What is Kabbalah?

An ancient body of wisdom that is useful to people from any background, religion or race

Kabbalah — a 4000 year old body of spiritual wisdom — holds all the secrets of the universe and acts as a map through the mysteries of the human mind, body and soul.

Through the teachings of Kabbalah one may begin to understand the relationship between the physical and metaphysical realities and how to live life in harmony with the universe and those around us.

Kabbalah is not a religion but an ancient body of wisdom that is open (and now accessible) to everyone regardless of race, religion, gender or any other defining factors. Predating religion Kabbalah was preserved through Judaism and intended to be used by all humanity to unify the world. Through this wisdom we learn the laws of the metaphysical universe which, just like gravity for example, affect every single one of us.

The cardinal text of Kabbalah is called the Zohar (revealed by Rav Shimon bar Yochai in 70CE) and it serves as a bridge between these two realities and also reveals all the secrets of Kabbalah.

At a glance the Zohar appears to be merely an esoteric and often difficult to understand commentary on the Bible, structured as conversations among 10 spiritual masters. However the Zohar is both informative and meditative and as the Kabbalists explain, simply possessing The Zohar brings power, protection, and fulfillment into our lives.

Throughout history some of the most influential minds have studied and debated over the contents of the Zohar, including Pythagoras in ancient Greece and Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th Century.

On a practical and personal level, the Zohar not only reveals spiritual principles that can assist us in our everyday lives, it also gives us the power to put those principles into action. This takes place in every area of our lives: our relationships, our spiritual work, and even our businesses and careers.

What does Kabbalah define as our “spiritual work”? This can be defined in one simple word – change.

Kabbalah teaches that our purpose on earth is to change and develop into the best versions of ourselves that we can be. Through striving to silence what Rav Yitzhak Luria defined as the Ego and cleave to our Light and soul aspect we unify with the Creator and thus elevate ourselves from the constraints of the physical world.

Rav Ashlag, the founder of the Kabbalah Centre, has forged a path of study for students of Kabbalah through the teaching of the Talmud Eser Sefirot (The 10 Luminous Emanations).

This study enables students to come a step closer to understanding the hidden creation process of the world around us, and our purpose within it, thus enabling us to evolve and develop into our perfected selves.

What is The Kabbalah Centre?

The Kabbalah Centre has a single mission which is to create simple happiness, permanent peace and lasting fulfillment for every person by continuing the Kabbalistic lineage and making the ancient wisdom accessible and available for the purpose of ending pain and suffering.

The Kabbalah Centre was founded in 1922 by Rav Yehuda Ashlag who is recognised to be one of the greatest Kabbalists of the 20th Century. Following Rav Ashlag was Rav Yehuda Brandwein who took the Deanship of the Kabbalah Centre following Rav Ashlag’s passing.

Before Rav Brandwein left our world, Rav Berg was designated to continue the lineage of Kabbalah as Director of The Kabbalah Centre. And today, some 30 years later, co-directs The Centre together with his wife, Karen.

Although the Kabbalah Centre was founded some 80 years ago the lineage extends back thousands of years to Rav Isaac Luria and the author of the Zohar Rav Shimon bar Yochai.

Across the world the Kabbalah Centre continues to teach this wisdom to anyone who wishes to learn, as well as spear heading many community projects such as Raising Malawi and the Correctional Outreach Initiative.

Recommended further reading. www.kabbalahcentre.co.uk

Marcus a student of Kabbalist Rav Berg is one of the leading teachers at the Kabbalah Centre London. He currently spearheads many European and African charitable projects, and coaches individuals and companies to achieve lasting success and balance.
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Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan are both slippery self-mythologisers – so why do we rate one more than the other?

Their obsessions with their childhoods have both become punchlines; but one of these jokes, it feels to me, is told with a lot more affection than the other.

Andy Burnham is a man whose policies and opinions seem to owe more to political expediency than they do to belief. He bangs on to the point of tedium about his own class, background and interests. As a result he’s widely seen as an unprincipled flip-flopper.

Sadiq Khan is a man whose policies and opinions seem to owe more to political expediency than they do to belief. He bangs on to the point of tedium about his own class, background and interests. As a result he’s the hugely popular mayor of London, the voice of those who’d be proud to think of themselves as the metropolitan liberal elite, and is even talked of as a possible future leader of the Labour party.

