Are there currently or have there been historically orthodox female kabbalists? If not is this a quirk of history or is there a specific reason?

  • 4
    Not a necessary requirement, but to become a legitimate kabbalist one must study the entire Talmud which is not common for orthodox women.
    – Ani Yodea
    Sep 17, 2013 at 21:12
  • 5
    @Ramin Or non-orthodox women, for that matter. I'd argue it's uncommon for orthodox men, too.
    – HodofHod
    Sep 22, 2013 at 9:44
  • books.google.com/…
    – wfb
    Sep 9, 2020 at 22:40

5 Answers 5


Chabad.org has an article by Yael Levine Katz about three women with connections to Tzfas (Safed) that either were kabbalists, or exhibited kabbalist-like characteristics.

Because the article focuses on Tzfas, it does not include other similar figures. For example Udel, the daughter of the Baal Shem Tov, also become something of a female Rebbe after her father's passing.

Another was Rachel Aberlin, also mentioned by R' Chaim Vital, in the same book as Francesa Sarah.

This page discusses some of these women, as well as an unnamed woman, mentioned as "the daughter of Rav Raphael Anav", who was influential in her community.

Much of the history here seems sparse, and one of the main reasons that they (as well as other female kabbalists), might not be well known is that they don't appear to have authored any books.

With few exceptions, kabbalists are known and remembered because of the works they create. The notable exception would be the Arizal, whose many students' many works did that for him. The more influential their works, the more famous they become, and the more prominently they are remembered by history.


For a more contemporary example I would include Yemima Avital founder of the Yemima school.

for an overview see this paper, particularly starting on page 199 for description of connection to kabbalah.


Today I know of several in Chabad, or with Chabad connections: Shimona Tzukernik, Fraidy Yanover, Esther Segal.


The Tanait Asenat Barzani was regarded as a kabbalist


This video lists 10 Jewish traditional female mystics (most not included in other answers)

Inés of Herrera | The Child Martyr | 1488-1500 (I would not include her in this list as there are no records of her studying, teaching or being aware of kabbalah, rather she saw mystical visions of her mother and made other prophetic-like proclamations

Fioretta of Modena | The Kabbalist Bubbe | 1522-1580

Asenath Barzani | The Kurdish Rosh Yeshiva | 1590-1670

Francesa Sarah | The Maggid Whisperer | 16th Century

Daughter of Anav | The Oracle | 16th Century

Rachel Aberlin | The Patron | 16th Century

Sonadora | The Dreamer | 16th Century

Eva Frank | The Queen Messiah | 1754-1816

The Daughter of Joseph | The Redeemer | 12th Century

Sicilian Prophetess | The Pregnant Messiah

The Maiden of Ludmir | The Hasidic Rebbe | 1805-1888

Hasidic Women | Odel the Daughter of the Baal Shem | 1720 -1787

Etty Hillesum | The Diarist of Heaven and Hell | 1914–1943

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .