Alef Kaballah 

The Alef Kaballah study group explores Kabbalistic-Chassidic discourses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe focusing on transforming self and society, helping us discover our purpose as men and women in today's world. 

The study group meetings takes place weekly on Tuesday evenings in Oakwood Road, NW11 and are led by Dr Tali Loewenthal

To join the group, please get in touch or call 020 8455 0272 or 07913264911

Alef Kaballah Archives

The Alef Kaballah archive is divided into two parts. The 2005-2014 archive, at the top of the list. Beyond that is the library curated since 2014. Each entry normally includes an audio recording of the discussion as well as the class material for you to follow along in depth. 

Archive: 2005-2014

This archive covers eight years of classes. We are working on raising funds to integrate our old archives onto our modern website. Thank you in advance for your support! 

Archive: 2014 - Present

The Effect of a Mitzvah

This subtle discourse was said by the Rebbe on Shabbat Chayei Sara, 1969, and was published by the Rebbe in Kuntres Kaf Cheshvan, 1991. It explains the intricate spiritual cosmology of existence and how it is affected when one carries out a Mitzvah.

10 November 2020

Chayei Sara

The Rainbow in the Cloud

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Sedra Noah in 1982.  After the Flood, G-d tells Noah that He is making a Covenant with humanity that there will not be another total Flood. The rainbow is the sign of this Covenant.  Commentators such as Nachmanides ask: does that mean that there were no rainbows before then? Surely, the rainbow is a natural effect of sunlight in the water-droplets in the cloud?  The Rebbe provides a spiritual way of understanding  a ‘cloud’ and then gives an interesting answer to the question of the commentators.

20 October 2020


Being There by Not Being There

The Rebbe said this discourse on Shabbat Bereishit, 1969.  Shabbat was the day before Rosh Chodesh (the New Moon), so a special Haftorah is said, beginning 'Jonathan said to David, tomorrow is Rosh Chodesh.  You will be noticed because you will be missing..'  (I Samuel 20:28). In the Biblical narrative, David would be absent from a meal with King Saul, and Saul would notice this and therefore comment about him. The discourse discusses this idea in spiritual terms.  By not being there, i.e. by being in a state of self-abnegation, one is present in a greater way.

13 October 2020


The Divine and the World

This discourse was said in 1969 and it discusses an intriguing passage in a Kabbalistic work which presents and image of the immense spiritual 'distance' between the Divine and the physical world, and then shows how through Torah study and observance of Mitzvot, the Divine is brought into the world.

29 September 2020

Dimensions of Repentance

This discourse, said in 1969, explains several different aspects in the process of repentance, including the function of the verbal 'Confession of Sins' (Viduy).

22 September 2020


Rosh Hashanah and the Patriarchs

This discourse was said on the second day of Rosh Hashana in 1969. It discusses the text of the Offerings in the Musaf Prayer, explaining how on Rosh Hashana there is a special relationship with our ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the source of the Jewish People.

15 September 2020

Being Empowered on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah

This discourse, taught in 1969, explains the 'you are standing together' theme of the sedra in terms of Rosh Hashana.

8 September 2020


The Spiritual Dimension of Marriage

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Ki Tavo in 1982, and it links the month of Elul to the individual bonding with the Divine.

1 September 2020

Ki Tavo

Restoring the Two Temples

This discourse was taught on Shabbat VaEthanan in 1969. The Rebbe discusses the spiritual way to restore both Temples, and the fact that in certain ways the Second Temple is more significant than the First.

28 July 2020


The Inner Workings of Exile and Redemption

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Parsha Devarim 1969, the Shabbat before the Ninth of Av.  The discourse explains Exile and Redemption in terms of the fragmentation or wholeness of the supernal Divine Name, which reveals why the practical actions of the Mitzvot are so important.

21 July 2020


Seeking the Spiritual

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Mattot-Mas'ey in 1969.  The Sedra tells us that the sons of Gad and Reuben wanted to stay on the East bank of the Jordan.  They sought the spiritual, rather than to plunge into the activity of  entering the Land of Israel.  Moses only accepted this when they agreed to risk their lives to help the rest of the Jewish people conquer the Land.  Today each of us needs both aspects - the quest for the spiritual and also the readiness for self-sacrifice in making the practical world a dwelling for the Divine.

14 July 2020


Two Aspects of Holiness

The Rebbe taught this discourse for Shabbat Parsha Pinchas in 1958. Each member of the Jewish people is holy - both because of the Divine Soul and also because of the Animal Soul, which will ultimately be refined.

