Renowned rabbi comes to campus to teach Kabbalah

By Nick Escobar

With the Jewish teachings of Kabbalah becoming increasingly popular, Rabbi Laibl Wolf, a renowned master of Kabbalah teachings, will present an interactive presentation entitled “Mind Yoga: a Journey through Practical Kabbalah,” at the Levis Faculty Center today. The presentation, located on the third floor, will begin at 7:15 p.m.

Kabbalah is a teaching of Jewish mysticism that dates back thousands of years. Rabbi Dovid Tiechtel, director of the Chabad Jewish Center, referred to Kabbalah as the soul of Judaism.

Tiechtel describes Kabbalah as beautiful flower within a garden where the flower is the center. He said that if removed, the flower from the garden begins to wither and die. It needs the garden to survive.

Wolf’s presentation will deal with what Kabbalah exactly is and will aim to teach how one can use Kabbalah for spiritual wisdom. Wolf will also compare Kabbalah to Eastern traditions and give examples of how to use Kabbalah practically in every day life.

Tiechtel described Kabbalah as an intimate connection between the revealed and hidden mysteries of Judaism. He stresses that Kabbalah is not its own sect of Judaism.

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“Pop Kabbalah comes and goes,” Tiechtel said. “Kabbalah teaches us and guides us. It gives us insight into the soul of Judaism.”

Wolf, author of the book Practical Kabbalah, holds a degree in educational psychology and is a trained lawyer. The child of holocaust survivors, Wolf was born in Poland and immigrated to Australia with his family. While at the University of Wisconsin, he helped to reveal a Nazi cell located on campus.

“(Wolf) learns and explores with people of all faiths and backgrounds,” Tiechtel said. “I heard him lecture in New York and it had a profound impact on me.”

Wolf created Mind Yoga in the hopes of fusing esoteric Kabbalistic concepts with contemporary psychology.

The event is co-sponsored by the UIUC program in Jewish Culture and Society and the UIUC program for the Study of Religion, and is free to all.

Tiechtel hopes that people outside of Judaism attend the event as well.

“Everyone can get something out of it,” Tiechtel said.