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29.5.12

How to learn Kabalah the best idea is to go to just about any descendant of Rav Yaakov Abuchatziera.

How to learn Kabalah
prerequisite: It is necessary to have learned a lot of Talmud. First of all learning Talmud has a effect of purifying one and also just to understand the Kabalah the basic background of the Talmud is necessary.

Step (1): The first thing to do is to avoid the charlatans [They use kabalistic jargon to sound profound.]
Step (2): The next step is to learn the Eitz Chayim עץ חיים{a two volume work called the Tree of Life} of Issac Luria. It helps to learn all the writings of Rav Isaac Luria, but if you know the basic Eitz Chaim, you already know the basic structure of the Kabalah. The rest is just filling in the gaps. Now if you have come to this step the next step --and this is the step which everyone fails in--is the books of Shalom Sharabi. The major work is the Nahar Shalom [נהר שלום] printed at the end of the Eitz Chayim (עץ חיים). The problem here is simple. The Nahar Shalom [נהר שלום] is a vast system and it is hard to figure out how one part relates to the other. There are a few keys like when you read the word "chaya"often you know you are talking about Atzilut [Emanation].
At any rate, even here there is a major debate between the Ashlag and his disciple who wrote the comments on the printed Eitz Chaim. Between these two giants I dare not say anything.
As far as the present day  teachers of Kabalah --  most is  from Shabati Zvi and has little to do with real Kabalah. [You can not find the books of Natan, the false prophet of the Shatz in print but they are in microfim. Somehow most of new ideas of the Shatz and Natan from Gaza got into all books of Ashkenazim. I do not know how it happened, but it is easy to see.] [Not that I think anyone should read that stuff.]



So to get a unadulterated idea of Kabalah you really have to go to Rav Isaac Luria straight.



Now as for the kabalah of the Moshe Cordovaro and Medieval kabalah and the Heichalot the best bet to to go the Avraham Abulfia. Personally, I think Avraham Abulafia rivals Luria in greatness.

[As for people to learn from, I think the best idea is to go to just about any descendant of Rav Yaakov Abuchatziera.]