What is Kabbalah?

“Wisdom and knowledge that existed from the time of creation. Adam and Eve, the first human beings, practiced Kabbalah.”

Kabbalah didn’t help them stay in paradise?

“According to Kabbalah there is a reason for everything and being expelled from paradise had to happen. There was a lesson that had to be learned. Before the conversation between Eve and the snake, Eve was like a small child. She wasn’t aware of the fact that evil and negativity exist. Although her naive decision cost them a great deal, her biting into the apple gave them the opportunity to become aware of negativity in order to overcome it. So basically freedom of choice started then.
The Zohar is the first book written with all the wisdom of Kabbalah, two thousand years ago, in the Aramaic language which is ancient Hebrew. This is the same language that Jesus spoke. It explained that humanity is higher than angels because people have freedom of choice, and angels don’t. Freedom of choice enables people to create.
So depending on how you look at it being expelled from paradise can be seen as a blessing. According to the kabbalists, we are supposed to become co-creators. We are god-like; our soul is the divine spark of the light of the creator.”

When you look around in the world, we don’t look so god-like. Are things developing according to plan?

“Very much so. This is what we explain in our courses – how this universe was built. Obviously there is a system, which we are not aware of. If you don’t understand it, how are you supposed to influence it? Like software you need to uderstand how it is designed.
We are aware of the physical laws; we understand gravity. We understand that if I plant an apple seed then I shouldn’t expect a banana tree. But in the spiritual realm, we are not aware, we’re not educated. Because religious systems took over.
Abraham wrote The Book of Creation, Sefer Yetzhirah, and in it you can read the oldest secrets of astrology and astronomy. He was the first astrologer. There was no religion then. So ancient knowledge about the universe exists and that’s what Kabbalah provides.
It gives you understanding. And it zooms into what we are supposed to do here. There is so much chaos, suffering, pain, death – for what? There is a reason.”

What is the reason for sufferring, pain and death?

“Greediness, selfishness, lack of awareness. There is cause and effect. What we see today, is the effect of some sort of consciousness. When people are more greedy and selfish, it also affects the quality of food we have. It is like a chain reaction. As humans we are born with our fists closed. Our nature is more animal than divine. We would like to be satisfied and fulfilled, first of all in our body – which is only human and natural. So we do have, in our nature, that sense of me, myself and I. I need to survive. I need to develop ourself into a higher level of awareness – we call it the Sixth Sense. What am I supposed to accomplish here? What is the reason for the challenges in my life?”

What is the reason for this system? Why were we created with this animal ego according to the Kabbalah?

“The answer is connected to the way the universe was created. Kabbalah goes back to before the Big Bang. Way before creation there was one source of Light. That Light was infinite not limited by space, time, or motion. It was complete. That source of light, in its essence, was pure giving and caring. That was us in the form of oneness.
After a while in that endless world we felt a sense of wanting to become like the source. We wanted to give too, but we didn’t have anyone to give to, because we were one. Just imagine: you take a person, and for years you have him in your house and all that time all you do is serve. What would you be like? All your dreams and desires you would give away. Then what would happen?”

You, the giver would burn out

“The reciever would also hate and resent you. He’d say: let me be, let me do something myself! I want to give too, I want to create too. So that is what happened with the Big Bang. Sparks of light or souls were created.”

The Big Bang is the impulse to start giving?

“Exactly, because we come from that infinite light too. We want to give too, we want to share. In our essence we are perfect. And we are given a chance to give. A vessel was created to be able to give, to share. The vessel is us. Take the best soccer player and give him a ball, and let him play on a field, on his own. Is he going to score? Absolutely. But is he going to be acknowledged as the best soccer player, on his own? No, because there is no opponent. Nothing to conquer, to allow him to achieve. So this world was created of good and bad, so we can appreciate the good. Light and darkness; for if you cannot experience the darkness you will not appreciate the light. That’s the big picture.”

Does that mean that we need people who are poor and starving so we can feel rich and successful?

“There is a purpose for every soul, and there is no coincidence. This system is absolutely perfect and there is a reason why someone is supposed to be born in Africa and somebody is meant to be born a princess.”

Does ‘the system is perfect’ mean that someone who is born poor has deserved that?

“Definitely there is a reason, from the soul point of view. So Kabbalah provides answers.”

So what could be the reason for starvation?

“It could be that that person is supposed to initiate a solution, to take responsibility and change things. You have to understand one thing. God, the light force, does not work like a puppet show. We are not being thrown here with him pulling the strings: ‘Ah, this one I’ll throw a million dollars to and this one I’ll take his child when it’s five years of age, by cancer, and this one is born in Africa and is going to starve to death and this girl is going to be raped before she’s six.’ It doesn’ work like this. Why? Because the essence of the light is endless fulfilment. What we do with it, the way we use it, creates the effects. We are already doing that for thousands of years, so most of us lived here already, and at some point created some negativity.”

That sounds like the hindu concept of reincarnation and karma.

“It sounds like a lot of things because everybody speaks Kabbalah, because Kabbalah is thousands of years old.
But there is a difference. Other methods also speak about positive and negative, plus-minus, , right and left, etcetera. Kabbalists speak about the central column as well. You have right and left, but the whole point is to find harmony and balance. That is what kabbalists strive for. That provides you with understanding.”

How can one practice kabbalist principles in daily life?

