I have a Chassidic soul, I admit it. Anything esoteric and mystic pulls me like a strong magnetic invisible force. Yet, it can lead to all kinds of disaster when it misplaces responsible decision making with hocus-pocus floof. As I’ve learned often. All too often.
A while back I purchased an amazing book by Rabbi Yaakov Hillel, Shlitah, someone renowned as a Kabbalist from Israel. The book Roni Akara: A Guide for the Childless is written with sensitivity and great wisdom and I’ve loaned out that book to those who needed it.
That is why when I heard the author would be speaking in New York I made it my business to go hear him. He stood up and declared, “Kabbalah is a stomach ache.” Huh?! He then explained.
‘If a child wakes up in the morning and doesn’t want to go to school, he tells his mother, ‘I’ve got a headache.’ The mother feels his forehead, realizes he has no temperature, and off he goes to school. The next time, the child acts a bit smarter to get out of school. He wakes up and declares his stomach is hurting. The mother doesn’t know how to gauge that. Is he about to vomit? She can’t tell, so he stays home from school.
‘If someone tells you he is a Talmid Chacham, able to expound and elucidate Torah — when he gets up and starts to speak, you can often tell he is not a Talmid Chacham but a charlatan. You can gauge that. But if someone says he is an expert in Kabbalah, it is like a stomach ache. There is no way of knowing if it is true.’
Many folks want to learn Kabbalah. Many people want to teach it, thinking it makes them brilliant and deep. Hocus Pocus fooey-wooey nothing substantial. Half-truths and oft times misunderstood statements that allow them to interpret it to their own desires and ends.
Get to meet the Large Hadron Collider, a well-planned out instrument built deep in the ground under the Franco-Swiss border. Inside there are bunches of protons being smashed to smithereens by physicists who are in search of the Higgs-Boson which, according to the theories of physicists, is the stuff from which all is built. In other words, the scientists are doing practical Kabbalah experiments – trying to find out the building blocks of existence.
Now, when some scientists smashed together a few atoms, you got nuclear energy…and nuclear devastation. That is why the Collider currently in use was very, very carefully planned. Only acceptable amounts of energies were collided. At present, the scientists are ready for the next step. They’ve planned it very carefully, and they intend to increase the amount of energy by 14%.
Kabbalah is the physics of the world in a more substantial way. No one strolls into a Torah class and says, ‘give me a few atoms to smash”. But they do say, “oh tell me some Kabbalah.” Huh. Even if you are being told you are being taught Kabbalah, let me tell you a secret, you aren’t.
For just as a physicist did not skip addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and start straight away with smashing atoms, no one can go from not knowing simple Chumash and Rashi to understanding the Divine machinations of the world.