4

According to the minhag I follow, one who is not a talmid chacham should not study Jewish mysticism (maase merkavah, heichalot, kabbalah, et c.). Following this, would one be able to read non-Jewish mystical texts (for non-religious purposes, of course), or would the same restrictions apply?

  • 2
    What kind of non-Jewish mystical texts are you referring to? – Scimonster Dec 14 '14 at 20:27
  • 2
    Why would you think that it would be allowed at all? (Vayikra 19:26) – MTL Dec 14 '14 at 20:58
  • 4
    @Bach He did write clearly. Someone edited his question against his will and he reverted it. See the edit history of the question judaism.stackexchange.com/posts/50395/revisions – Double AA Jul 7 '17 at 14:11
  • 2
    @Yaacov, see the comments above about your edit. Please take care in the future when editing others' posts not to change them accidentally. – MTL Jul 7 '17 at 19:22
  • 2
    Yes, @YaacovDeane, but the answer is not what the OP wanted. Did you read the above comments from Double AA, Bach, and Noach (the OP)? – MTL Jul 7 '17 at 19:51
1

Non-Jewish mysticism is a very broad subject indeed. Almost every religion has something to teach on this subject, and a big part of this study has been influenced by the eastern religions, so you have to be careful with what you read.

Mysticism within the Abrahamic faiths should be fine as they do not constitute sifrei minus since they all believe in a personal god. However, Mysticism as has been taught by the eastern religions may constitute minus since its conception of god is wholly different than ours and, at least traditionally speaking, their ideas would be considered heretical according to Jewish law. (we can still make a case to allow it, since they do not promote a certain ideology, they merely discuss their mystical experiences and how to attain them, but that would be controversial indeed).

As for the waste of time aspect (which @ezra pointed out) it is not an issue at all, since it is a study of a particular wisdom of the gentiles and is part of the sifrei chachma (ספרי חכמה) which are permitted באקראי just like the study of philosophy and science.

  • Something being permitted doesn't make it not a waste of time. I suspect I can come up with a few good counterexamples to show that – Double AA Jul 7 '17 at 13:57
  • 1
    "they all believe in a personal god" Why is that the relevant factor for determining if a religion's mysticism is "sifrei minus"? – Double AA Jul 7 '17 at 13:57
  • See edits to the question (which were applied while this answer had a non-positive score). You may want to consider revising and/or deleting this answer. – Double AA Jul 7 '17 at 14:09
  • It is simple. since it is a subject/wisdom studied just like any other non-jewish study (philosophy science) it cannot be considered a waste of time, unless you believe every non-jewish study is a waste of time! – Bach Jul 7 '17 at 14:14
  • 1
    That simply doesn't follow. It doesn't follow from believing some non-jewish's studies are a waste of time that all non-jewish studies are a waste of time. This is basic logic. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_by_example – Double AA Jul 7 '17 at 14:21

You must log in to answer this question.

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