Many people are familiar with the more mainstream texts of Jewish spirituality such as theTorah and the Talmud. Unfortunately for the world, the more esoteric teaching of the Jewish Kabbalah have not yet gained as much acceptance by the general public.
This problem mainly has to do with history. In the past, the Kabbalistic texts were only taught to a few scholarly Jewish men over the age of 40. However, as many religious scholars are now discovering, the lessons the Kabbalah can teach all of mankind profound lessons about the nature of the universe, the existence of God, and the spiritual discipline that leads to liberation.
Although more people than ever can get their hands on the Kabbalah today, it seems that only Jewish scholars and New Age enthusiasts really take these mystical works seriously. This may have to do with the increasing scientism and secularization of Western society.
In order to get more average people interested in the lessons the Kabbalah, the Kabbalah Centre International was established in 1984 by Philip Berg. This organization’s headquarters is in Los Angeles, but they have classrooms all around the world.
One of the ways the workers at the Kabbalah Centre attract skeptical students is by pointing out just how much of Western science was actually inspired by the Kabbalah. For instance, one of the central authors studied at the Kabbalah Centre is a scholar in the 16th century named Rav Isaac Luria. Luria’s Kabbalistic texts were so influential on intellectuals in Europe that Western luminaries such as Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz openly praised Luria’s work in their own times.
Teachers working at the Kabbalah Centre invite people from all faiths to study the Kabbalah with them. Nobody is required to know anything about Judaism, Hebrew, or the Bible to begin reading and discussing the Kabbalistic texts at any of this non-profit group’s locations. The leaders of the Kabbalah Centre are more interested in seeing the similarities between the Kabbalah and other systems of spirituality, such as Vedantic Hinduism, Zen Buddhism, Sufism, and Gnosticism.
Rather than creating more divisions between religions, the Kabbalah Centre wants to promote an atmosphere of tolerance, intellectual liberty, and peace. As of today, the Kabbalah Centre has locations in the USA, Europe, Israel, and the Americas.
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