16. Do you have to be Jewish or practice the Torah in order to study and practice the Kabbalah?
Elijah the Prophet said: "I make the heavens and earth my witnesses that everyone, Israelite or Gentile, man or woman, slave or maid-servant - each according to his or her deeds, so holy spirit rests upon them" (Tanna devey Eliyahu ch. 9).
The Kabbalah includes general teachings that apply to Jews and Gentiles alike, to enable all mankind to come to know and serve the One God. These include teachings about God's creation of the worlds, about the levels and purpose of their various inhabitants, and about prayer, the universal avenue of approach to God - "for My House will be called the House of Prayer for all the nations" (Isaiah 56:7).
Many Kabbalah teachings apply specifically to those who practice the Torah, since they are inextricably bound up with the Torah and its commandments. Indeed, the Kabbalah is the very soul of the Torah, which is the Tree of Life.
Numerous translations and works about the Kabbalah are today readily available and accessible to Jews and Gentiles, regardless of their background or religious practice. The availability of such works allows people of all backgrounds and beliefs to find out the truth about the Torah and gain deeper insight into the world's oldest living faith.
The Kabbalah teaches that all Gentiles are enjoined to practice the Seven Universal Laws of the Children of Noah, while Jews are obliged to practice the 613 Commandments of the Torah. Deeper study of the Kabbalah, whether by Jews or Gentiles, is only truly meaningful when each one strives to practice the commandments that apply to him.
Practice of the Kabbalah by a Jew is authentic only when he or she observes the Torah code of Sabbath and festivals, diet, sexual morality, family purity and other laws. The authentic inner wisdom of the Torah, even when available in print, is self-protected in being truly comprehensible only to those who observe the 613 commandments of the Torah.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5763 - 2003 All rights reserved