Kosher Kabbalah for
Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Safed, the city that was once the
world center of Kabbala study, says that the study of Kabbala by non-Jews
can be "positive", but only if done in the proper manner.
During an interview with the popular media resource, Rabbi Eliyahu said,
"I believe that the study of the Zohar by Gentiles, as in the common
phenomenon we see today with non-Jewish musicians and entertainers studying
Kabbala, is a positive phenomenon -- as long as it is done in the right
way." He explained that it should not just be a matter of curiosity,
but of a genuine search for the " Torah of life".
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu with
Ascent director Rabbi Shaul Leiter
the chief rabbi of Safed for over a decade, Rabbi Shmuel is the son of
Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, one of the most important living Sephardic
Jewish legal authorities and kabbalists, and a former chief rabbi of Israel
[may he, Mordechai Tzemach ben MazalTov, be blessed with a complete and
Rabbi Eliyahu addressed the matter in light of the jump in sales of books
of Kabbala. According to Meir Bar-El, Deputy Director of the Manufacturers
Association of Israel, exports of such books have tripled in recent years
due to the world-wide awakening to the study of Kabbala. He reported that
thirty-five million dollars worth of Kabbala texts were exported around
the world from Israel in 2005, and that total exports of Jewish holy books
in 2005 grew by 119% over the year before, and totaled 70% of all book
exports from Israel. He even said that there are not enough professional
printers now in Israel to meet the continuing demand for holy books from
Israel and that more training courses are needed.
"This is exactly what Elijah the Prophet told Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai
(Zohar author, circa 1st-century C.E.) and his group when they began writing
the Zohar," Rabbi Eliyahu said, "that in the course of time,
people will begin making a living from this work. Of course, Elijah was
referring to the fact that it would have a spiritual effect on those who
study it, but it can be understood this way as well."
"It is told about King David," the rabbi said, "that when
he wanted to bring people closer to an authentic Torah life, he would
teach them the secrets of Torah. In general, to see people searching for
spirituality is a positive and important development."
[Adapted from an article on israelnationalnews.com]