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Is it permissible to teach Kabbalah to the general public (all Jewish students, as opposed to only a select few sages - note: I do not mean to ask "is it ok to teach it in public", the exact setting of teaching Kabbalah would be a different question)? If so, what are the limits, rules and guidelines for doing so?


There seems to be at least two opinions on this which float around the comments:

  1. It has been permitted by our sages/heaven to teach Kabbalah to everyone in contemporary times.

  2. It is still completely forbidden to teach Kabbalah. Only the most gifted sages may teach it to whom they deem worthy, privately.

There may also be more opinions. Here would be a good place to collect them, and lay the arguments from all sides out in full. I personally am genuinely curious to hear from all sides, and I also think it would be of benefit to the site.


With regards for learning Kabbalah, see here and here. This is related because if we are allowed or obligated to learn it, who is going to teach it? If we aren't supposed to learn Gemara until we've been taught by a teacher, why would we be allowed to with Kabbalah?

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  • 1
    In order to understand the various, "seemingly opposing" viewpoints in halacha on this subject, your question must define with precision what you mean by "Kabbalah". That expression is generic and covers a very broad territory. Without the specific context and meaning, it is impossible to understand what any of the halachic positions (both those permitting and those prohibiting, as well as those placing limitations and (pre-)requisites) on this subject are addressing. Feb 16, 2023 at 15:42
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    עיין מהרש"א חידושי אגדות חגיגה יג עמוד א וז"ל תא אגמרך מעשה מרכבה א"ל לא קשאי כו'. מכאן תשובה לאותן אנשים שבדור הזה שמבלים כל ימיהם בחכמת הקבלה גם בילדותם ואם החכמה ההיא חכמת הקבלה אינו נוגע במעשה מרכבה לא ידענא למה לא הוזכרה זו החכמה בשום מקום לא במשנה ולא בתלמוד ובתוספתא ובמכילתא ובספרא ובספרי ולפי הנראה שחכמה זו נוגעת בלמעלה ממעשה מרכבה ויותר ראוי להסתירה ולא לגלותה ובפ' י' יוחסין אמרתי בזה שיש למחות ביד הדורשים בחכמה זו ברבים גם בסוד השם ע"ש: sefaria.org/Chidushei_Agadot_on_Chagigah.13a.10
    – אילפא
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:44
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    Thanks @YaacovDeane, I might disagree and state that the question accounts for this by stating "what are the rules and limitations of this". However, can you suggest a better way to phrase it?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:44
  • עיין קידושין עא עמוד א בא"ד וז"ל ומכאן מודעא רבה והמחאה מוחזקת לאותן דרשנים ברבים בדורותינו בסוד השם ובפירושו בכמה צירופים ויותר מהמה אם הם דברים שאינן נמסרים להם מפי חכם או שהתלמיד אינו הגון להבין הדברים על עיקרן ושרשן הרי הם דברים בדויים מלבם וה"ז בכלל מגלה פנים בתורה שלא כהלכה וכעושה התורה פלסתר וכל מי שבידו למחות ראוי למחות בהם וגם אני אם אישר חילי אבטליניה: sefaria.org/Chidushei_Agadot_on_Kiddushin.71a.7
    – אילפא
    Feb 16, 2023 at 15:53
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    I've seen many of the responsa on this subject, both from the past and more contemporary. In general, the answers do not specify what precisely they are talking about. And this touches on a very important principle, in general, for learning Responsa collections. By some, they actually recap the question asked in their response before answering. But that is not the norm. So it places the burden upon the reader to discern what the questioner was asking. See, for example, the excellent comments from @Avrah above. Feb 16, 2023 at 15:56

2 Answers 2

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NOTE: This answer brings a commonly held opinion, and should be treated as a non-comprehensive, non-rigorous introduction. It goes without saying that nobody should use this answer as a personal permission to go ahead and learn/teach Kabbalah - CLYOR

One strong and common opinion is that yes it is permitted, some say obligatory, and certainly strongly urged (certainly in contradistinction to the opinion in the question that it is strictly forbidden. The minutia of the opinion in this answer can be debated and this answer will not deal with that). It is what will bring the Moshiach to our very low generation, who need "a very great light". However, there is a litany of cautions and guidelines and limitations, and one must follow them. Some of them are collected below. However, let's start with the sources:

Sources

Collected from my own learning and verification where I have access, and the verification of others where not.