Oh, and also they were both born in 1970. So that’s a thing they have in common, too.

Why it is this approach to politics should have worked so much better for the mayor of London than the would-be mayor of Manchester is something I’ve been trying to work out for a while. There are definite parallels between Burnham’s attempts to present himself as a normal northern bloke who likes normal things like football, and Sadiq’s endless reminders that he’s a sarf London geezer whose dad drove a bus. They’ve both become punchlines; but one of these jokes, it feels to me, is told with a lot more affection than the other.

And yes, Burnham apparent tendency to switch sides, on everything from NHS privatisation to the 2015 welfare vote to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, has given him a reputation for slipperiness. But Sadiq’s core campaign pledge was to freeze London transport fares; everyone said it was nonsense, and true to form it was, and you’d be hard pressed to find an observer who thought this an atypical lapse on the mayor’s part. (Khan, too, has switched sides on the matter of Jeremy Corbyn.)

 And yet, he seems to get away with this, in a way that Burnham doesn’t. His low-level duplicity is factored in, and it’s hard to judge him for it because, well, it’s just what he’s like, isn’t it? For a long time, the Tory leadership’s line on London’s last mayor was “Boris is Boris”, meaning, look, we don’t trust him either, but what you gonna do? Well: Sadiq is Sadiq.

Even the names we refer to them by suggest that one of these two guys is viewed very differently from the other. I’ve instinctively slipped into referring to the mayor of London by his first name: he’s always Sadiq, not Khan, just as his predecessors were Boris and Ken. But, despite Eoin Clarke’s brief attempt to promote his 2015 leadership campaign with a twitter feed called “Labour Andy”, Burnham is still Burnham: formal, not familiar. 

I’ve a few theories to explain all this, though I’ve no idea which is correct. For a while I’ve assumed it’s about sincerity. When Sadiq Khan mentions his dad’s bus for the 257th time in a day, he does it with a wink to the audience, making a crack about the fact he won’t stop going on about it. That way, the message gets through to the punters at home who are only half listening, but the bored lobby hacks who’ve heard this routine two dozen times before feel they’re in the joke.

Burnham, it seems to me, lacks this lightness of touch: when he won’t stop banging on about the fact he grew up in the north, it feels uncomfortably like he means it. And to take yourself seriously in politics is sometimes to invite others to make jokes at your expense.

Then again, perhaps the problem is that Burnham isn’t quite sincere enough. Sadiq Khan genuinely is the son of a bus-driving immigrant: he may keep going on about it, but it is at least true. Burnham’s “just a northern lad” narrative is true, too, but excludes some crucial facts: that he went to Cambridge, and was working in Parliament aged 24. Perhaps that shouldn’t change how we interpret his story; but I fear, nonetheless, it does.

Maybe that’s not it, though: maybe I’m just another London media snob. Because Burnham did grow up at the disadvantaged end of the country, a region where, for too many people, chasing opportunities means leaving. The idea London is a city where the son of a bus driver can become mayor flatters our metropolitan self-image; the idea that a northerner who wants to build a career in politics has to head south at the earliest opportunity does the opposite. 

So if we roll our eyes when Burnham talks about the north, perhaps that reflects badly on us, not him: the opposite of northern chippiness is southern snobbery.

There’s one last possibility for why we may rate Sadiq Khan more highly than Andy Burnham: Sadiq Khan won. We can titter a little at the jokes and the fibs but he is, nonetheless, mayor of London. Andy Burnham is just the bloke who lost two Labour leadership campaigns.

At least – for now. In six weeks time, he’s highly likely to the first mayor of Greater Manchester. Slipperiness is not the worst quality in a mayor; and so much of the job will be about banging the drum for the city, and the region, that Burnham’s tendency to wear his northernness on his sleeve will be a positive boon.

Sadiq Khan’s stature has grown because the fact he became London’s mayor seems to say something, about the kind of city London is and the kind we want it to be. Perhaps, after May, Andy Burnham can do the same for the north – and the north can do the same for Andy Burnham.

Jonn Elledge edits the New Statesman's sister site CityMetric, and writes for the NS about subjects including politics, history and Daniel Hannan. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook.