All of the teachings of The Kabbalah Centre are based on the ancient texts of Kabbalah, such as The Zohar and the writings of the great 16th century Kabbalist Rav Isaac Luria (the Ari).
The inner understanding of these foundational texts has been passed down directly from teacher to student over the course of 4,000 years. In 1922, The Kabbalah Centre founder Rav Yehuda Ashlag completed the first translation of The Zohar from the ancient language of Aramaic into modern day Hebrew. This was a pinnacle moment in Kabbalah history, for it marked the first time Kabbalah was made available to the layperson. After the passing away of Rav Ashlag, Rav Brandwein, his closest student, continued the dissemination of the wisdom of Kabbalah. Rav Berg studied with Rav Brandwein for years and the two became very close. Upon Rav Brandwein’s passing, the leadership of The Kabbalah Centre was handed to Rav Berg. As a reflection of this legacy, The Kabbalah Centre is privileged to have the original correspondences between Rav Brandwein and Rav Berg, showing their deep connection.
The Kabbalah Centre is proud of its success in delivering this ancient wisdom in modern language so people can use it to better their lives. To this end, The Kabbalah Centre presents countless books and meditation guides. Perhaps most important, is the first complete, unabridged, 23-volume English translation of The Zohar, by Michael Berg. Over the centuries there have been partial translations - but never a complete literal translation.
Abraham was the first man to realize that there is only one God, that the entire universe is interconnected as one unified whole on a deeper level of reality.
The great patriarch was the first man since the dawn of human civilization to transcribe an actual book on Kabbalah. It is called the Book of Formation, and it holds the exalted mysteries and sublime secrets of our universe. Remarkably, the entire compilation is only a few pages long, a mere few hundred words.
QUESTION: How can all the mysteries of our universe be compressed into so small a text?
ANSWER: The book is a coded formula.
Consider Einstein's equation: E=mc². Pages of mathematical equations are concealed inside this simple formula. The secrets of time, space, and motion are reduced to five simple characters.
There lies the secret behind the Book of Formation: Abraham's work contains all the spiritual equations concerning our world of time, space, and motion. The Book of Formation conceals all the secrets of existence - from the origins of life to the origins of the chaos that afflict mankind.
The same way that a child - and most adults, for that matter - has a difficult time understanding Einstein's formula, the people of Abraham's generation failed to perceive the infinite wisdom within his ancient manuscript. It took a few thousand years before mankind would unravel the secrets of electrical energy. It will take as many years for us to unravel the secrets of spiritual energy locked inside Abraham's Book of Formation.
RAV SHIMON BAR YOCHAI- 70 C.E.
Due to a decree by the Roman Empire, Rav Shimon Bar Yochai sought refuge in a cave in Peki'in, Israel for thirteen years. During these long years of painful isolation, he received instruction in the arts of Kabbalah. His teachers were Moses and Elijah the prophet.
When leadership of the Roman Empire changed hands, Rav Shimon and his son were free to return to Jerusalem. The years of intense pressure from the earth had scarred and mangled the mystic's body. But the spiritual Light that radiated from his soul made it hard for ordinary men to stand in his presence.
To protect the secrets of the universe that were revealed to him, Rav Shimon called upon one student - Rav Abba - to commit his teachings to written word. Rav Abba had an extraordinary gift for writing in the abstract language of metaphor and parable. Thus, the secrets would be safe, deftly concealed inside abstruse stories, making it difficult for the wicked and unworthy to grasp and misuse this ancient power and the Zohar, the ultimate spiritual work on Kabbalah, was born.
To this day, The Zohar or Book Of Splendor is acknowledged as the definitive and authoritative work on Kabbalistic wisdom.The manuscript was considered a work of mysticism and magic by the people of the generation. In hindsight, the reason is obvious.
The Zohar expounded upon ideas and concepts that were centuries ahead of their time. In an age where science determined the world was flat, the Zohar depicted our planet as spherical, with people experiencing day and night at the same time, in different time zones.
The Zohar describes the moment of creation as a Big Bang-like explosion. It speaks of a universe that exists in ten dimensions. It explores the notion of parallel universes. These speculations were considered heretical and frightening. Yet, they were not the most fantastic to appear in the Zohar. That designation belongs to the next idea...
