This is a shiur that I gave today at MRC on the history of kabbalah.
It explains the role of kabbalah, and the various kabbalistic texts in the context of the development of the Oral Law.
I also try to answer the following questions that were put to me last week:
1. Why was the kabbalah - or the Zohar - accepted if it seemed to be in contradiction with earlier concepts?
2. Why is it that we have to follow the majority opinion? I thought that this was only for halacha? Is it only for the majority of RELIGIOUS Jews that we follow? What if that majority starts following something that is totally inconsistent with Torah up until that point, ie all religious Jews start saying that Hashem is a physical being? Must we follow it then? And does it become the spiritual reality, does it become truth? If so, what is the source for it becoming reality just by the majority of Jews following it - For halacha and hashkafa?
3. Someone told me that there ARE gedolim today who do not hold of the Zohar but that they do not want their names "out there" because they would lose credibility, their influence on the klal, etc.
4. If we are obligated to hold of the Zohar these days, does that mean that we CANNOT hold what the Rambam said on the contradicting issues? Or does it simply mean that it is another valid source, but one can hold by the Rambam just as easily as he could the Zohar?
5. Does the idea that "there is no such thing as a coincidence" come from the Zohar?
The shiur should open straight away when you click on the link. Or you can right click and "save target as" if you want to download it to your computer/mp3 player.
History of Kabbalah