7 July 2020


Every Law is a Statute

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Chukat-Balak in 1969. The opening words of the Sedra about the Statute of the Red Heifer using the phrase 'the Stautute of the Torah' are explained to mean that all the laws of the Torah have the quality of a Statute.  Rashi connects the law of the Red heifer to Moses, because it is the Moses within us who helps us keep the Statutes, which are beyond our understanding.

30 June 2020


Division to Unity

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe for Shabbat Sedra Korach in 1967.  Korach wanted to cause a division in the Jewish people. The discourse explores the she source of all such 'divisions' and conflicts,  going back to the beginning of Creation when the firmament was created on the second day, dividing between the lower waters and the upper waters.  Division is an integral part of our world, but the goal is unity.

23 June 2020


Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Lag B'Omer 1969. The theme is a story in the Zohar that once, when there was a drought, Rabbi Shimon delivered a Torah teaching and the rain came. The discourse explores the fact that usually in the Talmud the rabbis pray or fast in order for the rain to fall, a spiritual movement from below to above. But Rabbi Shimon taught Torah, a movement from above to below.  This leads to a discussion of these two kinds of movement in Jewish life.

12 May 2020

Dimensions of Holiness

This discourse was taught be the Rebbe in 1965 on Shabbat Parshat Emor. It was edited by the Rebbe and published in 1990 for the Yahrzeit of the Rebbe's brother R. Yisrael Aryeh Leib, a mathematician at Liverpool University. The discourse concerns dimensions of holiness: the supernal Divine holiness for which one might yearn, and the holiness which G-d grants each individual through Torah and Mitzvot.  The power of Repentance, Teshuvah, reaches the supernal holiness of the Divine in a way which might be considered astonishing. It can do this because the Divine Essence is beyond limitations.

5 May 2020


The Forbidden Years of the Fruit Tree

The Rebbe taught this discourse in 1968 for Sedra Kedoshim.  It gives a fascinating interpretation of the law of 'Orlah', in which the fruit of a tree is forbidden for the first three years, then in the fourth year it can only be eaten if it is redeemed (or taken to Jerusalem, in Temple times), and in the fifth year it is permitted and also brings great reward for the person. These stages apply in various aspects of daily life.

28 April 2020


The Locked Garden

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Tazria in 1987.  The Jewish people are compared to 'a locked garden', symbolizing a bride who is 'locked' to all but her husband.  In the same way, says the Zohar and other sources, the power of delight of a Jewish individual should be reserved for the Divine.

21 April 2020


Receiving and Ascending

This discourse of Sedra Terumah 1965 speaks of two man aspects of Divine service: receiving the inspiration from above and then, in response, ascending towards the Divine. This can be understood in terms of Torah (from G-d to us) and Prayer (from us towards the Divine).

25 February 2020


Reaching Above and Bringing Down Below

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Mishpatim, Parshat Shekalim, in 1969. The extra reading speaks of giving half a shekel, which paid for two separate items: the silver sockets of the Sanctuary, and the public offerings. The sockets are the lowest part of the Sanctuary, on the ground; the offerings soar up to the Divine. The discourse explains that both these movements are needed in service of the Divine.

18 February 2020


Bati LeGani - The Sanctuary in the Heart

This discourse was said by the Lubavitcher Rebbe on 10 Shevat, 1980. This date is the Yahrzeit of the Sixth Rebbe who passed away in 1950, and this marks the beginning of the leadership of the Seventh Rebbe. The discourse begins 'I have come into My garden' (Song of Songs 5:1) which the Midrash explains as meaning that G-d's Presence returns to the world, as in the time of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Divine Presence was now in the Sanctuary built by Moses and the Israelites in the desert of Sinai. The discourse explains that within each person there is a Sanctuary and the Divine Presence. Realising this and exploring this idea helps us reveal the Divine Presence in our own lives and in the world around us.

4 February 2020

Yud Shevat, 10 Shevat, Tenth Shevat

Wisdom and Action

This discourse was taught in 1968 on Shabbat Sedra Vayishlach. It explores the goal of Wisdom: Repentance and Good Deeds. Wisdom by itself cannot grasp the highest levels, for 'Thought cannot grasp the Divine'.  But through the action of the Mitzvot each person can be bonded to G-d.

10 December 2019


'One' or 'Unique'

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe in 1968 for Shabbat Vayetze, on 9 Kislev, the birthday and Yahrzeit of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Dov Ber.  The discourse discusses a discourse of the same name said by the Previous Rebbe in 1941 (which itself relates to a discourse by Rabbi Dov Ber).  The focus is on ‘One’ or ‘Unique’, as terms applied both to G-d and to the Jewish People.  This leads to a deeper understanding of the purpose of Creation and the role of the Jew.

