The New World Order

What's Behind Hollywood's Fascination with Kabbalah? New Take on Ancient Jewish Spiritual Teachings Has Drawn Celebrities -- and Criticism


By ALAN B. GOLDBERG and KATIE THOMSON


Most people don't have a clue what the spiritual movement Kabbalah is, though they may be aware it has something to do with a parade of stars -- from Madonna to Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher to Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton -- wearing red strings on their wrists.
Kabbalah has become a multimillion-dollar empire with more than 40 branches all over the world. But is the Kabbalah of the stars the same Kabbalah that Jewish men in Israel have been quietly studying for centuries?
In cryptic and mystical terms, Kabbalah explores the nature of God and the universe. Rabbis have traditionally believed the philosophy behind it is so complicated that it could only be taught to ultra-religious Jewish men over 40 who had spent their lives studying Judaism.
In 1971, with virtually no money, Karen Berg and her husband, Philip Berg -- the spiritual leader known to followers as the Rav -- opened their first Kabbalah Centre, turning traditional Jewish wisdom upside down by offering Kabbalah study to women and non-Jews. The Bergs had a simple but radical idea: Kabbalah wasn't just for elite Jewish scholars but was something that could be simplified and taught to everyone.
"It wasn't until we started really bringing it to the people that they actually had access to this knowledge," Karen Berg told Elizabeth Vargas in an exclusive "20/20" interview.
Their movement picked up momentum quickly, Berg said. "It was almost like Jesus ... talks on the Mount and brought people. And they believed in what he said. And they brought more people ... God forbid, I'm not saying that we're messiah consciousness. I'm only saying that we built in the same fashion."
However the Bergs built their movement, many followers say Kabbalah has changed their lives. And the adherents aren't just celebrities.
Don Ellis, a former FBI agent who now practices law and runs a bodyguard service, was raised a Southern Baptist in Texas. He says Kabbalah gave him the spiritual answers he'd been searching for. "I studied a number of different religions, spiritualities, searching for something. And then one day, I saw a CD set called 'Power of Kabbalah.' That's all it took for me was that one series. I haven't looked back since," he told Vargas.
There are no Kabbalah Centres near Ellis' home, so he stays connected by listening to their tapes. He said Kabbalah has created spiritual and financial miracles for him. 
Spiritual Accessories
The Bergs have brought this ancient wisdom out of the dark ages and mass-marketed it, hawking must-have accessories like red strings and Kabbalah water, which the Centre aggressively sells and claims will protect followers from "negative energy." At services and classes, they teach that Kabbalah is not a religion but a "technology for the soul" that plugs anyone into what they call the "Light" or God -- a God that has 72 names, which if meditated on, can make your dreams come true.
But rabbis like Yitzchok Adlerstein, a professor of law and ethics at Loyola University in Los Angeles, question some of the practices of the Kabbalah newcomers -- like Britney Spears, who tattooed one of God's 72 names in Hebrew on her neck. "Using one of the names of God on her neck is going to bring enough prosperity to Britney as my tattooing Britney's name to my neck. I guarantee you," Adlerstein told "20/20."
"What the Bergs are offering is not remotely Kabbalah," he added.
The Bergs insist their writings are a direct interpretation of the Zohar, an ancient text, dense and complex, that contains a mystical discussion of what God is.
"We go directly to the source, directly to the Zohar. We don't teach anything that's ours. We don't claim to be teachers. We don't even care if anyone respects us or not. Our job is to bring content to people, content that wasn't there before. Nothing we do comes from our brain," said Yehuda Berg, one of the couple's sons, who runs the Kabbalah Centres with his mother and brother, Michael Berg.
Indeed, the Kabbalah Centres' approach to the Zohar is a far cry from the rigorous intellectual pursuit of Jewish scholars. The Bergs teach that merely to have the Zohar in your possession offers one protective powers, a claim scholars say is ridiculous.
Ellis has spent thousands of dollars buying complete sets of the Zohar for his home, office and family. "That's the telephone line to God. All you have to do is plug it in and you're connected," said Ellis, who admits he doesn't know what the ancient Hebrew and Aramaic text he's reading means. "I have no idea what it says. But anyway, that doesn't matter. This is powerful stuff," he said.
Karen Berg said the message of the Kabbalah text transcends language barriers "because your brain, your subconscious has a way to pick up what -- they're almost like a scanner in a supermarket. You know it's just a code, a bar code. And yet they can manage to take the material they need from it."
Adlerstein says this is nonsense. "The notion that you can mumble a couple of words or find the right mantra, or by focusing on letters with your fingers, is the antithesis of what Kabbalah is," he said.

What Is Kabbalah?

Celebrities Flock to a Once Obscure Branch of Jewish Mysticism. So Just What Are Madonna and Demi Up To?


Forget crystals and the lotus position. Today many celebs seeking the light—besides the spotlight, that is—have turned to Kabbalah, a form of Jewish mysticism, as a path to inner peace.
What is Kabbalah? 

