History of Kabbalah: Abraham

in Force

Abraham was one of the very first Kabbalist’s, some 3800 years ago. As the ancient Midrash (writings that examine the Hebrew Bible in light of the oral tradition) tells us, Abraham lived in Mesopotamia, in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, and as all inhabitants of Mesopotamia, he worshiped the sun, the moon, the stones, and the trees. But one day he began wondering: “How was the world created? Why does everything ‘spin’ around us? What generates the flow of life?”

As he investigated these questions, he realized that there is a pattern to life’s flow, that everything has a beginning and an end, and a sequence of cause and effect. Eventually, he discovered that there is one Upper Force that sets everything in motion, an inclusive force of Nature that governs everything and brings about everything that exists, “the Creator.”

Throughout his investigations of the Upper Force, Abraham was guided by a Kabbalistic book written by his predecessor. Long before Abraham, a man named Adam had also discovered the Upper Force and had written a book about it called Raziel HaMalach (The Angel Raziel). This book was passed down from Adam to subsequent generations, and 20 generations later it reached Abraham. Based on Adam’s work, Abraham advanced the wisdom of Kabbalah, added his own observations to it, and wrote a considerably advanced book called Sefer Yetzira (The Book of Creation). Here is an excerpt:

“The Divine force established its rule, might, eternity and unity through thirty-two secret paths of the descending Upper Light and concealed itself in three categories: The book, the story-teller and the story.”
Sefer Yetzira (The Book of Creation),

18th century B.C.E., the abridged version, Part 1, 1.

This book was written in the technical Kabbalistic language, complete with drawings and charts that graph the interaction between the main force of the universe, the Upper Force, and its parts. It also describes how all these parts interconnect. It uses a simple set of interactions, in a systemized way, explaining the system of the higher forces, their hierarchy, and the way they give rise to our world. This is why Abraham called this book “The Book of Creation.”

Abraham's School of Kabbalist’s

Ancient sources narrate that Abraham did not stop with personal attainment, but decided to organize a school. Why? Because he felt that there were many other people who also wanted to discover the Upper Force.

The ancient Midrash tells of how Abraham sat by his tent, inviting in the Bedouins who passed by. He served them food and taught them the methodology he revealed, the system he called "Kabbalah." He showed them this wisdom’s possibilities and what it gives to a human being. Eventually, the students he taught formed a group of Kabbalist’s—people who perceive and attain the Upper Force.

According to its aspiration toward the Upper Force, this group was later called Israel (pronounced Yisra-el) - a combination of two words: Yashar (straight) and El (Creator), namely, “straight to the Creator.”

Over centuries, this group grew to the size of a nation, although “nation” is not really the right word to use here. These people were not a real nation, but descendants of different Mesopotamian tribes that lived about four thousand years ago. What united them wasn’t a common origin, but their common attainment of the Upper Force.


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Bnei Baruch, http://www.kabbalah.info/ is the largest group of Kabbalists in Israel, sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah with the entire world. Study materials in over 25 languages are based on authentic Kabbalah texts that were passed down from generation to generation.

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History of Kabbalah: Abraham

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This article was published on 2010/01/27