There are eight ways to spell Kabbalah. In addition to the most common spelling, which is Kabbalah, we have Cabbala, Cabbalah, Cabala, Kabala, Kabbala, Qabalah, and Qabala. My extensive Google search reveals even more variants, but as these do not appear in the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary, they are of questionable validity.
I bring up the Kabbalah (Cabbala, Cabala, Kabala) because anagrams are important in this body of esoteric religious knowledge, compiled/written/invented by Spanish Jews in the 1200s and re-popularized this century by those enlightened seekers of wisdom and truth—Madonna, Demi Moore, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and A-Rod.
I’m adding my name to this illustrious list. I believe studying the Kabbalah (Cabbala, Cabbalah, Kabala) will allow me to deepen my knowledge of the mystical forces at work in the universe. According to Wikipedia, “Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious Ein Sof (no end) and the mortal and finite universe (his creation).” You never know when this kind of knowledge might come in handy. You’re at a party and the conversation lags. You can liven things up by telling everyone around you “I will now explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal and mysterious No End and his creation, which happens to be the mortal and finite universe.”
Another reason I want to study Kabbala is that I hope it will unlock the secrets of speedy anagramming. My lack of skill in rearranging words to form other words has been an impediment to my moving up the Scrabble tournament ranks and, more importantly, beating my husband on a regular basis.
How do I know that anagrams are central to understanding the Kabbalah? Every time I type “history of anagrams” into Google, the Kabbalah is right up there, along with sites for programs such as Anagram Solver, Anagram Maker, and Anagram Finder.
There’s also a company called Anagram that specializes in “foil balloon manufacturing,” a vital component of our economy. Where would this great country be without foil balloons? Anagram holds a number of important licenses for foil balloon characters, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Miss Kitty, Harry Potter, and My Little Pony. The company’s slogan is “More People Choose Anagram Balloons to Celebrate Life.” When I read this I had the sinking feeling that one of my former Eastern Illinois University students had gotten a job as a slogan writer for Anagram.
My early perusal of Kabbalah websites hinted at some pretty serious roadblocks to my study of cabbalism. Traditional religious scholars suggest that a knowledge of Hebrew is central to true cabbalistic understanding. They also maintain that being a woman is a disadvantage. However, the Kabbalah Center website (http://www.kabbalah.com/about/what-is-kabbalah) believes that everyone can benefit from studying Kabbalah: “The word Kabbalah means many different things to many different people.” (Another one of my former students may be working as a writer for the Kabbalah Center website.)
I also came upon quite a few books about Kabbalah. The most intriguing titles were the following: Kabbalah, Science, and the Meaning of Life: Because Your Life Has Meaning by Rav Michael Laitman, Ph.D; Kabbalistic Astrology: And the Meaning of Our Lives by Rav Berg; The Kabbala Book of Sex: And Other Mysteries of the Universe by Yehuda Berg. I was relieved to know that my life has meaning, and I was VERY tempted to order The Kabbala Book of Sex. (The other mysteries of the universe I’ve already solved.) It was also refreshing to note that Jews—among the greatest writers in the world—are susceptible to questionable subtitles.
I also seriously considered ordering Kabbalah for Dummies and The Idiot’s Guide to the Kabbalah, but thought “Hey, I can just check these out of the Eastern Illinois University Library.”
Unfortunately, there was almost nothing about anagrams in the Dummies and Idiot’s books. I feel as if this entire search for the meaning of life and short cuts to anagramming has been a waste of time. (Or a waist of time, as one of my students wrote in an essay.)
On the other hand, I now know the many alternate spellings of Kabbalah, which might come in handy in a Scrabble game. Cabbala, Cabbalah, Cabala, Kabala, Kabbala, Qabalah, Qabala.