  1. Or Neerav is a work by the Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (the Ramak) who taught Kabbalah to the Arizal. Its goal is to speak to, advise and encourage both teachers and students of Kabbalah. It writes extensively in Part 1 about the importance for every Jew to learn Kabbalah, and speaks out strongly against anyone who discourages it. He makes a distinction between easier parts and harder parts, but generally encourages everyone to learn the Kabbalah, even Maaseh Merkava and Maaseh Bereshit. He explains it is important to follow the Tikkunei Zohar's rules of learning Tanach and Mishna/Gemara, and the art of pilpul first, but emphasises one shouldn't use excuses like "I haven't mastered shas yet" etc. - a "portion" of these is fine. He explains that one shouldn't fear making a mistake, because he will eventually arrive at the truth, and the mistakes will be wiped out (he bases this on Sefer ha-Bahir, a very early Kabbalistic work). He does warn against not teaching it if one doesn't know what they are talking about, and exhorts students to find a teacher who has mastered Kabbalah for its own sake, and not as one subject among many.

  2. Eitz Chaim, the major Kabbalistic work of the teachings of the Arizal by his foremost student, R' Chaim Vital T'zl, Shaar HaHakdamot where he writes that ideally one should learn Talmud first, and then move on to Kabbalah. Everyone should do so; anyone who doesn't causes sorrow to the Divine and delays the Redemption. He adds that if a person has issues with learning Talmud, they should go straight to the Kabbalah. He brings many sources for this, disagreeing with the "only after 40" idiom (see Shach, Yoreh De'ah 246:6).

  3. Even Shleima by the Vilna Gaon T'zl, 8:24 and 11:3, as well as his commentary on Mishlei 4:22, 5:18, 7:12 and 20:9, and on Tikunei Zohar 107:3 (plus many other places). In his commentary on parshat pikudei, 17 and Mishlei 2:9 he writes that it is obligatory for everyone to learn Kabbalah1. His position amounts to the fact that the learning of Kabbalah will be the primary cause of the Redemption. In Kol HaTor he predicted that in the year 5750 (1990) the "revelation of Kabbalah" will begin.

  4. Ohr HaChama by R' Avraham Azulai T'zl writes in the introduction that the decree of not openly engaging in Kabbalah was lifted in the year 5250 (1490)2, and in 5300 (1540) it became praiseworthy to do so in great numbers in order to bring Moshiach.

  5. HaSulam by Baal HaSulam T'zl, where he writes in the introduction that the time has come for everyone to learn Kabbalah1.

  6. Eder HaYaker v'Ikvei HaTzon, p.144 R' Kook T'zl explains that it's no longer appropriate for the "big questions" to only be answered to the great Rabbonim, but everyone should have an answer, and all of klal Yisrael should participate in this process.3.

  7. The letter of R' Yisrael Ba'al Shem Tov T'zl to his brother in-law, Rebbe Gershon of Kitov T'zl. In it he states that the Moshiach will come when the wellsprings of his teachings have spread [and been taught] to the whole world. The teachings, which he states he wasn't permitted to give in his own lifetime (and he didn't have writings as such, his teachings were transmitted through his students, who taught it to their Chassidim, and still do to this day), are Kabbalistic in nature.

  8. Shaar HaEmuna VeYesod HaChasidut by Rabbi Gershon Chanoch Henoch (the Radzyner Rebbe), the son of the second Ishbitzer Rebbe and the grandson of the Mei Hashiloach writes in his introduction to the Beit Yaakov that it is imperative for everyone to learn Kabbalah and Chassidut, and like the Ramak above, argues harshly against those who discourage its study, and insist on focussing on pshat and halacha.

  9. The Zohar itself, in several places explains how the teachings of Kabbalah will bring the Redemption. See 1:117a, taken to mean that in the year 5600 (1840) the wellsprings will burst forth from above and below, meaning Torah wisdom that was hidden will become available (Kabbalah, note the same word used in the Ba'al Shem Tov's letter), and this will coincide with a great influx of "lower" wisdom. See also 3:124b which states that specifically the teachings of the book of the Zohar (a primarily Kabbalistic work) will bring about the Redemption1!

  10. R' Chaim of Volozhin T'zl, before he was niftar, told his son R' Yitzchak that it is extremely important that the entirety of his work Nefesh Hachaim be learned by everyone. It is a work that contains a lot of Kabbalah, which is written in such a way that clearly demands there be a teacher to explain it. I will look for that source again bli neder. His son made efforts to pass on his urgent message that this work be published and learned in full by all.

Dangers

There are several noted dangers about teaching Kabbalah that cause us to hesitate and make sure we do so wisely. Here are just a few:

  1. It can be misunderstood. Chacham Hillel Shlita, in Faith and Folly, goes into much detail about this danger. Two of the greater issues are:

    • One might misunderstand the metaphors used and consider Hashem to be in some way composed of parts, chas veshalom.
    • One might come to consider that Hashem has partners on His level, chas veshalom.

