Question: What triggers negative reactions to Kabbalah? Hearing words like “Kabbalah, The Book of Zohar, hidden knowledge, and Ten Sefirot,” many people in the world and especially in Israel, throughout history and to the present day, cringe inside, feel repulsion, resistance, and even hatred. Where does this come from?
Answer: This is a natural reaction; this comes from human nature. Obviously, this is not based on differences in ideology, but on a deeper disagreement rooted in our very essence.
Even the simplest person, a vendor at a market and a university professor feel the same with respect to the word “Kabbalah,” seeing it as mysticism, black magic, or something incomprehensible that may harm and is not worth touching or even going near.
This is a natural human reaction, completely unrelated to Kabbalah. That is, this resistance was originally put into our nature, which completely rejects the wisdom of Kabbalah, even before we learn anything about it. We are repelled by the words “Kabbalah,” “Sefirot,” “Partzuf,” “upper world.”
Moreover, in my own experience teaching Kabbalah for the past 35 years, I can say that many, even very special and unique individuals, who stood out among the rest who are attracted to Kabbalah and come to study it, these individuals really wanted to grasp the depth of it, and in two-three years they suddenly feel repulsion.
This doesn’t happen in any other science. Studying with original sources, serious students, real specialists in Kabbalah, people suddenly feel that they don’t accept it and don’t want to continue. And so they leave the study and even more so, leave with a negative impression of Kabbalah.
Question: It’s interesting that other forms of Kabbalah, where there is mysticism and magic, draw a great deal of interest from people. Why these forms are liked so much?
Answer: But there are not “other forms of Kabbalah,” they are not Kabbalah at all. Any mystical teachings where they also mention words like “Partzufim” and “Sefirot” dress themselves with the name “Kabbalah.” In essence, all of philosophy came out of the science of Kabbalah as a product of inaccurate understanding.
A person’s own nature resists the science of Kabbalah. Even when he begins to familiarize himself with this science, there are many, the majority, who suddenly discover resistance within themselves, who reject and leave the study. I saw many similar examples, just as it is written, “A thousand enter the classroom and only one exits into the light.”
That is, this reaction is natural; it isn’t a special case and doesn’t mean that the teacher is bad. People leave not because they were taught badly, but because 999 out of a 1,000 were meant to leave and one was meant to stay.
Question: But why don’t people just leave, why do they become hostile to and enemies of Kabbalah?
Answer: Really, why isn’t the science of Kabbalah like physics or mathematics where a person loses interest and simply leaves? The thing is that Kabbalah touches the very inner essence of a person, focuses on his desires, pleasures, repulsions, feelings, and on the fact that he must rise above his sensations, study himself, and perform “open heart surgery” on himself.
He must open his heart, feelings, and reason and begin to dissect himself with a scalpel, as if this is being done by a stranger, examining his desires and thoughts completely objectively like an external observer. These kinds of things are not intrinsic to our nature and that’s why it’s not easy to accept.
From KabTV’s “Origins of Negative Reactions to Kabbalah,” 7/19/17