Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and Kabbalah


Did Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai learn Kabbalah from Rabbi Akiva? How did he become the sea of knowledge?

1 year


  1. The Babylonian Talmud recounts that Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai hid in a cave with his son, Rabbi Elazar, for twelve years to escape a death decree that had been passed upon him. During this time Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his son plumbed the hidden depths of the Torah which were later revealed in his Kabbalistic compilation, the Zohar.

    Kabbalah is an integral part of Judaism. The origin of the word Kabbalah is “to receive”, one cannot receive the wisdom of the Kabbalah without expert guidance as the Kabbalah offers one the ability to enter in to the final level of understanding the Torah. It is esoteric and cannot be understood in it’s pure form. It is the writings of the Arizal that allow us some insight into the Kabbalah. However, learning the Kabbalah before one has mastery over the entire spectrum of the Torah is a little like trying to run before you can walk.

    There are some very basic books in English that give a form of an introduction to the subject.

    The Thirteen Petal Rose by Rabbi Adin Steinzaltz
    Jewish Meditation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan
    Meditation and Kabbalah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team