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6 years ago  ::  Dec 12, 2007 - 2:09AM #1
NoisyGong
Posts: 9
I am reading a book on Kabbalah and it has been very inspirational.   "Miraculous Living" by Rabbi Shoni Labowitz.

She talkas about the ten branches, or Gates, which are:  Intention, Wisdom, Understanding, Compassion, Strength,  Harmony, Success, Glory and Creativity.    I actually quickly read up to Harmony, attempting to apply various recommended spirtiual excercises throughout the day, and I'm currently stuck on Haromony (mostly due to reading-time constraints).

A few questions:

1)  Do all (or most) Kabbalah systems have the same 10 branches?   Or is it common for other systems to list differnt characteristics for the 10 branches?
2)  What is meant by going from one Gate into the next Gate?   Are we supposed to concentrate on the characteristics in order, like first pray or practice Intention, and then Wisdom, and then Understanding?   Or do the gates overlap and you feel all the above things at the same time (although in practice we are also supposed to empty our minds and souls of expectations and fill the emptiness with God/Love)?

Thanks.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 12, 2007 - 5:13AM #2
gavrie
Posts: 807
I may be missing something (it's late), but I'm counting nine sefirot (I assume that's what your author means by gates), and not ten.

The translations seem fairly decent, except I'm not sure if Creativity refers to Yesod (foundation) or Malkut (kingdom). I'll guess it's Yesod, and Malkut got left off?

As to the rest, the general terminology is Keter (crown), Chokmah (wisdom), Binah (understanding), Chesed (mercy), Gevurah (severity), Tiferet (beauty), Netzach (victory), Hod (splendour), Yesod (foundation), Malkut (kingdom). There's also the sefira-that-isn't called Da'at (truth) that you'll sometimes see as a dotted circle down a bit from Chokmah and Binah in the middle. That's fairly consistent with what you've written, except you're missing one.

There are books written on this subject for good reason. There are both paths (the way of getting from one sefira to the next), and depths (the universe that's inside each sefira itself - for instance, Binah contains the Depth of End).

It's said that if you master one path, you will have mastered the entire Tree of Life. My own experience leads me to believe this (not because I've accomplished it, I haven't, but because it's NOT easy!).

You need to be reasonably conversant with Torah, and have a teacher to show you how to do the deeper work, but you're not there yet (no insult, but you need the basics first). And yes, that nuclear explosion called the Tree of Life is contained in that soap bubble called you all the time. Pretty neat trick, huh? So if you do it right, you become more and more aware of what It is, and what You are, too.

And then there are the four worlds. And the infinite worlds within the four worlds.

And then there's all the philosophical stuff :)

It sounds like you might have a pretty good intro book, so you might want to stick with that for now. I think we've got some book recommendations in another thread, if not, there's a list on the old forum. And feel free to ask, of course. The answers may be a bit zen-like, but that's how it goes the deeper you get into it.
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 12, 2007 - 7:43AM #3
NoisyGong
Posts: 9
[QUOTE=gavrie;133528]I may be missing something (it's late), but I'm counting nine sefirot (I assume that's what your author means by gates), and not ten...[/QUOTE]

It seems you must be using the accurate numerical counting system.   Try not to limit yourself.  Open your mind to the infinate worlds of mathmatics and love.   

Of course, just joking.    I mistakenly left off the last one, which Labowitz translates as Nobility.

Thanks for your thoughts, Gavrie!
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6 years ago  ::  Dec 12, 2007 - 1:29PM #4
Bunsinspace
Posts: 5,900

NoisyGong wrote:

...2) What is meant by going from one Gate into the next Gate? Are we supposed to concentrate on the characteristics in order, like first pray or practice Intention, and then Wisdom, and then Understanding? Or do the gates overlap and you feel all the above things at the same time (although in practice we are also supposed to empty our minds and souls of expectations and fill the emptiness with God/Love)?...



BS"D

I believe something was lost since the Middle Ages when such Jewish mysticism reached the flower of its expression under Ottoman-ruled Spain. That is the concrete Jewish notion of personal and corporate responsibility. Back then it was common knowledge because we lived in ghettos and outside of our community was death. But after the Moslems and the Christians tired of the novelty of persecuting Jews as part of their respective religions we were granted some freedom to live as equals and we easily forgot the responsibility that was part of our daily lives back then.

