I personally am more interested in qabalah than kabbalah.
Qaabalah is the fusion product of the mixing of european hermeticism and memory theatre technology with the bits and pieces of kabbalistic teachings that started to move thru the european noosphere and culturesphere as a result of the religions turmoil that first allowed islam and judaism into europe in medeival times, then attempted to suppress it and drive it out at the end of the medeival period.
To simply the comparison – qabalah (or cabala) is essentially a form of christianized hermeticism, while kabbalah is a stream of schools of jewish mysticism and magic. They both use some common elements, but they use them differently.
I practiced qabalah quite intensively, and in a miniaturized form it still forms part of my tool kit. At this stage in my work I am most interested in qabalah’s effects on memory and intelligence – I have said, qabalah improves memory, and since an improved memory is an essential part of increased intelligence, it can also be said that qabalah as a training method can increase intelligence. Qabalah training also does something else that GREATLY increases intelligenece – and that is,Â certain training methods greatly increase visual thinking and the capacity forÂ visual thinking, and visual thinking is one of the most powerful tools I’ve found to enhance intelligence and creativity.
Anyway – The Kabbalah Center, a rather famed school for the jewish mysticism and magic branch of this stream of esoteric material and content, is in the news these days.
Karen began to study kabbalah seriously. They argued over what to do with
Philipâ€™s spiritual knowledge. She suggested teaching kabbalah to anyone who
wanted to learn about it, including women and those without yeshiva training.
Philip acquiesced, and in so doing elevated Karen to a status well above a
rabbiâ€™s wife. In the eyes of followers, Karen became Philipâ€™s peer: He had the
education, she had the nerve.
In the eyes of followers, Karen became Philipâ€™s peer:
He had the education, she had the nerve.
â€œWhat Karen Berg has done is what no man in history has done,â€ said Phillips,
the family friend. â€œNever have the words â€˜kabbalahâ€™ and â€˜Zoharâ€™ been known
outside the small circle of kabbalists.â€
The Bergs advertised introductory classes; the cost was about â€œthe price of a
falafel,â€ one former member recalled. The New Age seekers, retirees and others
drawn to the courses in Tel Aviv were from secular homes and knew little about
their Jewish heritage.
â€œWe loved that we found mysticism in our own backyard, in Judaism. The
teacher spoke of things that very much resonated with us…. There was no
pressure to be observant,â€ said one longtime member who became disillusioned and
left the center after two decades. The former member, who continues to practice
kabbalahâ€™s philosophy of helping others, asked not to be named because relatives
are still involved.
Philip held himself out as the spiritual successor to Brandwein and used the
name of a kabbalah yeshiva founded in Jerusalem in 1922. But Brandweinâ€™s heirs,
who were running the yeshiva at the time, publicly disavowed any connection to
Philip had fewer than two dozen regular students in 1977 when Langford
enrolled. Langford said he was captivated by the rabbiâ€™s teachings: â€œEverything
we did felt so important. The future of spirituality was dependent on us.â€
The Bergs spoke constantly of expanding and in published materials sometimes
exaggerated the size of the organization, he said. â€œThere was a joke that
anywhere he had sneezed he would say there was a branch there,â€ Langford
In the classroom, Philip, known as the rav, or rabbi, was beloved for his
clear explanations of lofty concepts such as shame and mercy. At home, his
conversations with Karen often concerned less spiritual topics.
â€œShe was always talking about money and the need to have it,â€ Langford said.
Karen wanted a big house and her husband agreed, saying it could attract new
students, he said.
â€œHe could see in her no evil. He could see in her no wrong,â€ recalled
Langford, who was the first student promoted to teacher. He is now a glass
artist in Israel and said he still studies kabbalah.
In the early 1980s, the Bergs returned to the U.S.
â€œHe came to me and said that if he wants to make it big time, it canâ€™t be
done in Israel,â€ Langford said.