Chris Attwood: Rabbi Yehuda Berg has been immersed in the Kabbalah from the moment he was born. He is the inheritor of a great tradition. He is the son of the very famous and well-known Kabbalist, Rav Berg.
Both Yehuda and his brother, Michael, have provided a very great contribution to the world in helping millions of people around the world to understand the very profound and deep knowledge of Kabbalah, and to make it available and help people to see that it is not limited to any particular religion, sect, background or nationality, but it is knowledge which applies to everyone.
It is that perspective that Yehuda and his family have provided, I think, which has attracted thousands and thousands of people from all over the world, including some of the very famous people that Janet mentioned, who have been attracted and have become involved in Kabbalah.
Rabbi Yehuda Berg is an accomplished author. He is the author of the Power of Kabbalah, which is an international best-seller, and which introduced many, many people to the knowledge of Kabbalah for the first time. He’s also the author of The 72 Names of God, and he’s just releasing a new book called The Red String.
Rabbi Berg has had extensive studies from the youngest age, and he today is internationally renowned as a leading authority of Kabbalah, the Torah and the Talmud.
Janet Attwood: For those who are not familiar with Kabbalah, would you tell us what the Kabbalah is and why it’s attracted so many people outside of the Jewish community?
Rabbi Berg: Kabbalah is a 4,000 year-old teaching and system. If you follow its path, it’s a path toward fulfillment. It’s a path towards filling the darkness we face, filling the darkness and chaos in our life.
Traditionally, it was started as Jewish mysticism, but being that it’s 4,000 years old, and is sort of Abraham’s book of formation, it actually predates Judaism. Many people, historically, who were not necessarily Jewish, Sir Isaac Newton, for instance, or Pythagoras, or different leaders of different, new ways of thought, were into Kabbalah.
The Kabbalah being for everyone didn’t just start today. What we try to do in the Kabbalah Center is try to make the information accessible for everyone, more than opening the doors to everyone. You could find it before, but it was very [inaccessible].
Chris Attwood: In your books, you talk about three different parts of Kabbalah. Could you explain those and how they apply to people’s lives?
Rabbi Berg: Well, there is the theory, and you would call the theoretical study, where a person like an Isaac Newton would use it for his – he had his own copy of the Zohar, but more of the theory aspect. Then there is a very practical aspect of Kabbalah, and practical tools. I use the tools every day. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is I think, ‘Where am I going today? What am I going to do today that’s different than yesterday?‘ I do certain meditations, I meditate on the 72 names of God, if I need, specifically. There is a very practical part of Kabbalah.
Janet Attwood: From the perspective of Kabbalah, what is the purpose of life?
Rabbi Berg: Well, the purpose of life is actually to bring about fulfillment in ourselves and in others; the light from darkness. All of us came to this world with some form of darkness. We chose to come to this world to reveal light, but to reveal goodness in the world, in our world and the people around us.
If we’re smart, that’s nothing. I mean, not nothing, but if we really have something good about our character, that’s not where our light gets revealed. The purpose of our life here, the light gets revealed when we discover our darknesses, and we reveal them with light. If we have anger, ego, whatever aspect of negativity we may have, by transforming that negativity, then we reveal light, so the purpose of our life is to transform that darkness in our life to light.
Chris Attwood: You have written a book called The 72 Names of God, and you mentioned them briefly a moment ago, that they’re part of the practical aspect of Kabbalah. Do they play an important role in the process?
Rabbi Berg: Yes, they do. Actually, they’re Aramaic letters. They come from the story of the splitting of the Red Sea that happens in the book of Exodus, in the Bible. It said that in Moses’ staff, they were encarved, and the Zohar book of Kabbalah says that when the Red Sea was split, it was actually Moses who split the sea, using the 72 names.
We use that story as a metaphor to all the Red Seas that we need to split in our life. Many, many times, we’ve come to situations where we think, ‘I can’t do certain things. There are things that are beyond my control. There are things I can’t overcome,’ and what the 72 names of God do – give us the power to overcome things that we think we can’t.
It’s not like we were just left here in this world to try to understand live by ourselves. We were given tools. One of the tools is 72 names, one of the most powerful tools. There is a list of a specific thing, if a person is totally consumed by depression or anger, or any one of any problems, the 72 names of God help us, especially when we think we’re alone. This helps us to feel that there are forces that are there at play that could help us.
Janet Attwood: Yehuda, one of the 72 names deals with passions. As you know, this series is called The Passions of Real Life Legends, and at Healthy, Wealthy nWise, we have chosen to deeply understand the role that passion plays in creating success and fulfillment in our lives, because we know that everyone who is successful seems to share a passion for what they do. What does Kabbalah say about the role of passion in creating success and fulfillment in life?
Rabbi Berg: Well, when a person has passion or a person has lack of it, without the focus, there’s the old saying, If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never going to get there. What we use passion in Kabbalah for is focused energy, and unfortunately if a person can’t focus their energy, and that’s why there’s one of the 72 names just for passion, to be able to focus, take everything you have inside and go towards a goal, then that goal can be achieved.
If we can’t muster up all that energy inside us and be passionate and just focus on the goal, we’ll never be able to break through the barriers, because there are forces at play that don’t want us to succeed. We wake up in the morning and we have voices telling us whatever, and we have this battle between us, our light side inside, and our opponent. We always have voices that tell us to do other things and try to distract us from our goal. Using the passion that we have, and just focus everything inside, and only that way, we can accomplish anything.
Chris Attwood: These 72 names, are they really names of God? Why are there 72 of them?
Rabbi Berg: Well, actually, they’re different energies and pathways to God. They’re not like you would see names of God written in the different ways they’re written. They’re more, different pathways to connect to God. The reason there are 72 is – the numerical value of the Aramaic word of mercy or sharing or giving, is 72.
The names of God only work if it comes together with a sharing aspect in our life, a thinking of others. If I’m selfish and I’m only consumed with myself, the 72 [names] unfortunately, won’t work for us.
Chris Attwood: Would it be fair to say that using the different names of God is a way of getting alignment in terms of different qualities?
Rabbi Berg: Yes. It makes us more like God, and aligns our self with that higher force. Again, Kabbalah is not a religion per se, and you could be Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or no religion, as long as you believe that there’s a higher power, it aligns us with that higher power. What the names do, it’s almost like a filter of our negative behavior, and then it aligns us with that higher power and allows more light into our lives.
Chris Attwood: I’d like to read a few of these different names, because it’s quite interesting what they deal with. What I’m looking at are things like eliminating negative thoughts, diffusing negative energy and stress, unconditional love, heaven on earth, great escape (that’s interesting), speak your mind, the big picture, unity, happiness, freedom, letting go, listening to your soul, dispelling anger. Because our focus in this call is on passion, Yehuda, are there other names that relate specifically to passion?
Rabbi Berg: You want to be focused, you want to get to the goals, you want to be passionate, and then the question is, What are those obstacles in your way? You mentioned the great escape, and that specifically talks about ego. Sometimes what disturbs our passion is our ego, because you’d rather take the momentary, self satisfaction of the ego, as opposed to the ultimate goal of whatever it is that you’re trying to do.
A person like that would say, Okay, I need to work on my ego that it doesn’t interfere with my passion. Then if a person is in the anger category, make sure the anger doesn’t take you away from your goal. Once you determine a goal, you also have to be trying… I’m a person that just… I am what I am, and then some people who cover themselves up because they’re afraid to trust people.
For whatever reason, they close themselves up from being a true judge of themselves. Part of Kabbalah is opening that up, and then truly seeing what are the issues and then using the name to combat that issue.
Janet Attwood: I love that. So anyone who is having a problem forgiving any of your exes, the unconditional love one is there.
Rabbi Berg: Letting go – that also works.
Chris Attwood: There’s one of thought into action, which surely must be a key thing when one is looking to go and achieve a goal. Could you talk about what is the nature of a personal name of God, and how is that come to?
Rabbi Berg: Well, depending on a person’s birthday and certain other parts, there is a name of God, a formula that was created some hundreds of years ago that helps. Sometimes it’s dead on. Sometimes there’s a person who is battling depression and his personal name is for depression.
Sometimes it’s something, That doesn’t make sense that this would be me, but there is some kind of connection that ends up being maybe a past life connection, or some kind of connection to that name. My personal name happens to be Sharing the Flame.
