they should date someone who affirms who they are as a human being and as a Jew. When you are dating seriously, you should ask: Is this person going to help me raise a Jewish family? So I would say date Jews who are committed to Judaism! Converts are good for the Jewish people. They bring in good genes, new perspectives and great vitality.
Diversity is great, but people who come in from the outside need to make a commitment to being Jewish. I hope in the future that the Jewish community, especially the Orthodox movement, will take more initiative regarding conversion, and I hope the Orthodox community will take the lead in welcoming converts. Orthodox rabbis, however, cannot perform intermarriages. How can we sincerely show that we want people to be part of our community while upholding our laws, our traditions and our opposition to intermarriage? As a Jew who married a non-Jewish man, I believe the most important consideration should be whether intermarriage is good for the individual.
I think intermarriage is good for the individual Jew getting married to a non-Jew. People should marry the person with whom they are in love, regardless of religion, gender or any other criteria. The rights and needs of the individual are absolutely determinative. Similarly, the extent to which an intermarried couple fits into, and is active in, the Jewish community should be solely determined by whether the Jewish partner actually wants to be an active part of the community and, even more so, whether the non-Jewish spouse also wants this. This will vary enormously. There is something unique about the Jewish experience and community, both in the world and in America.
I would be sad to see that disappear, and certainly intermarriage has the potential to diminish that. However, for me, the larger community is not the main concern. I would argue that really weakens the Jewish community. Furthermore, people who are concerned about intermarriage weakening Jewish identity should be expressing a lot more concern about rabbis who still refuse to perform same-sex marriages. In my opinion, intermarriage is not good for Jews. Every time someone marries out, a whole generation of Jewish people is gone. Marriage is hard enough; a remarkable number end in divorce.
When you have a different culture involved, that raises the bar further, and when you add a different religion, when beliefs differ or conflict, that makes it even harder. The Syrian Jewish community, of which I am a member, completely rejects intermarriage and conversion of any kind.
November – Centro Estudios Judaicos del Sur de PR
So if there is intermarriage or marriage to a convert, even an Orthodox convert, it is percent rejected. Nobody will play with their children. They would not get invited to holiday events or weddings, and people would not speak to them. They are totally isolated from the community. Personally, I am more polite than most people. I have to behave respectfully because intermarriage has occurred in my family. I still talk to and socialize with them. It becomes a matter of practicality, but then I would socialize with non-Jews anyway.
I think the general acceptance of intermarriage says something good about America; it shows the openness and tolerance of the United States. We should be proud that this is a place where you can marry who you want and live a good life. I am a Reform Jew who married a Catholic woman, and I was lucky that she enthusiastically wanted to preserve the Jewish traditions.
It was important to me to raise my children Jewish and she understood that. As an intermarried couple, we chose to give our children a Jewish identity, which as adults they are now free to accept or reject. For instance, the competition between Christmas and Hanukkah is a serious thing and is difficult when one parent is Christian and the other is Jewish. There also are benefits to intermarriage: It can create a more tolerant outlook, and you are exposed to different religions and traditions.
Month: November 2017
In particular, it was my own small, personal gesture to the terrible losses of the 20th century. I am also glad to engage in the long struggle for human understanding that Torah study represents. I am fortunate to be part of a heterogeneous and open shul, and to be able to offer this kind of Jewish learning to my two sons.
What they decide to do with it is entirely up to them. For most of Jewish history, Jews have lived in environments where they were small minorities. When a Jew married a person of another religion, they converted to that religion. Very occasionally, non-Jews converted to Judaism, but often Jews lived in societies where that was considered an offense against the official religion of that society. There are historical records of whole villages of Jews being killed because a Christian girl who was working in a Jewish home converted to Judaism. The idea that intermarriage has always been a concern is entirely incorrect.
When ancient and classic Jewish texts refer with concern to Jews marrying non-Jews, it is not because they were prohibited from doing it; they were not. They became part of the other culture. Historically, when a person married someone from another religion, they joined only one of the two original religions. The modern notion of intermarriage is premised on living in a society where there is a lot of neutral space and where people can choose to be what they want.
Today, there is great variety in how non-Jewish partners relate to Judaism. One very common one is that both the Jewish and non-Jewish partner simply retreat from religion. Another is that both partners continue with their original religions, and the household has two religions. A third is that some non-Jews agree to raise their children as Jewish and become involved in the Jewish community.
In a small number of cases, the non-Jewish partner may eventually convert to Judaism. Increasingly, many American Jews choose love over tribal loyalty. Love is a good thing. Love is cherished and beautiful and complicated. So is love good for the Jews? Is intermarriage therefore good for the Jews who choose it? Is it good for Judaism, and is it good for the continuity of the Jewish narrative?
