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Mysticism Lecture Series Continues with Kabbalah

Its origins lie in the 14th Century Jewish mystics who settled in the ancient Israeli hilltop town of Sefat. 

Its teachings are perhaps the most complex concepts in Judaism. 

It has gained fame and popularity as a fad in recent decades as celebrities such as Madonna and Ashton Kutcher 

Jewish mysticism, aslo known as Kabbalah, will be the third installment in Interfaith Leadership Council’s Exploring Religious Landscapes Fall lecture series, taking place  7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 at Congregation Beth Shalom, 14601 Lincoln Street, Oak Park. Cantor Michael Smolash of Temple Israel of West Bloomfield  & Rabbi Robert Gamer of Congregation Beth Shalom of Oak Park will lead the discussion. Click here to register. 

“In each one of our religious traditions, there is a mystical movement,” said Rev. Charles Packer, who serves as IFLC’s Community Building Chairman.  “The mystics, whether they be prophets, saints, gurus or sufis, had something in common. The mystics tended to be experiential in nature. There is something that engages the whole person, both spiritually and physically, that they can reach deeply into their inner selves. Mysticism relies on the individual to be especially sensitive or mature in their spirituality while still being anchored to their original, core traditions.”

The central text of Kabalah is called the  Zohar. It is a collection of written, mystical commentaries on the Torah revealed to an ancient rabbi 2,000 years ago as he hid in a cave in Israel for 13 years in Pekin, Israel, during the seige of Roman Emporor Hadrian. It is  considered to be the underpinning of Kabbalah.  Written in Aramaic and Hebrew, the Zohar was first printed in 1558 and  is intended to guide Kabbalists in their spiritual journey, helping them attain the greater levels of connectedness with God that they desire.

Rabbi Robert Gamer of Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park will spend about an hour offering an academic understanding of Kabbalah: its history, development and key ideas.   A bit of time will be spent talking ng about the deep psychological understanding Kabbalah has of the human being through the sefirot.

Gamer  will also explain why it is traditional not to study Kabbalah until one reaches the age of 40, and also why it has been picked up in the Hollywood circuit.

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