Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, known as the Arizal Hakodesh, is part of the basic foundation of what we call in modern lingo Kabbalah.
One book that describes much of the Arizal’s thinking is Soul of Life, (Hebrew: Nefesh HaChaim). The author is Reb Chaim of Volozhin. A new book in English which is authentically the translation of Nefesh HaChaim is The Soul of Life, The Complete Neffesh Ha-Chayyim, translated by Eliezer Lipa (Leonard) Moskowitz. 2012, New Davar Publications, Teaneck, N.J., distributed by Amazon.com.inc. www.amazon.com
Because the English translation reads so fluidly, it is a great source book to recommend to everyone. The life of the book is really the pulse of authentic Orthodox Judaism. Whereby we pray seriously and know our prayers written by the Great Sanhedrin and that they are to be directed to the Great Creator of the Universe. Whereby we also keep all the 613 Torah commandments with scrupulous care. This is a thrust of Reb Chayyim (Chaim) of Volozhin. The other part of the basic foundation of what we call Kabbalah includes the Zohar. This, too, is quoted extensively in the book being reviewed here: The Complete Neffesh Ha-Chayyim.
Quote: “…a fundamental principle of Rav Chayyim’s worldview, and of the other sages who subscribe to the Kabbalah of the Ariza”l…” …is that God’s purpose for Man in this world is …”to heal the world, to repair what is broken via the thought-acts, speech-acts and physical-acts defined in the Torah, to ultimately bring the world to wholeness and perfection–meaning the awareness of God’s one-ness and adherence to and enactment of His will, as expressed in Torah…rectification…that achieves TEE-KOON (Hebrew for repair).” Page 253 of Neffesh Ha-Chayyim (Nefesh HaChaim). So here we have in a nutshell that teekoon, repair/rectification is the main thrust in our lives. And this book by Rav Chayyim/Chaim in this book review gives us all the tools to do much of the repair! A handbook for repair of the world!!! in a 600 page book! All it takes is to study this book! But the book has tasks for us to do: 1. to study Torah daily and deeply, 2. to keep all the 613 mitzvos/commandments of the Torah scrupulously. 3. and other tasks.
The power of the Jew in doing good or (God forbid) not good has huge effects on the universe. “The wise man who understands the veracity of this, his heart/mind will shiver within him with fear and trembling when he regards his no-good actions (heaven forefend), when they arrive to ruin and destroy with a minor sin (heaven forefend) much more than Nebuchadnezzar and Titus (who were the generals in charge of the armies that destroyed the first and second Holy Temples respectively.)” page 52 of Neffesh Ha-Chayyim.
It is important to see unadulterated Kabbala and you can find it in this book. It goes by chapters and if you have the original Hebrew text of Neffesh Ha-Chayyim you can see that the chapters are the same with the translation not word for word, but the meaning so exact and careful in translation. In this way you can use the Hebrew original, if your Hebrew is up to snuff, and have the translation by Moskowitz enhance your understanding.
I will not review the many ideas in the book as they are mighty and powerful and in need of much explanation, so a short book review is not the place to do surgery on kabbalah. I hope you investigate these ideas above and read the book and then apply it to your life.
As we always write in Beyondarecipe.com, a Jew keeps the 613 commandments of the Torah and a non-Jew has the responsibility to keep the 7 commandments in the Torah for Noahide gentiles. This is not chance stuff, nor is it choice. For Jews is it not our history for thousands of years that proves adherence to the Torah is our life and the whole meaning of existence? Can a Jew hang around in bars on a Saturday afternoon, watching a movie and smoking a cigarette? Never. So the Jew is really one and the same with Torah. And can a non-Jew be ignorant of the 7 Noahide laws and feel that is just a o k? Nope. Noahide laws: please learn them and be surprised that they are about respecting Jewish Orthodox Rabbis and their Torah. No room for anti-semitism and no room for other religions. This sounds so intolerant, but in the larger picture it is the blueprint for world unity and peace–yes, indeed.
Kabala can refer to: Kabbalah