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Are you talking about 100-1500 years before the Arizal? Or are you talking about 0-20 years before him? Because if you are talking about 20 years the answer is simple- learn the Ramak’s Seforim.
However, if you talking about 100-1500 years ago, I’ll teach you a history lesson on it (BS”D). ALL TIME IS APPROXIMATED
1700 years ago (approx.)- the Zohar is completed. Nobody really knew about the Zohar back then.
For 800+ years Kabala was only transmitted from teacher to student in private (except for a few Geonim that wrote some books).
850 years ago- the Rishonim started learning Kabbala. The Raavad wrote a commentary on Sefer Yesira (the book they used to learn Kabbala until about 100 years after). The Rambam was a Mekubal (note: even though his philosophy was so against it, he still learned it at the end of his life. HoRav Yitzchok Yosef Shelit”a in his Sefer Ein Yitzchok writes that he was a Mekubal). The Baale Tosfos were Mekubalim (En Yitzchok). And a few more as well.
750 years ago- the Ramban came in wrote a VERY DEEP commentary on the Torah (which he writes in his intro and Rav Chaim Vital in one of his Seforim). He taught Kabala to the Rashba, and the Rashba taught it to Rabenu Bachye. Rabenu Bachya also wrote about Kabala in his commentary. There is also Rav Yosef Giklatia who wrote Shaare Orah and a few other books.
525 years ago- you have the Ramak who wrote some very fundamental works on Kabala.
THIS IS ALL JUST AN OUTLINE.
The Ben Ish Chai HaKodosh (Ben Yehoyada Bovo Metzio 61b) says the indigo plants they used for fake Techelies were Achuz by the Sitra Achra. 50+ years ago they used to use **that** plant in order to make LEVI’s jeans.
Mamish Osur…that’s like writing kosher zues
The Heilegieh Rav Mutzafi wrote that it is mamish a lack of derech eretz to wear tcheiles bazman hazeh because the gdolim don’t wear it.