Kabbalah By Heart

Allison Gilbert, LMFT, Certified Kabbalah Coach


It's All Found in Judaism

Posted on April 18, 2021 at 5:20 PM

Here's a thought, What if everything that is coming out now in the world of psychology and spirituality in modern times, was already discussed by our sages hundreds and thousands of years ago?  Well, it's completely True!  I have been taught by learning from Rav Doniel Katz that everything's been there all along but we just did not notice it.  Or I wonder, maybe it was too deep and we now have the secular world helping us to decode it. But when I look at certain quotes from our teachers of the past, I see "mindfulness", EMDR, IFS, and the "Law of Attraction".

So what are these quotes?

Here's one that sounds like "Mindfulness". It was originally published in 1808:


 The reason that people are distant and disconnected from God/Hashem and fail to grow closer to Him is simply because they lack yishuv ha’daas and are unable to settle and still their consciousness. Therefore, the main focus of a person’s quest - should be to attempt to settle and still ones daas fully. One should constantly consider: What is the purpose of all these desires I pursue, and all the distractions of this world, and where are they leading me? Both the bodily desires and sensory pleasures, as well those external to the body like the need to receive k'vod (honor) from others. If a person would meditate on this, they for sure they would soon be able to settle their daas and return and reconnect to the Divine. (Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan II, 10)

 © Elevation OSB 2021.

Here's another one that seems similar to Mindfulness from a Rabbi who went through the Holocaust with his community, while watching all of his family murdered and finally being murdered himself with his entire community.  His writings were buried and found many years later in Warsaw, Poland where they were ghettoed. His writings are from the early 1930's:



A persons yesh (ego-consciousness) directly opposes hashraah mi’marom (the "coming down" and revealing of the Divine Consciousness within him.) When our own ego-based machshavos (thoughts) are busy and awakened within, it is hard for the Divine consciousness to penetrate through and be revealed. Therefore it is essential to learn how to silence the machshavos (thoughts) and ratzonov (desires and middos) that constantly flood a person’s consciousness, seemingly without end. Because the nature of machshavah is that each thought gets bound and entangled with the next—until it becomes extremely hard for a person to disconnect and free himself from them. The Piasetzna Rebbe gave very practical instructions on how to quiet one’s machshavos and silence the flow of thoughts. He said that the person should begin by observing his thoughts for a short period of time and consider in his mind “What am I thinking?” As a person continues to do so, they will slowly notice that their mind begins to empty, and their machshavos cease from their constant habitual flow.

 (Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, Piasetzna Rebbe, Derech HaMelech, Inyan Hashkatah)

I directly copied the above from the Source book that can only be accessed through Rav Katz's Teacher's Training Program.

Here's one that seems like EMDR from the founder of the Hasidic Movement, the Baal Shem Tov, from the 1700's:

Tzava'at Harivash 80

By Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov; translated and annotated by J. Immanuel Schochet

Published and copyrighted by Kehot Publication Society

Sometimes you need to gaze in different directions in order to attach your thought to the Creator, blessed be He. This is necessitated by the materiality of the body which is an obstructing barrier to the soul. Read the text here.

I directly copied the above from the Source book that can only be accessed through Rav Katz's Teacher's Training Program.



Here's one that's similar to the "Unblending" idea from IFS (Internal Family Systems therapy technique).  It's written by a medieval commentator on the "Old testament who lived in the 11th Century - named, Shlomo Yitzhaki, known as Rashi.  It's a great explanation of the times when we are so blended with our pain there is no Daas (Self) to hold it and instead we ARE it instead of holding it. Similarly to IFS - we have to be able to hold the exiled part, and be separate from it:



 COMMENTARY ON TANACH (Bible, Torah, Old Testament)

 The Israelites journeyed on from Hor Mountain, going by way of the Red Sea so as to skirt the territory of Edom. Vatiktzar nefesh ha’am ba’derech - the soul/consciousness of the people became stressed, constricted, and pained, because of the duress of the journey. The people spoke out against Hashem and Moshe, “Why did you take us out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread and no water, and our soul is disgusted with this flimsy, wafer-thin manna.” (Numbers 21:4-5)

“Vatiktzar nefesh ha’am ba’derech”: The soul of the people became katzar (constricted, pained) because of the torach ha’derech (duress, hardship, challenges of the journey). They said, “We were so close to entering the Land, and now we are traveling in the opposite direction. This is exactly what happened to our parents, as a result of which they ended up wandering in the desert these thirty-eight years.” Their souls, therefore, felt constricted due to the duress/affliction of the way. In Old French, ankro-delor (yiush, despair). The expression kitzur nefesh is used whenever a person experiences a difficulty—when they feel overburdened. The reason for this is that their daas (mind) is not "large and expanded" enough to accept and handle it. There isn’t enough space and place in their heart for this pain to dwell.  In sum, every instance of kitzur nefesh indicates that a person cannot endure the pain, for his daas is not there to help him endure, handle and contain it. (Rashi, Numbers 21:4)

