Lord of Karma

Daphna Levin

“The world is sustained through mystery alone. ” said Rabbi Abba in the Zohar. The need to control one’s life through the acquisition of knowledge, in order to better deal with the unknown, with uncertainty, and perhaps even with death; the need to know and understand oneself – these drive man’s endless attempts to decipher the mystery of God’s ways and providence. For only knowledge can lead to such revelation and grant a person true strength and liberation. This is a journey that touches the hem of God's robe.  

At the heart of this ethnographic study are two closely related concepts in Jewish esotericism, both shedding light upon the same mystery: reincarnation and karma. Part One of this volume is theoretical, and is comprised of three introductory sections. The first examines the concept of karma in Far Eastern religions, as well as those disciplines and schools of thought that imported the idea and systematically developed it in the West: Theosophy, Anthroposophy and Transpersonal Psychology.

The subsequent introductions examine the Kabbalistic understanding of reincarnation and karma through the lenses of philosophy, religious-Jewish theology, esotericism, myth and history, and lucidly explain their underlying principles and perspectives, the various manifestations of positive and negative karma, and the nature and various manifestation of reincarnation.

The second part of the anthology is experiential. That is, through a collection of stories, the reader is introduced to the living experience of reincarnation and karma. The stories richly illustrate the central motives of the doctrines of karma and reincarnation, and how they function as unparalleled tools in the man’s eternal odyssey to know himself and understand the mystery of his soul. The texts are drawn from the corpus of Kabbalistic and Hasidic writings, hagiographic works, and numerous other sources.

Dr. Daphna Levin is a senior research fellow at the Shlomo Mousaieff Center for Research in Kabbalah, at Bar-Ilan University. She is involved in the research and practice of the contemporary, psychological discipline known as Transpersonal Reincarnation Therapy.