For you Houstoners, there is a building on S Shepherd called "The Kabbalah Center" that uses a map of the 10 sefirot as it's logo. It looks like something that might exist in other cities. All the books inside are written by one man, Yehuda Berg. Is this place a genuine place to study Kabbalah? Is this man an accepted Kabbalistic scholar? Can anyone explain who this man is and what these places are?

  • 7
    I'm only writing this as a comment because I can't write a 2 letter answer: No. Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 18:47
  • 1
    Rav Yaakov Hillel author of faith and folly who certainly is a real mekubal writes strongly against those who claim to be mekubalim and get large sums of money. The fact they are learning kabbalah in English is a major sign.one can type in kabbalah in Wikipedia and read the whole thing and become a "kabbalist"
    – sam
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 18:50
  • The Kabbalah Center. Rather than give you my story, you can simply read these (fairly accurate, as I know first hand) and see for yourself. Good luck. articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/03/local/la-me-kabbalah-20131204 dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2541724/…
    – Turner
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:43

1 Answer 1


Is this place a genuine place to study Kabbalah?





At five years old a person should study the Scriptures, at ten years for the Mishnah, at thirteen for the commandments, at fifteen for the Talmud, at eighteen for the bridechamber, at twenty for one's life pursuit, at thirty for authority, at forty for discernment, at fifty for counsel, at sixty to be an elder, at seventy for gray hairs, at eighty for special strength (Psalm 90:10), at ninety for decrepitude, and at a hundred a man is as one who has already died and has ceased from the affairs of this world. (Pirkei Avos, 5:21)

The phrase "at forty for discernment" (wisdom) is traditionally understood to mean that a person needs to both reach the age of forty, AND complete all of the previous prerequisites (mastering Scriptures, Mishnah, Talmud, getting married, having a career, etc) before one can properly understand Kabbalah. (See the Shach, Yoreh Deah 246:6)

The Kabbalah Center is a dangerous cult, that uses some authentic Kabbalistic ideas from Rav Ashlag, just enough to impress spiritual seekers. Then, they squeeze every last dollar out of their victims, promising blessings for giving, and curses for not giving.

  • "is traditionally understood" Can you cite and recordings of this tradition? Is such a tradition the dominant one?
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 18:49
  • @DoubleAA Thanks, I just added a source for that
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 18:52
  • Funny. The Shakh died at 40.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:02
  • 1
    @DoubleAA a lot of people who learned Kabbalah in their youth, like Rebbe Nachman, and the Ramchal, also died before their 40th birthday. I'm not drawing any conclusions from that fact alone.
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:12
  • 2
    @rosenjcb I only use the strict, law enforcement definition of the word. Small subsects of Judaism, Christianity, or any other religion, are not automatically cults. Bahai isn't a cult, Chabad isn't a cult, The Mormon Church isn't a cult. A cult is a group that harms its members physically and/or psychologically. When police departments employ task forces to deal with cults, they aren't interested in Rastafarians, Maher Babaists, or Satmar Chassidim. Used in a specific categorization, and not as a slur against a group one disagrees with, IMHO the word should be allowed.
    – Jake
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:32

You must log in to answer this question.

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