Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Orthodoxy Test #12: Kabbala

Kabbala is

a) the essential core of Torah
b) crucial, although often misunderstood
c) a mixed bag - some of it's probably true
d) mostly silly
e) totally a crock
f) Leave this question out of my results

I choose (c). Most, if not all, of the great Jewish authorities of the last several centuries have said that Kabbala is important, so I'm not going to question that. The Rambam apparently didn't know Kabbala, and I can't imagine that we'd pay any attention to him if he knew nothing about "the essential core of Torah". So I rule out (a). Is Kabbala crucial? What exactly does that mean? That you need to know it? Most people who are considered good Jews don't know very much of it, so far as I can tell, so I eliminate (b). Some of it must be true, otherwise the generally accepted opinion would presumably not be that it has value. Is everything that is taught as Kabbala true? How am I supposed to know? I've studied virtually none of it myself! I know that many people raise questions about the authenticity of some of what passes as Kabbala, so I'm willing to accept that it's not all true. So I choose (c), although I'd like it modified to read, "some of it's definitely true."

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