If we talk about the origins of philosophy, the German philologist and humanist Johann Reichlin (XV-XVI century) wrote that his teacher Pythagoras, the father of philosophy, adopted his teaching not from the Greeks but rather from the Jews. Therefore, he should be called a Kabbalist, and he was the first to translate the word “Kabbalah,” unknown to his contemporaries, into Greek as “philosophy.”
Did the Greeks study with Kabbalists?
Answer: The Greeks studied with Kabbalists in the time of the Jewish prophets.
At that time, people were already connected and the Jews accepted everyone who wanted to study. Just like in ancient Babylon, those who wanted to joined Abraham and those who did not could join later. Kabbalah was open to all.
Question: What is the difference between Kabbalah and philosophy? Is it the fact that Kabbalah does not take into account abstract and speculative reasoning, for example, about the soul and God, as philosophy does?
Answer: Yes, because philosophy does not have a clear tool to approach a person, how to start “poking around” in it, to study desires and their various gradations, and examine a person’s intentions. So, there is no difference between intentions for my sake and for the sake of others.
Philosophy does not study how to exit ourselves toward others, to raise and lower our desires, how to work when you are in an ascent or descent of desires and intentions, and so on. That is, Kabbalah is a science and huge internal spiritual psychology.
Question: Can we say that philosophers are people who studied under Kabbalists, but did not achieve the understanding of the Creator; that is, they did not acquire a screen, but simply remained at the level of knowledge and then developed a science called “philosophy”?
Answer: Of course. Since they could not attain the upper world and the Creator, they began to develop it in the direction of logical thinking, using their mind and conclusions.
Therefore, philosophy is, of course, not a science. Today, only those who still want to spend their lives in fruitless thoughts become philosophers.
From KabTV’s “Basics of Kabbalah,” 12/13/18