    Kabbalah is a deep, mystical subject that deepens one's knowledge of Hashem, and misunderstanding it can lead to misunderstanding Hashem - Who wishes to be known - a great sin. Much of the original writings are written in a form of linguistic code, that requires a cipher to understand. If it is not learned with the explanations of the Tzaddikim that have come since then, then one has no hope of understanding anything, and is in great danger of misunderstanding something and falling into blasphemous thoughts, chas veshalom.
    Do note on this that the Ramak says that it is actually part of the process; it is impossible to learn Kabbalah without making mistakes, so therefore one should still learn it, and Hashem will guarantee he will eventually succeed and his mistakes will be erased.

  2. It can become profaned. These are very holy, personal, and even private (mature) teachings, about Hashem Himself, and should always be treated with extreme awe and trepidation. By exposing these teachings to "popular" culture, they can (and unfortunately have in many cases - "Madonna grade Kabbalah") become profaned.

  3. It can put people off. See the story of the Splattered Gem by R' Pinchas of Koretz T'zl and explanations. This is a three fold issue.

    • If it taught to someone not ready or through a faulty teaching or inexperienced teacher, it might put them off Torah (or worse, come to disdain it) rather than bring them closer, which is a huge tragedy and must be avoided.
    • These teachings are considered some the highest teachings of all, and lay out openly the secrets inside the Torah. After hearing them, if a person continues to sin afterwards, he has no further excuses or mitigating factors of "he couldn't have known better".
    • In addition to the last point, if a person is unmoved by these teachings, then it is considered a tremendous waste. If the deepest truths about Hashem do not move someone, then what will? Those teachings have been wasted, and that soul has little hope.
  4. Kabbalah itself is dangerous. Kabbalah is a very powerful wisdom, and can be misused, and certainly should not be available to malevolent sinners who would do so. See the aforementioned Faith and Folly for much detail about this. It has also been the cause of several disasters in our history, such as the Shabtai Tzvi false messiah tragedy.

  5. Another commonly cautioned issue is it can confuse and distract. Perhaps even make one go loopy (see the story of the Pardes in Chagiga 14b), or go off the derech. It can distract one's focus away from learning halacha, which is an absolutely critical part of a persons' service. This is something I have heard personally from one of my own Rabbonim, who is close with Chacham Hillel and other leading Kabbalists, and is also a strong point in Chareidi Litvish yeshivot, including my own. Just because this is not the only opinion on the matter does not mean the caution should be disregarded!

Guidelines and Limitations

It goes without saying that one should not teach what one does not know very well. Therefore, before teaching anything, one should have discussed it properly with one's own Rabbis (who themselves obviously need to be experts in these topics), who should offer feedback, including as to whether one is actually good at explaining and teaching these things. There is a difference in being able to recite the sefirot and olamot and their connections, and actually understanding that and being able to translate it into a plain language every-day lesson. If one can't answer intelligent questions on a subject, they probably don't know it well enough to teach it - this is true of any subject.

  1. One should only teach to the level of one's audence. As the Ramak states in Or Neerav, Kabbalah is a big subject, with some subjects that are easier, and some that are harder. There is much "easy"4 Kabbalah available nowadays, and there are many sefarim aimed at the public that contain a lot of Kabbalah, including works by the Maharal T'zl, the Ramchal T'zl , R' Chaim of Volozhin T'zl, the Chassidic Rebbeim and more. There are contemporary works by well respected Rabbonim such as R' Aryeh Kaplan T'zl, R' Yitzchak Ginsburg Shlita, R' Mattis Weinberg Shlita, R' Moshe Miller T'zl, R' Manis Friedman Shlita, R' Akiva Tatz Shlita and others. If one wishes to teach Kabbalah to the public, one should follow their guidance and use their explanations and not stray further without asking one's own Rav.

  2. The Ba'al Shem Tov has stated one shouldn't teach Kabbalah without his teachings (which later became known as Chassidus). See Derech Mitzvotecha, Shoresh Mitzvat haTefillah 2 by the Lubavitcher Rebbe.

  3. One should know one's audience. Ideally, one shouldn't teach it to people who haven't got a good basis in Talmud and Halacha5, as well as trained in how to think and reason, as cautioned by the Ramchal. Where this is not possible, one should teach Kabbalah in a very distilled form, free of jargon, with very well thought out parables and plain, every-day explanations following after the great teachers of Kabbalah outlined in points 1 and 2, and make sure to include disclaimers about the dangers outlined above.

  4. One should become well acquainted with the dangers, and their common causes. Now that all Kabbalistic works are available publicly online, and in popular books, there are a lot of questions and there is a lot of potential for misunderstanding, so it is important to know how to answer some of the main misconceptions, and offer some explanations to those who read these works and have questions, so they don't err.