Intermarriage is a very serious challenge to the continuity of Judaism as we know it, but it is not a deal-breaker, nor is it the end of the line. It is a serious invitation to be very thoughtful about what it means to be evolving as a people and an invitation to be sensitive to the realities on the ground, to examine our priorities and the complexities of continuity and discontinuity. That is a nuanced but important distinction. The current position of the Conservative movement is that there is not much room for this kind of nuance.
That feels inappropriate to me. This is a unique moment. This has created stress and anxieties about the continuity of Judaism. These are legitimate and valid concerns. I have confidence that many of us still possess a deep love for what Judaism and Jewish values have to offer. I want people to choose Judaism from a place of love and trust, rather than from anxiety and fear that this is the end of the line.
We should embrace the complex evolution of our current Jewish reality. I think it is a mixed bag. Only 20 to 30 percent of interfaith couples raise their children as Jews. Jews are already in a demographic crisis, and this makes it worse. On the other hand, when interfaith couples raise their children as Jews or when the non-Jewish partner later converts, intermarriages can actually enhance the Jewish people. There are many couples where the Jew-by-choice is actually much more active in the community than the Jew-by-birth. As a Conservative rabbi, I strongly disagree with the small number of Conservative rabbis who have decided to start performing intermarriages.
I do not believe that officiating at intermarriages ultimately helps the Jewish people. Reform rabbis have been doing this for quite a while and, for the most part, they have not succeeded in convincing the intermarried couples to be actively Jewish. Jews are supposed to marry Jews. That goes back to the Bible: Abraham sent Eliezer back to Paddan-Aram to get a wife for Isaac from the extended family.
When Esau took a wife from outside the Jewish clan and his parents were unhappy, he took a second wife from within the clan. Later Ezra required all men who had married non-Jewish wives to divorce them before they were allowed to come back from Babylonia to Israel. So the value and idea of endogamy is very strongly rooted in our tradition. I just co-chaired the blue ribbon commission of the Rabbinic Assembly of the Conservative movement to clarify our stance about this issue.
We have reaffirmed that a Conservative rabbi may not officiate at the wedding of a Jew to a non-Jew. There are some questions about activities that are ancillary to the wedding itself. It remains uncertain if a rabbi, for example, can toast an intermarried couple at the reception after a wedding or if, after the wedding, the rabbi can have a ceremonious welcome of the interfaith couple to a synagogue.
Since the rates of intermarriage are only going to increase and adopted kids can be Jewish, children of mixed marriages can be Jewish. As one rabbi told me, you have to take the Temple with you in your heart. It is about a way of life, a culture. Plus, there are advantages to intermarriage. It might reduce anti-Semitism. Jewish culture, like Jewish religion, is a way of life. If the married couple decides to carry on the marriage within Jewish culture, then it can work as well as the marriage of Jewish men and women who believe in Judaism as a religion.
What is obviously important is the knowledge that each partner has and develops an understanding of the meaning and depth of Judaism as a culture. This is a relatively new field, and there have been no in-depth studies to provide an answer to the question of the impact of intermarriage on Jewish culture. There are two questions to answer: Is it good for the individuals themselves? And then, is it good for the existence of the Jewish people as a whole? The two answers are more interrelated than people may realize.
I believe that individual Jews receive a legacy of a rich culture and tradition with important values that give a sense of purpose. If individual Jews cut themselves off from that by intermarrying, a step that effectively distances them from their people, they are giving up something important. If every Jew married out, there would be no more Jewish people. I promised my father Elie Wiesel that I would marry another Jew. It was understood that this included anyone who converted to Judaism in a meaningful process.
For instance, the connection that I had to my father was not just that of a father and son, it happened in a very Jewish context. When I said Kaddish for him for 11 months, I was not just connecting with him; I felt connected with his forebears as well. I had a real sense of history, going back thousands of years, of what it meant to be part of a lineage with certain traditions, rituals and values.
For almost 2, years, when a parent has passed, the Jewish child has said Kaddish. There is something profound about that. As I prepare my own son for his bar mitzvah and watch my daughter learning Hebrew, despite this crazy modern life with all of its distractions, I have this same sense of history and continuity. I think about where I came from, where I am and where my Jewish children will go in the future. Intermarriage is decidedly not good for the Jews.
At the core, this is because of the importance of the Jewish home. Jewish life, values and practice revolve around the Jewish home. A Jewish home is the strongest way to ensure that Jewish values are lived and practiced. This has the highest likelihood of happening in a household where both partners are Jewish and share central Jewish values. It is my hope and aspiration for every Jew that they should be able to bring the beauty of Jewish life to their home as well as to their personal practice.
A study by the Lilly Endowment demonstrated that 98 percent of NCSY alumni married other Jews; other youth movements have had similar positive results. By the time a person is choosing a marriage partner there are tens of thousands of life choices that they have already made that influence whom they are dating and whom they are likely to marry.