 Hebrew for "received tradition," Kabbalah (Ka-ba-LAH) refers to the study of ancient texts, most notably the Zohar, a 13th-century commentary on the Torah (the five books of Moses). Kabbalah holds that God is made up of 10 "emanations," which include compassion, strength, wisdom and grace. By studying them, humans can get closer to an unknowable God.
What role does Kabbalah play in Judaism? 

 Mainstream Judaism studies the writings of the Torah; Kabbalah looks for more meaning in the written words.
How does it do that? 

 Some tools include studying the Zohar and, for some scholars, numerology. For instance, the letters in ha-Teva, Hebrew for "nature," have the same numeric value as the letters of Elohim, one of the names of God, "leading many Kabbalists to claim the divine presence was to be found in the natural world," says Eitan P. Fishbane, a professor of Jewish religious thought at L.A.'s Hebrew Union College.
Can anyone study it?
Depends who you ask. Originally "elitist and secretive," says Fishbane, Kabbalah is considered by some Jewish leaders to be the purview of men over 40 who have studied the Torah for years. But today many religious centers and universities offer beginners a more accessible version. One of the best known: the Kabbalah Centre, which claims 400,000 students—including Madonna, Demi Moore and other stars—in 50 locations.
What's the appeal for celebs? 

 "I've learned from studying Kabbalah that if your happiness is based on people approving of everything you do, you're doomed to fail," says Madonna. Because Kabbalah also emphasizes God's female aspects, it is a draw for "feminist thinkers," notes Fishbane.
What do others think of the celebrity devotees?
Many theologians frown on those who look to Kabbalah for a quick spiritual high. The Kabbalah Centre has drawn particular criticism. "It's a very slick operation that has very little to do with traditional Kabbalah," says bestselling author and Kabbalah scholar Rabbi Lawrence Kushner. "They are to Kabbalah what Disneyland is to the Metropolitan Opera: There's a lot of hoopla and fun, but there ain't much opera."





source     www.people.com



WHAT IS KABBALAH?




The word Kabbalah means many different things to many different people. In a nutshell, it is an ancient wisdom that reveals how the universe and life work. On a literal level, the word Kabbalah means “receiving.” It’s the study of how to receive fulfillment in our lives.

Sometimes we neglect the fact that we’re not as fulfilled as we could be. These feelings have overcome most people at some time. And sadly, the harder we strive to achieve that fulfillment, the more it eludes us.
But when we talk about fulfillment, we don’t mean being happy or experiencing a sense of wellbeing in a temporary way because all of us have enjoyed flashes of happiness. When we talk about connecting to the energy of fulfillment, we mean maintaining your connection to it in a long-lasting, permanent way.
Kabbalah is an ancient yet entirely new paradigm for living. It teaches that all of the branches of our lives—health, relationships, business—emanate from the same trunk and the same root. It’s the technology of how the universe works at the core level. It’s a whole new way of looking at the world that can connect you to the kind of permanent fulfillment you may be seeking.
The bottom line in Kabbalah is - the proof is in the pudding. The knowledge kabbalah.com imparts, the information we provide for you, and the tools we share must have practical results in your life, results you can feel.
One of the nice things about studying Kabbalah is that it doesn’t require you to leave your current faith or religious path. Kabbalah will merely deepen your understanding of the universe and give you more information and tools to understand why things are happening to you and how you can better connect to the light of the creator and receive the fulfillment you’re looking for. 
Kabbalah teaches universal principles that apply to all peoples of all faiths and all religions, regardless of ethnicity or where you come from. The beauty of studying Kabbalah is that you can’t be forced to think in a particular way. All we can do is simply share information with you and hope that you will apply it in your life for the sake of bettering it. That’s the purpose of everything you will discover on kabbalah.com.

WHAT'S THE POINT?

We all want to understand ourselves better, to live more fulfilling lives, to have a richer experience of who we are and what we are here to contribute. All of us want to be happy, and in truth, most of us really want the same things out of life: 

we want to love and be loved 
we want to have the best relationships 
we want to enjoy financial resources and to feel secure 
we want great health 
we want our children to be happy and safe…
    …and we have questions, so many questions. Deep down, we all want to understand the meaning of our lives.
    As a child, you may have even wondered, “Why was I born? What is the purpose of my life?” Then we grow up and get busy. We have to pay the rent, create a life, pursue a career, pick up the groceries. Sometimes, out of exhaustion, we lapse into a rut, a robotic existence, and stop asking the profound questions that fascinated us as children. 
    But do we have to? Wouldn’t we be much better off if we continued to grow and develop, to wonder about and define our purpose in life? To connect to our true potential? 
    We’ve all been resigned on a certain level to the ups and downs of life. One day, we’re feeling good about ourselves; the next day we’re a little depressed. One day we’re happy with our partner; the next day we break up. One day there’s money in the bank; the next day it vanishes.
    But does life have to be so rocky? Can situations start at one point and just continue to improve everyday? Is it possible? Is there a way to achieve what I want in my life?”
    Yes, there is a way. Not only that, but you always have the opportunity to alter your destiny and achieve your true potential. Everybody can make it—no one is too young or too old or too stuck in their ways! We all have the ability to find meaning and achieve fulfillment beyond our wildest dreams and imaginings. You don’t have to live like a robot or a victim or feel confused by a life that seems purposeless or filled with random ups and downs. You have no limits; you can soar.
    How? In our humble opinion, one way is the wisdom of Kabbalah.

