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Kabbalah is an esoteric method, discipline, and school of thought that originated in Judaism, or the Jewish religion.
The essence of Kabbalah is that reading scriptures or spiritual texts can lead to knowledge of the outer story, as it were, a suit of clothes; you may not see the person within the clothes; yet our goal is to see the soul within the person. One might recognize the beauty of a friend’s clothes, and even admire them; but the true value of the friend is much deeper. Kabbalists look for the inner meaning, the secret meaning, the esoteric meaning; they seek to discern the secrets of God and of creation.
There is some truth behind the affectionate stereotype of the Jewish love for telling stories with a moral. Kabbalist writings delight in stories with a message, allegories, parables, myths. (Most major religions do.) The enactment of moral and spiritual stories is at the heart of many rituals in all religions, especially esoteric movements, and societies such as Freemasonry.
A major work of Kabbalah was the publication of the Sefer ha-Zohar (Book of Splendour) in Spain around 1285. Although myth attributes its teachings to the second-century Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai it was written by Moses de Leén (1240 or 1250-1305), who lived in Avila in what is now Castile and Leén. The Zohar is today perhaps the best known Kabbalist text.
The Book of Splendour discusses divine creation, and teaches that everything in the universe is connected to everything else, and all is an expression of the Oneness of God, who is both transcendent and immanent, and essentially unknowable and indescribable; it uses the term Ain Sof (Hebrew: ‘without end’).
Kabbalah teaches ways towards mystical union with God, the ultimate purpose of mankind.
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