Rav Shimon said the Zohar is more than a book of secrets and spiritual wisdom.
This mystical treatise is a powerful energy-giving instrument, a life-saving tool imbued with the power to bring genuine peace, protection, healing, and fulfillment to those who possess it.
Like the monolith in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Zohar can spark the soul of a generation, igniting profound change and transformation within the consciousness of man and society.
In other words, just as a light bulb illuminates a darkened room, the spiritual Light of the Zohar can enlighten the minds of men to the hidden mysteries of the cosmos. According to the kabbalist, these unseen influences will eventually help shape the destiny of humankind, as the Zohar's presence gradually widens in our world.
Rav Shimon stated that there would come a day when even a six-year-old child will delve into the spiritual wisdom of Kabbalah. But until that time arrives, the original manuscripts of the Zohar must remain concealed. They were then hidden away for centuries.
The dimming of the Zohar's spiritual Light coincided with the Dark Ages, a time where every aspect of civilization - including education, science, and communications - was in severe regression.
In the year 1270 C.E. the Zohar reappeared, discovered by Rav Moses Deleon in Spain. As the Light of the Zohar radiated into the world for the first time in history, its mystical text sparked the collective unconscious of a generation. The power of the Zohar propelled the world out of the Dark Ages.
“THE ARI” RAV ISAAC LURIA – 16TH CENTURY
The 16th Century brought forth the most influential Kabbalist in history: Rav Isaac Luria. A brilliant scholar by age 13, he was called "The Ari," which means "The Holy Lion." The Ari had the gift to explore the innermost depths of the Zohar. He lived as a hermit for 13 years, probing its mysteries. It was not unusual for the Ari to meditate upon one verse of the Zohar for many months, until the hidden meaning was revealed to him.
The Ari uncovered extraordinary secrets inside the Zohar's poetic words. He described a system of evolution that went far beyond what Darwin would explain centuries later. The Ari wrote:
A time will come when men of science will, in their search for the missing link between man and animal, attempt to consider the monkey as that living form from which man evolved.
—Tree of Life, Gate 42, Ch. 1
The Ari explains, however, that the monkey is a "fraudulent image" of man. Like man, the monkey possesses five digits on each hand. But unlike man, it cannot make use of its thumb by operating it. The thumb corresponds to the highest dimension in a ten-dimensional reality—a level known as Keter. The thumb is the key to human intelligence, according to the Ari.
In fact, Keter is the source of all intelligence that permeates our physical world. Though we may marvel at the intelligence of the monkey, its physical (and metaphysical) DNA is preset—a monkey cannot move out of its animal category. This limitation of intelligence is signified by its inability to operate its thumb.
Remarkably, scientists now tell us that man’s evolutionary advantage was rooted in the “opposable thumb”. The thumb allowed us to create tools and therefore, was key to the evolution of human intelligence.
The Ari's greatest legacy was his kabbalistic composition The Writings of the Ari, compiled by his most cherished student, Rav Chaim Vital. This profound work gave birth to what is known as Lurianic Kabbalah.
Lurianic Kabbalah became the definitive school of kabbalistic thought, and had a dramatic impact on the world. Eminent contemporary scholars are only now discovering the profound influence this great Renaissance Kabbalist had on such intellectual luminaries as Sir Isaac Newton.
Professor Allison P. Coudert contends in her book The Impact of the Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century:
"Lurianic Kabbalah deserves a place it has never received in the histories of Western scientific and cultural developments."
The great mathematician and philosopher Leibniz, who invented calculus and, in turn, those tiresome math classes we endured in high school and college, was profoundly influenced by Kabbalah. Isaac Newton—considered by many to be the greatest scientist ever—secretly studied Kabbalah, wherein he found ideas that bear a striking resemblance to some of his greatest scientific discoveries.
All knowledge and material appearing on this web site is rooted in Lurianic Kabbalah. At the young age of 38, Rav Isaac Luria left this world after having made a stunning impact on Kabbalah. This remains unprecedented to this very day.
