Tzfat (Safed)- The birthplace of Kabbalah
The city of Tzfat in Israel's Upper Galilee, has always been known as the "Capital of Kabbalah", and for many long historical periods was the home of Judaism's greatest mystics and masters of Kabbalah.
Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, the author of the "Zohar" lived, studied and worked in the the 2nd Century,
C.E., studying the deepest Kabbalistic secrets with his disciples in a cave near Tzfat called "Me'arat Ha'idra". It was there that they experienced the lofty spiritual and Heavenly revelations described in the Zohar.
The entire Tzfat area is dotted with many graves of ancient Jewish sages and mystics, dating from the First Temple Era through the Middle Ages. These holy sites bear witness to the work and activities of Prophets and early Talmudic sages, who were also well-known mystics in their own right. They were attracted by the region's special energy and atmosphere, and saw it as the ideal location for connecting with the inspiration and insights of Kabbalah.
During the 16th century, the world's greatest Kabbalists were all concentrated in Tzfat, and their impact on the study of Kabbalah was felt all over the world, for hundreds of years up until today. Among the more famous names are Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (Hebrew acronym: the "Ramak") and his disciples Rabbis Eliahu Vidash and Shlomo Alkabetz, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi (Hebrew acronym: the Holy "Ari", or "Arizal") and his outstanding students, Rabbi Haim Vital and Rabbi Yisrael Saruk. These Sages attracted the best students and scholars of Kabbalah, and established Tzfat as the undisputed world center of Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah.