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Feelings about kabbalah


Dear Rabbi,

As a jew matures, his mysticism may develop. Does he discern whether he has an inner kabbalah he may learn?

How much will a jew learn in his lifetime and can he have an authority to prefer certain rabbinical authorities over others?

Many thanks.



Learning Kabalah, which are the secrets of the torah, and the inner workings of creation, is a very high level of torah study, and it is reserved for people that have already mastered the oral torah, and know the written torah  and oral torah including the talmudic tractates well.  It is similar to a person going to grad school to become a surgeon, when he never went to med school, and he doesn’t yet have the knowledge base to be a responsible surgeon.  It is unfortunate that nowadays the study of kabalah has become a topic of study to people that are very ignorant in torah knowledge. Some of these people end up causing others a lot of damage and heartache.

We have to try and learn as much torah as we can in our lifetime. A person can choose who his halachic authority is, however with a few conditions.

First of all, the person you are choosing has to be qualified to be a halachic authority. This is like going o a brain surgeon that never went to med school.

Secondly he has to be a person that respects the authority of the halachic process, and someone whose approach to halacha is that he want to know the truth of what H-shem wants us to do, and not someone looking to bend the halacha to his personal wishes and wants, or to what would be convenient or popular.  This is like going to a doctor when you have a serious medical need, and he tells you, to go to Disneyworld instead of telling you to go to the hospital, because that is more popular and what you would want to hear.

A third idea when deciding who should be your halachic authority, although not quite as important as the first two conditions, is that you try to be consistent and stick to the same Rabbi, and not jump around from rabbi to rabbi. The reason for this is that different rabbis have different opinions on different issues, and if you jump around from one to the other, you can end up dong two things that actually contradict each other. For example, if a person uses two different doctors, one doctor may prescribe a medication that may not be taken together with the medication that the other doctor prescribed. Therefore it is preferred to try to stick to asking your halachic questions to the same person.    

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