Kabbala, also known as Jewish mysticism, explains the many mysteries of Judaism. It attempts to answer questions like "Why did God create the earth and humans?" and "Why, if God is so good, is there evil in the world?" Kabbala attempts to make mystical discoveries through the interpretation of Torah and Talmud. It's goal is to find mystical truth or ascension to God.
Kabbalistic belief consists of the notion that God has two forms: in one God manifested himself in order to create the universe, and the other form is unknowable. Between these two forms of God there are ten Sefirot or creative forces which mediate between the manifested and the unknowable. Kabbala practitioners believe these forces can be drawn upon to bring divine powers like compassion and judgement into the world. Another Kabbalistic belief is that each letter in the Torah can be deciphered and has a powerful meaning.
The foremost text in the Kabbala is the Sefer ha-zohar, also known as Zohar. It is said this work was discovered by Moses ben Shem Tov de Leon in Spain in the thirteenth century, but it was more likely that de Leon wrote it. De Leon attributed the work to a second century rabbi. As other Kabbalistic text, the Zohar is almost incomprehensible unless the reader already have a very strong understanding of the Hebrew Bible.
Kabbala first started growing during the Middle Ages, but its wide popularity today comes from its spread during the eighteenth century, beginning with the Hasidic movement. These days the Kabbala makes headlines due to several celebrity followers. However, Kabbalistic experts claim that this version of Kabbala, consisting of spiritual charms, stones, and necklaces is a corruption of the tradition's real practice.
- Critics of the Kabbala finds it difficult to come to terms with the two aspects of God which violates monotheism(the idea of one God).
- The red strings worn by celebrity practitioners of Kabbala apparently wards off evil spirits.
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Source: The Intellectual Devotional