Kabbalah is the mystical teachings in Judaism that are mainly based on the Zohar (traditionally attributed to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai) and then later elaborated upon by others such as Rabbis Isaac Luria and Israel Baal Shem.

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Where does the concept of Gilgulim (reincarnations) in Judaism come from?

What is the source of Gilgulim in Judaism? Are there people who disagree with its existence? Who was the first to mention it? What I am asking essentialy is what is the historical development of ...
17
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8answers
1k views

Do gentiles have neshamot?

As I have seen here, some say that only Jews have a neshama, others say that all humans have one. There was a reference there only of the former opinion (Jews only), and I know from elsewhere that ...
16
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4answers
1k views

Is there a list of Mitzvot and their corresponding body parts?

The Talmud (Makkot 23B)and the Zohar (1:170B - unverified English translation here) say that the 248 positive commandments correspond to the 248 limbs of the human body. (The Mishna (Ohalot 1:8) lists ...
15
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5answers
970 views

What is the Gorel Hagra?

What is it? How is it performed? May one perform it? And, if so, when may it be used?
15
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2answers
334 views

Can anyone explain the meaning of this amulet / inscription?

Right before my grandfather went away to fight in WWII, a rabbi in Munkács (מונקאטש) gave him a small cloth container that had a piece of parchment in it, as a kind of amulet. The piece of paper has ...
14
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5answers
806 views

Minimum Age to Learn Kabbalah?

How old do you have to be to learn Kabbalah? (I think its 60 ) but it seems everyone learns it anyway (Maharal, Chassidus). Is there a defense or is it just done?
13
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6answers
1k views

Sheidim, fact or fiction?

Are there really such thing as sheidim? If so, what are they? Please include sources.
12
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2answers
332 views

Why is practical kabbalah not considered kishuf?

To preface I know next to nothing about so called 'practical kabbalah'. But from the few things I have read about, things like face or palm reading, making a golem (essentially an android) or any ...
12
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2answers
194 views

Ana B'choach - Private prayer or Sing-Along song?

Many people have the custom to recite the prayer "Ana B'choach" after the initial six chapters of Tehillim said in Kabbalas Shabbos and before "Lecha Dodi". Based on the fact that it references ...
11
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4answers
405 views

Why is the idea of sefirot not shituf?

Why are the sefirot not considered a problem of Shituf? Is there anything wrong with believing in sefirot?
11
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1answer
160 views

The Alshich and Lavan

There are many sources online mentioning the story of how the Alshich once gave a Drasha and the Arizal was present. In the Drasha he elaborated on the 100 different ways Lavan deceived Yaakov. At one ...
10
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3answers
383 views

How Kabbalistically accurate is the golem-making procedure described in “Niflaos Maharal”?

There's been plenty of discussion about the historic authenticity of "Niflaos Maharal", a book that appeared in the early 1900s describing how the Maharal made a Golem to defend the Jews against blood ...
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2answers
252 views

What's the source for a Cheirem al pi Kabbalah?

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe describes: "'a real cheirem as prescribed by Kabbalah' requires the following: a court of seventy-two rabbis fast for forty consecutive days (excluding Shabbos ...
9
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4answers
300 views

What is the source for Pardes?

What is the source for expounding the torah according to remez, derush and sod (along with 'pshat' the group can be referred to by the acronym PaRDeS)? These forms of hermeneutics are not found in ...
9
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5answers
568 views

Is one a heretic if he does not believe in Kabbalah?

Is one a heretic if he does not believe in Kabbalah? Not necessarily that the Rashbi authored the Zohar, but in the general tenets of kabbalah including but not limited to: tzimtzum, sefirot, ...
9
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2answers
217 views

Reincarnation vs. resurrection of the dead

Some Jews believe in reincarnation. They are also supposed to accept the Resurrection of the Dead, where actual bodies are resurrected. In that case, for each soul, which body is resurrected?
9
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4answers
949 views

Trimming or Shaving the Moustache

Are there any halachic or kabbalistic reasons to forbid (or avoid) trimming or shaving one's moustache? I am defining "shaving" as cutting until there is no visible hair remaining, and "trimming" as ...
9
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2answers
146 views

Do converts represent a “farblondzshet” neshama?