Chris Attwood: How appropriate.
Rabbi Berg: Sometimes I use it as, Am I sharing enough, or, Am I sharing too much and I don’t have time for myself? I use my name and if it was depression, then I would say, I have to figure out how this name is around in my life. Even if I, per se don’t exactly have that problem, I have to figure out why that name is in my life.
Eventually, almost every person that I’ve come in contact with, that gets their personal name, finds that connection. It’s just one more thing that helps us focus our energies into the goals we want to achieve in our life.
Janet Attwood: I have a question about this. When you’re doing your name, or one of the personal names, is there a purification process that one would go through? Do you know what I am saying – during this? What you’re basically doing is healing, aren’t you, from within yourself?
Rabbi Berg: Yes. To start the process of the use of the 72 names, a lot of times we need to just take a moment and figure out, even before you could start working on tackling a specific problem, sometimes you need to do a couple steps back up. You’re not clear from an issue that you had eight years ago, or you’re not clear of this and not that. You still have a problem with this.
It’s difficult to try to move forward without dealing with some of the things that we’ve been affected by in our past, whether it’s personal issues with myself, that I don’t feel I accomplished enough in this life, or issues of other people. Yes, a lot of times when a person starts to work on the 72 names, they end up needing to take some time and either go through their own personal kind of healing, or personal kind of taking care of some issues, before they can actually start using the tools to move forward in life.
Janet Attwood: Thank you. It seems like it’s a very gentle process though.
Rabbi Berg: Well, it’s sort of – Kabbalah being no judgment – it’s one of the core principles of Kabbalah, and also the way we teach Kabbalah, that first step is trying to be yourself, trying to figure out who you really are, and then using everything and teeter it to who you are. A lot of times there’s in a system, where you have to fit into a system.
What Kabbalah tries to do is, we’re all different, you need to be able to use the tools differently for your life, and not trying to fit us into something, but rather teeter your beginning of your spiritual life. If you’ve been hurt – we all go through certain specific things to ourselves. We need to first figure that out before we could actually move forward.
Janet Attwood: What is the teaching of the Kabbalah regarding creating wealth?
Rabbi Berg: Well, the first idea of wealth is that we teach that money is actually a good thing and that money represents energy. There is a perception of some people that money is kind of, almost a dirty thing, and some people have guilt if they have an abundance, and why. Kabbalah says you should have as much money as possible, as long as you do some form of sharing, some form of thinking of others, but as long as that’s part of our consciousness, that money is a good thing, money really represents energy.
To use abundance in a positive way, that’s why money was brought to this world, so we could use it in a positive way, and there is an unfortunate part to that, that a lot of people that have an abundance, aren’t in the mindset of sharing. It’s not just giving away your money, but it’s in the mindset of sharing.
Sometimes using money in the wrong ways – a parent that has everything, and gives their child everything, and always gives them fish and never teaches them how to actually learn to fish and actually earn it for themselves – so unfortunately it starts messing with our brain when there’s abundance.
The first step is realizing it’s energy, and then what you do with that energy is, there are steps you should take, and you shouldn’t give somebody something that they’re not going to appreciate. You should give to someone who will appreciate, and sometimes those values are warped, but the idea of wealth and idea of abundance is energy.
Janet Attwood: For another series, I’m interviewing saints, or enlightened beings, in India, and what I’ve found across the board is that one of their main things is about giving, and setting up organizations where they’re feeding the poor and constantly clothing people. Are you talking about that form of giving or is it about tithing? Can you go deeper into that?
Rabbi Berg: Well, it’s basically about consciousness. It’s about how do we take a situation that I’m in and elevate consciousness of the people around me? Now, if there’s a need, and there’s someone walking down the street that is starving and hasn’t eaten in three months, I’ll give them food.
When we’re given the tool of abundance, or we’re given any kind of tool that we have something that is needed, the first step is, ‘Okay, my conscience needs to be – it’s not just for myself, it’s for others.’ And then the question becomes, What’s the best way for me to manifest that?