He left a spiritual system that, when fully disentangled and deciphered, will enable humanity to take control over its individual and collective destiny—a road map and guide for the body and soul that will relieve people of their chaos, fear, pain, and suffering.
It is said that the Ari came to this world for one purpose: to instruct his disciple, Rav Chaim Vital, in the Lurianic system of Kabbalah.
Rav Azulai wrote that a significant spiritual transformation will begin to take hold beginning with the year 2000. It will be an age where Kabbalah will spread to the four corners of the globe.A period when time and space shrink. A time when the secrets of immortality begin to unravel before the world's eyes. The second passage reveals a historic decree issued by the sages of antiquity:
From the year 1540 and onward, the basic levels of Kabbalah must be taught publicly to everyone, young and old. Only through Kabbalah will we forever eliminate war, destruction, and man's inhumanity to his fellow man.
-The Mercy of Abraham
And so, it came to pass that from the year 1540 onward, the prohibition against learning Kabbalah was over. But there was a problem...
The world was at a crossroads. The lines among science, philosophy, and mysticism were blurred. Brilliant minds - both wise and wicked - dabbled freely among these three disciplines. Unlike the view of contemporary scientists, a connection between science and mysticism was not frowned upon, but understood for what it truly was: two halves of one whole! Mysticism correlated to the intangible aspect of a song - the melody. Science corresponded to the mathematics and tangibility of sheet music. Both are correct. Both are complementary. But it is the melody that stirs the soul and sends it soaring. One cannot experience the rising emotions aroused by a symphony, merely by studying musical notes inscribed on paper. Therein lay the crux of the problem, as we shall see next.
Throughout history, there have been men well-versed in the philosophies, sciences and mystical traditions. Some of these men have mined Kabbalah for their own gain and honor, advancing their egos but delaying the arrival of a world that embodies peace and fulfillment for all mankind.
From this perspective, these were still dangerous times. Prejudice and bias towards spiritual wisdom - as it exists today - was practically non-existent during the Renaissance, even among the most material-minded men. Therefore, it was imperative that Ari's writings remain encoded and obscured.
Nonetheless, Abraham Azulai's historic action officially planted the seed for disseminating Kabbalah to the people. The seed would just have to wait a little bit longer before being allowed to germinate.
RAV YEHUDA ASHLAG – EARLY 20TH CENTURY
Rav Ashlag was the most profound Kabbalist of our generation. The one man, perhaps, who truly understood - and helped advance - the transformations of the 20th Century.
Rav Ashlag broke with the 4,000-year-old tradition that had locked Kabbalah's great power inside the mystifying writings of the Ari. The time had come to act. The ancient vaults to Kabbalah were to be opened by the hands of this renowned sage.
Rav Ashlag explained that the Zohar foresaw the physicality of today's material world and its rule over the spiritual reality. During these times, men motivated by self-interest, intellectualism, and ego avoid spiritual wisdom like the plague. Only those who seek truth with a pure heart are able to find this wisdom. These views are expressed in his Kabbalistic treatise Entrance to the Tree of Life.
Moreover, Rav Ashlag stated that those who seek the truth of Kabbalah must undergo seven tests to ensure that they are worthy to acquire this knowledge.Therefore, the time arrived to remove the veils:
In such a generation as ours there is nothing to be feared from disclosing the true wisdom openly.
- Entrance to the Tree of Life, Rav Yehuda Ashlag
The year was 1922. The Rav Ashlag established the very first Kabbalah Centre in the city of Jerusalem. Learning was made available to those who were steeped in religious studies, and were over the age of 40.
Many leading rabbis of his generation applauded this historic opening. Others vehemently opposed it, fanning the flames of controversy that surrounded the dissemination of this spiritual wisdom.
Rav Ashlag was beaten outside of his synagogue. He was left lying in his own blood, on the steps of his temple, merely for offering wisdom to his fellow man.
Rav Ashlag delved into Lurianic Kabbalah with devout fervor. He unraveled some of the greatest secrets that mankind has ever known. But the vast majority of the world paid little attention to his historic action, nor could they perceive its influence.