Before our wedding, a mikvah lady learned that my wife was marrying me -- a convert to Judaism. Her response was that I must represent a "farblondzshet neshama" (a confused or a lost Jewish soul). ...
9
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1answer
130 views

Are Segulot a Prohibition of Nichush?

Rambam Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 11:12 writes: הלוחש על המכה וקורא פסוק מן התורה, וכן הקורא על התינוק שלא יבעת, והמניח ספר תורה או תפילין על הקטן בשביל שיישן - לא די להם שהם בכלל מנחשים וחוברים, אלא ...
8
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6answers
223 views

What do people mean when they say “Kaballah”?

I recently spoke to someone who said she was interested in learning Kabbala but could not find any classes. I mentioned to her she may want to try learning Tanya because there is a lot of Kabbala in ...
8
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6answers
511 views

Is there a Kabbalistic source for not walking with one's hands behind one's back?

I've heard from people that it says in Kabbalah that one shouldn't walk with one's hands behind one's back. Does anyone know the source?
8
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1answer
135 views

Animals Created By Sefer Yetzirah

The Malbim explains that someone created a calf using Sefer Yetzirah, and it could then be eaten with milk. What is it about the animals created from Sefer Yetzirah which make it permissible to eat ...
8
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2answers
315 views

Minhag not to view moon through a window?

I have a vague memory of being told not to gaze at the moon through the glass of a window. I think it had something to do with kabbalah. I know it's permitted to say kiddush levanah by looking at the ...
7
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4answers
421 views

Proper Way of Learning Jewish Mysticism

I have been very much interested in learning the core teachings of mysticism since I was a young boy. I didn't know that it was called Jewish mysticism but nonetheless I was attracted to its beliefs ...
7
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9answers
616 views

Kabala in Halacha

Which of the major authors or codifiers of halacha. . . a) refer directly to or quote from kabala in their legal discussions? b) employ conclusions based only on kabala in their legal argumentation ...
7
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3answers
411 views

Halakha and Spiritual Healing?

What are the halakhic guidelines and limitations for using psukim from the Torah to heal illness? Does it make a difference if the psuk is being used to heal a "spiritual" malady which is believed to ...
7
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1answer
179 views

Zohar vs. Yerushalmi

M"B 25:42 makes it clear that we always follow Gemara over Zohar. And we similarly follow Bavli over Yerushalmi (as is clear from the Hirhurim article quoted in this related discussion). However, do ...
7
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2answers
249 views

Is there really a distinct “Jewish soul”?

I have heard many times about Jews having a "special soul" or a "Jewish soul" - a soul which is either lacking and/or fundamentally different than that of non-Jews. However, the sources which are ...
7
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1answer
134 views

Unique signature of the Chida

The Chida has a very unique signature. What is the significance of this signature (if any)? Is it in any way related to the seven kabbalistic seals? Are there other similarly unusual signatures by ...
7
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1answer
291 views

Is there positive proof that the Rambam did not accept Kabbalah?

I have heard many times that the Rambam's omission of mystical ideas is proof, or evidence, of his rejection thereof. However, if one accepts the authenticity of Kabbalah as being a legitimate ...
7
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0answers
300 views

Can one read Tehillim or Tanach at night? [duplicate]

I remember hearing people quote sources that say it is better not to reading Tehillim or Tanach at night. Does anyone know the source to this, and to why it should not be read at night? Does one ...
6
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4answers
367 views

Walking Between 2 Women - Relatives

A man is not allowed to walk between two women. Does this apply where one of them is his mother (or sister)?
6
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3answers
229 views

Conditions for Learning Kabala

What are the necessary conditions for being ready to learn Kabala? And if one meets those conditions, what books should he start with? Please provide a source.
6
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2answers
201 views

Why is one permutation of the name of God backwards?

