“I bring you a unique interpretation of the Jewish mystical tradition known as Kabbalah.
Through the inspiration of mystics who have gone before, I would remind you of your birthright as a son or daughter of God. That birthright, which is your unique portion of God himself, is right inside of you. Only you can unlock it.
What is Kabbalah? It is a subject so mysterious that for centuries only married men over the age of forty were allowed to study it.
That view is no longer universally held, and today both men and women of any age study the basic principles of Kabbalah. As one Kabbalist wrote, “From 1540 onward, the most important commandment will be for all to study [Kabbalah] in public, both old and young.”
The term Kabbalah refers the mystical tradition of Judaism. No one knows exactly when Kabbalah first began. As a body of knowledge it sprang from mysticism but was not a continuation of any known mystical tradition.
Jewish mystical practices can be traced back to around the first century B.C., and the movement known as Kabbalah first emerged around 1200 in Provence, France. But some Kabbalists say the first Kabbalistic revelations dated back to the time of Adam.
Although the teachings of Kabbalah are highly mystical, they are also highly practical.
Jewish mystics received revelations about the creation of the universe that are strikingly similar to modern science's big bang theory. They came up with a language and a symbology to describe the qualities of God, our relationship to God, our spiritual purpose in life and the origins of evil.
Most importantly, Kabbalists developed an understanding of the mysteries of God that can help us unlock our spiritual power—the power that God endowed us with from the beginning. The power that launched the big bang.
How can we use the keys of Kabbalah to access that power? By becoming mystics ourselves. Yes, we have the right to become mystics in our own time, using the map that Kabbalists have left us.
The hallmark of Kabbalah is its diagram of the ten sefirot (divine emanations or aspects of God), which Kabbalists call the Tree of Life. It is a blueprint not only for the inner workings of God but for the inner workings of the soul, for Kabbalah teaches that the Tree of Life is inside of you. It is the link between you and God.
You can reconnect with the Tree of Life of the sefirot through specific prayers, meditations and spiritual practices. This book outlines some of these techniques.
The mystical side of Kabbalah does not preclude the practical side of prayer. God wants us to petition him to fill our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs, as long as the fulfillment of our requests will help us serve him and grow spiritually.
As cited in the last chapter, Joseph Gikatilla tells us that each of God's names is like a key for all our needs, no matter what they are. The Zohar itself encourages us to pray for the fulfillment of our needs and says that the righteous rely on their prayers and supplications rather than on their own merits to fill those needs.
The Zohar even gives a formula for making requests to God: We should begin by praising God and then present our petitions to him. When petitioning God, it prescribes, we should “state in precise terms” what we require so that there is “no possibility of misunderstanding.” God wants our prayers to be specific.
Kabbalists stress that our prayers are not directed to the sefirot but through them, so to speak. We are not worshiping the sefirot, for they are not gods or goddesses. You can think of the sefirot as the chakras of the cosmos. They are step-down transformers for the light of Ein Sof, vessels that channel God's bounty to humanity. In answer to our prayers, Ein Sof's energy moves through the sefirot to effect change.
Kabbalists also stress that our prayers should not always focus exclusively on one sefirot to the exclusion of the others.
Rather, our prayers are meant to enhance the unity of the sefirot so that there is a harmonious flow of energy from Ein Sof through the channels of the sefirot to our world.
The mystical Hebrew names of God are associated in Kabbalah with the ten sefirot (divine emanations of God):
Adonai, “Lord” (Malkhut); pronunciation: ah-doh-NIE (ie as the i in high)
El Hai, “Living God”; pronunciation: ehl khie. (kh as in German buch or Scottish loch. Place tongue in position for sounding the letter k, but release the breath in a stream as in pronouncing an h)
Shaddai, “Almighty” (Yesod); pronunciation: shah-DIE
Elohim Tzevaot, “God of hosts” (Hod); pronunciation: ehl-oh-HEEM tz vah-OHT
YHVH Tzevaot, spoken Adonai Tzevaot, “Lord of hosts” (Netzah); pronunciation: ah-doh-NIE tz vah-OHT
YHVH, spoken Adonai (Tiferet); pronunciation: ah-doh-NIE (ie as the i in high)
Elohim, “God” (Gevurah); pronunciation: ehl-oh-HEEM
El, “God” (Hesed); pronunciation: ehl
YHVH, spoken Elohim (Binah); pronunciation: ehl-oh-HEEM
Yah, “the Eternal” (Hokhmah); pronunciation: yah
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, “I AM THAT I AM” (Keter); pronunciation: eh-heh-YEH ah-SHAIR eh-heh-YEH
The above article is excerpted from Kabbalah: Key to Your Inner Power by Elizabeth Clare Prophet.