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26.8.10

The Ari over the Ramak

 Kabalah. There are serious problems involved in learning it. The Ari himself warns that one who is not properly prepared, Kabalah kills them--spiritually. [That statemnt is in Parshat Haazinu]. [And the Ari repeats this warning  a few places].  That means: they enter into the Intermediate Zone and think they have reached great spiritual heights, when really they have sunken deeply into a world illusion. And who am I to argue with Isaac Luria?
So learning Kabalah at all should be short and sweet.--if at all.
And if you do learn it at least make sure it is authentic.

Kabalah in the Ashkenazic world after 1700's  got thematic material from Shabati Tzvi. Plus most Ashkenazic interpretations of the Ari are all derived from Natan the false prophet of the Shatz.

So my recommendation when it comes to Kabbalah is to learn one or all three of these schools of thought: 1) Reshash (Shalom Sharabi) --in Jerusalem that would be the yeshiva, Shaar Hashamayim of Mordechai Sharabi. 2) Yaakov Abuchatzeira --in Israel that would be David Abuchatzeira in Nahariya. 3) Moshe Luzzatto.

You could do this on your own if you are not in Israel. The Kabbalah Center in Israel has a great edition of the Ari, with Shalom Sharabi's book in the back of the Eitz Chaim and the notes of the disciple of the Ashlag. And that is a very good place to start.
As for what people are looking for authentic kabbalists or mystics-- I think many descendants of Bava Sali [maybe all] have some degree of the Divine Spirit because of some kind of merit that he must have had.
In Netivot, I was very impressed with Shimon Buso, a grandson of Bava Sali from the side of his mother. If authentic mystics is what you are looking for, that is probably the first place I would start.--and his mother also -the daughter of Bava Sali Avigail Buso.

But outside of that Abuchatzeira  family, I would avoid mystics. Most are heavily into the Intermediate Zone, and drag their followers down into the bowels of hell with them. I see this all the time.