Rav Isaac Luria, born in the 16th century, is the most influential kabbalist in history. The knowledge and wisdom that The Kabbalah Centre is today bringing to the world is firmly rooted in Lurianic Kabbalah.
A brilliant scholar even as a child, Rav Luria was called “The Ari,” which means “The Holy Lion.” The Ari had the gift to explore the innermost depths of The Zohar. He lived as a hermit for 13 years, probing its mysteries. It was not unusual for The Ari to meditate upon one verse of The Zohar for many months, until the hidden meaning was revealed to him.
The Ari demonstrated uncanny powers during his lifetime. It was reported that on one occasion he gathered his disciples for a long journey to Jerusalem to spend the Sabbath. Everyone was bewildered as to how they could possibly reach the city in time, for the Sabbath was fast approaching. But The Ari lived the concept of mind over matter. He said, “The elements of time, space, and motion are merely an expression of the limitations imposed by the physical body on the soul. When the soul has sway over the body, these limiting factors cease to exist. Let us now proceed to Jerusalem, for our physical bodies have lost their influence over our souls.” After engaging in meditation and mystical song, The Ari and his disciples arrived before the sun had set to usher in the Sabbath.
The Ari’s greatest legacy were his kabbalistic compositions, transcribed by his most cherished student, Rav Chaim Vital. Lurianic Kabbalah quickly became the definitive school of kabbalistic thought and had a dramatic impact on the world. Eminent contemporary scholars are only now discovering the profound influence this great Renaissance kabbalist had on some of history’s greatest intellectual luminaries. As Professor Allison P. Coudert writes in her book, The Impact of the Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century: “Lurianic Kabbalah deserves a place it has never received in the histories of Western scientific and cultural developments.”
At the young age of 38, Rav Isaac Luria left this world. He left a spiritual system that, when fully understood, will enable humanity to take control over its individual and collective destiny —- a road map and guide for body and soul that will relieve people of all chaos, fear, pain, and suffering.