3 December 2019


Love and Awe

The Rebbe taught this discourse for Sedra Toledot in 1964. It uses the first verse of the Sedra to explain one's path in service of G-d and in Prayer

26 November 2019


This World or the Next?

The Rebbe taught this discourse in 1968. The discourse discusses the question of the relative importance of a Mitzva in this world, or its effect for the soul in the Garden of Eden. This relates to the question of the power of Repentance.  The discourse discusses different kinds of Repentance: Repentance from above and from below.  This is seen in the death of Sara and the way she was buried, a double cave.

19 November 2019

Chayei Sara

The Cry to G-d

The Rebbe taught this on Sedra Vayera 1964. It explains the Haftora as it applies in our own lives. This begins (II Kings 4:1) with a widow crying to Elisha. The discourse explains, this is the soul crying out to G-d.  She says 'my husband', ishi, in Hebrew a word similar to fire, 'is dead': her fire of spiritual passion has 'died'.  The soul of each one of us can cry out to G-d with this complaint...

12 November 2019


Journey to Oneself

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Lech Lecha in 1964. G-d tells Abraham to 'go to yourself' - go to the root of your soul. The discourse explains that one way to do this is by entering a more holy realm, going to the Land of Israel. The other way is to bring holiness into the non-holy realms. Abraham sharing his inspiration with those who do not yet believe in one G-d.

5 November 2019

Lech Lecha

Overcoming the Flood Waters

This Discourse of 1964 speaks of the need to overcome the 'flood waters' of daily life - business worries, and everything similar - and to allow one's inner love of G-d to be expressed in deeply felt prayer.

29 October 2019

Noach, Noah

When You Come to the Land - in Spiritual Terms

The Rebbe said this discourse on Shabbat Ki Tavo in 1965. It discusses the relationship of the individual with G-d, linked also with the sacred quality of the Land of Israel and the ultimate purpose of Creation.

17 September 2019

Ki Tavo

The Battle of Prayer

This discourse, said on Shabbat Ki Tezte in 1965, discusses the battle described at the beginning of the Sedra and explains it in terms of the inner struggle of prayer, seeking to transform the Animal Soul so that its passion focuses on the Divine.

10 September 2019

Ki Tetze

The Role of the Jew

This discourse, taught on Shabbat Sedra Balak in 1965, expresses the spiritual power of the Jew.

16 July 2019


Connecting With the Essence

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Sedra Chukat, 1965. The discourse discusses transcending intellect and reaching the Essence of the Divine.

9 July 2019


Why Were the Spies Afraid?

The Rebbe taught this discourse for Sedra Shelach (about sending the spies) in 1965. Two very spiritual reasons are given for their reluctance to enter the Holy Land. The discussion helps us understand our task in life.

25 June 2019


Two Kinds of Light

The Rebbe taught this discourse on Shabbat Beha'alotecha in 1964. The Sedra begins with the idea of kindling 'lights'. The discourse explains these are two kinds of Light: a Divine light which shines to each Jew, and the light of each individual which, so to speak, shines to G-d.

18 June 2019


The Power of Self Control

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe in the early hours of the first night of Shavuot in 1965. It speaks of the effect that each individual has on the universe through his or her self-control, refining the Animal Soul.

4 June 2019


Levels of Being

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Bechukotai 1965. It explores levels of the self and of the revelation of the Divine, employing the image of speech, which can be said aloud, or written on parchment, or engraved on a precious stone.

28 May 2019


Dimensions of Shabbat

This discourse, taught by the Rebbe in 1965 on Shabbat Sedra Behar, presents a deep analysis of three different dimensions of Shabbat: Friday night, Shabbat day, and the time of the 'third meal' and Shabbat late afternoon. Each has its own special quality of spirituality.

21 May 2019


The Nature of Holiness

This discourse, taught by the Rebbe in 1965 and edited in 1990, concerns the nature of Holiness.  One aspect is expressed by the individual reaching upwards to the Divine; but there are two ways in which the Divine responds, one concerning inwardness, Torah study, and the other on a more practical level, expressed by observing the Mitzvot.  These three modes are depicted by the words ‘Holy, holy, holy’ in the daily prayers.

