Kabbalah and Krav Maga
By Moshe Katz
Israeli Krav International

September 3, 2019, Israel

The Babylonian Talmud: You need to know ALL of this plus much more before beginning the study of Kabbalah.

You have to love the beginner Krav Maga student who on his first lesson gets bored and asks, but Hey, what about if a terrorist jumps out of the tree with an AK 47 and you are on a bicycle with your grandmother?

You try to explain that they first need to learn the basics, and that, even in a "short cut" system, takes time. Patience, Wisdom, Persistence, Humility.

Today the study of Kabbalah has become popular in America. The ancient mystical texts, filled with magic and incantations, appeals somehow to the modern New Age type thinkers. Celebrities without suitable education are filing "Kabbalah Centers".

Kabbalah refers to the ancient Jewish mystical texts. The most basic book is the Zohar which is 21 volumes written in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic, date and author unknown. There are other mystical books, their authors and origins are equally unknown, some claim that the Book of Creation, Sefer HaYesirah was written by non other than the Patriarch Abraham himself.

These teachings have been passed down, mostly orally, for centuries, and thus the term Kabbalah. What does this word mean?

It is actually a very simple word, it means that which has been received. In modern Hebrew Kabbalah is also the term for receipt. If you walk into a store and want to have your cell phone fixed without charge, the man will ask for your kabbalah. When you purchased the phone you received this document. 

Kabbalah also means reception desk, i.e. where you are received, this is where you check in to your hotel. Kabbalat Panim is a reception, where you receive your guests. You get the point, there is nothing mystical about the word. 

Kabbalah also means that which was received. This means that no student developed their own "philosophy" but rather built on and studied that which he received from his teachers, his rabbis. There is a chain of tradition here. These days we see all sorts of self help books, or how to succeed in business, which have no "receiving", they are simply one man's ideas. Kabbalah means, this is what I have received from my elders. I have faithfully studied the tradition.

Now here is the key, the study of Kabbalah is prohibited (by most rabbis). You may not study it, until...

Until you have reached the age of 40

Until you are married, stable, 

Until you have mastered the entire Five books of Moses, the Prophets and the Writings, i.e. the entire Hebrew Bible.

Until you have mastered the Talmud, which is 36 volumes written in medieval and Biblical Hebrew, Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 

So once you have mastered all of the above, i.e. you have a solid foundation of the "Basics" then you may delve into the secret world of Kabbalah. 

Why is this so? What such restrictions? Is this fair?

It is fair, it is to protect people. You must start with the basics, you must have a solid foundation of the "revealed" teachings before you can begin with the hidden meanings. There is an order you must follow if you wish to eventually understand the Advanced Teachings. You also need to have life experience before you can deal with the "hidden Torah". 

The Krav Maga application

We want you to be able to defend yourself as soon as possible. We do not make rules such as you need to be training for 2 years and a P3H level (whatever these things mean) in order to train with guns. No, our goal is first get your foundations with the basics. How long that will take depends on your ability and dedication. When you are ready, and only when you are ready, do we deal with the more unusual and less likely situations. 

What this means in practical terms is  - Trust your teacher. Don't push for more than you are ready for. Your instructor will introduce you to new techniques and concepts as you become ready and mature. 

Kabbalah means to receive. First you study that which you have received from your teachers, study it well!! Superficial study is not enough. This is information which you must receive, handed down from teacher to student, teacher to student. Each student, as he becomes a qualified teacher, offers his own interpretations.

And the tradition continues. 

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