Rav Ashlag's writings tackle topics that pertain to the ultimate removal of chaos - the chaos that has ravaged humankind since time immemorial. Concepts such as relativity, space travel, healing, and other matters affecting the welfare of humankind were first concealed in the Zohar some 2000 years ago.
Rav Ashlag's genius lay in his ability to extrapolate these secrets from the Ari's 500-year-old writings. As the mysteries were unveiled, they were injected into the collective unconscious of the people, including his counterparts toiling in the world of physics. Once again, the "monolith effect" was at work.On the unseen spiritual level, his work ignited the technological explosion of the 20th century.
Rav Ashlag was blessed with immense powers of meditation and vision. Rav Ashlag wrote:
Redemption depends on the learning of Kabbalah. If people neglect the study of spirituality, then poverty, war, desolation, murder, and destruction will come to the world.
Rav Ashlag departed our physical world in 1955 on the holiday of Yom Kippur.
Rav Ashlag's greatest legacy is perhaps the first-ever Hebrew translation of the Zohar from its original Aramaic. This monumental tome includes a profound and lucid commentary disclosing the long-hidden secrets of the Zohar and their relevance to our lives. His other notable legacy is his beloved student, Kabbalist Rav Yehuda Brandwein who succeded Rav Ashlag as the spiritual leader of the Kabbalah Centre.
RAV YEHUDA BRANDWEIN – MID 20TH CENTURY
Before his death, Rav Ashlag told Rav Brandwein that he would soon merit his own students, and that one of them would help bring this wisdom to the world, amid great protest and scorn.
A gentle and devout soul, Rav Brandwein was a man of the people. He evoked a deep love in all those with whom he came in contact. Both atheists and pious men had great reverence for him. He had an uncommon ability to straddle two worlds - climbing scaffolding on construction sites to lay bricks by daylight, then scaling the highest of spiritual worlds by moonlight.
In the way of all great kabbalists, Rav Brandwein's essence and character was spiritual rather than religious or political. When a certain poverty-stricken Arab came to his construction site for a job in the early 1930's, the kabbalist saw the soul of the man, the common spark of divinity that exists within all of us. Rav Brandwein's love transcended religious and racial divisions that have been so prevalent during these turbulent times. The Arab was given employment, and a name to hide his identity.
The lineage of Rav Brandwein is notable. He was a family descendant of the esteemed Rav Dov Baer, a great spiritual leader in Russia during the late 18th century. Rav Dov Baer was the successor to the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement, and one of the greatest sages of the last 500 years.
After the bloodshed of the 1967 war in Israel, Rav Brandwein became the first citizen in the country to settle in Jerusalem. Many years later, when Jerusalem became one city, an Arab paid a visit to Brandwein's home. He brought along a barrel overflowing with fresh grapefruits. It was the same Arab that Brandwein gave employment to some 35 years before.
The man's eyes were filled with tears. He told Rav Brandwein that he had waited all these years, until after the war, so that he could finally offer his heartfelt thanks for the kindness that had been shown him. Rav Brandwein's acts of kindness and tolerance for everyone he met radiated this spiritual Light. And it warmed the soul of anyone in his presence. Therein lies the true power of Kabbalah.
Spiritual Director of the Kabbalah Centre
Rav Berg was born in New York City to a family of spiritual scholars and teachers. After many years of traditional religious study, he was ordained as a rabbi at Torah VaDaat.
A businessman who wanted to make a difference in this world, he was always searching for his true path. Upon a chance meeting with Rav Yehuda Brandwein, one of the greatest kabbalists of the 20th century, Rav Berg knew he had found his teacher, and traded in his business life for an opportunity to study with Rav Brandwein at The Kabbalah Centre in Israel. After he returned to New York, Rav Berg maintained a written correspondence with Rav Brandwein who passed on his legacy as director of The Kabbalah Centre to Rav Berg in a letter before he passed away.
Upon receiving the responsibility from his teacher, Rav Berg made it his life’s mission to preserve, unveil and make relevant the historic Kabbalah texts. He continued the legacy of The Kabbalah Centre by editing, writing, printing and distributing all that he learned from his teacher so that it could be shared with others.