    ANCIENT WISDOM

    Approximately 4,000 years ago, a set of spiritual principles was communicated to humanity in a moment of divine revelation. These ancient revelations unlock all the mysteries of humanity; the secret code that governs the universe. It’s the grand unified theory pursued by Einstein. It’s an incredible system of logic and a phenomenal technology that can alter the way you view your life. It is the oldest sacred document in existence, filled with wisdom. This extraordinary, powerful set of tools is known as Kabbalah—the original instruction manual for life. 
    In recent years, millions of men and women all over the world have discovered Kabbalah and have changed their lives dramatically. Kabbalah is the magic that will transform your life too. Its timeless principles apply to everyone who seeks fulfillment. 
    Kabbalah is also about getting rid of chaos and experiencing the universe the way the creator meant for you to experience it. In learning Kabbalah, you will understand what chaos really is, the challenges, difficulties, and upsets that throw you off center each day. And you will realize that this was never meant to be a part of your life. What’s more, you will discover powerful tools for eliminating chaos and replacing it with harmony, love, and fulfillment.
    Our physical universe operates under a clear set of spiritual laws. You may be unaware of the laws that govern it, laws whose power are available to you on a daily basis. Now, with the wisdom of Kabbalah, these spiritual laws are explained to you in a way that you can understand them. You’ll be better able to make sense of your life and be better equipped to live it without suffering too much chaos. This is the magic, the power that Kabbalah can bring to you. 
    Indeed, you are about to discover the hidden meaning of living. 
    It may seem unlikely that knowledge first communicated to people who lived 4,000 years ago could have any relevance to men and women in today’s world.
    But the fact is we need the wisdom of the Kabbalah more now than at any other time in our history. Kabbalah is not a religion, it’s not dogmatic, and it’s not a belief system that you have to buy into. Even more importantly, it’s not anyone’s personal opinion of how the universe works. It’s simply timeless knowledge whose time has finally come.

    THE SECRET REVEALED

    The teachings upon which the Kabbalah is based have existed from the beginning of time, but the first written record of it is called The Book of Formation. This ancient document, written 4,000 years ago, attempts to help us to understand the secrets of our universe, but if we were to open it and try to understand our lives and why things often don’t go our way, we would have a hard time deciphering any meaning.
     However, two thousandyears ago, the main body of the teachings of Kabbalah, called The Zohar or The Book of Splendor, was revealed and manifested in Israel by mystic Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The knowledge of how the universe functions is contained in The Torah (also known as The Five Books of Moses or The Old Testament), but Rabbi Shimon explains that all of those stories are not just meant to be understood on a literal level.
    Rather, they are analogies or a code for how the universe functions in a spiritual way. The encoding took place to teach us that in order for us to extract fulfillment, we must go deeper. The Zohar deciphers the ancient scripture. In fact, it explains chapter by chapter what each Bible story is really talking about spiritually. 
    For centuries, the study of Kabbalah was conducted only among scholarly Jewish men over the age of forty, and forbidden to all others. But it was not easy for them. Scorned by the religious establishment for their efforts to make Kabbalah and the teaching of the Zohar available to men from all walks of life, many were tortured and their lives were ruined. 
    This tradition of hidden knowledge existed until 1968, when Rav Berg (Rav is simply another way of saying Teacher) first became director of the Kabbalah Center. At that time, he and his wife insisted on opening the wisdom of Kabbalah to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or religious belief. When we are on a spiritual path, we are seeking to reconnect with Spirit. This spirit has no name; it is not Christian, or Jewish, or Buddhist or any other limiting description. It is just Spirit, far beyond the confines of any particular faith. And it has no gender. All people should be able to connect to its wisdom too.
    It wasn’t easy to open the teachings of Kabbalah to the whole world. Historically, Kabbalah has been reserved only for the most advanced scholars. And by making it available to anyone who was interested, they were defying a 4,000-year-old tradition. But despite their difficulties, the study of Kabbalah has become more and more popular, and the Kabbalah Centre has grown from a small, exclusive organization in Israel into a worldwide entity with 25 branches that have provided instruction to nearly four million students.
    source       www.kabbalah.com






    New World Order




    Social Media - Share Or Like This Blog - Link
    To This Site, Inform Others, Let Others Know
    Search This Site
    Complete Article List   List 1,   List 2,   List 3
    "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16.   "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
    Fair Use Notice