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'The Russian space has begun to be conquered by Kabbalistic schools': Moscow journalist Fedorovna in 2004

May 26, 2004

Kabbalah of saints

About the author: Marina Fedorovna Tulskaya is a Moscow journalist.

- Recently, the Russian space has begun to be conquered by Kabbalistic schools. What do you think this has to do with?- Undoubtedly, Russia is a predominantly Orthodox country. Although, according to Putin, it has more than twenty million Muslims, and representatives of Buddhism, shamanism, Protestants and Catholics are represented by millions of followers. There are also Jews... But do not confuse the Jewish teachings of Kabbalah with the fashionable air of "kabbalistic circles." Yes, the Kabbalah suddenly found itself in the spotlight. In the West - as part of the general crisis of rationalism, in Russia - in the context of the general spiritual crisis that followed the fall of the Soviet regime.

The spiritual vacuum that reigned in the post-Soviet space after the overthrow of "scientific" atheism and dialectical materialism required filling, and immediate. The abandoned field does not remain naked, very soon it will give rise to thorns and wolf. Note that the emptiness is never filled by itself with something useful, valuable. The weed always wins in competition with, say, beets. And yet, not only a spiritual vacuum explains Russia's leadership in the cultivation of Kabbalistic doctrine.

- It may seem strange, but mostly educated and far from poor people come to the Kabbalah study centers. And a large percentage of them are Russians.

- There's nothing strange for me about it. There is something in Russia... spiritual. In the original national character, this trait manifests itself in both good and bad. The spiritual vacuum, destructive for any people, is doubly destructive for the Russians.

Another important aspect is religious ignorance. Today, there is not much difference between ethnic Russian and Russian Jews: both know little about their faith. But if a Jew, returning to the religion of his fathers, is simply obliged to learn, then the Russian tradition of God-seeking is more in the search for faith than knowledge.

During the years of Soviet power, the Communists almost uprooted the Orthodox idea, the Orthodox thought. The current revival of religion in Russia demanded not the theological, substantive component of Orthodoxy, but the external, decorative: ritual, ritual, paraphernalia. Cathedrals and temples are probably very important. But it is not yet visible that the palaces of intellect have grown next to them. It will probably come, but so far we only see spiritual malnutrition.

And as for why wealthy people are looking for the truth in Kabbalistic circles, it is largely because of the fashion for the syncretic religious movement "new age". Russia is not much different from the rest of the world. So the Kabbalistic circles are walking victoriously not only in Russia, but also in the prosperous West. No one destroyed anything there, the church did not blow up, there was a skating rink of scientific rationalism through civilization. Science has been a self-confident and arrogant lady for centuries. It did not allow doubt and stigmatised uncertainty with determinism. Either aged or smart, science has changed significantly over the past hundred years.

- The Kabbalah is basically mystical. How can mysticism be combined with a rational worldview?

- In the world of science, no matter whether it is genuine or pseudo-science, there has been a grandiose revolution, the scale of which is not yet fully realized. Today, the last strongholds of atheism are the administrators and its popularizers. Much of what is said today on behalf of science has nothing to do with it. A person who is seriously engaged in scientific research cannot afford the luxury of writing a popular article. His time and effort are barely enough for special publications, the number of readers of which is extremely limited. Therefore, everything you read about physics is not written by physicists, but by half-knowers, PR from science or officials.

This protracted global crisis has struck a crushing blow primarily to intellectuals. It is people who have the opportunity to think about the meaning of existence. Those for whom science was a kind of religion were plunged into a double crisis: they left religion for the sake of pseudoscience, and it collapsed, unable to withstand the emergence of genuine science.

Against this background, the mystical consumer goods bloomed violently and bizarrely. This is true for "Kabbalah study centers" as much as for, say, "ncerial Russian" neo-paganism of bottling near Moscow.

- Does an ordinary person need to study Kabbalah at all?

- If I understand correctly, you mean an "uneducated" or "unexperienced" person. Yes, he's not able to study it. At least because a good knowledge of Hebrew is a prerequisite for the very first acquaintance. The Kabbalah is based on the interpretation of the realities of a certain linguistic series. It is not "written in Hebrew", it is untranslatable by definition, as it operates with words, letters and even graphic details of the letters of this language. Knowledge of Aramaic, on which a number of important texts are written, will not hurt.

But the language barrier is perhaps the most insignificant in the way of an "ordinary" person to the Kabbalah.

Even before the first lesson on the topic, he will have to receive thorough training within the framework of the classical heritage of Judaism. After all, the Kabbalah is a whole layer of interpretations to the Tanakh (Jewish Bible), Scripture, and it is impossible to comprehend it without understanding what it interprets and on what it is based. Judaism is not only knowledge, but also a way of life. This is a worldview that cannot be learned by living outside its framework.

And finally, to study Kabbalah, you need to learn to think structurally in a certain way. An ordinary person does not always master even one technique of thinking well, but he cannot rebuild his thinking in a certain, complex and unusual way. However, there is also consolation - the Kabbalah is not only inaccessible to him, but he does not need it at all.

- Is there an opinion that you need to have a healthy psyche to under the Kabbalah? Is that so?

- Interesting question. And not idle at all. In order to study the Kabbalah and so that this study does not harm mental health, a person, of course, must be very mentally stable, although this is not the first and, of course, not the only requirement for him.

Mysticism, as well as religion in general, is extremely attractive to people with unstable or damaged psyche. This can be confirmed, based on his personal experience, by a priest of any religion.

- Is it true that mathematics and other sciences have been buded from the Kabbalah?

- No. No science goes back to the Kabbalah with their roots. And if there is a parallel, then abstract, applied to all areas of systematic knowledge.

- Until a certain time, the Kabbalah was considered and was a teaching only for the chosen ones, initiated. But at some point, at the end of the XIX - beginning of the XX century, the ban on its study was lifted by the sages themselves, who said something like this: "People today are so stupid that they will not understand anything in Kabbalah." Is that really so?

- That's not true. In fact, it is the opposite: it was by the XIX century that the world of Kabbalistic Studies again became purely elitist after a short period of prosperity. The Jewish world experienced many turmoil due to the fact that the ignorant "Kabbalists" in the absence of intellectual and mental training were a breeding ground for the emergence of false Messian teachings, sects of various kinds and caused persecution of communities and their disintegration. By the beginning of the 20th century, Kabbalah had become the lot of several Jewish scholars, unlike, say, the previous few centuries. There are many reasons for this.

- Is it possible, figuratively speaking, to call today's spread of adapted Kabbalistic knowledge non-kosher?

- Rather, it can be called pornography! Pornography is a selective demonstration for commercial purposes of the external side of intimate relations with complete oblivion of the non-physical, spiritual aspects of love. It is always in demand, "works" flawlessly and makes a profit. So with "popular knowledge of the Kabbalah": they operate in parts of the whole, turning it inside out, but this is no longer a living body, but a "dismemberment".