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God in Therapy: Finding a Kabbalah Teacher

(Why are we talking about Kabbalah? See “Weekend Pow-wow Kabbalah” for our initial discussion).

Children Learning with Rabbi, Samarkand, Early 20th Century

Cherry-picking practices and feel-good explanations aren’t the only things that weaken attempts to benefit from the study of Kabbalastic teachings. Bad translations and misunderstandings of the nature of the Hebrew language are also a barrier to in-depth understanding.

Ancient Hebrew is what can be called a holographic language—its mind-boggling design and structure reveals a supra-natural, multi-dimensional tapestry of relationships of roots, words, and concepts as well as sub-languages of myriad numeric patterns and meanings. Aramaic, another language of the Kabbalah, though colloquial, is lush with double and triple entendres and also has many deep meanings.

When read in translation, especially by those not versed in the foundational Jewish texts, most Kabbalistic texts make little sense, and those parts that do appear to make sense, are easy to misinterpret.

That being said, some parts of Kabbalastic texts even in translation do offer helpful teachings that provide Universal insights into the meaning of life. They explore the nature (and paradoxes), of creation and existence; self and other; Heaven and earth; and so on.  But finding authentic Kabbalah isn’t always easy, and finding an authentic teacher, even more difficult.

An authentic teacher must, as Kabbalah itself demands, be observant of Jewish law; he will be recognized by authentic and authoritative scholars; he will have studied (and have an excellent grasp of), most of the written and oral teachings—and will have studied them with scholars; he will generally be fluent in Hebrew (and usually Aramaic); and he will, for the most part avoid, or at least tastefully minimize, the spotlight (probably no appearances on “The View” and no Hollywood shindigs); he will, with absolute certainty, not live like a movie-star, and in fact will almost certainly shun luxury, excess, and ostentation; and he will be reluctant to speak about the full scope of his knowledge.

Of primary importance: He will work hard to nullify self/ego in order to achieve good in the world. In other words, if he is great enough to teach you something valuable, his humility will be apparent.

Coming soonKabbalah–Buyer Beware

God in Therapy: Finding a Kabbalah Teacher

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2010). God in Therapy: Finding a Kabbalah Teacher. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 31, 2020, from


Last updated: 24 Aug 2010
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