Jewish youth movements help ensure that as many of those choices as possible are made through a Jewish lens. However, I do not think we benefit as a community by putting a stamp of approval on it. We have to maintain the ideal that we should be raising Jews to have such a commitment to their Jewish values and Jewish practice that their highest aspiration for their Judaism involves building a Jewish home with a Jewish spouse.
Sue Levenstein, a convert to Judaism, and her husband Mark celebrate after their Conservative Jewish wedding. Interfaith marriage has been a great challenge for the Jews as a community and for Jewish continuity. That will continue to be the case. Intermarriage is much more complicated for families than it is for childless couples. In most cases, a husband and wife can go their separate ways when it comes to beliefs, traditions and rituals. That becomes much harder once children are in the picture. Religion influences everyday questions from celebrating holidays to choosing schools, summer camp, how to spend money, which charities to support and what kind of community you want to live in.
My children certainly have a somewhat broader perspective because they have family members who are not Jewish. Generally speaking, it would have been easier to be in a same-faith marriage. Despite the challenges, for American Jews as a community, intermarriage has been a boon in certain ways. It has encouraged greater assimilation and tolerance in this country and allowed people of other faiths to know and understand Judaism more fully and more meaningfully.
It has allowed Jews to also gain a broader understanding of what other religious communities are like. I think that mixing has produced a more understanding, less suspicious attitude toward others than if everyone was in their own camp. Having members of other faiths as members of your extended family has produced a kind of intimate tolerance and assimilation in many cases that in previous generations was not possible.
Scholar Keren McGinity married a non-Jewish man in They divorced in There are active members of our community who have a strong Jewish education and background who fall in love with, and want to marry, non-Jews. Our previous refusal to participate in their marriage ceremonies closed the door to any further involvement in their lives. They felt hurt and rejected and turned away from us. This led to their complete alienation from the Jewish community.
We need to be part of their lives, their future and the lives of their kids. We want them in our community and our lives. Large numbers of these people want an attachment to the Jewish community and want a connection to Jewish tradition and ritual—they care enough about Judaism to ask for that. The social barriers that existed before have been lowered. Those are our conditions. We will support them in creating their Jewish home and in raising their kids; we are not leaving them on their own to do this.
Jewish concerns about demography and whether our numbers will remain robust are real and valid, as are the concerns about whether intermarried couples will remain connected to our faith, culture and traditions. We should keep in mind, of course, that two Jews can marry and have absolutely no connection to Judaism and not raise their kids Jewish. Intermarriage is neither inherently bad nor a panacea. The meaning and experience of intermarriage have changed dramatically from the early 20th century to the present. Quantitative research now shows that a significant proportion of millennial children of intermarriages identify as Jewish.
Simultaneous to the rates of intermarriage increasing over time, the percentage of these children who identify as Jewish has also gone up. Provided that intermarried Jews and their families are treated equally as inmarried Jewish families, and that Jewish education is accessible and engaging, intermarriage can be an opportunity for Jews and their loved ones to draw closer to Judaism and the Jewish community. Gender is often missing from discussions about intermarriage; the gender of the Jew who intermarries is especially important. Both Jewish men and women who intermarry are likely to continue to identify as Jewish.
However, their experiences differ. Men tend to switch from more traditional to more progressive denominations where their children will count as Jews. Intermarried Jewish women are more likely to raise their children Jewish than intermarried Jewish men. There is, however, still a distinct disparity in which women generally have more responsibility than men for hands-on parenting. Intermarriage weakens Jewish culture because, obviously, one of the two people in the marriage brings no Jewish cultural background and will find it very difficult, therefore, to convey Jewish culture to the children.
There are substitutes that can provide a certain sense of Jewish community and culture, including Jewish education, Jewish day school and, to a lesser extent, Jewish camps and visits to Israel. There is clear evidence that with children raised in a home that practices multiple religions, the feeling of belonging to the Jewish community and of connection to Israel is a lot weaker. The notion that you pay more attention to a terrorist attack in Jerusalem than in Bombay, or that you are more concerned about anti-Semitism than the average American, is missing. Additionally, in most cases, there is almost no religious practice.
The children have very little sense of belonging to a community that is doing something important on Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur or Passover. All of the tell-tale signs of belonging to both a local and a global community are much weaker. I have no absolute opinion about whether intermarriage is good or bad. I can understand both sides. Conversely, intermarriage without question presents challenges to ongoing and active engagement within the tradition. Currently, 71 percent of non-Orthodox marriages, including those of my generation—Jewish millennials—are interfaith.
Millennials in general, including Jewish millennials, are the least religious generation in history. For the most part, we are less observant, less affiliated, and shedding labels across our lives, including religious ones. As the founder of JSwipe, a Jewish dating app, I speak to large numbers of young Jewish singles about what they want in a romantic partner. Despite varying levels of observance, there is a fairly universal desire, that they may not be able to rationally explain, to partner with someone Jewish.
