17. Can women study Kabbalah? What about children and teenagers?
Traditionally, serious study of the Kabbalah, like that of the Torah in general, was the province of men. The expansion of women's education and the proliferation of books and courses on mysticism, Kabbalah and Chassidut have made these areas far more accessible to women. Any woman who feels drawn to Kabbalah or Chassidut is free to read available literature and attend classes that are open to women where such classes exist. Study of Kabbalah or Chassidut may be of benefit to women, as they are to men, in deepening and refining their religious faith and practice.
It is most important to teach children about God, the creation and man's place and purpose in it - each child according to his or her level of understanding. There is no better nurture for a child's soul than the pristine purity of the stories and teachings of the Five Books of Moses and other books of the Bible, and those of the outstanding sages of Israel. These may be supplemented, where appropriate, with insights and explanations based on the teachings of Kabbalah and Chassidut. Study of Kabbalistic texts such as The Zohar is not appropriate for children or young teenagers. However, some thoughtful, intelligent teenagers may benefit from suitable literature on Hashkafah - the Torah outlook, or from texts such as Derech HaShem - The Way of God by Rabbi Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, Tanya, Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, etc.
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