As the sun gracefully set on the Santa Monica Mountains on the last night of Hanukkah, Eliyahu Jian, a spiritual adviser and rabbi, lit the last of the menorah’s candles, closed his eyes and recited the traditional blessings. Behind him, visible through a window, sprinklers cascaded on the Calabasas Country Club’s golf course.
“We want to send out as much positive energy into Ventura County and the surrounding communities as we possibly can,” he said in a thick Israeli accent. “With this, we give those affected [by the fires and the Borderline Grill shooting], the light to turn misfortune into fortune, chaos into order and tears into laughter.”
A hearty “Amen!” rang out from the nearly 30 people gathered inside the club’s restaurant. Their eyes were closed, as instructed.
“Now open your eyes with a big smile on your lips,” Jian said. They did. “Now, please have something sweet to eat.”
Guests sidled up to a table with trays of pastries, water bottles, free astrology-themed T-shirts, bags of goodies for kids and copies of “The Snail With No Shell,” a Jian-penned children’s book.
The event, held for those affected by the November wildfires and the Borderline shooting, was part of Vital Transformation, Jian’s nonprofit that produces podcasts, teaches Torah and Kabbalah classes, and hosts services and spiritual lectures. Jian, who is also a motivational speaker who travels the world for professional engagements, delivered a PowerPoint-aided lecture on the power of positivity and how life’s challenges build strength, unity and character.
“The kabbalists 2,000 years ago explained that the soul is divided into three levels: your action, your speech and your mind,” Jian said. “If you’re able to learn how to control those three things, your life around you will start changing. If you believe that you can make your life better, you’re right. Whatever you believe you can do, well, you’re absolutely right.”
Jian’s wife, Debbie, filmed the talk on her phone and live-streamed it on social media for those who couldn’t attend the event. Throughout, Jian included talmudic references and encouraged audience participation, even leading a guided meditation. Afterward, he engaged with guests one-on-one and extended an open invitation for Shabbat dinner at his Pico-Robertson home that doubles as Vital Transformation’s headquarters.
“Just give us notice so we have enough food,” he said.
Jordan Schaul, 45, a zoologist who has traveled the world working with animals, recently settled in Marina del Rey and came at the urging of a friend to start getting involved with the local Jewish community and to show solidarity for friends affected by the wildfires.
“I got so much from this,” Schaul told the Journal. “When [Jian] talked about taking time to be silly, spending time with kids, I thought that was profound because it’s so uplifting without any context needed. I always felt that Judaism was so focused on ritual, but this was the first time I realized there’s a spiritual component I’ve overlooked my whole life.”
“We want to send out as much positive energy into Ventura to give [people] the light to turn misfortune into fortune, chaos into order and tears into laughter.”
— Rabbi Eliyahu Jian
David Levy, 19, who lives in Calabasas, came with his mother after a long shift at his retail job. During the height of the wildfires, Levy and his family were evacuated from their home twice, ultimately spending two short stints at a Hollywood hotel.
“Most of Calabasas was evacuated at some point, probably all of Calabasas was affected in some way,” Levy told the Journal. “While [Jian] spoke, I was thinking about all the people I know who were affected. It’s nice to bring some spirituality into the mix and reflect on everything.”
One of Jian’s Vital Transformation students, Michelle Alfi, 35, a West Hollywood resident, told the Journal she, too, has many friends and colleagues that had to evacuate. She also has connections to victims of the Borderline Bar and Grill shooting in Thousand Oaks.
“I wanted to be a part of something so beautiful here tonight and help prop up the community that has gone through something so devastating,” she said. “Finding the beauty in pain is the only way to create more beauty around us. One example that [Jian] spoke about is how the community has come together with so many amazing volunteers and first responders doing their part. If you can take that spirit and adopt it into your own life, well, that’s what creates change and makes the world a better place.” n
The best way to study authentic Kabbalah is by starting to read any books, the wrong ones and the authentic ones.
I have taught Kabbalah to thousands of people in my life and in my 30 years of experience of I’he met so many people, I met so many teachers and I can not tell you what is right or what is wrong, its up to the receiver, the student to define if the style is working for them or not.