They will talk about shared values and shared upbringing. They definitely mention familial and communal pressures. While I am definitely Jewish, I consider myself a universalist. Meaning, to me, everyone is right! That said, users can easily filter out non-Jews. We leave it up to the users to choose what it is they are looking for. Intermarriage has spread Jewish culture through other communities.
Conversations that might have previously happened without us are now being infused with a Jewish viewpoint. My non-Jewish colleague and friend even started hosting an event called Shiksa Shabbat! How do we experience this through the lens of possibility and abundance rather than one of fear and scarcity? Even so, in the years following the Yom Kippur War, the foundational ideas of the Iron Wall doctrine have steadily faded from Israeli political discourse.
The controversial invitation to officials of several American Jewish organizations to visit the Gulf kingdom of Qatar follows the historical…. Meaning that he would continue to work towards a Palestinian State encompassing as much territory as possible, while at the same time working towards turning Israel into a second Palestinian state. For this reason, they are constantly talking about peace, but peace in the Palestinian worldview is no more than an armistice. Any peace agreement is simply a stop on the path toward the ultimate goal: Studied under his uncle R.
Author of Chesed l'Avraham. Son-in-law and disciple of Rabbi Avraham ben Yitzchak of Narbonne. Although it is disputed among scholars, some authorities identify him with Rabbi Avraham ben Yitzchak of Narbonne. He is one of the earliest kabbalists to quote the Zohar. Student of Yehuda ben Barzilai of Barcelona, from whom he learned Kabbala.
He is also reputed to have received secrets of Kabbala from Elijah the Prophet. Born in Morocco and probably emigrated to Israel before Disciple of RaMaK and subsequently of Ari zal. Author of Tikkunei Shabbat. Was said by the Ari zal to be a reincarnation of the prophet Jeremiah. Close disciple of RaMaK R. Wrote Yare'ach Yakar a commentary on Zohar. Began studying kabbala under Rav Shlomo Eliyashiv, the Leshem, in his early twenties. Author of Sefer HaYuchasin. His famous book, Bas Ayin, was written in Europe, but he refused to allow it to be printed until he could 'expose' it to the air of the Holy Land and refine it there.
Student of Rabbi Yitzchak Sagi-Nahor. Wrote among others Shaar HaSho'el; a commentary on Sefer Yetzira; a commentary to Talmudic Aggadata; a commentary on the liturgy mystical meditations ; Sod HaKorban on the mystical meaning of the sacrifices, etc. Author of a mystical commentary on the Torah. Moved to Israel where he settled in Netivot. He received from Jeremiah and his court.
Son of and successor to Rabbi Yehudah Ashlag. Yosef Chaim of Baghdad. Kaplan, Sefer Yetzira Intro. Sent as an emissary of the Ari zal to Italy to spread his kabbalistic teachings. Was the teacher of Rabbi Moshe Zacuto in Italy. Settled in Safed, Israel. He is the author of the famous kabbalistic commentary on the Torah known as Or HaChaim. He was a prolific writer, completing 72 books in his lifetime, many of them in Kabbala.
Isaac Yitzchak Luria, and responsible for publication of most of his works. Born in Speyer, Germany; died in Worms. He was a student of Rabbi Yehuda HaChassid. Wrote a commentary on Sefer Yetzira. Author of Sefer Chareidim. He received from Achiya HaShiloni and his court. He received from Elijah and his court. Disciple of RaMaK; possibly studied under the Ari zal as well, whom he certainly knew.
Wrote Reishit Chochma, a kabbalistic ethical treatise. Studied Kabbalat HaAri zal in Safed for two years c. Received rabbinical ordination from the Chief Rabbi of Safed R. He saw the Merkava the manifestation of G-dliness in the world of Yetzira in a prophetic vision. Not to be confused with Rabbi Azriel below. He was a student of Yitzchak Sagi-Nahor. Wrote commentaries and explanations of Aggadata.
He received from Nachum and his court. Became Gaon of Pumbedita in CE. Hillel and Shammai and their court received from Shmaya and Avtalyon and their court, and began the Talmudic era. He received from Zechariah and his court. He received from Amos and his court. He received from Zephaniah and his court Joseph son of Jacob, BCE Joel Yoel began prophesying in BCE. He received from Micah and his court. Received authority from Moses. Shlomo Alkabetz, recited on Friday evenings at the onset of Shabbat.
Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first "Alter" Rebbe of the Lubavitcher dynasty; it provides Chassidic insight according to the weekly Torah readings from Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. He is also famous for having produced a golem humanoid. Moshe ben Maimon; CE. Physician and Torah scholar originally from Cordoba, Spain, but who fled from persecution to North Africa, passing through Morocco and eventually settling in Egypt. Known for his works of Jewish law and philosophy works, Mishna Torah and Guide to the Perplexed, he also commanded kabbala, though he did not overtly present this knowledge in his works.