  5. As with all hashkafa, one should always bring the lessons back to the practical. Their main goal is to inspire and bring people genuinely closer to Hashem and thus to enhance people's adherence to halacha, the performance of Mitzvot, prayer and chesed.

In general, don't do it alone. Just like one shouldn't learn it alone, one shouldn't teach it alone, but with guidance from one's teachers, and without straying from the words of the Tzaddikim who have, themselves, written teachings of Kabbalah designed for the public.


Background

Based on the sources and my general understanding, the general traditional understanding of "don't learn Kaballah until you are a big Talmud chachamim post 40" has indeed changed, but how exactly and to what degree takes explanation. It should be noted that this wasn't always the case. It appears that at the time of R Shimon Bar Yochai, everyone did indeed learn Kabbalah, and it is a matter of exile that it ended up going "underground" (see Chapter 14 of Shaar HaEmunah VeYesod HaChasidut, introduction to Beit Yaakov). There was a bit of an awakening of Kabbalistic teachings in 12th century Spain, and at that point there was a pushback (by Yitzchak the Blind), and started a tradition of aversion to teaching Kabbalah to the public, and obscuring any recorded teachings behind omissions and cryptic language. This was in part because of the Mishneh in Chagiga that states that Kabbalah should only be taught from teacher to student orally.

The dangers section illustrates many of the main issues this tradition was established to protect us from. Given that those dangers still exist, it is still fair to say that even according to this opinion, there is still a lot of areas of Kabbalah that shouldn't be taught, and plenty of room for caution and hesitation. However there have been two major counterforces, as well as a good reason, that have worked to bring our cited opinions to make the changes.

Firstly, there has been a lot of clarification of the Kabbalah. As an esoteric subject, it's very hard to understand. However, after a few thousand years, the Tzaddikim have slowly been coming up with ways of explaining it that are better and safer. Also on this, lots of amazing and very useful tools for understanding Hashem, ourselves, relationships and more have been crafted based on the Kabbalah, and this certainly counts as "teaching Kabbalah", and certainly can be an argument towards "this kind of thing was always allowed", which is to say the "change" we are discussing here might not be as drastic or controversial as we might be saying. The Sefirot and psychology, the Olamot and relationships, come to mind.

Yet also, in these concepts are answers to many of the big questions about life, like what does Hashem's love really mean, and even what is the essence of the purpose of life that we are given in the nigleh answers to that question. This is important and is likely where most of the controversy of the "changes" come up, but clearly one can see why some opinions would be all for "taking a risk" and allowing more access to Kabbalah, so people can get answers to these important questions in times of need.

Secondly, there has been a lot of improvements in the general wisdom and intelligence of the world (see Zohar 1:117a). A lot of people think that mysticism and intellectualism don't work well together, however, the more intellectualism we have, the safer Kabbalah is (Ramak described Kabbalah as a "science" often), and the easier it is to understand, because actually, most of the difficulty in understanding isn't because it is irrational (it's not, although it intersects with the super-rational), but because it is abstract.

Note: This counterforce actually leads to an obligation to teach Kabbalah. This is because there has been a great increase in people learning Kabbalah, starting even several hundred years ago. The Nefesh HaChaim, who admits he is in the camp that is opposed to encouraging study of Kabbalah, claims that he feels that he is obligated to teach it now that many are learning it and getting it wrong. For example, in part 3, he explains (I am simplifying) that some people, upon learning Kabbalah and the omnipresence of Hashem, end up with erroneous opinions such as it is ok to contemplate holy matters in a dirty alleyway (surprisingly, this was a question I had in yeshiva! Anecdotal, but evidence that indeed our minds are more questioning, and more abstract these days).

So, due to the various intellectual revolutions in the secular world over the years, as well as improvements in education, literacy and access to knowledge, we've moved on a bit from the dark ages, can think way more abstractly, and now more people are capable of understanding more Kabbalah, and able to benefit from it, as well as not fall into the pitfalls of the past.

Which leads to the good reason: Kabbalah knowledge is important to know because it brings us closer to Hashem and redemption than anything else, as the sources go to length to explain.

Built in to this opinion is a lot of optimism, which is indeed an item of personality, and can lead to personality clashes. As someone in the middle I feel this very strong, but I must admit I am attracted to the notions that our hard work during the galus is leading to tangible improvements to the world, that people are becoming more good (even while they are becoming more numb and less naturally connected to ruchnius), and that there are answers to the big questions and more people can have access to them. Yet I can hear the other side too, it's important to never leave the ground even when looking upwards, and to never be irresponsible with the great dangers we've seen in history, and never belittle the warnings from our leaders past and present.


