Kabbalah: Medicine for the Soul

For thousands of years Kabbalah, often called "The Hidden Torah", was just that: secreted away, reserved for the elite few who had sanctified themselves to the utmost. The transmission of Jewish mysticism was so reserved for a number of reasons: 1) the danger that it could be misused and/or misunderstood; and 2) the decree of exile was still in effect and the time was not yet ripe for this wisdom to illuminate the world.

In the last few hundred years, however, we have witnessed an explosion of sorts of revelations of Jewish mysticism. From the 16th Century Kabbalists of Safed (particularly Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto and Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, known as the Arizal) to the students of the Vilna Gaon and the Baal Shem Tov in the 18th Century, access to these previously hidden teachings has been strengthened tremendously. In the 20th Century, particularly the latter part, until today, the ability to learn Kabbalah - as well as the swelling interest worldwide - has increased exponentially.

Kabbalah Study

If, in the past, the study of Kabbalah was reserved only for the most holy, one could think that there is no one in our generation pious enough to learn these hallowed secrets. However, the majority of recent sages of Kabbalah say otherwise. Tradition teaches that when the Torah was being given to Moses and the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai, the angels complained that the holy Torah should be given to them - after all, the Israelite nation was not on a particularly holy level after their tortuous exile in Egypt. The response to their claim was that, indeed the Jewish nation was not on the highest spiritual level - in fact they were quite sick, spiritually; but only the potent medicine of the holiness of the Torah could cure them of their ailment. So too, in our generation, the most powerful remedy is necessary to heal us of our estrangement and alienation to the path of holiness.

Similarly, the great Chasidic Rebbe, Rebbe Shneur Zalman of Liadi, gave a parable: once the king's son became deathly ill. The royal doctors all gave up hope, having tried almost every treatment available. Finally, a unique healer was found, who told the king that he could heal the prince - but only if the king was willing to make a great sacrifice. The king, out of his great love for his son, immediately exclaimed that he would give anything to heal his son. The doctor then explained to the king that if he were to take the main jewel from the king's crown and were to grind it up and feed but a drop of it to the prince, the prince would survive. In the same way, it is said that even if the secrets of Torah become reduced a bit from their previously lofty status, it is worth it to heal - and inspire - our people at this time.