15. Should everyone study the Kabbalah? Is it necessary? Who should and who should not study the Kabbalah? How will I know if it is for me? Are there other ways to know God?
Not everyone should study Kabbalah, and not everybody needs to. It is possible to believe in God and follow the Torah without investigating the Kabbalah.
Many feel that the Kabbalah is beyond them, and they are under no obligation to pursue it. Some would like to study the Kabbalah but do not feel ready for it - they should follow their intuition.
A person may wish to investigate the Kabbalah if he feels a strong yearning to learn more about God and where and how He is to be found in this world. It is recommended to begin with introductory works and focus on the Kabbalah worldview, while avoiding practical Kabbalah and advanced meditations. Kabbalistic texts may have particular appeal for those with a philosophical, mathematical, scientific, literary or intuitive bent.
It is unadvisable for those with a tendency to emotional or other kinds of imbalance to delve into the kabbalah. Those who fserious perand other problems are advised to seek Kabbalistic "solutions" only with help and guidance from a reliable expert.
It is unadvisable for those who are unmarried to go deeply into the writings of the ARI and the Zohar. On the other hand, they may benefit from studying Derech HaShem - The Way of God and The Knowing Heart by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Tanya by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi and the writings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, such as Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom and Likutey Moharan.
It frequently happens that people who feel a strong urge to study Kabbalah find themselves experiencing strange and even morbid thoughts, rebellious feelings, bursts of anger, unusually powerful physical lusts and the like. These are often signs that they are not sufficiently prepared for the level at which they were trying to study or that they should not be studying the Kabbalah at all. In such cases it is advisable to pause and consult with a reliable guide as to whether to continue or turn to other areas of study. The study of Chassidus may often be preferable to the study of other areas of Kabbalah.
The main goal of studying the Kabbalah is to come to know and be attached to God more deeply. However, this is also possible without the study of the Kabbalah, through the study of works on Hashkafah and Chassidut, which explain the Torah worldview and the foundations of belief, together with simple faith, prayer and practical fulfillment of the commandments of the Torah.
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