He wrote a commentary on Sefer Yetzira entitled Lifnei v'Lifnim. See also Abulafia entry above. Fled from the Spanish Inquisition. One of the important kabbalists in the circle of the Ari, lived in Jerusalem and studied kabbala under R.
Best known for putting in order Rabbi Chaim Vital's manuscripts of the Ari zal's teachings and printing them. He arranged the manuscripts according to the index written in Rabbi Chaim Vital's own handwriting that he found in Damascus in the possession of Rabbi Shmuel Vital, the son of Rabbi Chaim Vital. Rabbi Meir himself wrote several important kabbalistic works. He is buried on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. Very important kabbalist in Italy. Wrote a mystical commentary on the Torah.
He quotes frequently from Ramban. Dovber of Lubavitch the "Mittler" Rebbe. He received from Isaiah and his court. Directed the Exodus from Egypt. Received the Torah for the Jewish People. Author of a "Torat Moshe," a mystical commentary on the Torah. Known for his halachic expositions and rationalist philosophic works, the Guide to the Perplexed and Mishna Torah, he also commanded kabbala, though he did not overtly present this knowledge in his works.
Spanish kabbalist who was very highly regarded by his contemporaries. He wrote several kabbalistic works. Rabbi Moshe was a Spanish kabbalist who became famous for his commentary on Sefer Yetzira. Published the manuscripts of the Zohar that had come into his possession. Born around CE in Amsterdam; d. Rabbi in Venice and Mantua, Italy where he died. Studied for two years under a student of the Ari zal, Rabbi Binyamin haLevi who came as an emissary from Safed.
His stories and teachings have been collected by his followers, beginning with his first disciple, Rabbi Nosson.
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He received from Joel Yoel and his court. Author of Emek HaMelech pub. Eliyahu HaNavi is said to have visited with him regularly. Became Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. Named after his uncle, author of Megaleh Amukot. A disciple of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. Menachem Azaryah deFano CE. Moshe ben Maimon, also called "Maimonides"; CE. Physician and Torah scholar originally from Cordoba, Spain, but who fled from persecution to north Africa, passing through Morocco and eventually settling in Egypt.
Torah scholar and kabbalist originally from Gerona, Spain, author of one of the first and the most important mystical commentaries upon the Torah. At the end of his life he moved to the Holy Land and greatly strengthened the Jewish community in Jerusalem. He is buried in Acco. Moshe Chaim Luzatto b. See Moshe Chaim Luzatto. Shlomo ben Aderet, c. Student of Rabbeinu Yonah of Gerondi and Ramban. Shimon bar Yochai 2nd Century CE and his circle. Rabbi Shimon was one of the main students of Rabbi Akiva. Author of the Zohar, buried at Meron, west of Safed. Foremost commentator and Talmudist.
Also knew and practiced Kabbala as is evident from his commentary to Sukka 45a; Sanhedrin 65b, etc. Rava and returned it to dust. Eliyahu daVidas Remez major work and play on the acronym of his name of R. Moshe Zacuto, the Ramaz. Yaakov of Marvege, France. Was appointed Gaon of Sura in CE Samuel the Prophet BCE received from Eli and his court. Yehuda HaChassid of Regensburg. Yaakov ben Sheshet of Gerona. Author of Shefa Tal. Born in Marakesh, Morocco. Later lived in London. Author of Mikdash Melech on Zohar.
Later lived in Israel and became head of Yeshivat Bet E-l. Disciple of Rashba and Raavad; studied Kabbala under R. Spent some time in Safed, Israel. A leading Spanish kabbalist. He fought vigorously against philosophy. He wrote several works in kabbala, only fragments of which are still extant. Author of the Zohar, buried in Meron, west of Safed. Born in Spain and fled to Morocco to escape the Inquisition. On his way to Israel, he stopped of in Tripoli N.
When he saw how ignorant of Torah the people there were he decided to stay and teach them. He is the author of Ketem Paz, an important commentary on the Zohar. Author of the mystical hymn Lecha Dodi, composed in Safed at the time of the Lurianic influence. Author of Leshem Shevo V'Achlama. Major exponent of Lithuanian Kabbalah of his day.
Also known as Rav Shlomo of Shavel. Immigrated to Israel with the help of Rav A. Also knew and practiced Kabbala as is evident from his commentary to Succah 45a; Sanhedrin 65b, etc. Wrote Meshovev Netivot an unpublished commentary on Sefer Yetzira. He was one of the disciples of the Ari zal. He is famous as the author of Midrash Shmuel, a commentary on Pirkei Avot.
