Chassidim seem to follow the views of kabbalah to a greater degree than non-Chassidim.

What status does kabbalah have in determing the practical halacha for non-Chassidim?

  • 1
    The Vilna Gaon was a kabbalistic and Zoharic scholar, no?
    – ezra
    Aug 25, 2017 at 18:06
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    Recall even if you think Kabbala is totally true, you admit that nearly everyone didn't know any of it for millenia. Most Jews are content continuing in the traditions of their ancestors and don't need or want fancy new innovations.
    – Double AA
    Aug 25, 2017 at 18:07
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    This seems too broad. The umbrella of mysticism which has all come to be known as kabblah, is quite broad, and there is no spokesman for all of Judaism excluding Hassidim. Additionally, there are various degrees ranging from "burn their books as heresy", to change millennia old practices in favour of anything mystical. The question should probably be narrowed to clarify what exactly you want.
    – mevaqesh
    Aug 25, 2017 at 18:46
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    @DanF I've never heard Al pi kaballah used in that sense and 100% of the time heard it to refer to...kabbalah
    – robev
    Aug 25, 2017 at 21:31
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    @SAH "But if kabbalah is in fact Torah" - Halacha has hierarchy, as you know. Compared to direct Torah and Rabbinical mitzvoth derived from Torah verses, Kabbalah is far lower. Generally, few people understand Kabbalah, and study of it is not exactly encouraged. In numerous cases, it's even DIScouraged. I can't say why Lubavitch has placed a heavy emphasis on Kabbalah, but, I would surmise that they're not much different, in that sense, from any other Hassidic group. I'm not up on the history as to why Hassidism, overall, emphasized Kabbalah.
    – DanF
    Aug 28, 2017 at 13:05

2 Answers 2


Kabbalah is not binding for both non-Hasidim and Hasidim, simply because it is not of legalistic nature; it belongs to the occult field of Judaism. However those of Hasidic bent, not necessarily of the Hassidic movement (Hasidism) but of Hasidic behavior (Pious), chose to be bound by some of the Kabbalah in order to incorporate spiritual elements into their lives. On the other hand, non-Hasidim refer to Kabbalah to enhance their understanding or knowledge of different areas of Judaism. In instances where non-Hasidim act in accordance with Kabbalistic ordinances it is not because they are bound to do so but rather because at some point a predecessor adopted any certain practice and it became their custom (minhag).

(See Jacobs' 'A Tree Of Life' pg. 69 for a general observation of the influence of kabbalah on halachah.)


The mishna berura writes in hilchos tefilin siman 36 in the name of the kneses hagedola that a person should follow every area of the kabola/zohar that is not in contradiction to halocha. but it is not obligatory

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