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Tzfat & Kabbalah

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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.




’Gemstones’ - A story from Tzfat

One day an unfamiliar man came into Rabbi Abraham Dov’s courtyard in Tzfat. The rabbi rose immediately and ran toward the visitor. Rabbi Avraham Dov’s students could not hear the conversation between the two, but as soon at the man left, the rabbi went into his room and stayed there for three weeks.
The students wondered who this man was, what he and the rabbi had spoken about and why the rabbi hadn’t come out of his room for three weeks. Their puzzlement grew when Rabbi Avraham Dov emerged fro

The Kabbalists

Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522-1570) who arrived in Tzfat in 1535, is famous for having compiled and shaped what is known as "classic Kabbalah", from the time of the Zohar till his era. His writings are characterized by his scientific approach to Kabbalah, and its methodically and well-organized nature

Tzfat’s Energy

When you enter Tzfat’s Old City and tour its colorful lanes and alleyways, visit its art galleries and meet its mystics, enter the ancient synagogues and breathe the air….you feel the magic…that special and almost indescribable spiritual aura that overtakes you….

Kabbalah Stories from Tzfat

The written history of Tzfat is full of stories from the past – tales of characters who lived in the Old City, which served as the stage and the setting for special stories. Each of these stories teaches us a special lesson about life.

"Encompassing" Light and "Inner" Light

The teachings of the Kabbalah explain that there are two qualities of divine forces that illuminate and that act in a person and in the spiritual worlds. These are known as or pnimi (inner light) and or sovev (encompassing light).
The effect of inner light is felt and absorbed within people and changes them. Encompassing light also influences and inspires people in a way, but this effect is not absorbed in their minds and senses; it remains remote and does not cause a change in them.

The Holy Ari

Rabbi Yitzchak Luria was undisputedly the greatest practitioner and expounder of Kabbala since Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the Zohar. Rabbi Yitzchak Luria founded a new school in Kabbalistic thought, known as “the Lurianic Kabbalah."

Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz

Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz was one of the great kabbalists living in Tzfat in the 16th Century. Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz is mainly famous for his song ’Lecha Dodi’ which is sung in the prayer of Kabbalat Shabbat, since the custom was established by the 16th Century Tzfat Kabbalaists.

The Month of Elul and Tzfat Kabbalah

The month of Elul is often discussed in terms of its associated initials (In Hebrew). For every passage based on its initials, there is a special association with the city of Tzfat and with Tzfat Kabbalah.

International Center for Tzfat Kabbalah, POB 6286, Old City, Tzfat ISRAEL Tel: 972-4-6821771