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05 de Abril, 2009 · General

KABBALAH INITIATION

There shall notbe found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to passthrough the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, oran enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits,or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord. Deut. 18:10-12


We see over and over in theOld Testament that the Hebrew people fell from obeying the Law and embracedwitchcraft and sorcery, Baal worship and all manner of idolatry. Throughoutthe Old Testament we encounter their obedience, disobedience, repentanceand constant struggle to remain faithful to God and His Law. Their tenacityand desire to obey the Law cannot be disputed. The question will be addressedwhether the Jew's disobedient practices were, and are still, taught in the oraltraditions which evolved into the Talmud and Kabbalah and which are referencedby various Hebrew Roots leaders.

JewishMysticism

The Kabbalah itself consistsof a large body of speculation on the nature of divinity, the creation,the origin and fate of the soul and also the role of human beings. It generallyis subdivided into four sections: meditative, devotional, mystical andmagical. It is for this reason that Kabbalah is regarded as an esotericoffshoot of Judaism.

The gnosis of the Kabbalahis well recognized by Jewish scholars. From an article cited in the JewishEnclyclopœdia, we see the intimate relationshipbetween Gnosticism and the Cabala:

"...The Jewish Encyclopœdiaquotes the opinion that 'the central doctrine of Gnosticism -a movementclosely connected with Jewish mysticism-was nothing else than the attemptto liberate the soul and unite it with God;' but as this was apparentlyto be effected 'through the employment of mysteries, incantations, namesof angels,' etc… it will be seen how widely even this phase of Gnosticismdiffers from Christianity and identifies itself with the magical Cabalaof the Jews. Indeed, the man generally recognised as the founder ofGnosticism, a Jew commonly known as Simon Magus, was not onlya Cabalist mystic, but avowedly a magician… instituted a priesthood ofthe Mysteries and practiced occult arts and exorcisms…" 1.
M. Matter states in Histoiredu Gnosticisme, that Jewish scholars fully understandthat the secret oral traditions of the Cabala were previous to any Christiangnosticism.
"The Cabala is anteriorto the Gnosis, an opinion which Christian writers little understand, butwhich the erudites of Judaism profess with a legitimate assurance."2.
In SomeNotes on Various Gnostic Sects and their Possible Influence in Freemasonry, D.F. Ranking remarksthat the secret oral tradition of the Cabalists confirms them as beingGnostics.
"This claim to thepossession of a secret oral tradition, whether known under the name of[similar to yvwois only in Greek]…or of Cabala, confirms the conceptionof the Gnostics as Cabalists and shows how far they had departed from Christianteaching. For if only in this idea of 'one doctrine for the ignorantand another for the initiated,' that Gnostics had restored the verysystem which Christianity had come to destroy."3.
Author Nesta Webster concurs withM. Matter and other historians that Gnosticism involved an attempt to cabalizeChristianity.
"... M. Matter istherefore right in saying that Gnosticism was not a defection from Christianity,but a combination of systems into which a few Christian elements were introduced.The result of Gnosticism was thus not to Christianize the Cabala, but tocabalizeChristianity by mingling its pure and simple teaching with theosophy andeven magic." 4.
Jacob Prasch of Moriel, however,does not recognize Jewish mysticism as Gnosticism:
"People began reinterpretingthe Bible, not using the Jewish method of midrash, but using Greek methods.Typology and allegory. Midrash uses typology and allegory-symbols-in orderto illustrate and illumine doctrine…"
"The symbolism illustratesthe doctrine, which is itself stated plainly elsewhere in Scripture…Inthe Gnostic world of Greek thinking, the opposite happens. Gnostics claimto have received a subjective, mystical insight-called a gnosis-into thesymbols. They then reinterpret the plain meaning of the text in light ofthe gnosis. For Gnostics, symbolism is the basis for their doctrine,contrary to the ancient Jewish methods…" 5.
In The Sacred Booksof the Jews, Harry Gersh certifies the early origins of Jewish mysticism:
"Jewish mysticismbegan in Biblical days, long before the term Kabbalah was invented. Bythe first century it had become a proper subject for scholarly study. PhiloJudaeus speculated on the Platonic idea of emanations as intermediariesbetween God and the physical world. The Roman philosopher Plotinus (205-270)traveled in the East and returned to combine Indian, Persian, Greek, andJewish mystic theories into a systematic structure of these emanations."6.
"…H. Loewe, in anarticle on the Kabbala in Hastings' Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics,says: 'This secret mysticism was no late growth. …we can be fairly certainthat its roots stretch back very far and that the mediæval and GeonicKabbala was the culmination and not the inception of Jewish esoteric mysticism.…'" 7.
The Kabbalah derives from ancient wisdom, such as Jacob Prasch mentioned previously.
"As the Kabbalah evolved,it came to share certain ideas with other ancient mystical systems, includingthose of the Gnostics and Pythagoreans. The Kabbalah did not restrict itselfsolely to instruction on the apprehension of God but included teachingson cosmology, angelology, and magic." 8
Despite God's many warnings, the Jews incorporated paganism into their traditions.
"… In spite of theimprecations against sorcery contained in the law of Moses, the Jews, disregardingthese warnings, caught the contagion and mingled the sacred tradition theyhad inherited with magical ideas partly borrowed from other races and partlyof their own devising. At the same time the speculative side of the JewishCabala borrowed from the philosophy of the Persian Magi, of the Neo-Platonists,and of the Neo-Pythagorean. There is, then, some justification for theanti-cabalists contention that what we know today as the Cabala is notof purely Jewish origin." 9.
Harry Gersh shows the migrationof the Middle Eastern Kabbalists throughout Europe:
"From Babylonia andPalestine, Jewish mysticism moved into the Jewish communities of Europeand blossomed there. Every community produced its own mystic literature,mystic belief, and mystic practices. There were distinctive Spanish, French,Italian, and German Kabbalahs. Some were mainly 'practical', dealing inmagic; others were mainly 'speculative', emphasizing philosophical explanations;many combined practical and speculative Kabbalah in equal parts." 10.
Historyof Kabbalah