Conclusions

It is indeed the case that we have a strong historical tradition that claims teaching Kabbalah openly is a grave sin. However, we also have a strong tradition of permitting it, with explanations of why this has changed (or that this change was always intended, and to what extent it is a "change" etc), along with guidance, limitations and rules. We shouldn't ignore this, nor the fact that many great Tzaddikim for at least half a millennia have poured their hearts and souls into finding ways to find ways to explain essential and core lessons from Kabbalah so that the masses can understand them. With the Zohar itself claiming that our modern generation is nearly 2 centuries into an era of a great upsurge in holy and secular wisdom, which go hand in hand, and claiming that learning and teaching it is a critical aspect of bringing about the Redemption, we certainly should take this to heart.

However, as I opened the conclusion, this is indeed not the final say, and is certainly a highly charged issue, and there is strong disagreement on many aspects. Therefore as always with answers on this site, one shouldn't take this as their final say and charge, but should speak with ones own Rabbi and find out what one's own tradition says on the matter, and follow it, as well as taking into account all the answers to the question, not just this one. I am not writing as a "Rabbi" in authority, but as a student myself, of my own Rabbis who have their own traditions on this matter, which I strive to follow without error.


1 - It is logical to assume, as many have, that once the public is allowed/obligated to learn it, the learned are allowed/obligated to teach it, as it is dangerous/impossible to learn Kabbalah by oneself, and it is generally bizarre to set up a system where people can learn something that nobody is allowed to teach. This answer does not deal with whether it should be taught actively or passively or in between - see Or Neerav and Sefer HaBahir for more treatment of this.
2 - It is not clear if this is overruling the Mishna in Chagiga or not, if the Mishna's ruling is absolute or not, or if the Gemara opens nuance to the Mishna's statements. Ramak for example seems to permit teaching these subjects in Or Neerav.
3 - See also Igerot haRa'ayah, vol. 1, Letter 43. He was a proponent of demystifying Kabbalah and introducing it to yeshiva curriculums.
4 - Easy means a) getting to the heart of a particular message in Kabbalah and b) finding a way to explain it without jargon, through mashal, in a way that the every day person can absorb it. The essence is very much preserved. The Tzaddikim have given us many examples of this, especially Chassidus, that we can borrow, and this late in the game, much has been distilled. There are different degrees to which things are distilled and much to debate about this, including what prohibitions still exist in which areas. Faith and Folly and the responsa of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in particular offer a range of information on this as a starting point.
5 - This has always been the case, the difference now being that everyone is now able to learn the Kabbalah, rather than a select few. Many have taken this to mean we should introduce Kabbalah to the curriculum, and even distil core lessons in Kabbalah for everyone. It is still lechatchila to have this grounding, and the more one has, the deeper one is capable of going into the Kabbalah. Debate can be had about how much Talmud and Halacha counts as "being well grounded".

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    Some of your sources speak to teaching/learning kabbala, but not necessarily teaching to the general public. Even for those that speak about "everyone" learning kabbala, you haven't showed that this includes all ages and in a public setting.
    – magicker72
    Feb 16, 2023 at 16:23
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    I agree that you have outlined those things, and for that +1. I was referring only to the sources, not all of which seem relevant for the question of "teach[ing] Kabbalah to the public".
    – magicker72
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:01
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    I find this answer confusing. You open with "One strong and common opinion is that yes it is permitted, some say obligatory, and certainly strongly urged" but then "one shouldn't teach it to people who haven't got a good basis in Talmud and Halacha". This feels like such a limitation so as to make the initial claim empty. So too "One should not teach 'pure Kabbalah' [but rather] 'distilled' Kabbalah" and even "one should teach Kabbalah in a very distilled form" Sounds like the original prohibition is still in place for the main stuff and only this distant quasi kabala stuff is allowed.
    – Double AA
    Feb 16, 2023 at 18:30
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    Footnote 1 is just a logical non sequitur. The mishna in chagiga puts restriction on both maaseh merkava and arayot. Everyone must learn about arayot (among all halacha). The rule of teaching in public is in place along with the rule that everyone must learn it. There is no argument that since everyone must learn it we must teach it publicly. Don't conflate who should learn it with how to teach it (though if any have, as you assert, you should cite them directly).
    – Double AA
    Feb 16, 2023 at 22:27
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    Statements from the Vilna Gaon etc. saying everyone should learn kabbalah are based on the requirement to know all of Torah, nigleh and nistar. But nigleh definitely has priority, and it is assumed that studying nistar without a firm foundation in nigleh is deeply misguided and very counterproductive.
    – N.T.
    Feb 17, 2023 at 23:16
-3

NOTE! Learning the ZOHAR is NOT learning Kabbala, two VERY different teachings.

Learn Both.

For a fast and direct answer, it's one hundred percent allowed (If you know your materials). The Mainstream system will say a lot of things to cover up a lot things, using peoples lack of intellect and understanding as a wall of justification and to hide from the truth.

In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

Desiderius Erasmus (Desiderius Erasmus quotes), link at the bottom.

The myth of the being a 40 year old with kids, is not entirely true, the most if not the crucial part of learning or teaching these teachings are

  1. Guarding your Eyes and mouth.
  2. Keeping your Brit Milla.
  3. Having above average maturity (if you're sophisticated enough to handle multiple personalities, you are allowed to be a bit humorous, as long as it does not affect your intellect or perception). AKA stay far away from these teachings if you're immature as within the deep Zohar and Kabala you can go into some very sexual or explicit areas.

The following is from the book Or Neerav by Rabbi Moshe Cordovero,

For the full book go here

For Cordovero, the ideal student should have attained the age of twenty before commencing his study of Kabbalah. In stating this, he placed himself in conscious opposition to the view that Kabbalistic studies should be limited to those who had achieved the age of “understanding”—forty. Though Cordovero does not mention it in this context, he asserts in the introduction to Pardes Rimmonim that his own education in Kabbalah began at the age of twenty. Thus, in a self-reference, he could emphatically state: “Many have acted in accordance with our opinion and succeeded.” Cordovero’s own experience with the study of Kabbalah is likely to have inspired him to demand of the potential student that he “first strip from himself the shell of gross pride which prevents him from attaining the truth. He should [then] direct his heart to heaven [to pray] that he not fail.” In the introduction to Pardes Rimmonim, Cordovero claimed to have undergone a similar conversion experience at the age of twenty, in which he renounced worldly vanities and turned to Kabbalah. As he said of himself, at the age of twenty “My Creator aroused me as one who is aroused from sleep, and I said to my soul, ‘Until when will you cause the misbehaving daughter to disappear?’” The student, having attained the requisite age and deportment, should also have undergone a rigorous preparatory course in the classic exoteric Jewish texts. Influenced here as elsewhere by Maimonides, Cordovero asserted that the ideal curriculum ought to be divided into three divisions: Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud. Mishnah was defined as the entire range of rabbinic law, while Talmud was meant to refer to pardes (esoteric studies). Thus Cordovero stated: He [the prospective student] must be accustomed to engaging in profound pilpul [dialectical reasoning] so that he might be accustomed and able to strip [relevant] matters from parables…. He must apply himself to fill his belly with [the study of] the laws of the Gemara and the explanation of the commandments on the literal level in the work of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, the Yad…. He should also guide himself in the study of Scripture—whether [it be] much or little…. [Then] he will not fail. Of course, mastery of these preparatory subjects should not become so complete as to inordinately delay the study of Kabbalah. As Cordovero stated: There are those who imagine that before pursuing [Kabbalah], they must first master the science of astronomy. They have other notions which keep them from following the straight path. They sanctimoniously give themselves the excuse that their bellies are not yet full of the bread and meat of the Gemara. For these poor people, their entire lives will not be sufficient to learn even a bit of [Gemara], let alone to fill their bellies so that they could partake of this science [of Kabbalah] and be sated. Thus the poor people go to their eternal rest bereft of wisdom. Beyond proper preparatory study, would-be students of Kabbalah must also possess a strong desire to study the subject for its own sake in order to enter into its mysteries, to know their Master and to achieve a wondrous level in the true acquisition of knowledge of the Torah. To pray before their Master and to unify, through His commandments, the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shekhinah. By way of contrast, those who desire to study Kabbalah merely as one discipline among many, and for whom acquiring “a bit of this science is the same … as [acquiring] a smattering of medicine, astronomy, logic, mathematics, and the other sciences,” were characterized as sinners. So much for the student of Kabbalah; what must one expect of the teacher of this subject? Cordovero asserted that a student who truly desires to study Kabbalah should take as a teacher someone who has fulfilled the requisite standards for a Kabbalist. Thus, a teacher of Kabbalah must be a person with an adequate background in the exoteric texts, who has mastered Kabbalah for its own sake and not as one discipline among many. To study with a teacher who does not fulfill these conditions will lead the student to error and might eventually result in his losing his faith. However, what is one to do if one is unable to find a suitable teacher? Does the lack of a qualified teacher mean that one may not begin the study of Kabbalah at all? Cordovero’s answer to this problem is self-study. Doing it by yourself, though it may lead you to error, is preferable to refraining from any attempt to study Kabbalah. In the end, Cordovero asserted, even the erroneous study of Kabbalah has its divine reward. In an era in which teachers of Kabbalah were few and manuscripts of Kabbalistic texts were scattered, it is not unlikely that Cordovero’s accommodating attitude