Lived in the 17th C. He was born in Damascus and studied Kabbala under his father. When Rabbi Chaim Vital passed away, he inherited many of his father's manuscripts in the kabbalistic teachings of the Ari zal. He arranged these in eight categories, known as the Shmoneh Shaarim. He also wrote several kabbalistic works of his own. Towards the end of his life he moved to Egypt, and died in Cairo.
Yosef Karo, completed Built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Rabbeinu Yaakov of Marvege, France wrote Responsa from Heaven CE -- using mystical techniques he obtained responses from the Heavenly Court regarding certain questions he posed. One of the five main disciples of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai. They and their court received from Yose ben Yo'ezer and Yosef ben Yochanan and their court.
Born in Provence, France; died in Spain. Disciple in Kabbala of R. Had a great influence on Ramban, and the Rashba spoke very highly of him -- see Teshuvot HaRashba He headed the movement of Chasidei Ashkenaz. He had learned Kabbala from his father, Rabbi Shmuel ben Klonymos. Author of the Sulam, a comprehensive commentary on the entire Zohar. Rabbi Ashlag was born in Lodz Poland.
In CE, he emigrated to Israel. He passed away in Jerusalem where he is interred. He was also famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of all major halachic works until his time. His Beit Midrash became the center of halachic rulings in his time. A disciple of the Ari zal in Egypt and Israel, later influential in Italy. A disciple of Ramban after the latter came to the came to the Holy Land. He received from Hillel and Shammai and their courts. Expert in Kabbala, Rabbi Yochanan had five main disciples: Rabbi Akiva apparently also studied under Rabbi Yochanan.
See Ethics of the Fathers Pirkei Avot 2: In , CE excommunicated Shabbtai Tzvi's sect. Was suspected of Shabbatean leanings by Yaakov Emden and became the center of many disputes. This court received from Antigonos and his court. In addition to many works on Jewish law and Talmud, authored many kabbalistic commentaries. Between studied with Avraham Abulafia who praised him as his most successful student. Was apparently friendly with Moshe de Leon around ' s CE.
An Italian rabbi and kabbalist. See Otzar HaGedolim CE Zohar major Kabbala work originally redacted by R. Shimon bar Yochai; and subject of many commentaries since that time. The first Kabbalist we know of was the patriarch Abraham. He saw the wonders of human existence, asked questions of the Creator, and the upper worlds were revealed to him. The knowledge he acquired, and the method used in its acquisition, he passed on to coming generations. The Kabbalah was passed among the Kabbalists from mouth to mouth for many centuries.
Each Kabbalist added his unique experience and personality to this body of accumulated knowledge, based on the souls of his generation. Kabbalah continued to develop after the Bible 5 books of Moses was written. Following the destruction of the Second Temple 70 CE and until this generation, there have been three particularly important periods in the development of Kabbalah, during which the most important writings on Kabbalah study methods were written.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and four others were the only ones to survive. Following the death of 24, of Rabbi Akiva's disciples, the Rashbi was authorized by Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yehuda Ben Baba to teach future generations the Kabbalah as had been taught him. Following the capture and imprisonment of Rabbi Akiva, the Rashbi escaped with his son, Eliezer.
They hid in a cave for 13 years. He emerged from the cave with The Zohar, and with a crystallized method for studying Kabbalah and achieving spirituality.
He reached the levels man can achieve during his life in this world. The Zohar tells us that he and his son reached the level called "Eliyahu the Prophet, "meaning that the Prophet himself came to teach them. The Zohar is written in a unique form; it is in the form of parables and is in Aramaic, a language spoken in biblical times. The Zohar tells us that Aramaic is "the backside of Hebrew," the hidden side of Hebrew.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai did not write this himself; he conveyed the wisdom and the way to reach it in an organized manner by dictating its contents to Rabbi Aba. Aba wrote The Zohar in such a way that only those who are worthy of understanding would be able to do so. The Zohar explains that human development is divided into 6, years, during which time souls undergo a continuous process of development in each generation.
At the end of the process all souls reach a position of "the end of correction," i. Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was one of the greatest of his generation. He wrote and interpreted many Kabbalistic subjects that were published and are well known to this day. On the other hand, the book of The Zohar disappeared after it was written. According to legend The Zohar writings were kept hidden in a cave in the vicinity of Safed in Israel. They were found several hundred years later by Arabs residing in the area.
A Kabbalist from Safed purchased some fish at the market one day, and was astonished to discover the priceless value of the paper in which they had been wrapped. He immediately set about purchasing the remaining pieces of paper from the Arabs, and collected them into a book. It happened because the nature of hidden things is that they must be discovered at a suitable moment, when suitable souls reincarnate and enter into our world.
That is how The Zohar is revealed over time. The study of these writings was conducted in secret by small groups of Kabbalists. The first publication of this book was by Rabbi Moshe de Leon, in the thirteenth century in Spain. The second period is very important to the Kabbalah of our generation. This is the period of the Ari, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, who created the transition between the two methods of Kabbalah study. The first time the pure language of Kabbalah appeared was in the writings of the Ari. The Ari proclaimed the start of a period of open mass study of Kabbalah.
