Kabbalah-ism, the classical Hebrew school of mysticism, is enjoying a rebirth in modern culture as its teachings spread to the general populace all over the world.
Approaches to learning Kabbalah typically fall into three categories:
* Theoretical, which is focused on understanding life through the paths and correspondences within the Kabbalist Tree of Life, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and much more.
* Spiritual, which dwells on concepts such as angels, souls, and meditation to develop personal spiritual growth.
* Magical: From the medieval age right up through the present many students of the Kabbalah have seen it as an arcane system for not only understanding, but manipulating, the physical world.
However, understanding the Kabbalah is less about finding personal fulfillment than it is about abandoning ego. “Kabbalah” translates as “that which is received”. Appreciating the Kabbalah means being receptive to ideas that all of the material world, including ourselves, flows from the Divine. The Tree of Life is essentially the blueprint for Creation, and study of the Kabbalah makes us more receptive to such energies. We come to see that matter is the product of the spirit. Grasping this allows us to better experience the Divine around us.
The Kabbalah Centre based out of Los Angeles is the largest organization in the world dedicated to bringing the wisdom of Kabbalah to people around the globe. It dates to the original Kabbalah school established in Jerusalem in 1922 by Rav Yehuda Ashlag. These teachings were taken to America by his student Rav Yehuda Brandwein, who passed on leadership of the school in 1969 to Rav Phillip Berg.
That school became the Kabbalah Centre, still under the directorship of the Berg family. It now directs over 50 Kabbalah schools around the world, with over 5,000 regular students. Instruction is based on the Zohar, the classic 14th-century text which built on secret traditions discovered through study of the Torah (Old Testament).