“It starts with consciousness, awareness and understanding, and we also provide practical tools. For example, take a lightbulb. You have the glass and the two poles and the filament in the middle. According to the Kabbalah that filament is called ‘restriction’. Just like driving a car with gears; when you press the clutch it separates the wheel from the engine and you’re able to shift gears. The same you can do in life. There is a time to restrict, to allow something new to come in. There is a time to press that clutch and hold on for a second. That’s different for everybody. People who immediately answer when they hear something they don’t like, who have to be heard, everybody has to listen to them and they want to be right: for them to restrict would be to listen more, to hold in before they speak and think: ‘I don’t see the whole picture yet.’ For other people, who always put themselves down in their head thinking: ‘Nobody will listen, it is better to wait’ – for them to restrict would be actually to speak up.”

Does the teacher tell you how to restrict?

“There is a teacher-student relationship; you want to make sure that you have someone spiritually higher than you – not to tell you what to do, but to allow you to see the bigger picture. That’s what we do; as soon as you start studying, we provide a teacher. You meet with him or her every now and then, depending on the person’s peference. We’re not therapists or psychiatrists; Kabbalah is not positive thinking, it goes to the core. We use the metaphor of the tree and the seed; when you go to the seed there is no need to worry about the fruit.”

So how do I get up, or how do I eat breakfast, for instance, in a kabbalistic way?

Ha ha ha, the kabbalist way to get up is like the house is on fire! With excitement, ready to go, looking forward to today’s challenges, to accomplish something. For if I keep pushing the snooze-button on my alarmclock, then most likely someone will snooze me later on this day. For you create an energy for yourself by the way you wake up.
For a lot of people spirituality is non-tangible. Maybe if you meditate for hours or speak to angels or clairvoyants you are spiritual. According to kabbalist, clairvoyance or the Sixth Sense or visions, or dreams that come true, are all amazing – but they are gifts. They don’t make you spiritual.
Take a piece of coal, it is nothing. Put it under tons and tons of pressure, it becomes a diamond.

So we need pressure? But it takes a long time for a diamond to form.

“The whole concept of time relates to the person’s desire. There are people who lose everything in the world and in a matter of months they do things they never dreamed they could do. It appears that a mother can lift a refrigerator if there is a danger to her kid. So we underestimate ourselves and anyway, the concept of time is an illusion, as the scientists have proven. If a person is clear about what he would like to achieve, and he has clear tools, then he can just jump to the wave and make it. The sky is the limit.”

What does Kabbalah say about human dignity?

“That is the key to a lot of our issues and problems. When you put somebody down, there is no way to be creative or to be a channel for something bigger. None of us is meant to be a policeman of God. When I have more than anyone else, I am meant to share, not to show off.”

The whole rich West is supposed to share its wealth?

“Absolutely. And not only the physical things, also time, talents, personal gifts. Humanity is supposed to cope together.”

How does Kabbalah connect different faiths?

“There is a reason for each religion. It is like different languages but at the end of the day we are all human. We are supposed to help each other. Take the sun: whatever you call it, you are entitled to enjoy it. The same with the creator. We are all meant to create miracles, whether you call that God light,  energy or anything else. When you understand the consciousness of it, then it is not about the separation but about the unity. Hindu, muslim, it is all welcome because it is all human. In the end, the essence of what we are is way beyond religion, it is much deeper. Kabbalists look at the soul level. And a soul does not have a religion. You can be hindu, muslim or whatever, and practice Kabbalah.
When I first studied Kabbalah, I was fascinated by the idea that you can design your own destiny. What more can you ask for? I never stopped since then. For me it is a way of living. I also educate my children this way. My husband is also a Kabbalah teacher.”

What’s your favourite kabbalistic ritual?

“I don’t like the word ritual, but I love New Moon. According to the kabbalists the first day of the lunar month is twentyfour hours in which the universe is wide open and you can really design your “movie” for the rest of the month. What your life will look like, the script. The kabbalistic way is to gather together and give a lecture on the energy of the particular zodiac sign, for each time it is different and the more you are educated, the better you can achieve. So we tune into it and meditate on it. It is the opportunity to really influence your next month, to create, to be in control, by understanding: what is waiting for me and what can I do with it. Not just to passively accept  what is happening to you , but to be the initiator, the cause.”

The principles of Kabbalah according to Karen Berg:

1. Sharing: Sharing is the purpose of life and the only way to truly receive fulfillment. When individuals share, they connect to the force of energy that Kabbalahh calls the Light—the Infinite Source of Goodness, the Divine Force, the Creator. By sharing, one can overcome ego—the force of negativity.
2. Awareness and Balance of the Ego: The ego is a voice inside that directs people to be selfish, narrow-minded, limited, addicted, hurtful, irresponsible, negative, angry, and hateful. The ego is a main source of problems because it allows us to believe that others are separate from us. It is the opposite of sharing and humility. The ego also has a positive side, as it motivates one to take action. It is up to each individual to choose whether they act for themselves or whether to also act in the well-being of others. It is important to be aware of one’s ego and to balance the positives and negatives.
3. Existence of Spiritual Laws: There are spiritual laws in the universe that affect people’s lives. One of these is the Law of Cause and Effect: What one puts out is what one gets back, or what we sow is what we reap.
4. We Are All One: Every human being has within him- or herself a spark of the Creator that binds each and every person into one totality. This understanding informs us of the spiritual precept that every human being must be treated with dignity at all times, under any circumstances. Individually, everyone is responsible for war and poverty in all parts of the world and individuals can’t enjoy true and lasting fulfillment as long as others are suffering.
5. Leaving Our Comfort Zone Can Create Miracles: Becoming uncomfortable for the sake of helping others taps us into a spiritual dimension that ultimately brings Light and positivity to our lives.

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Lisette Thooft


Lisette Thooft (1953) studeerde Engels met antropologie als bijvak maar rolde de journalistiek in en schreef jarenlang voor spirituele …
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