The Ari was born in Jerusalem in A child when his father died, his mother took him to Egypt where he grew up at his uncle's house. During his life in Egypt, he made his living in commerce but devoted most of his time to studying Kabbalah. Legend has it that he spent seven years in isolation on the island of Roda on the Nile where he studied The Zohar, books by the first Kabbalists, and writings by another of his generation, the Ramak, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero.
In , he arrived in Safed in Israel. Despite his youth, he immediately started teaching Kabbalah. His greatness was soon recognized; all the wise men of Safed, who were very knowledgeable in the hidden and revealed Torah, came to study with him, and he became famous. For a year and a half, his disciple Rabbi Chaim Vital committed to paper the answers to many of the questions that arose during his studies. The Ari left behind a basic system for studying Kabbalah.
His system of study is still in use today. The Ari died in , still a young man. His writings were archived according to his last wish, in order not to reveal his doctrine before the time was ripe. The great Kabbalists provided the method and taught it, they knew that their generation was still unable to appreciate its dynamic. They therefore often preferred to hide or even burn their writings. We know that Baal Hasulam burned and destroyed a major part of his writings. There is special significance in the fact that the knowledge was committed to paper, and later destroyed. Whatever is revealed in the material world affects the future, and is easier to be revealed a second time.
Rabbi Vital ordered other parts of the Aris writings to be hidden and buried with him. A portion was bequeathed to his son, who arranged the famous writings, The Eight Gates. Much later, a group of scholars headed by Rabbi Vitals grandson removed another portion from the grave. Study of The Zohar in groups started only during the period of the Ari. Following that, the study of The Zohar prospered for two hundred years. In the great Hassidut period - end of 19th century , almost every great rabbi was a Kabbalist. Then, at the beginning of the twentieth century, interest in Kabbalah waned until it almost completely disappeared.
The third period contains an additional method to the Ari's doctrines, written in our generation by Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, who authored the commentary of the Sulam ladder of The Zohar, and the Ari's teachings. His method is particularly suited to the souls of our generation. Born in in Lodz, Poland, in his youth he absorbed a deep knowledge of the written and oral law, and later became a judge and teacher in Warsaw.
In , he immigrated to Israel with his family and became the rabbi of Givat Shaul in Jerusalem. He was already immersed in writing his own doctrine when he began to pen the commentary of The Zohar in Baal Hasulam finished writing his commentary of The Zohar in He died the following year and was buried in Jerusalem at the Givat Shaul cemetery. His books are structured according to his fathers instructions.
They gracefully elaborate on his father's writings, facilitating our comprehension of his father's commentaries as bequeathed to our generation. The Rabash was born in Warsaw in and immigrated to Israel with his father. Only after his marriage did his father include him in study groups of selected students learning the hidden wisdom -- Kabbalah. He was soon allowed to teach his father's new students. Following his father's death, he took it upon himself to continue teaching the special method he had learned.
Despite his great achievements, like his father, he insisted on keeping to a very modest way of life. During his lifetime he worked as a cobbler, construction worker, and clerk. Externally, he lived like any ordinary person, but devoted every spare moment to studying and teaching Kabbalah. The Rabash died in He is the only one in this generation who has written a fully comprehensive and updated commentary of The Zohar and the writings of the Ari. These books, with the addition of his son, Rabbi Baruch Ashlag's essays, the Rabash, are the only source we can use to assist us in further progress.
When we study their books, we are actually studying The Zohar, and the Ari's writings, through the most recent commentaries the past fifty years. This is a life belt for our generation, since it enables us to study ancient texts as if they had been written now, and to use them as a springboard to spirituality.
Baal Hasulam's method suits everyone, and the sulam he built in his writings ensures that none of us need fear studying Kabbalah. Anyone learning Kabbalah is assured that within three to five years he will be able to reach spiritual spheres, all realities, and divine understanding, the name given to that which is above and beyond us and not yet felt by us.
If we study according to the books of Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, we can reach true correction. The study method is constructed to awaken in us a desire to understand the upper worlds. We are given a greater desire to get to know our roots and to connect to them. We are then empowered to improve and to fulfill ourselves.
La distribución de la caridad
All three great Kabbalists are of the same soul: On each occasion, the timing was ripe for further revealment because the people of that generation were worthy, and the soul descended to teach the method suitable for that generation. Each generation is increasingly worthy of discovering The Zohar. What was written by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and hidden was later discovered by the generation of Rabbi Moshe de Leon, and then of the Ari, who started to interpret it in the language of Kabbalah. These writings were also stored away and partly rediscovered when the timing was right, while our generation is privileged to learn the Sulam, which enables everyone to study Kabbalah and to correct himself now.