Colin Low's Kabbalah FAQindicates that the origins of Kabbalah date from remote antiquity.

"…Kabbalah is a mysticaland magical tradition which originated nearly two thousand years ago andhas been practiced continuously during that time. It has been practicedby Jew and non- Jew alike for about five hundred years. On the Jewish sideit has been an integral and influential part of Judaism. On the Hermeticside it has created a rich mystical and magical tradition with its ownvalidity, a tradition which has survived despite the prejudice generatedthrough existing within a strongly Christian culture." 11.
Michael Sidlofsky of Toronto, writing on "Kabbalah and Jewish Renewal" states that Kabbalah...
"…is the most commonly-usedterm for the Jewish mystical tradition, especially the kind which originatedin twelfth-century France and spread through Europe, the Middle East andeventually world-wide, to this day. The two main varieties of pre-kabbalisticJewish mysticism are called Maaseh Merkavah and Maaseh Bereshit(more on these below), and the particular variety emerging in eighteenth-centuryEastern Europe and continuing among Ashkenazic Jews until today is calledHasidism."12.
Most scholars concur that thesesecret oral traditions were first committed to writing around the thirteenthcentury. Dr. Christian Ginsburg states in "The Kabbalah":
"…The first date atwhich the Zohar is definitely known to have appeared is the end of thethirteenth century when it was committed to writing by a Spanish Jew, Mosesde Leon…." 13.
Renaissance scholar Pico della Mirandola - a Gnostic, Hermeticist and Cabalist - was described by VicomteLéon de Poncins’ in Judaism and the Vatican as a hebraiser of Christians:
"Pico de Mirandola,who died in Florence, Italy in 1494, was a hebraiser who devoted himselfto studying the Cabbala under the direction of Jewish masters such as JehudaAbravanel:
"It was in the princelyhouse of Pico de Mirandola that the Jewish scholars used to meet….The discoveryof the Jewish Cabbala, which he imparted to various enlightened Christianscontributed far more than the return to Greek sources to the extraordinaryspiritual blossoming which is known as the Renaissance. About half a centurylater, the rehabilitation of the Talmud was to lead to the Reformation….Picode Mirandola had understood that the indispensable purification of Christiandogma could only be effected after a profound study of the authentic JewishCabbala." 14.
James Webb, author of TheOccult Underground, wrote thatPico della Mirandola, a student of Marsillo Ficino, founder of the neo-Platonic Academy of Florence, "...conceived of Hermesand Plato as aids to persuading those to religion who would not acceptScripture alone."
"This reasoning appearseventually to have been endorsed by the Church in the case of Pico, whojoined to his Hermetism a 'Christian Cabala,' and concocted a universalsystem in which Cabalistic ideas played a considerable part. Although condemnedby a tribunal, Pico's synthesis was rehabilitated in 1493 by AlexanderVI, whose recognition of the Cabalist as a loyal son of the Church seemedto give some authority to Pico's position. It should be remembered in thiscontext that Sixtus IV (Pope, 1471-84) had himself translated seventy Cabalisticbooks into Latin, and that the concept of the 'Christian Cabala' was notpeculiar to Italian thought. Reuchlin, the foremost Orientalist of thetime, and the author of the first Hebrew grammar, came nearest to successin the attempt to transform the Cabala into Christian philosophy - althoughhis pupil Widmanstadt considered the Jewish tradition as 'a Trojan horseintroduced into the Church'. But the Hermeticists and Cabalists of theRenaissance were always maintaining their orthodoxy." 15.
Drach's "De l'Harmonie entre l'Egliseet la Synagogue II," confirms that Pico della Mirandola received instructionin the Kabbala. Pico de Mirandola imagined that it held the doctrines ofChristianity and therefore encouraged Pope Sixtus IV to order Latin translationsfor divinity students. 16.