Rav Berg democratized the study of Kabbalah by creating a foundational stepped program to teach all its core concepts and help students formulate a greater cognitive awareness of the spiritual system of the universe. His book, Kabbalah for the Layman, was the revolutionary step that made Kabbalah accessible to every person. Rav Berg’s other books include The Kabbalah Connection, Energy of the Hebrew Letters, Immortality, The Power of You, Wheels of a Soul, Taming Chaos, and Education of a Kabbalist. He and his wife, Karen Berg, opened the doors of The Kabbalah Centre to all who desire to learn these universal principles. They live in Los Angeles, California, and along with their sons, Yehuda and Michael, continue to guide Kabbalah Centre International.
Spiritual Director of the Kabbalah Centre
In meeting Rav Berg over 40 years ago Karen met her spiritual partner and her destiny. Together they set out to make Kabbalah comprehensible and relevant to all people in the world desiring an understanding of the spiritual dimension. Their mission has been to provide people with kabbalistic principles they can apply to improve their own lives, and by doing so uplift the world. Under their stewardship The Kabbalah Centre has grown from a single location into one of the world’s leading sources of spiritual wisdom with more than 40 locations around the globe.
One of Karen’s goals is to inspire spiritual dialogue as a bridge to create peace between diverse groups. She has done this by teaching kabbalistic principles that increase awareness of people’s similarities and celebrate our differences. Kids Creating Peace is one of The Kabbalah Centre initiatives. Karen travels extensively to communicate her message of universal spirituality and peace. She spoke at Mastering the Ultimate Challenges in London and Poland with Donna Karan and at the Power of Peace conference in London with Dr. Jehan Sadat. She also led more than 1200 people of all faiths on a march of peace with the governor of Nablus in the square that once sparked acts of hatred and war.
Karen’s books include To Be Continued: Reincarnation & the Purpose of Our Lives as well as the bestselling God Wears Lipstick and Simple Light. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Yehuda Berg, son of Rav and Karen Berg, is part of a long lineage of kabbalistic masters. As Co-Director of The Kabbalah Centre, Yehuda oversees Kabbalah Publishing; manages the production of kabbalistic tools such as scrolls and prayer books; researches and sources historic energy sites; and manages the details of international tours to these spiritual locations.
Yehuda, a bestselling author in the field of spirituality, has written more than 30 books on topics ranging from self-empowerment and depression, to relationships and the Bible. Two of his bestselling books, The Power of Kabbalah and The 72 Names of God, have been translated into 20 and 14 languages respectively, and he also created a transformational 23-day audio package, The Living Kabbalah System. In 2009 the GQ Magazine Gentleman’s Fund honored him for being an Agent of Change in the field of education. Yehuda lectures internationally, delivering deep and complex kabbalistic concepts in a simplified way that is applicable to daily life. His daily emails and Facebook insights, known as “tune ups,” are read by over 250,000 fans daily.
Yehuda Berg lives in Los Angeles with his wife and five children.
Michael Berg is the Co-Director of The Kabbalah Centre and Kabbalah University, as well as an author, scholar and teacher. He is the editor and translator of the first-ever unabridged contemporary English translation of the 23 volume Zohar, the ancient Aramaic text that is at the very core of kabbalistic thought.
Having been born into a kabbalistic tradition as the son of the Rav and Karen Berg, Michael steeped himself in the wisdom of the Zohar at a young age, beginning its translation when he was only 18 years old and completing it ten years later.
Adept at combing through ancient materials and distilling complex information into elegant thought and language, Michael continues the tradition started by Rav Berg, of condensing and simplifying the profound wisdom of Kabbalah. As a best-selling author he has developed a worldwide following with such books as Becoming Like God, Secrets of the Bible, The Secret, and The Way, and delivers weekly insights that are read by over 100,000 people each month. His most recent work includes the translation and editing of central texts in the study of Kabbalah, Matan Torah (published as The Wisdom of Truth) and the Introduction to the Ten Luminous Emanations (published as And You Shall Choose Life) by Rav Ashlag, the founder of The Kabbalah Centre.
Michael currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children, and lectures all around the world.