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