We see that The Zohar speaks to each generation. It is more revealed and better understood in each generation than in previous ones. Each generation opens the book of The Zohar in a unique way, suited to the roots of its soul. Importantly, at the same time, an attempt is made to conceal kabbalistic writings so that those feeling the need to seek them will discover them by themselves. The Kabbalists evidently know that the process of change requires two conditions: We are witnessing a very interesting occurrence characterized by the breakthrough and signaling of a new era in the study of Kabbalah.
Whenever Kabbalah is discussed, statements are tossed about such as: One can go mad studying Kabbalah; it is safe to study Kabbalah only after the age of forty; a man must be married and have at least three children before embarking on its study; women are forbidden to study Kabbalah, etc. Kabbalah is open to all. It is for those who truly wish to correct themselves in order to attain spirituality. The need comes from the souls urge to correct. That is actually the only test to determine whether a person is ready to study Kabbalah: This desire must be genuine and free of outside pressure since only ones self can discover ones true desire.
The great Kabbalist, the Ari, wrote that from his generation onwards Kabbalah was intended for men, women and children, and that all could and should study Kabbalah. The greatest Kabbalist in our generation, Yehuda Ashlag, "Baal Hasulam," left a new study method for this generation. It is suitable for anyone wishing to do so. A person finds his way to Kabbalah when he is no longer satisfied by material reward and hopes studying will provide answers, clarification and new opportunities.
He no longer finds solutions in this world to the significant questions about his existence. Usually, the hope of finding answers is not even cognitive; he simply takes an interest and finds it necessary. Such a person has questions: Why was I born? Where do I come from? Where am I going? Why do I exist in the world? Was I already here? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Can it somehow be avoided? How can I attain pleasure, completeness, peace of mind? Unconsciously, he feels the answers to these questions can be found only beyond the realm of this world.
The one answer to these questions is to know and feel the upper worlds, and the way to do so is through Kabbalah. Through its wisdom, man enters the upper worlds with all his feelings. They are worlds that provide all of the reasons for his existence in this world. He takes control of his life, thereby attaining his goal tranquility, pleasure and completeness while he is still in this world.
In the Introduction to the Study of the Ten Sefirot it is written: And that tiny question is What is the point of our lives? Anyone reaching serious study is someone who feels this question and asks himself constantly: Unfortunately, there is not a sufficient desire today to study Kabbalah. People want quick cures.
They want to learn about magic, meditation and healing associated with Kabbalah. They are not truly interested in the revealment of the upper worlds, or how to reach spiritual realms. This does not qualify as a genuine desire to study Kabbalah. When the time is right and the need is there, a person will look for a framework of study and will not be satisfied until he finds one. Everything depends on the root of man's soul and that point in his heart.
A true desire to discover and feel the upper worlds within will lead him to the way of Kabbalah. The primary objective of Kabbalah is to achieve spirituality. Only one thing is necessary proper instruction. If a person studies Kabbalah the right way, he progresses without forcing himself as there can be no coercion in spirituality.
The aim of study is for a person to discover the connection between himself and what is written in the book; this should always be borne in mind. That is the reason Kabbalists wrote down what they experienced and achieved. It is not in order to acquire a knowledge of how reality is built and functions, as in science. The intention of the Kabbalah texts is to create an understanding and assimilation of its spiritual truth.
If a person approaches the texts in order to gain spirituality, the text becomes a source of light and corrects him. If he approaches the texts in order to gain wisdom, it is for him mere wisdom. The measure of inner demand is what determines the measure of strength he gleans, and the pace of his correction. That means that if a person studies in the proper manner, he crosses the barrier between this world and the spiritual world.
He enters a place of inner revealment and reaches the light. That is known as the beautiful sign. If he does not achieve this, it is a sign that he has been negligent in the quality or quantity of his efforts; he did not make a sufficient effort. It is not a question of how much he studied, but a question of how occupied he was in his studies or if he lacked something. If he reaches this desire, he can attain spirituality. Only then will the heavens open for him to enter into another world, another reality and dimension.
He reaches this stage by studying Kabbalah the right way. Embracing Kabbalah does not work by merely avoiding nice things so that ones desire will not be kindled. Correction does not come from self-punishment; it is as a result of spiritual achievement. When a person achieves spirituality, the light appears and corrects him.
This is the only way a person changes. Any other way is hypocritical. He is mistaken if he believes that by putting on a nice appearance he will achieve spirituality. Inner correction will not follow, since only the light can correct. The purpose of studying is to invite the light that corrects man. Therefore, a person should work on himself only for that purpose. If there is any pressure, or any obligatory rules or regulations, it is a sign that it is man-made and is not an action intended by the upper worlds. In addition, inner harmony and tranquility are not prerequisites for attaining spirituality; they will appear as a result of the correction.