19. What does the study of Kabbalah involve? Does it require practice? Is there a Kabbalistic way of life?
The first step in approaching the study of the Kabbalah would be to read suitable introductory works explaining the Kabbalistic worldview and fundamental ideas and concepts. (See Where to Start for suggested books.)
It is possible to study such works for the purpose of expanding one's knowledge, without having to adapt any specifically Kabbalistic practices. Observance of the Sabbath, festivals, dietary, moral and other laws of the Torah is, however, necessary in order to pursue the study of the Kabbalah, which is the very soul of the Torah.
Kabbalistic practices include devotions and meditations for use in prayer or when performing certain mitzvot, such as the eating the Sabbath meals, celebrating the Passover Seder, counting the Omer, blowing the Shofar, shaking the Lulav, etc. Some kabbalists practice ritual immersion, fasting and other customs.
There is no specific costume worn by those who follow Kabbalistic practices -true students of the Kabbalah prefer to go about their practice quietly and unnoticed, wearing the same style of clothes as those around them. A number of outstanding Sefardic mekubalim and Chassidic leaders wear traditional robes or garments associated with positions of honor in their communities. Some students of the Kabbalah endeavor to wear white clothes on the Sabbath.
© AZAMRA INSTITUTE 5763 - 2003 All rights reserved