14 May 2019


The Apotheosis of the Ordinary

This discourse was said on Shabbat Sedra Kedoshim, 1965. It concerns the Torah instruction about the fruit of a young tree. For the first three years the fruit is forbidden, and then it becomes holy, then it becomes -- ordinary. From the fifth year onwards, it can be eaten anywhere and has no special rules. The discourse asks: wouldn't one expect it to somehow go up a degree in holiness, rather than just become an ordinary fruit? It answers that the 'ordinary' is in fact the most precious, because that means one is achieving the indwelling of the Divine not only in the 'holy' realm, but also in the 'ordinary' realm of daily life. And this is the true purpose of Creation

7 May 2019


The Source of Repentance

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat of Acharei-Kedoshim in 1988. The Sedra describes the service on Yom Kippur, discussing the words 'before G-d you will be purified' (Lev. 16:30). The discourse explains that they mean 'above the Divine Tetragrammaton'. The source of  Repentance is explained as being exalted, above the Divine Name. This is also the source of the soul.  The goal of life is to be connected at this exalted level while living in the physical world.

30 April 2019


The Joy of Wine At the Seder

This discourse was taught be the Rebbe on Shabbat Metzora in 1965, the Shabbat before Pesach (Shabbat Hagadol). It begins with the opening words from the Song of Songs, which mention 'wine'. The discourse explores the themes of wine, joy, and the four cups of wine at the Seder.

9 April 2019


Inspiration or Effort?

This discourse was taught on Shabbat of Sedra Tazria in 1965 and the Rebbe edited it in 1989 for publication on 2 Nisan, the Yarzeit of Rabbi Shalom Dober Schneerson, the fifth Rebbe. The discourse concerns the relative merits of inspiration from above, and effort from below, in one's relationship with G-d.

2 April 2019



Taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Shemini in 1965, this discourse discusses the battle described in the Midrash between Leviathan and Behemoth, two mystical beasts, in the future.  This is described as a 'circus', which is also the circus of life.  Further, these two beasts are described as representing two kinds of Tzaddik: one who is beyond the practical world, and the other who is within it. They also provide insight into the spiritual struggle of each individual.

26 March 2019


Parable and Reality

This discourse said on Shabbat Vayikra in 1965 - shortly before Purim explores the theme of parable (mashal) and reality, in Torah and in life.

12 March 2019


Shabbat as 'Great Love'

The Rebbe taught this discourse in 1965 on Shabbat Pekudei. It describes the process of daily Prayer in which one evokes heartfelt love for the Divine. The discourse explains that on Shabbat one can feel an even higher love for the Divine.

5 March 2019


Two Aspects of Shabbat

In this discourse, taught for Sedra Vayakhel in 1965, the Rebbe explains two aspects of Shabbat: one as completion of our effort and the other as inspiration for the week ahead.

26 February 2019


Divine 'Sleep'

This discourse was taught by the Rebbe on the Shabbat after Purim in 1965. The Megilah states (ch.6) ‘On that night, the sleep of the King was disturbed’. The discourse understands the King as the Divine King, and discusses the nature of wakefulness and sleep, both for the individual and also, metaphorically, in the case of the Divine. The goal is, in the deepest darkness and sleep, to reach the Divine Essence beyond, through which tears are transformed to joy.

19 February 2019

Ki Tisa

Olives and Oil

This discourse, taught by the Rebbe on Shabbat Tetzaveh in 1965, speaks of the olive oil being brought to Moses in order to be used for lighting the Menorah in the Sanctuary. But why should it be brought to Moses, if Aaron would be the one lighting the Menorah? This discourse introduces us to profound perspectives on the interrelationship between darkness and light.

12 February 2019

Tetzaveh, Tetzave

Being Receptive to the Divine

This discourse for Sedra Teruma taught by the Rebbe in 1965 explains that the words usually translated 'give an offering to Me' can be translates 'take Me'. G-d gives His inspiration to us, and we just have to be receptive to it. Then we are able to serve G-d by giving offerings to build the Sanctuary and all other aspects of life.

5 February 2019

Teruma, Truma, Terumah, Trumah

A Path Through the Smoke

This discourse for Sedra Mishpatim, taught by the Rebbe in 1965, discusses the cloud on the mountain which Moses enters as he ascends the mountain in order to be there for 40 days and nights. This was after the declaration of the Ten Commandments. Rashi explains that the cloud was really smoke, and that G-d made a path for Moses in the smoke. What is the nature of this smoke? How does it compare with the smoke which is described as being on the mountain before the Ten Commandments? The smoke expresses aspects of the struggle of each individual. It is interesting that G-d makes a path for us in the smoke, a safe passage.

29 January 2019


The Ten Sefirot: diagram

Seven Noahide Values

Seven Noahide Values.png