(23W2) Discovering Kabbalah and the Zohar

January 18th, 2023 - January 25th, 2023, 7:00 pm - 8:15 pm

The recording of session #1 is at https://youtu.be/VTDUeKqfkNc.

The recording of session #2 is at https://youtu.be/Nct3AuuKFWk.

Handouts and the chats are at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1c9wcDWPBJA0ojwOWRJxp721jg5zWcLZp23W2 

For more information about Kabbalah, Jay’s books or his Zoom Monday Kabbalah classes, you can email Jay at jmccrensky@aol.com.

A 2-session class that introduced the basic concepts of Kabbalah — the philosophy of Judaism that was mainstream Judaism for 400 years and that is the core to understanding the spirituality of Jewish ritual and prayer.   The course covered such topics as:

  •             Kabbalistic theology, terminology and mystical connection as an approach to experiencing more meaningful Jewish practice
  •             Understanding Jewish holidays and rituals through Kabbalah
  •             Understanding evil, sin and repentance through Kabbalah
  •             The Zohar as the foundation work of Kabbalah and what we can learn from studying Zohar about our own life meaning, creativity, role in fixing the world (Tikkun Olam), interpretation of Torah and contemporary issues and events.

The first class was an introduction and the second an experience in deciphering, interpreting and applying The Zohar to our lives.  Students were welcome to come to just one or both classes.

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Jay McCrensky is a leading scholar of Kabbalah and former professor at St. Mary’s College of the University of Maryland.  He received his PhD from Baltimore Hebrew University and Towson University. He has published two books on kabbalah that are available on Amazon: Understanding Evil and Ethics through Kabbalah and Connecting to Judaism through Kabbalah.

Dr. McCrensky is the founder and President of the Contemporary Kabbalah Institute, a non-profit that promotes development of kabbalah in addressing the crisis in Jewish spirituality.  More information is at his website www.ContemporaryKabbalah.org.

Here’s a bit of information about Jay’s books, which are available at www.Amazon.com.

Understanding Evil and Ethics through Kabbalah addresses the challenge that evil and specifically the Holocaust presents to the seeker of spirituality.  Kabbalah has an elegant and spiritual answer. The book first provides a basic introduction to Kabbalah from the perspective on sin, evil and ethics.  In the second half of the book, Dr. McCrensky presents a Kabbalistic midrash based on The Zohar on Genesis that discusses the ongoing creation of the world and the necessity for evil inclination (potentiality for sin and evil) for there to be human partnering in ongoing creation.  Understanding Evil and Ethics has been acclaimed as a very accessible introduction to Kabbalah as well as an advanced philosophical work on ethics and theology.

Connecting to Judaism: Spirituality through Kabbalah presents a clear and focused introduction to Kabbalah and to basic Judaism.  Most Jewish rituals have kabbalistic meaning and even origin, yet these meanings have largely been lost with the loss of understanding of Kabbalah.  The book explains the lost spirituality attached to these practices as well as to Jewish prayer and the holidays themselves.  Topics covered include candle lighting, kiddish, waving of the lulov and etrog, the entire holiday of Tu B’shevat and its seder, the Passover seder, the Counting of the Omer ritual, sin and repentance, wedding rituals, funeral and mourning customs and practices, mikva requirements and the full cycle of Jewish Holidays.