For thousands of years, Kabbalah has successfully remained focused on its mission of obtaining the hidden knowledge of God, such as God’s creations for the visible and invisible universe. Until now, Kabbalah is explained as a concealed knowledge or Jewish mysticism. Kabbalah has been presented as ancient wisdom passed down via oral traditional to handpicked individuals starting from Adam to Abraham, and eventually to Moses. Centuries ago, this knowledge was reserved for a select group of married men aged 40 years and above. Precisely, the Jew’s general preference was responsible for limiting the spread of Kabbalah teachings.
Factors that hindered the spread of Kabbalah
Jewish men in their early 20s and late30s could choose to study directly from a qualified Kabbalist. However, personal studies were met with strict restrictions. Accessing written materials such as books and manuscripts proved to a difficult task since they were scarce and expensive. Women, children, and uneducated men were never considered for any formal training irrespective of if the training sessions were taking place next to their homes. The main reason behind the restrictions of Kabbalah dissemination is that it exposed Godly matters that were a bit concealed in Torah. This ancient knowledge focused on the inner characters of God rather than outer perceptions.
The rise of Kabbalah
In the early 13 century, more people started to study Kabbalah and its aspects were introduced into traditional Jewish rituals and beliefs. Between 1500 and 1800, the wisdom became popular among Jewish communities based in the Middle East and Europe. Jerusalem became a promising center for studying Kabbalah in the 1900s and attracted men from all over the world, including Rav Yehuda Ashlag, the brains behind The Kabbalah Center. He was born back in 1885 in Warsaw and brought up by a Chasidic family. He had an opportunity to study the traditional Jewish education. He started learning Kabbalah at a tender age, and the works of Rav Isaac Luria impressed him a lot. Rav Ashlag recruited several students but increasingly focused on sharpening the skills of one of his most talented and committed students, Rav Brandwein. After the demise of Rav Ashlag, Brandwein took up the responsibility of disseminating the Kabbalah wisdom. With the help of his wife (Karen), Brandwein introduced Kabbalah in the U.S. by instituting a Kabbalah Center.