Kabbalah By Heart

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Certified Kabbalah Coach

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There is NO Fire & Brimstone!

Posted on June 8, 2018 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)

You might be surprised but as a therapist, I work with mostly non-Jews. I live in Santa Cruz, California and most of California except for pockets in the Los Angeles area is predominately Christian. In fact, growing up, I was the only Jew in most of my classes. One time in elementary school I forgot to bring in a hard-boiled egg to dye for Easter and was punished by the teacher. So you might say, I have been quite acclimated to living in a Christian society.



As a Jew growing up in what's called a "Judaeo-Christian" society, you also get bombarded with the ideas prevalent within the Christian dogma, like punishment, hellfire and damnation, and along with that: fear of the Devil. Many of my clients report rejecting the Christianity of their youth because it made them feel so badly about themselves and in so much fear. But no matter what religious upbringing you have, seems there's no escape from the idea of a punishing G-d. That's why I love studying Hasidic Kabbalah. It makes me realize that "Judaeo-Christian" is a misnomer - there is no real Judaism in it.



In real Judaism, as taught in the Hasidic Kabbalah I've learned through Chabad, G-d is not the old, angry man in the sky. In fact, the only "hell" is what you feel after dying when your soul does a life review. There really is no need to "Imagine no hell below us and above us only sky." Ha!! John Lennon would have liked to know the truth instead of the co-opted dogma brought by the sons of Esau who are still trying to steal back the birthright. There is no Satan either. In fact, when you only have One G-d, there is nothing else, "Ain Od Milvado". "The satan" is merely an angel of G-d who tries to trip us up so we are able to have free choice. If you have many gods then you will get a Satan, right? (here's a good, short video on this: https://youtu.be/W1ZmGdLGZgM)



In real Judaism there is no emphasis on doing the right thing in order to get into heaven either. In fact, "right and wrong" comes from Adam and Chavah (in Hebrew her name is NOT Eve/evil) who ate the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil thereby giving us a world of natural consequences and free choice.



The emphasis in Judaism is instead not about getting to heaven but on making this world a heaven on earth.



This month on the Jewish calendar, contains the holiday where we commemorate the day that we received the Torah, including the 10 commandments and the 7 Noahide Laws. This information was given to us so that we share it with the world and so things would go well here on earth. By knowing the Divine Order of things, we can for the most part, work with, instead of against, the laws of cause and effect. Ultimately though, we will go beyond the laws of cause and effect when we have finally built a heaven on earth. Then our lives will be miraculous.



The Critical Inner Parent is the part of us developed in childhood that wants us to believe in crime and punishment. It creates the idea of a scary G-d/Parent who judges and punishes. It's an immature perspective on G-d that we use to try to keep safe. It is a false safety based on the hope that we can avoid bad things happening - which we really can't. In truth, things happen that cause and effect can't predict - which is why we have the question, "why do bad things happen to good people?" In Hasidic Kabbalah though, we learn that the "bad" things that happen are the way we co-create a heaven on earth and become unlimited.



Next month on the Jewish calendar, we confront the story involving our building a golden calf right after hearing the voice of G-d at Mt. Sinai. (How could we have done such a thing?) For this class I will explain the Jewish calendar through the lens of my year of cancer treatment. So this will give everyone in the class a way of understanding why I teach this class and how you too can see your own life mirrored in the energies present in the Jewish calendar.



Hope you can join the class in Soquel, CA. Please RSVP if you want to attend. Next class is a week from today: Sunday, 6/10 at 1pm.



Blessings,

Allison



P.S. If you are Christian but don't follow the religion and want to know what the Torah (Old Testament) has for you, there is something called "The Noahide Laws", which were given to all of the descendants of Noah, i.e: everyone. Go to AskNoah.org to answer any of your questions and 7LawsofNoah.com


The Mystical Number 7

Posted on May 4, 2018 at 8:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Doesn't it seem random that there are 7 days in a week? Why not 10? Over the millennia different cultures have tried to establish other configurations to the week but none of them have stuck. The month makes sense - the number of days in the moon cycle. The year is the number of days that the earth rotates around the sun. But why 7 for the week?


Of course, in Genesis, the 7 day week was established on creation of the world. In Hasidic Kabbalah, there is a system called the Tree of Life where the number 7 shows up in the order of G-d's manifestation. Like the blueprint for the creation of the universe, these 7 are portals to the Divine and aspects of the deepest mystery. It is said that there are 4 worlds and each was created with these 7 aspects, including the "lowest world" which is the one that we find ourselves in. And as we are a microcosm of the macro, these 7 are imprinted in us on our bodies and make up what are called our "soul powers".



Just to confuse you, there are actually 11 soul powers and are referred to as 10! But 4 are considered to be on a deeper, more spiritual level, while the 7 referred to above are where we mostly focus our lives.


By the 2nd night of Passover, we begin to examine and refine these 7 soul powers. Each day for 49 days, we go through a period called, "Counting the Omer" where each one of the 7 is looked at from all sides of its manifestation, one soul power per week.


The Soul Powers (in brief):

Chesed - Loving-kindness

Gevurah - Discipline

Tiferet - Compassion

Netzach - Perseverance

Hod - Humility

Yesod - Bonding

Malchut - Sovereignty


Today we are delving into the Bonding within our Surrender. Complicated? Here's a copy of the email you can sign up for describing in more detail what we are examining:

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Iyar 18, 5778 · May 3, 2018


COUNT THE OMER REMINDER


34th Day of the Omer


Tonight, Thursday night, May 3, 2018, we count thirty-four days, which is four weeks and six days of the Omer.

For detailed instructions on how to count the Omer, blessing text, omer calendar, and more information, please click here.


OMER MEDITATION


A Spiritual Guide to the Counting of the Omer

Forty-Nine Steps to Personal Refinement

Day Six of Week 5: Yesod of Hod

Humility should not be a lonely experience. It ought to result in deep bonding and commitment. There is no stronger bond than one that comes out of humility. Does my humility separate me from others or bring us closer? Does my humility produce results? Long term results? Does it create an everlasting foundation upon which I and others can rely and build.

Exercise for the day: Use your humility to build something lasting.

You can subscribe to this email here: Subscribe

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So, what does this all have to do with 7 days of the week? Each day of the week corresponds to one of these 7 Soul Powers. Human life is a path toward uncovering and connecting to and manifesting the Highest Levels of existence through daily life. And in the midst of our counting - yesterday - the 33rd day, was a holiday connecting us to one of Kabbalah's most masterful of Rabbi's - Shimon bar Yochai, who wrote the Zohar and passed away on this day. Perhaps you felt the energy yesterday.


Here's a link to read more about the holiday of Lag BaOmer. (Which also happens to be my birthday on the Jewish calendar!)


Here's a link to my Pinterest where you'll find all kinds of pins that help you learn more about Judaism and Kabbalah.


Our next class will be on Mother's Day! From 1-3pm in my Soquel office. Please RSVP. I will be talking about the 50th day after we finish the Counting and the month containing the holiday of Shavuos, when morality came down to earth.


Hope you have a beautiful weekend.

Allison


Riding the Waves

Posted on April 6, 2018 at 7:35 PM Comments comments (0)

How often has your life felt like a series of waves? Some days, the body surfing is like a smooth, fun ride - easily floating over the top. At other times, the waves can get quite large and break at the top. During those times you may find yourself holding your breath and diving into the middle, knowing that you'll be able to breathe again once the wave passes. Then there are those times when life feels like being hit by a tidal wave! I have had many times in my life when I've been hit by a tidal wave.


In fact, I am just now recovering from a tidal wave that hit me last year.


What I so love about studying Kabbalah is that it gives me the perspective I need for whenever the tidal wave hits me. It tells me that every challenge I go through in life has been custom-created for the development of my soul. If I can remember that the major tenant of Judaism comes out of its deepest, most beautiful story of the Jewish people's exodus from slavery, then I can find my way out of feeling victimized by my circumstances. I can remember that every exile, every feeling of being trapped between the enemy and a sea, has only one outcome: a miraculous splitting of the sea and a journey to the "Promised Land".


That is the bottom line. There is a final outcome promised for all of our hard labor. In Hebrew, it's called, "Geulah". In English the word translates as redemption but it represents so much more than that. It's the promise of a future world that we can't even fathom from our present state of consciousness.

True Freedom, can only be found within our consciousness. Every time we challenge a limiting belief, we find another road to freedom in a Promised Land. Limiting beliefs are usually formed by our fears. The tidal wave hits and then come all of the ways we become entrapped and enslaved. "I can't, I should, I'll never, It's too much/too hard/more than I can handle, it's always like this and will always be, I'm wrong/defective/being punished, etc., etc." And while some of that is true: we are only human, right? There's still a Power greater than ourselves Who has big Plans for this world.


Holding to those Plans, sets us free. That's when the miracles happen. Because truly, we can't do any of this all by ourselves with our own puny, limited perspectives.


Happy Passover to you and yours. May we all reach the Promised Land with ease and grace and peace. Next year in Jerusalem!


A Very Un-Valentines Day

Posted on March 6, 2018 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Imagine you were taken against your will to be part of a King's harem. Would you be scared? Excited? Then, he chooses YOU to be his next queen!! And then he gives permission to kill all of your relatives. Now that's the kind of Valentine's Day story full of palace intrigue, meaningful coincidence and horror that's pretty standard for most Jewish holidays. :) "They tried to kill us, we won, now let's eat."


The new month on the Jewish calendar, starting with tonight's new moon, contains a very special holiday called, Purim. It's like Halloween where people dress up but instead of getting candy, we give out food baskets and charity. Instead of dressing in scary costumes, we dress our kids and kids-at-heart in the clothes of the heroes and villains of the story of Esther. So when you think of the energy of the month of Adar you must think of fun, joy, celebration & meaningful coincidences.

Adar has always been special to me ever since 9 years ago when I was going through cancer treatment and I wore a blond wig. It just seemed so appropriate to the energy of the month. I even saw my clients wearing this blond wig and some of you may remember it!!


Here's a picture of myself back then:

We are given the task on the holiday of this month to drink alcohol until you can't tell the difference between the hero of the story and the villain. It felt so appropriate to be wearing a blond wig where it didn't seem like me and it didn't seem like I was sick.


This month last year was a tragic one for me. My father died. In fact, his Yahrzteit, anniversary of his death is on Adar 7 - next Wednesday. It will make it one full year. The amazing coincidence was that I got to see him before he passed away. Plus he died on my 7 hour drive back home only a couple of hours after I left him. Then, afterwards when I was looking through an old poetry book of his that he had given me, I found a note from him that said, "read at my funeral"!! A meaningful coincidence if I ever had one. And I did, I read it at his funeral!!!


The date that he died on the Jewish calendar is a very auspicious one too - the famed Moses was born and died on that very same day!


Just recently, my good friend and rabbi's wife sent me a Youtube video that for me encapsulates the essence of the month of Adar. So I am sharing it with you here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OObV5DTf3Uc I laughed uncontrollably at that Youtube.


My blessing for you on your journey this month is this: May you find joy even in your darkest moments and have the ability to laugh in the face of any challenge that comes your way.


Many Blessings to you and yours,


It's Hug a Tree Month!!

Posted on January 22, 2018 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Today is the first day of the month of Shevat on the Jewish calendar. Each new month starts with the new moon and an astrological sign. So on the Jewish calendar, today is the first day of the month of Aquarius. By the full moon, we have a special holiday that honors trees - and especially fruit trees.


It's actually the birthday of the tree and the ancient rabbis in Israel would say that this is the day when the sap rises in the tree. The Baal Shem Tov, founder of Chassidism, created a "seder" for this holiday, where the participants eat 15 types of fruit! So it's become a custom to eat the fruits of Israel, "If at all possible, the fruits should include the seven species for which the Land of Israel is praised: wheat, barely, figs, pomegranates, grapes, olives and date-honey." http://www.aish.com/jl/hol/hm/48969601.html?s=fb I usually bring as many of those as possible to my class in S. Cruz for the month of Shevat.


I love trees, they are so majestic and awe-inspiring, especially the redwoods that we have here in SCruz. I can be in a redwood forest and brought directly into a place of reverence, silence and holiness. Those trees are my favorite. (I definitely need to get myself to them on a regular basis! Write that down on your self-care to-do list, Allison!)


This month's class in SCruz will delve more deeply into the Tree of Life in preparation for the counting of the Omer in the Spring. I get psychological when I teach this and try to incorporate my understanding of the Tree with the idea of the Inner Child/Tiferet in the heart center. Our connection to Keter/Divine Will, Pleasure & Desire is the way I see that Inner Child being taken care of so that our hearts can open.


Yes, in Jewish thought, Desire is actually a good thing to connect to. So what is the deepest desire of your soul? This is the deepest Desire that your Creator had in creating you! Let's all start this secular new year enjoying sharing the fruits of the trees of our own lives. That is my prayer for you and for me!

Happy Chanukah!!

Posted on December 11, 2017 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (0)

It's been awhile since I've written you due to my moving into a new home. Things are brighter here in some ways and darker in others. Most importantly, I am finding the light within the darkness which is my hope for you too. During the Jewish month of Kislev, as we begin to celebrate the winter's darkest days, Chanukah shines a bright light. By the end of Kislev, when the moon is its darkest, our menorah shines its brightest.


I loved this video by the 8th Day about the "neis", candle: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVhE7_AUtNI..and this quote from Proverbs (20:27), "The flame of G-d is the soul of the human being."


My life right now, caring for my ill husband, includes many dark emotions, sadness and sorrow. It seems like this Life has no meaning at all sometimes. But then I get to my breaking point and discover the great love and care in my heart that is emerging at the same time. Life is both as bitter as it is sweet and allowing yourself to feel the bitterness will allow you to also feel the sweetness.


The last days of Chanukah bring in the next month of Tevet. During this month there is a fast day, mourning a few different things: the day that the Torah was translated into Greek; the day that Ezra died and the era of prophecy along with him; and the birthday of the man who was later claimed to be a god....(Do you also mourn the birth of that religion? I have lots of anger in me that get triggered by it that I continually need to work on healing.) Tevet is the month where the energy allows for the rectifying of anger.


In my class this Sunday, I will give a brief overview of the Tree of Life and will show how to use it to work through anger by accessing dormant personality parts. Yes, Jewish CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

Jewish Men Dancing

Posted on October 13, 2017 at 6:45 PM Comments comments (1)

Mothering & Religion

Lots of moms want to impart some kind of moral, ethical, religious, spiritual, cultural or communal education to their children. When my kids were little, Chabad was perfect for my family. No membership required and the kids could run up and down the aisles during services and even the rabbi’s own children could interrupt him with questions. Fit my kind of parenting to a tee.


Differences Between Men & Women

I also grew to love and appreciate Chabad for recognizing and acknowledging that there’s a real difference between men and women. Women are just spiritual beings, naturally and don’t need a whole lot of coaxing or ritual requirements due to the fact that women's work with children and home usually connects them to holiness.  Mothering itself is such moral, spiritual work that it creates the next generation of Jewish people and sets the tone of the entire home. Men, on the other hand, need to have the requirement to be part of a minyan. Or they just won’t show up. So, nowhere else but at Chabad, will you get to see the wondrous sight of Jewish men dancing and singing together on a Jewish holiday.


Jewish Holy Days

Many people aren't aware of this but the High Holy Days for the Jewish people lasts for an entire month and consists of several different holidays that start with Rosh HaShanah and end with a holiday called, "Simchas Torah".  Today on the secular calendar it is Friday the 13th - oooh!  But on the Jewish calendar, it is a day of complete joy and celebration.


Rosh HaShanah & Yom Kippur

The progression of the Jewish High holy days goes something like this: First there are the prayers of the new year that focus on the "King's Coronation." Next, there are the ten days of repentance and repair work between man and his fellow culminating in the day long fast and prayer of Yom Kippur. On this day, while fasting from sundown to sundown, they read from a prayer book which lists all the wrongs they may have committed throughout the past year along with all the incredible forgiveness that's given to mankind despite all the wrongs.


Sukkot

A few days later there's the holiday of Sukkot and the Jewish people are all sitting under the sky in vulnerable, little huts they've built in their yards, enjoying meals together. If you were lucky enough to attend a service at Chabad during this time, you got to see the men marching seven times around in a circle with their ancient ritual objects: a fruit called an "estrog" and twigs, leaves and branches tied together, called, a "lulav". While marching, they chanted the ancient Hebrew prayer seven times with a cry in their voices that pierced the heart, "Help us, we beseech You: For Your sake, our God, help us, we beseech You. For your sake, our Creator, help us, we beseech You. For your sake, our Redeemer, help us, we beseech You. For Your sake, You who seeks us, help us, we beseech You."


Simchas Torah

Then, the last in the series of holidays, Simchas Torah, should not be missed by anyone in the Jewish community as it is the most festive. On Simchas Torah, you will see the rabbis dancing around in circles with the Torah in their arms and children on their shoulders. The Torah is sacred to the Jewish people. It is the Five Books of Moses written by hand on parchment scrolls, usually called the "Old Testament" (but it's not "old" to the Jewish people, it is an eternal document). A part of this Torah is read each week throughout the year, so that by Simchas Torah, the entire Torah is completed. The word, "simcha" in Hebrew means "happiness" or "celebration" or "joy". As the Chabad rabbi's father-in-law, Rabbi Lerman said, "What we didn't accomplish through tears on Yom Kippur, we accomplish through joy on Sukkot and Simchas Torah."



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The Eclipse & Kabbalah

Posted on August 21, 2017 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Here in SCruz, it's going to be too cloudy to see the eclipse.


In Kabbalah we are associated, symbolically, with the moon. Hashem, the Divine, is symbolically, metaphorically, associated with the sun. (The sun is not worshiped, just a symbol.) So, as we experience the eclipse, it can remind us of how this earth, including ourselves, both reveals and conceals Divine Light. The Light is always there but can be hidden by the clouds of our understanding and the challenges of just life as a human being (the moon).


Then there are other times when, like the moon, we absorb and reflect that Light, bringing kindness, love and happiness to the dark times. Like the moon we see tomorrow, the corona of the sun appears to be glowing right from out of our own being! This is the goal of life as a human being in the ideas of Kabbalah.


So it's very significant to me that the very day after we have the eclipse is the very day we start the last month of the year on the Jewish calendar - Elul. It is a month where the focus is on "Teshuvah".

KABBALAH CARD

The month of Elul is a preparation for the holy days to come next month. With the energy of Virgo, we become introspective and disciplined, doing a spiritual accounting, reviewing the previous year and making our plans for growth and change in the coming year. Cleaning up unfinished business, we can start afresh for the new year.


It is said that the gates of Heaven are open during this month when our prayers come from a sincere and broken heart. The shofar is blown every day through this month, mimicking the heart's cry. Listen to the Shofar

KABBALAH CARD

 In our Kabbalah class, we start reading a book that takes us through the month of Elul and through all of the holy days of the following month. Highly recommended, we start reading the daily meditations this Tuesday: 60 Days, A Spiritual Guide to the High Holidays by Simon Jacobson.

 

Our next class will be on the first Sunday of September, 9/3 @1pm. If you are in SCruz and interested in coming, please let me know.


Wishing you a healthy month of Elul and a thorough Teshuvah, bringing you happiness and contentment in the coming year!

~Allison

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BREAKING DOWN TO REBUILD

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 2:35 PM Comments comments (0)

It's that time of year when tempers have flared throughout the millennia. The heat comes on strong and in Kabbalah, too much Light can shatter the limited vessels that contains and keeps it hidden. But that breaking down is in order to rebuild.


So I keep focusing on this Kabbalah concept to get me through my own challenges in life. Most of you know that my challenges over the past couple of years have been really big and I am so glad that I know Kabbalah.

Right now in the midst of very dark days, I keep coming back to the question, "what is the new Light that is being born within me?" Definitely more love which can just break open my heart. As long as I can keep my toe in the water of the Kabbalah class I teach and the online videos I create and the work I do with my clients, I can keep myself connected to the Higher Source of All.


Here is the link to see the new videos I created - one called, "The History of Kabbalah" and the other is "What is Hasidism?" You may have to create a log in and password to view these videos but this is just so that you can have access. I'm the only one who gets your info - which I already have anyway!




When I went through my own cancer treatment 9(!) years ago now, I still saw my clients. And so today, as I am sliding into the role of caregiver for my husband, I will hold onto my practice as much as I can. Being with my clients is like a meditation to me where I can connect to Higher Realms and Wisdom so that I can be a conduit for them. This is so healing for me as well.


The ultimate goal of the Kabbalah cards is to give you a way to use a concept from Higher Realms to work with every day.

PURCHASE CARDS HERE :

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=D2T3DGUWFSDBJ

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Happy Memorial Day - Shavout, The Jewish Holiday

Posted on May 29, 2017 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Well it's been a fun day off for me creating more PowerPoint videos. One is on the History of Kabbalah and the other is called, "What is Hasidism?"

I'm not done recording them yet but I wanted to say Hello and wish you a Happy Memorial Day - which in Judaism will start tomorrow night!

What is the Jewish Memorial Day? (Ha! I just named it that myself.) The holiday of Shavuot on the 6th of the month of Sivan starts on Tuesday night. This is the day that commemorates the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai. So, it is a kind of memorial - or at least a remember-ish day.


Many Jews don't even know what this holiday is all about. I used to think it was just the perfect, funny Jewish name for a holiday.  It was kinda embarrassing! "Shavuos" just sounds so Jewish!  But then I learned what it was all about and I got my first Aha! once I realized that:

  • Shavuot is when ethics and morality came to earth
  • There were 3 million people at Mt Sinai at that time
  • No other religion claims to have a revelation to that large of a group
  • The Mystery (G-d), "spoke" the first 3 of the 10 commandments out loud and everyone there died and came back to life with each "word".
  • They told Moses to be the go-between after that!

The best part about this holiday is that you get to eat dairy. (many reasons for this which I won't go into right now). I love blintzes, cheesecake, ice cream...what's not to like about a holiday like that?

Here's something I've been having fun with lately: it's Pinterest!! Take a look at what I've created so far - so much fun!

My Pinterest    I think you will enjoy learning there.

Hope you have a wonderful new month on the Jewish Calendar and I will let you know when the new PowerPoint videos are done.


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