The One Page Kabbalah

According to Moshe Katan...

  1. Kabbalah is a term used for Jewish spiritual discipline.

  2. Academics understand the Kabbalah to date from the early 13th century and the publication of the Zohar, a mystical commentary to the Torah, by Moses de Leon in Spain. Mystics understand it to date from the time of the biblical Abraham.

  3. The Hebrew root of Kabbalah is the verb to receive. A kabbalist is a receiver. Point your antenna in the right direction, reduce static, amplify the signal. But be careful! The way you walk in the world will change.

  4. Early rabbinic sources (Talmud Hagigah) understand mystical discipline to consist of Ma-aseh Beraysheet (The Work of Creation) and Ma-aseh Merkavah (The Work of the Chariot).
Creation   Chariot

The Work of Creation is an attempt to understand how space and time emanate out of a Creator beyond space and time. Two frameworks emerge out of this work:

The Four Worlds: 1. Emanation (the spiritual); 2. Creation (the intellectual); 3. Formation (the emotional); and 4. Action (the physical). Consider, for example, the creation of a house. First comes the need, then the blueprint, then the aggravation, and only after that, the physical house.

The Ten Sefirot: The pattern of these ten circles of energy has become the conventional symbol of the Kabbalah. Energy flows along lines in each of the worlds. Each line is defined by the two extremes and a point of balance. Consider three such lines, one for each of the upper worlds, and a point below in the physical upon which to balance.The Ten Sefirot may be superimposed upon the Four Worlds.

This is The Work of Creation, and a person who masters it gains insight into the creative process.


The Work of the Chariot is an attempt to gain direct experience of God, to dive into the inner world, reconcile conflict, and risk transformation. The foundation of this discipline is the visionary experience described in the first chapter of Ezekiel, considered to be a description of the Chariot of God.

The process consists of four stages: Descent, Encounter, Reconciliation, Transformation.

The person who engages in this discipline may gain insight into oneself and others, dissolution of the ego, a certainty of direction, but does so at the risk of disorientation, insanity, and death.

This is not to be done lightly! It is reserved for those who have attained significant balance and connection to the rational world.

It also helps to have a sense of humor.