Kabbalah By Heart

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Certified Kabbalah Coach


This blog comes from my heart. I want to share the Judaism that Jews are yearning for. To help them access the beautiful wisdom coming from their own back yard, ancestors and tribe. And this is for non-Jews as well, to come to know that what has evolved into Western Civilization has come from a depth that is ancient and rarely revealed and mostly distorted due to mistranslations and cultural appropriation and blind anti-semitism. 

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A Very Un-Valentines Day

Posted on March 6, 2018 at 6:15 PM

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

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

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

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.


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."


The Eclipse & Kabbalah

Posted on August 21, 2017 at 11:05 AM

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".


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


 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!






Posted on July 3, 2017 at 2:35 PM

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.







Happy Memorial Day - Shavout, The Jewish Holiday

Posted on May 29, 2017 at 10:45 PM

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.






Jewish Holiday - Lag B'Omer & the Jewish Calendar

Posted on May 14, 2017 at 8:45 PM

It is Mother's Day today and it is Lag B'Omer.  Lag B'Omer is my Jewish birthday on the Jewish calendar.  I always feel so lucky to have my birthday on a Jewish Holiday.  But what a Jewish holiday it is!!!

Did you know that there were many important Jewish sages martyred by the Romans?  Mostly in the country you only hear about one!  And see him bound on a cross everywhere!  How awful is that?  It is really horrible to me.  Our sages were brutally executed and we read about their flaying during the Yom Kippur litergy.

Yes, very important Jewish sages who left a big imprint on Judaism were flayed alive by the Romans.  Why do we even learn about the Romans at school?  They were awful and brutal.  May their name be erased forever and ever.

But let's get back to one of these sages, Rabbi Akiva.  He was a convert to Judaism and started learning at an old age but when he saw water dripping on a rock, he knew that eventually, he could become learned.  And low and behold, he became one of the greatest sages in Jewish history and had one of the biggest schools and following during 2nd Temple times.  There's a story about him looking at the ruins of the Temple with other rabbis who swooned and cried as they saw a fox climb out of the place where the Holy of Holies once stood.  But Rabbi Akiva laughed.  "why are you laughing? everything is in ruins!"  He replied, "because if the Temple was destroyed, the prophecies are coming true.  And that means that the 3rd Temple and the Moshiach (messiah) will herald in the World To Come."

Lag B'Omer is a celebration of the ceasing of the deaths of R. Akiva's students from a plague.  Many, many students had died and we celebrate that they stopped dying on this day.  It was a sign for them that they were now loving and respecting each other - which they hadn't been doing.

We celebrate by gathering together to eat a bar-b-que on the beach.  It's like Jewish Unity Day!

The other person we celebrate is one of our great sages who escaped the 2nd Temple slaughter by hiding in a cave for many years.  His name was Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and he wrote the Zohar while in hiding.  Lag B'Omer is the day that his soul ascended to Heaven and so we celebrate the Light that was released to all mankind through the death of his limited form.

Lag means 33 in Hebrew which is the number for the day that we count during this month.  We "Count the Omer" for 49 days after Passover and so today is the 33rd day.  We wind our way through the Tree of Life when counting the Omer - 7 sephiroth for 7 weeks - until the holiday of Shavuot.  So today we look at Hod within Hod - Splendor-Humility times 2!

So appropriate for Mother's Day.  It's a day when we celebrate the most humble of all creatures - the Mother - who sets her own life aside to care for her children.

Happy Lag B'Omer!

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Download Today's Class on Audio

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 7:30 PM

5/7/2017 - Iyar 11 - Hod of Netzach

I just finished giving over my thoughts about the month of Iyar to my Kabbalah class in Santa Cruz, CA. The class asked about the sefirah of Daat and wanted to know how it fits into the Tree of Life. So, I gave an overview of all of the sefirot on the Tree of Life by showing how the sefirah act within our lives, thoughts, and feelings. The emotions that we are looking at and polishing this month are found in the lower 7 sefirot, below the intellectual sefirah of Chochmah, Binah and Daat.

I recorded today's lesson and am posting it here for download.

You need Adobe Flash Player to view this content.

I also shared the history of this month which is really a synopsis of the miracle of the continuity of the Jewish people. There is Israeli Independence day on Iyar 5 which was a miracle in and of itself. There were many questions asked about Israel and if you listen to this audio, I'll bet you will learn many things that you never knew before. Hope you enjoy the audio!

                 PHOTO OF KABBALAH CARD








It's the Month of Healing!

Posted on May 7, 2017 at 7:25 PM

5/3/17, Iyar 7.

The sun is out, the birds are singing, the scent of budding flowers is in the air! A new month on the Jewish calendar began with the new moon last week.

Iyar is the month of healing because it is seen as an acronym for the phrase, “Ani Hashem Rofecha”—“I am G‑d, your healer.” And we see the evidence everywhere in nature right now!!!

It is an auspicious time to start a new diet or exercise program or to establish a new spiritual practice or class or to start therapy.

In class this Monday I will talk about the spiritual practice we do during this month. It involves looking at our character traits on a daily basis. The practice is for the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot - 7x7 - called, "Counting the Omer". These traits are described on the Tree of Life.

In class this Sunday, we will use the Kabbalah cards to learn more about examining these character traits called our Soul Powers. I will also go over the specific holidays and history of this month that includes many miraculous things including the proclamation of the State of Israel, Dachau liberated and Eichman captured, Jerusalem liberated in '67, Manna falling from heaven and many more.

I created a new video, around 11 1/2 min long called, "What Is Kabbalah? - Video #3". You'll be able to watch it on my Free Kabbalah Cards site, along with the other 2 videos that I created. Also there you'll be able to download the article, "Finding YourSelf in the Tree of Life", which gives a brief overview of the "soul powers" on the Tree of Life.

Enjoy your month of healing and rebirth!