Chapter #1 Reading Summary
Chapter one focuses on the meaning of different terms with the main focus being on the term kaballah. The meaning of Kabbalah during the middle ages along with its expansion throughout the ages is also discussed. The chapter ends by tying in “mysticism” to kabbalah.
The term Kabbalah is very visible in many places throughout the State of Israel. In places like hotels, banks, government offices, and other places of service, the term is very visible. Even at schools, professors engage in a weekly kabbalistic hour that is known as sheat kabbalah, which means office hours, which is the time that their doors are open to students. Present in many sentences in Hebrew is the verb “kbl”, which means “to receive”. The term is also very prevalent in in popular rabbinic Hebrew texts such as the Talmudic tractate avot . In this tractate, the traditional chain of religious instruction and Jewish law along with its transmission is described. The first stage of the transmission described talks about how Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai and transmitted it to Joshua, who then transmitted it to the elders. In this transmission, the word received is “kibel”. This transmission has been used for two thousand years in order to legitimize Jewish tradition by sourcing the revelation on Mount Sinai as its point of origin. In the sentence that references Moses receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, the term “torah” means everything. The term “law” in Hebrew is halakhah, and midrash means scriptural verses. This chapter also points out how there are similar concepts of tradition found in Christianity and Islam.
While Islam has much to draw divine wisdom that was transmitted from Muhammad, the Catholic Church gives divine authority through its instructions. The Hebrew term for this tradition is masoret which means “that which has been transmitted”, or kabbalah which means “that which has been transmitted. In this...