I discussed Kabbalah many years ago on the Institute’s international radio show, Mind, Brain, and Body with the Good Doctor. If you go to our website, you will find several recordings from the show and some written discourses concerning Kabbalah from my perspective. The Rav I know best is Michael Laitman who founded Bnei Baruch in the early 1990s. The members I have dealt with are serious students.
I do not consider myself a Kabbalist, though, my friends, who are serious Kabbalists, claim that what I teach is fully consistent with true Kabbalah. Curiously, my Christian theologian friends claim that I am a mystical Christian as what I teach is found in the New Testament. Other friends swear I am a Magus. So much for ‘labels’ eh?
I suggest you reread my teaching tale, the Tower of Babel, which is on the Institute website and on my blog. Truth is subtle and consistent; it has no need for separatist cognitive labels so to identify it with one school or another.
Many believe that the Hidden Teachings revolve around the developing of ‘psychic power (iddhi in Pali)’ to be utilized for personal advantage, i.e., to seek power, fame, or wealth. Others believe that the Ancient Knowledge is about the actual nature of creation with its several layers of experience. Unfortunately, very few seekers understand that Esoteric Knowledge is meant to be used by a seeker so to develop and grow his or her soul personality, while living in the physical world–nothing else. The Gospels are not about the actual physical life of Jesus, they describe and teach one how to deal with one’s inner man Pharisees, demons, helpers, and trials. Esoteric Knowledge is psychological in the ancient sense.
Back to Lurianic Kabbalah. Briefly, the course of instruction at BB follows the Kabbalah of Isaac Luria (16th century), as codified and expanded by the 20th century Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag in his Commentary on the Book of Zohar. If you have an interest, Google BB and check out their Kabbalah archives.
This Kabbalah teaches that Creator withdrew a portion of His Essence from a region in Ein Sof (the Limitless) creating a central void in which Primordial Man (Adam Kadmon) and all the countless worlds (Olamot) emerge. From Primordial Man emanate ten archetypal states (Sefirot) and twenty-two Holy Letters (Otiyot Yesod) as building blocks of the psychical universe, i.e., the Light of Bestowal. [Kabbalah does not speak about physical creation even though the names relate to physical items.]
The Wholeness of the emanating Light first forming Vessels for Reception (Kelim) built for the reception of further emanations (Ohr Ein Sof). For some unknown reason, the Kelim was unable to contain the added light and fractured and scattered in what is called the Catastrophe known as the Breaking of the Vessels (Shevirat ha-Kelim). This rupture in the cosmic psychological universe caused a separation of the unity into duality, a split between the masculine and the feminine aspects of Creator and Adam Kadmon.
The broken vessels tumbled downward, being scattered within the void, entrapping such individualized sparks in shrouds of darkness comprising the Sitra Achra [leftovers of a failed prior Catastrophe]. The world soul, instead of containing the pristine archetypal values of Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Love, Judgment, Beauty . . . , now contained the broken, displaced, and obscured lights and vessels as they coalesced as Quippoth (Husks). As a result, our world (Assiyah) is the worst of all possible worlds in which there is still hope.
As a result of the Breaking of the Vessels, the Primordial Adam was shattered into a multitude of individual souls, each comprised of the same fragments that form our world and exiled and alienated within the Sitra Achra (the Negative Tree). The inner work of each man and woman is to extract those sparks that are his or her fortune to encounter in life, and to raise and spiritualize them. If all persons are successful, they shall reconstitute the Sefirot and rebuild Primordial Man with his five Partzufim (Visages or Faces of Creator), restoring the harmony of the opposites, as well as the conjugal relations between the masculine and feminine aspects of God, man and the world.
Clearly, the above story is a psychological one as it applies individually and collectively to the psychological and conscious evolution of mankind and not the physical world.