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  • Torah and Jewish Thought

Learning Kabbalah (or chassidus) according to Yoreh Deah 246


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

6 Cheshvan 5767
B"H Since the Rama and Shach in Yoreh Deah 246-1 state clearly that one should not learn Kabbalah (Pardes according to the Shach’s interpretation) without first filling himself on Shasd and Poskim, how come Sefardim have a long tradition of learning Zohar and Kitvey HaAri? Are there any sources for the Sefordim’s derech? Thank You
The wording of the Shach is that one should not delve into theoretical exploration of G-d in the form of Kabala studies, that is only the domain of those whom are worthy of that. Reading the Zohar is not really anything like that, firstly it is written in a way that resembles the Midrashic literature and can be read as such; more so, in the classic Sephardi shule it is a superficial reading of the text and not a mental exercise of trying to crack the secrets of Kabala. As for Chassidut, that is a different story all together, it was written by giant Torah and Kabala masters for the lay Jew, it is a translation and reformation of kabalistic ideas and thoughts so they can be studied by those who can’t comprehend the complexity and depth of Kabala.
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