If you spell out each letter that makes up the name of God, then add up the gematria (numerical value) of each letter of each fully spelled out letter you get various values. The value depends on how ...
6
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2answers
285 views

What's the history of Hekhalot/Heichalot/Heikhalot literature?

There is a field of study, which focuses on the Hekhalot literature. However, the internet gives conflicting information about them. For example, some state that they were written by the early ...
6
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1answer
150 views

Looking at a picture of the face of a Rasha

The Zohar (and Megillah 28a thanks DoubleAA) says that it is Assur to gaze at the face of a Rasha. Would this also apply to looking at an image or painting of a Rasha?
6
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2answers
126 views

Why is ויהי נועם said after הנני מוכןs?

Most (but not all) Siddurim have the פסוק of ויהי נועם at the end of הנני מוכןs (such as before ספירת העומר, before the ארבע כוסות, or before בדיקת חמץ). Where does this practice come from and why is ...
6
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2answers
404 views

What is a good place to buy kabbalah seforim online?

I am aware of Nehora and the other sites I could find googling this same inquiry, I'm looking for other recommendations of sites that have a good selection. Specifically I'm looking for Kanfei Yona ...
5
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3answers
354 views

Accusations against the Zohar HaKadosh:

Are there any responses by Rishonim or Aharonim (even contemporaries) against those who criticize the Kabbala and the Zohar done by many people? Like this accusation ...
5
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2answers
184 views

Was Rav Hai Gaon a kabbalist?

In a recent conversation a friend indicated that Rav Hai Gaon was a well known kabbalist, while another friend pointed to his teshuva [teshuvas ha'geonim 115] to indicate that he was not [and ...
5
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1answer
113 views

What is Kabbalah?

What is Kabbalah in plain and Brief??
5
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2answers
465 views

Why do Sephardim tuck in their tzitzit?

It has been mentioned previously that Sephardic custom, according to R. Ovadia, is to wear the tzitziot from a talit katan inside rather than exposed. Can someone provide an explanation for this ...
5
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3answers
227 views

Are there forms of Jewish mysticism outside of kabbalah?

Is kabbalah the one and only form (source?) of Jewish mysticism?
5
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2answers
288 views

Learning Kabbalah from other students of the Arizal?

It says in Sforim that one shouldn't learn Kabbalah from any of the students of the Arizal except for R' Chaim Vital (as they didn't understand the Arizal properly). I have never seen such a worry ...
5
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2answers
239 views

understanding tzimtzum k'peshuto

According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, the Vilna Gaon holds that the tzimtzum is to be understood literally, that God literally withdrew Himself from the creation. How can this be understood given that ...
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0answers
55 views

Who were the Nistarim?

It has been documented that there is a group of righteous people called "The Nistarim". I am not referring to the lammed vav tzaddikim of the Gemara (Sanhedrin 97b, Sukkah 45b). Rather, a mystical ...
5
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0answers
109 views

Does 'not in heaven' apply to kabbalah?

There is a famous dictum: 'lo ba'shomayim he', meaning that after the torah was given at Sinai its rules, mandates and precepts are determined by man and not dictated by heaven. An example is when ...
5
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0answers
131 views

Maharal and Kabbala (a few questions)

Since the Maharal (born 1512) lived around the same time as the Arizal (born 1534), and it doesn't seem like they had any acquaintances. Which sources did the Maharal utilize when learning Kabala? ...
4
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1answer
840 views

How are sorcery or witchcraft viewed in Judaism and Jewish Mysticism?

How are sorcery or witchcraft viewed in Judaism? I have heard that it has something to do with Kabbalah. Please correct me if I am wrong. Also Solomon (may peace and blessings be upon him) is falsely ...
4
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3answers
276 views

Differences of Opinion in the Order of the Ushpizin

The order of the Ushpizin according to the Zohar (Thank you Mekubal!) corresponds to the order of the Sefiros each one represents. Why does the Shelah disagree and place Yosef before Moshe, Aharon, ...