What is Practical Kabbalah?
We are taught that there are two types of Kabbalah.
One is the study of the deep teachings and secrets that Kabbalah reveals about
creation, the immanence of God's light in creation, and the transcendence of
God's infinite light.
The second realm is called Practical Kabbalah. This involves using the knowledge
of Kabbalah in order to influence actual events that take place in the world.
Sometimes Practical Kabbalah involves summoning spiritual forces, such as
and other spiritual forces which exists in the world and commanding them or
causing them to swear to perform a certain act or causing them to swear to
perform a certain act or function in reality.
400 years ago, the Arizal taught that in our generations we should not be
involved with, or attempt to use the methods of Practical Kabbalah. As the Holy
Temple is not standing,
and we do not possess the ashes of the Red Heifer, we are unable to purify our
The practice of Practical Kabbalah by a person with an impure body is very
detrimental and pervasive.
Thus the arizal totally forbade the pursuit of this realm of Kabbalah.
Once, when the Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidut, was still a young
Tzaddik, he was in danger. In order to escape, he had to cross a river.
As he knew Practical Kabbalah, he knew how to pronounce secret mysterious Names
of God. Through this he attained the power to cross the river, and saved his
We are told that all his life he regretted that he had once used a practice of
Practical Kabbalah, which had already been forbidden by the Arizal.
Even though he used it in the absolute state of holiness of his very great soul,
he regretted and repented for having used Practical Kabbalah in order to affect
some phenomenon in reality.
When any Jew does true and complete teshuva (�repentance�) in accordance with
the level of his soul and the rectification which is required of his soul,
there is a sign from heaven that this repentance has been accepted and is
considered complete. One sign of true repentance is that one returns to a
and this time, reacts in a proper Torah manner to the trial. When the Baal Shem
Tov was much older, he found himself once again in a similarly dangerous
He had to cross a river, but this time he did not use Practical Kabbalah in
order to attain the power to cross the river.
He was so connected with God that the depth of faith of his pure soul gave him
the miraculous supernatural power to cross the river. He then knew that his
teshuva was complete.
This is the very essence of the way of chassidut, the inner soul of Kabbalah,
that the Baal Shem Tov revealed to the world.
From the time of the Baal Shem Tov, Kabbalah is exclusively for the sake of
bringing once close to God and revealing the Mashiach.
The power of the soul to affect thing in our world is called conscious
This consciousness must be based purely on simple and absolute faith in God's
essence and his transcendent infinite light.
Through the revelation of the Kabbalah of the Baal Shem Tov and his disciples,
this purpose can now be related to and focused upon.
It can penetrate the soul, giving the power to actually effect miraculous acts
in the world through simple and pure faith,
together with the inspiration and Divine Spirit which comes from the true study