About Tzfat & Kabbalah
Tzfat – the birthplace of Kabbalah
The city of Tzfat in Israel's Upper Galilee, has always been known as the "World 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 2nd Century, C.E., studying the deepest Kabbalistic secrets with his disciples in the cave of the Idra near Tzfat. 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, and up until today. Among the more famous names are Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (Ramak) and his disciples Rabbis Eliahu Vidash and Shlomo Alkabetz, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi (The Holy Ari) 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.
The Mystics of Tzfat
Rabbi Moshe Cordovero is famous for having compiled and shaped what is known as the paradigm classic Kabbalah, from the time of the Zohar untill his era. His writings are characterized by his scientific and intellectual approach to Kabbalah, and its methodically and well-organized nature, as he resolves and distinguishes between the wide range of earlier Kabbalistic ideas and methods.
The Holy Ari was famous for uncovering new and as yet unknown insights into the Kabbalah. He discovered new depths of understanding in the Zohar, and taught that it was ' permissible and a duty to reveal this wisdom'. In other words, the Kabbalah should be taught and studied everywhere.
Kabbalistic tradition teaches that the soul of Rabbi Yisrael the Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic Movement in the 18th century, was the reincarnation of the soul of a Jew from 16th Century Tzfat. Chassidic Philosophy is considered the current paradigm of Kabbalah.
The Tzfat Kabbalah was always the leading stream in the study of the Jewish mystical tradition. The Tzfat Kabbalists were characterized by their originality and innovation, depth of study and commitment. They turned Kabbalah into an attractive and highly desired wisdom for people all over the world. All the different mystical schools of thought, like the ‘Literature of the Heichalot’, prophetic Kabbalah, the Medieval Provence and Gerondi schools of Kabbalah are intimately linked to Tzfat Kabbalah as well. Tzfat Kabbalah is the original and most authentic Jewish mystical tradition, and is now available to anyone who wishes to learn and experience this inspiring wisdom.