toward self-study reflected the contemporary situation. Just as Cordovero was exacting with regard to the choice of an instructor, preferring self-study to instruction by an inadequate teacher, so was he exacting with regard to the texts the student should study. Living in an era in which several more or less systematic accounts of Kabbalah were available, Cordovero advised the beginning student to avoid all of them. The authors of these Kabbalistic works, he said, had “compose[ed] their books in riddles and metaphors so that their message is encumbered by much [extraneous] matter. We ourselves would not do this, God forbid. It is improper to place a blemish upon sanctified things.” Rather than rely upon such books, Cordovero urged students to concentrate mainly on the Zoharic literature and such sanctified works as Sefer Yeẓirah (“Book of Creation”) and Sefer ha-Bahir (“Book of Clear Light”). [The student] should stick to these books lovingly. He will succeed in [mastering] this science on condition that he delve deeply into them and [devote to them] exceptional study. He will then find explanations for most of what is to be found in the books of the latter commentators, which he need not consult. It is not our intention to declare these [latter works] unfit, God forbid, but rather to indicate to the student the path which is short, though it seems to be long. In pursuing the study of these texts, some times are better for learning than others. It is certainly easy for a student to study throughout the day. However, the optimum time for gaining profound wisdom is the long night, from midnight on, or on the Sabbath day, which is [itself] a factor. This [also applies to] the eve of the Sabbath, commencing at noontime and on holidays, particularly on Aẓeret [Shavuot]. I have tried this many times and found it to be a marvelously successful day. Also, there is great success [in studying] on Sukkot in the sukkah. These times [1 have] mentioned I have tried. I am speaking from experience. In addition to studying the optimum texts at the optimum times, the student was to approach his studies in the following way: First of all, [the student] should review the texts many times, making notes in order to remember his studies fluently. He should not delve too deeply at first. Secondly, he should study the material with great concentration according to his ability…. At times [the amount of time given to] the two forms of study should be increased and sometimes lessened, all according to the need of the hour and the [degree of] peace of mind…. Though it may seem to the student that he does not understand [the texts], he should nevertheless not cease studying, for his Master will faithfully cause him to discover esoteric wisdom…. I have experienced this innumerable times…. Should any subject in this science seem doubtful for [the student], he should wait. For in the course of time the matter will be revealed to him. The essential reward [for the study] of this science is [derived from] waiting for [the revelation of] the mysteries which will be revealed to him in the course of time. As previously noted, Moses Cordovero’s son, Gedaliah, considered all the material we have dealt with so far as merely prefatory to the essential part of Or Ne’erav, which is the epitome of Pardes Rimmonim. The section of the work containing the epitome is entitled “On the Necessary Preparations for Beginners in This Science.” We noted earlier that Cordovero, in criticizing the authors of other Kabbalistic treatises, stated that his work would differ from theirs. He was presumably saying, though not in so many words, that Pardes Rimmonim was an adequate text for Kabbalistic studies and that Or Ne’erav was a proper way for beginners to be introduced to the material it contained. It has been observed that Cordovero’s ethical work, Tomer Devorah, pioneered a genre in which Kabbalistic ideas and motifs began suffusing and controlling moral and ethical discourse. It has not been sufficiently noted, however, that Or Ne’erav begins another trend: the publication of abridgements and epitomes of Kabbalistic works. In the seventeenth century, two further abridgements of Pardes Rimmonim appeared. In addition, Reshit Ḥokhmah (“Beginning of Wisdom”) by Moses Cordovero’s disciple, Elijah De Vidas, who saw his work as a sort of primer leading to the study of Pardes Rimmonim, was issued in abridged form. Other Kabbalistic works, such as Isaiah Hurwitz’s Shnei Luḥot ha-Berit (“The Two Tablets of the Covenant”) also generated abridgements. In any account of the attempt to popularize the study of Kabbalah, Moses Cordovero and his Or Ne’erav deserve a prominent place. However, this is not because the work attained a continuing degree of popularity. It was never completely forgotten amid the welter of books offering an entree to the study of Kabbalah and was reprinted several times. Nonetheless, due partly, perhaps, to its admittedly unfinished character, and partly to the relative eclipse of Cordoveran Kabbalah by the writings of Isaac Luria and his disciples, it never became the important conduit to the study of Kabbalah that it was intended to be. It remains, however, a precious document for historians of Kabbalah and of Jewish education, for it enables us to gain an insight into what a major authority on Kabbalah thought about Kabbalistic education in an era in which that education—like Kabbalah itself— was undergoing tremendous expansion and change.

Knowledge is knowledge, we all learned the ABC's though when it comes to practicing, or meditating or getting intimate with your learning, better be mature, pure, and strong as you can experience mix emotions and so forth, this is why, it's best to get an authentic teacher/guide, where they can guide you through these practices, or it can go horribly wrong, though there's a cure.

