BY CHARLOTTE MEYER
It’s been 23 years since the drive to investigate the concept of immortality and the New Testament’s book of Revelation first lead me to my teacher, Rav Berg.
I had just polished off a paper on “The Concept of Immortality” and deemed myself ready to become a candidate for Union Theological Seminary in New York City, but then something intriguing happened. A book by Rabbi Berg fell into my hands and that changed everything.
I was surprised, my family skeptical when my inner call to deeper faith, would lead me to a place called the Kabbalah Center. It was 1988. Curious and excited, I called the publisher to inquire where I could get my hands on more writings by Rabbi Berg. My enthusiasm was high. Here was a piece of the puzzle I needed to follow; –one I knew seminary would not give me. I needed courage to follow this new lead; to risk going outside the known to reach the truth I was seeking.
The publishing house directed me to a small center in New York housed in the home of the Rav and Karen Berg in Queens, New York. Timidity kept me from visiting, but I did phone, so thirsty was I for more insight. A warm and friendly voice opened “the door”, inviting me into a spiritual world I would never have known existed had I not taken that step. I blindly purchased everything they offered me and prayed for diving guidance. My zealousness was spurred by the taste of truth and I wanted to learn to discern its awesome revelation.
I had long felt in this “new age” of the Holy Spirit we no long have the license to just believe in Yehoshua, Jesus in Christian vernacular. We need to grow our souls into becoming Yehoshua. I soon discovered core tenets of the New Testament being taken seriously by the Rav and the Center, not out of magnimity, but because they are inherently imbued in the ageless teachings of Kabbalah as recorded in the Zohar written over 2000 years ago in Galilee.
Major New Testament concepts such as: trust that leads to righteousness, giving with no agenda, tithing, resurrection of the dead, and of course, Immortality, we could go on and on….the power of these concepts are all recorded in the Zohar and their secrets passed down since Abraham from the Sefer Yetzirah.
Over time I would hear the Rav say: “Without Christianity holding up the banner of Immortality, the consciousness of the world would not be ready to make it happen in our time.”
Currently, the convergence of fresh scholarship among Christian scholars eager to rekindle the Jewishness of early Christianity, along with the growth of public awareness of Kabbalistic teaching, promoted largely by Rav and Karen Berg, has been creating a greater comfort level for Christians and Jews to flourish within a growing common ground.
In 1988, when I first encountered Kabblah and the Center, the chasm I was compelled to cross was much, much greater than today. Today thanks to the efforts of the Center to reach out to Christians and those of other faiths it is much easier and it is much more socially acceptable to study Kabbalah.
It may be hard for many to fathom it, but back then I felt like Huck Finn who chanced the “sacrifice” of his salvation to follow the call to a higher destiny by helping a slave to freedom amidst overwhelming prejudice, risking Hell for a truer taste of the meaning of salvation.
Today I am proud to call myself a Kabbalist-in-training and in its path have found a more authentic meaning of salvation. I still am in awe how I was so divinely lead to the feet of my teacher the Rav. But as he is fond of saying: “The Light is in the business.”
There is no greater joy than finding your teacher, no matter what the cost.
The Creator’s call to love thy neighbor compels me yet to close the gap, that chasm of salvation through faith in its narrower profile of Jesus and broadcast a better understanding of the creator that fulfills and expands.
The New Testament in its essence is true and yet the fullest revelation of that truth pleads to be realized through the prism of Kabbalah and the Zohar. With such vision the boundaries that separate all the great religions can be diminished and begin to be nurtured by the same root.
My discovery and connection to my teacher the Rav and to the many teachers in the center who speak as if with one voice could not have manifested and unfolded as it did without the courage of Karen Berg.
Without her fortitude to break centuries of constructed barriers preventing non-Jews and particularly women from every studying Kabbalah, transformation for many would still remain difficult to attain.
The early Christian’s credo to be “neither Jew, nor gentile, free, nor slave….” But witnesses to the power and reality of immortality, so too the Rav has challenged us to see ourselves as Israelites to raise our consciousness above the confines of the narrower boundaries of Jew and non-Jew and bring the message of resurrection and immortality to a broader more rudimentary “central column” that permits a fuller reality of “Love Thy Neighbor” to flourish.
The Center’s synagogue is fondly called a War Room where the energy to inculcate “Loving Your Neighbor as yourself” takes center stage. And whereas Jesus declaration: “Yea, I tell you even greater things than I do you shall do” finds the nurturing frame needed to turn such prophecy into possibility.
Jacob Needleman in his book, Jewish Christianity theorized there was a mystic component in early Christianity that had empowered the early church to grow. It is my contention that the power of the Tetragramaton, adherence to the energy of the Torah and enlightened understanding through study of the orally transmitted secrets, recorded in the Zohar, were THE part of that core element.
Jesus challenged the skeptics of his day with words found in Psalm 86 vs. 6: “Does it not say in the Torah, ye are Gods, sons of the Most High? To indicate that all who channel the Light force of God through every act of sharing, imitates their “father” in heaven. The center is my “boot camp” to discover his perspective on how best to inculcate that pattern of living that leads to Life everlasting.