Directly copied from Rav Katz through the Teacher's Program: https://elevationproject.com/teacher-training/

Here's another one that seems to point to the "Self" talked about in IFS.  It uses the word, "consciousness" instead of the word, "Self", while "Rachash" and "animal soul" seem to me to be "Parts" in IFS language. It also seems to be talking about something similar to "Unblending" technique of IFS.  This quote is referring to a book from the 1700's but was written in the 1930's:




Look within yourself—you who are willing to listen and hear deeply—and you will see that this is a fundamental principle in human consciousness: If you give over your attention to any rachash (internal movement, stirring, feeling, sense) that arises from your animal soul—whether it is a rachash of dimyon (fantasy, imagination), a ratzon (desire), a hargashah (feeling) of love, fear, or any other middah… If you begin delving into this rachash, by thinking about it and focusing on it, then through this attention you will actually strengthen it and cause it to become more emotionally charged, which will cause it to draw you in even more. However, if you don't invest your attention within the rachash itself, but rather around the rachash, meaning that you attend to the general felt-sense and awareness that the rachash is there, that the dimyon is just there, that the desire is just there, that the emotional arousal of love or fear, etc. are just there, then on the contrary, rather than increasing in intensity, through attending to it with your consciousness in a more general way - the rachash will weaken, dissipate, and even cease completely. It doesn't even take any complex "attending" to it to make this effect occur. Just by simply observing it, and giving your general attention to that machshavah or a rachash within—by making it an object of one’s awareness as opposed to allowing it to take over one’s awareness—this soon weakens the rachash and the machshavah until soon, it will be there no more. (Rabbi Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, Piasetzna Rebbe, Hachsharas Avreichim)

Here's the explanation of what we in modern terms call, "Law of Attraction":

First, we all know the 10 Commandments.  These were, according to Jewish thought, brought down to us by Moses from Mt Sinai, 3000 years ago.  There is one commandment that is specifically referring to what we now call the Law of Attraction (or in Jewish terms, our Koach HaMoshech - our Power of Drawing).  Since it is understood and accepted that we can draw things to ourselves - just by our thoughts or desires - it goes to say that one of the moral things to do about this power is to "Not Covet", which is one of the 10 commandments.  It's wrong to draw things to us that aren't supposed to be ours!!  Now who'd have thought this was a commandment based on the belief in the Law of Attraction?!!!

And last, from the ancient, main text of the Kabbalah is called, The Zohar, believed to be written in the first century.  In it we find this quote sounding similar to the "Law of Attraction": 

Everything that exists and happens in our world is not dependant on anything other than our will and intent. (Zohar, Terumah, P. 162, Amud 2)

And the last on the "Law of Attraction", this quote from 1748:




 On the verse, “The doer of evil suffers many afflictions; but one who trusts (boteach) in Hashem is surrounded by love.” (Psalms 32:10), the Maggid of Mezritch wrote: our master the Baal Shem Tov, may his merit protect us, explained, “wherever a person directs his mind and thoughts, that is where he is bound.” If he thinks judgmentally, he is bound to judgment (din). If he trusts (boteach) in Hashem’s loving-kindness, his soul is bound there, which causes him to be “surrounded by love.” One should therefore constantly seek to take refuge in their Divine Source. This is the opposite of what Job said, “Because I feared fear, it has overtaken me; the exact thing I dreaded has come upon me” (Job 3:25), and “I (Hashem) will bring upon them the very thing they dread” (Isaiah 66:4). (Mekor Mayim Chayim, Amud HaTefillah §31, from Shoshanim LeDavid, quoting the Maggid of Mezritch)

© Elevation OSB 2021.

All of the above quotes were directly copied off the Online Sourcebook that can be accessed through joining Rav Doniel's Teacher Training

So why do I care that these things were already articulated by Jews for Jews many, many years ago?  And why is there a pain deep in my heart over the incredible depth and clarity that we find already spelled out by Jews that no one even knows about?  Because I care about the sacred souls of my community who have been searching elsewhere but haven't found their sense of belonging or home.  It feels really good as a Jew to know that these quotes are my people, this is my community, these are my ancestors.  And to ask why it has been so concealed, allows me to awaken to the fact of my own desire to hide.  Amidst the flames of anti-Semitism that have plagued our people, it's no wonder that even WE don't know that this all exists and has existed for millennia and just have been untranslated and not taught.  

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