Gates = Worlds = Spheres -> that is an idiom for your personal sphere of influence in ALL areas, places, and times. The various gates are realms of personal action where you develop yourself. Together they form a map which permits one to measure one's growth in all these areas and monitor them as a matter of course in the development of one's self in this world - the expression of one's soul. Each mitzvo has its varying intrusions into the "gates" so that one can be readily aware of how one is impacting Creation on a more objective level.

REAL Kabbalah is Jewish practice in its mystical aspect. It stands in sharp distinction against the hucksterism that is bandied about in the public eye. REAL Kabbalah is practiced with one's heart, not with posters, sales quotas and spiritual trinkets. As you begin to study the practice of Kabbalah, try to steer clear of anything that reeks of showmanship or new-age universal spiritualism. Kabbalah is Jewish practice in its mystical form. It is not like ANYTHING else, even if those other things go by the same name. Please keep that in mind when you are reading.;)

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 01, 2009 - 6:28PM #5
Sephiroth666
Posts: 67

Why would one want to stray from new age mysticism? Do you believe real actual other spirits inhabit that realm of practice other than god? Like bad spirits?

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2009 - 9:12AM #6
LeahOne
Posts: 15,727

No, and no. 


The point is not that 'new age mysticism' is anything other than good:  it's that it's other than Jewish : ))


Kabbalah is how Jews do mysticism.  Mysticism is a religious practice.  Jews don't practice other religions.


This is ABOLUTELY NOT to suggest there's anything less than wonderful about any other religion:  it's simply not the way Jews do things.  If one is going to be a Jew, BE a Jew....


Or putting it another way:  If a person can't have their religious needs met within Judaism, perhaps they do not have a Jewish soul and need to join another faith.


And also:  Kabbalah is intrinsically Jewish.  There are nonJews who don't know or care about this, and shysters wanting to make money off people's ignorance.  Learn what is authentic before investing time/money/interest in a false path.  If someone pretends you don't need to know Torah to learn Kabbalah - RUN in the opposite direction.  It wasn't a joke to suggest people should be 40 and have studied Torah (since they could talk !) before taking up Kabbalah.


Of course, I'm simply a Jewish homemaker with the equivalent of a high-school education.  So my understanding of such things may be quite limited.

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 02, 2009 - 11:28PM #7
Pam34
Posts: 2,638

You've got a good handle on things in my opinion, Leah, plus you explain very well.


 


I guess I'd say that 'mysticism is a kind of philosophical mental practice' and kabbalah is the specifically Jewish philosophical mental practice of mysticism. Or something along those lines, anyway.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Who blesses the years.
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5 years ago  ::  Sep 05, 2009 - 8:45PM #8
Sephiroth666
Posts: 67

Sep 2, 2009 -- 9:12AM, LeahOne wrote:


No, and no. 


The point is not that 'new age mysticism' is anything other than good:  it's that it's other than Jewish : ))


Kabbalah is how Jews do mysticism.  Mysticism is a religious practice.  Jews don't practice other religions.


This is ABOLUTELY NOT to suggest there's anything less than wonderful about any other religion:  it's simply not the way Jews do things.  If one is going to be a Jew, BE a Jew....


Or putting it another way:  If a person can't have their religious needs met within Judaism, perhaps they do not have a Jewish soul and need to join another faith.


And also:  Kabbalah is intrinsically Jewish.  There are nonJews who don't know or care about this, and shysters wanting to make money off people's ignorance.  Learn what is authentic before investing time/money/interest in a false path.  If someone pretends you don't need to know Torah to learn Kabbalah - RUN in the opposite direction.  It wasn't a joke to suggest people should be 40 and have studied Torah (since they could talk !) before taking up Kabbalah.


Of course, I'm simply a Jewish homemaker with the equivalent of a high-school education.  So my understanding of such things may be quite limited.




Hey Leah great response and thanks for clearing that up.

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