So to claim or judge that I am better at delivering and interpreting this timeless study, is no for me to judge. My dream, goal and vision is that every human being will start studying Kabbalah. Even if you study Kabbalah with a non authentic person, your genuine desire to study authentic Kabbalah will find you and lead you to it. . Just don’t stop asking: why! Don’t stop searching and questioning.
The most important books are the ones that were written up to the time of Rabbi Yehuda HaLevy Ashlag. He is the the last one to write the truth about Kabbalah. I recommend to follow his studies. Before him the Baal Shem Tov and before that the Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria and before that the Zohar.
Those of you who are capable can study the Book of Formation as well. Here at Vital Transformation our goal is to study Kabbalah, but more importantly is we want to make sure that you will be able to teach it yourself.
Myself as a teacher or Rabbi, I believe if you cannot teach what i’m teaching you, then you didn’t learn.
The 3 aspects to authentic teachers are :
1) After you study with them you feel you are connecting to the Divine or a Higher Force
2) The studies make you happier and you desire to know more.
3) You are capable to share what you studied
When you study with a non- authentic teachers you will find out;
1) That the person who taught you is more afraid of losing you, than you are learning the knowledge.
2) You are leaving the room knowing there is a Divine Presence, Divine Energy, yet it doesn’t give you more certainty
3) There is a severe codependent relationship between you and the master who is trying to teach you.
None of these claims have put me in a place to judge who is authentic or not. I have met many masters of Kabbalah some authentic and some not. The best thing to do is to use the aspects above to see if your teachers are authentic or not
Those of you who have already touched a bit of the wisdom of Kabbalah already know that Kabbalah has not been written for 5000 years ago. It seems like its been written from the year 2000 and going forward. When you study Kabbalah, the Zohar, and the Sefirot something as simple as in the book of Abraham, the Book of Formation, when he says there are 10 dimensions not 9, there are 10 dimensions and not 11, and in modern day science, scientists believe that the theoretical framework of the Superstring Theory posits that the universe exists in ten different dimensions.
The Ari, Rabbi Isaac Luria wrote that the beginning of everything started from a certain point, and then science tells us about the Big Bang Theory, the Ari lived 500 years ago, the discovery of the Big Bang theory happened much later. This shows us that Kabbalah definitely came before its time. It’s knowledge that exists as history, people relate to Kabbalah as something of the passed but it’s actually something of the future.
Most of the studies that you will understand from Kabbalah will be clear to you as science and physics will start to support it. We don’t have yet the knowledge intellectually from different colleges and professors to prove it, once they prove it it will be matched with what Kabbalah spoke about thousands of years ago. In the modern world we understand as much as we can understand. When Kabbalah said 2000 years ago, and it is written in the Zohar, that our globe looks like a ball they didn’t need to have a discovery or send Columbus to prove a point. At that time everyone was worried that this would be the end of the world, when mathematicians or philosophers were arguing with each other, they could have just looked into the Zohar. They sent spaceships to Mars not so long ago yet Abraham in the Book of Formation said 4000 years ago that Mars is a red planet and he knew what the weather was like on Mars and Venus. Everything that was, is and will be, is written in the books of Kabbalah.
Breaking the code of those books has to be of course with the right teacher. So when we talk about the modern world as we know it those of you who want to create a great discovery in every area of the modern world including business, relationships, physics, science, health, you must study more Kabbalah and understand when the Zohar goes ahead and describes different organs of the body and how they function. The lungs, the kidneys, the liver, the gallbladder, to the details, and hopefully one of the doctors in our days will start studying the Zohar and start curing people by using the methods of Kabbalah, maybe we will have less cancer, war, poverty and problems in the world and we will have more health, peace, wealth and harmony. Through this wisdom the modern world as we know it; our children and grandchildren; can live a better life. Instead of sending someone to the hospital, putting them on the bed and hear the doctor saying lets try this and lets try that, It’s time for us to end the guinea pig generation and turn this generation into I know what im doing based on knowledge that’s still accurate in our time.