So.

As I have mentioned a great many times, if you are interested in learning any kind of Kabbala please go here The rabbi here/there studied in Porat Yosef an Ivy league yeshiva that birthed the minds of great sages and many world leading and great hidden Kabbalists at that time, to name a few

1.Rabbi Addes,

2.Rabbi Mordechai Elyahu,

3.Rabbi Kaduri,

4.Rabbi Yehuda Tzadka and son,

5.Rabbi Ovadia Yosef,

6.Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul,

7.Rabbi Baruch Ben Haim,

8.Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Haim,

9.Rabbi Zion Levy.

They all studied under the grand Rabbi Ezra Attiya.

Now what's unique of the rabbi in https://www.koshertorah.com (Rabbi Ariel Bartzadok) Is that he not only met and discussed a few things with the Grand Rabbi Kaduri, he learned Kabbala with Rabbi Meir Levy, a student of the Rashash, or Rabbi Mordechai Sharrabi, whom is arguably if not already noted to be a greater Kabbalist than the Baba Sali himself, because his grand father started the Kabbalist yeshiva nahar shalom, that teaches mostly the meditation kaballa during prayer, that's headed by another of Rabbi Sharabis' student, Rabbi Shmuely Benayahu. So yes https://www.koshertorah.com has a Good Hechsher or Hashgacha, and he teaches to all levels of mankind, jewish and not. He has written many books on sacred teachings from demonology and more. You can find them on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rabbi+ariel+bartzadok&i=stripbooks&dc&crid=3R0J7H0K4K6AU&sprefix=rabbi+arieal+bartzadok%2Cstripbooks%2C104&ref=a9_sc_1

You can also find him on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/@koshertorahschoolofrabbiar9394/videos

Why I choose to promote Rabbi Ariel Bartzadok, is very simple, he's an American rabbi, that can relate to anyone in any parts of the world, he's not one to simplify things, he gives it to you how you need it, especially in a world full chaos and ignorance, he wants you to study the truth, and be weary of the world around you. He's also one of the last individuals to truly share his light with the world, in great depth, helping many who are confused and lost. In my neighborhood I have found two people that have personally learned with him.

Why have I not promoted Rabbi Arye Kaplan like Rabbi Bartazdok? Because there's not a single person that teaches his teachings in depth, or better yet, there's not a physical system in place, like that of rabbi bartzadok.

For those that are looking for an easier or censored materials you can go to https://www.amazon.com/Meditation-Kabbalah-Aryeh-Kaplan/dp/0877286167

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplans followings are mostly people that are your city folk looking for something soft and digestible nothing heavy, though his students know very well the full spectrum of all the teachings connected with kabbala.

And yes Like Rabbi Bartzadok, the students of Rabbi Kaplan, practice the teachings as well.

In the book of rabbi Kaplan, he goes into great depths to divide the types of Kabala, he goes from the most basic to the elites (yes he even mentions the books of the elites). Think of it as samples.

He gets into the Sefirot, though mainly, the following,

  1. The most basic is meditation on the Hebrew letters (the elite form of this type of teaching leads one to Rabbi Abulafia and his prophetic incantations, by repeating Hebrew letters in a specific formula).

  2. Then meditation in prayer, that's taught by Nahar shalom.

  3. Astrology with celestial math, (you can say gematriot) Until he goes into the bahir a bit more,

  4. Straight into the seals like that of the Solomon seals, that is used to give a person or help a person find love, have lust or sexual desire towards their partner, expansion of intellect, wealth, and so forth, Note(Rabbi Ariel Bartzadok goes into further detail, and in great depth within seals and so forth, expounding the teachings of Sefer Razziel).

Rabbi Kaplan dose provide some small meditations that one may practice, as the recitation of the Shema, or going to the Mikve and so forth.

Rabbi Yakove Hillel was cautioning mostly about the elite teachings, that of Demonology, Angles, Seals, the language of the angles and so forth in great depth, yet to each their own.

NOTE! Learning the ZOHAR is NOT learning Kabbala, two VERY different teachings.

There are other Rabbis (Guides) that provide a system to lean on,

Rabbi Dove Pinson,

Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsberg,

And only teachings directly from rabbi Berg, (the founder, not his kids) And Rabbi Michael Laitman, Bnay Baruch.

Rabbi Berg and Rabbi Michael Laitman are students of the Baal hasulam.

For those that speak Hebrew and live in Israel, and want something more, Please go to Rabbi Yaakove Addes, by the kottel.

Hope this answers your question.

Thank you.

Desiderius Erasmus quotes. (n.d.). BrainyQuote. Retrieved February 16, 2023, from https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/desiderius_erasmus_161329

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