If you live in Bellaire or any neighborhood where it’s difficult to find someone that lives next to you that really needs something, and then it becomes either about going out and actually finding people who need you, but it starts off in the consciousness, a consciousness of opening up your life to other people, allowing other people to be part of your life.
Then the how – in India, there’s a great need. In a country like Mexico, there’s a great need and it’s easier to find what your mission could be, but in our country, sometimes it’s difficult, but the first step is consciousness, knowing that if you have something, it wasn’t just given to you, it was given to be able to share.
Just like if you’re a sports figure and you were given an ability, you have to share it with the world. If you have a brain, you have to share it with the world. If you have wealth, there’s some form that’s not just selfishly for ourselves.
Janet Attwood: How I would go about figuring out that for me, where would I give, would be to say a prayer inside myself and ask to have that intention to be directed to where the need is the greatest that I can fulfill. Is that correct?
Rabbi Berg: That’s correct. What I do is I just focus on one of the 72 names, and figuring out, okay this is the direction that I need to go in. This is where it’s needed, because you could give money, you could give time, you could give energy. There are so many avenues of where we give, that the first switch is consciously allowing our lives to have others in it, and that’s a big step.
Many of us don’t have that switch that allows others to be in our life, but once you do that, then you need to be directed, okay, where should your sharing be guided towards?
Janet Attwood: That is so beautiful. Thank you so much.
Chris Attwood: This reminds me, as you’re speaking – in Janet’s book, The Passion Test: Discovering Your Personal Secrets to Living a Life on Fire, she talks about how each person and every single individual is unique. Every person has a unique gift, and the idea that when people are aligned with their unique gifts, and they’re giving those gifts, then what they’re doing is, by virtue of giving their gifts, that they are increasing not only their own abundance, but the abundance of everyone around them. What you’re talking about, sounds to me, very much similar.
Rabbi Berg: One of the ways, Kabbalistically, to know where you need to share the most, a lot of times it comes where it’s most difficult. That’s like a clue. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s easy to give a check, sometimes it’s easy to give from your time – whatever’s easy, chances are, that’s not part of what you really need to be doing.
Janet Attwood: So if you have a parent that needs you and you’re pretty stuck, you have some stress from the past with that parent and you can feel in your physiology when you think, ‘I should go and see them and take care of them,’ and there’s this big block inside your heart. Is that what you’re talking about?
Rabbi Berg: Yes.
Janet Attwood: By giving, what you’re doing, nobody really needs anything you have, don’t you agree with that? What you’re really doing is giving to yourself and you’re healing that place in you, within yourself, by going to that place, which in a sense, you have fear, would you say?
Rabbi Berg: Yes. Sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s just effort. Every person has the aspect that doesn’t allow them to get to the place they need to get to.
Janet Attwood: This is so profound. I’m so thankful that you’re being completely clear. One of the things you just said was that it starts with a consciousness, consciously allowing others to be in our life, and my thought is that all I have to do is consciously be aware of what I’d like to create, what I’d like to do. I don’t have to worry about the mechanics. God will do that. Is that your belief?
Rabbi Berg: Well, once you allow others, once you open yourself up for people to be in your life, it snowballs from there. It will happen. Unfortunately, there are fears or blockages that don’t let us be truly open and honest with other people.
Janet Attwood: Would you say then, with that turn around, every moment is a gift? If you don’t have victim consciousness, then whatever happens to you, and by being open, you can see that every moment actually is a gift. There is a gift in that moment, if you don’t go victim.
Rabbi Berg: If you don’t go victim, every single second… a gift can be a life-changing moment, but if you stay in victim consciousness, unfortunately you become blocked from all that.
Janet Attwood: That is our belief, so thank you. This is so profound to be able to be with you Yehuda, and at Healthy, Wealthy nWise, we believe strongly in the power of intention to manifest outcomes. We’d like to know what your current project is, and what intention you would like all of us at Healthy, Wealthy nWise to hold for the fulfillment of that for you?
Rabbi Berg: I was born with a gift of attention deficit, and I end up having to work on more than one thing at a time, so my passion ends up really being cut into slices. What I do, I wake up every single day, and I say, Hopefully today I will be able to touch someone and to take a key and open someone’s heart and do something different every day.
with Rabbi Yehuda Berg conducted in front of a live Tele-Audience.
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