I keep running into a problem repeatedly. I am Jewish but I study kabbalah in an organization with non-Jews and Jews alike. People I study with who are not Jews keep insisting they are Jews because they feel that if they study Kabbalah they are Jews. I try to accept it but sooner or later I find myself upset by it. I feel like somehow it is insulting my grandparents and ancestors for all they went through and through it all, continued Torah and mitzvot. But there is something more than that inside me that I don't understand. It makes me angry and even more like I want to cry. It goes away for a while and then it comes back up. Is this just a personal issue or could there be some reason from our history that I can't shake this disturbing feeling.

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    Mystical traditions often are presented as "shortcuts" to salvation/enlightenment/reward etc. They often appeal to people who are not in sync with their own traditions. People studying only the mystical teachings may feel a connection with the larger, non-mystical, population. But, while Sufism is studied by non-Muslims, they are unlikely to adopt life as a Muslim. Likewise, (assumed) Christians studying Kabbalah may feel connected to Jews but won't be observing the mitzvot. Or converting. This may be the cognitive dissonance you feel when they call themselves Jews.
    – user33345
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 18:35
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    I've heard of organizations that teach Kabbalah to non-Jews. I'm afraid I've never understood how they justify it.
    – Harel13
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 19:49
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    I think it is disturbing because when a non-Jew claims that he is Jewish, others who don't know the truth might use what that person does or says as some sort of genuine expression of Judaism even if it is completely wrong.
    – rosends
    Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 20:36
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    You feelings are absolutely correct. It's also worth noting that no legitimate rabbi will teach Zohar, Kitvei Ari, or any other real kabbalah to non-Jews. Disassociating yourself from this place is likely your first step. Commented Aug 30, 2023 at 22:39
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    @Harel13 There isn't one. It's against a clear mishna in Chagigah.
    – N.T.
    Commented Aug 31, 2023 at 16:38

2 Answers 2


Two things:

  1. Jews are a family. Imagine if some random stranger walked into your house and told you that if you don't adopt them, you're a bigoted supremacist. It's insane. Similarly, if a non-Jew claims to be a Jew, feeling like they're wrong is not only normal but correct, and indicative of mature emotional understanding. In fact, it would be entirely rational to get angry, not just displeased. (This is a major provocational point for reform and conservative “converts”).
  2. The only people who understand Kabbalah also know that Kabbalah is an intimate secret reserved not for humans, not for Jews, not for Rabbis, but only for the very most naturally intelligent and good-willed trustworthy extremely experienced and knowledgeable adult Rabbis, and only in small groups where each student can be taught precisely and clearly with no mistakes whatsoever. Therefore, you are ABSOLUTELY NOT learning Kabbalah.

Don't fall into the trap of non-Jewish appropriation of not just Jewish culture, but Jewish status itself. We have enough crazies in the world already. You have enough critical thought to ask this question; don't lose that.


One of the reasons, a Jew will get upset when gentiles claim to be Jews is similar to the case mentioned below.

A veteran of the US military, let's say a navy Seal, who went through war/conflict and saw it all, goes to the mall and sees a faker with a navy seal badge walking around. That will infuriate the veteran. It is common sense why it will infuriate him and I will not go through the psychological aspects of it. This concept is known as 'Stolen Valor'.

The same concept applies here. When a goy claims he is a Yid, then that is stolen valor. Not cool to do that! Either go through boot camp and prove yourself in battle or just leave it alone. ( Boot camp and proving yourself in battle in this case would be going through an orthodox conversion and living every moment, after conversion, according to the Torah).

Edit: You don't have to prove anything after conversion. I just dont want to sound like converts have a special mitzvah or obligation to prove themselves. This is cause they are just as Jewish as anyone. If they excel then fine, if they are mediocre thats fine too. Thats a different topic. But, u get the point.

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