A reference from the JewishEncyclopœdia's articles on Cabala and Reuchlin, shows the history of theinflux of Cabalism into Catholicism and Christianity.

"At the same timethe Cabala was introduced into Germany by Reuchlin, who had learnt Hebrewfrom the Rabbi Jacob b. Jechiel Loans, court physician to Frederick III,and in 1494 published a Cabalistic treatise De Verbo Mirifico, showingthat all wisdom and true philosophy are derived from the Hebrews. Considerablealarm appears, however, to have been created by the spread of Rabbinicalliterature, and in 1509 a Jew converted to Christianity, named Pfefferkorn,persuaded the Emperor Maximilian I to burn all Jewish books except theOld Testament. Reuchlin, consulted on this matter, advised only the destructionof the Toledot Yeshu and of the Sepher Nizzachon by the Rabbi Lipmann,because these works 'were full of blasphemies against Christ and againstthe Christian religion,' but urged the preservation of the rest. In thisdefence of Jewish literature he was supported by the Duke of Bavaria, whoappointed him professor at Ingoldstadt, but was strongly condemned by theDominicans of Cologne. In reply to their attacks Reuchlin launched hisdefence De Arte Cabalistica, glorifying the Cabala, of which the"central doctrine for him was the Messianology around which all itsother doctrines grouped themselves.1." 17.
"His whole philosophicalsystem, as he himself admitted, was in fact entirely Cabalistic, and hisviews were shared by his contemporary Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim.As a result of these teachings a craze for Cabalism spread amongst Christianprelates, statesmen, and warriors, and a number of Christian thinkers tookup the doctrines of the Cabala and 'essayed to work them over in theirown way.' Athanasius Kircher and Knorr, Baron von Rosenroth, authorof the Kabbala Denudata, in the course of the seventeenth century'endeavoured to spread the Cabala among the Christians by translatingCabalistic works which they regarded as most ancient wisdom.' 'Mostof them,' the Jewish Encyclopœdia goes on to observe derisively, 'heldthe absurd idea that the Cabala contained proofs of the truth of Christianity….Much that appears Christian [in the Cabala ] is, in fact, nothing but thelogical development of certain ancient esoteric doctrines.2'" 18.
S.L. McGregor Mathers', Introductionto the Kabbalah Unveiled is actually Mathers' Englishtranslation of Baron von Rosenroth's Kabbala Denudata, mentioned above. This book was used to propagate the absurdity, as stated in the Jewish Encyclopœdia, of a Christian Cabala. Note the assertion that the Qabalah is the basis of Judaism.
"…At the present timea powerful wave of occult thought is spreading through society; thinkingmen are beginning to awake to the fact that "there are more things in heavenand earth than are dreamed of in their philosophy;" and, last but not least,it is now felt that the Bible, which has been probably more misconstruedthan any other book ever written, contains numberless obscure and mysteriouspassages which are utterly unintelligible without some key wherewith tounlock their meaning. THAT KEY IS GIVEN IN THE QABALAH. Therefore thiswork should be of interest to every biblical and theological student."
"Let every Christianask himself this question: "How can I think to understand the Old Testamentif I be ignorant of the construction put upon it by that nation whose sacredbook it formed; and if I know not the meaning of the Old Testament, howcan I expect to understand the New?"
"Were the real andsublime philosophy of the Bible better known, there would be fewer fanaticsand sectarians. And who can calculate the vastness of the harm done toimpressionable and excitable persons by the bigoted enthusiasts who everand anon come forward as teachers of the people? How many suicides arethe result of religious mania and depression! What farragos of sacrilegiousnonsense have not been promulgated as the true meanings of the hooks ofthe Prophets and the Apocalypse! Given a translation of the sacred HebrewBook, in many instances incorrect, as the foundation, an inflamed and anill-balanced mind as the worker thereon, what sort of edifice can be expectedas the result?"
"I say fearlesslyto the fanatics and bigots of the present day: You have cast down the Sublimeand Infinite One from His throne, and in His stead have placed the demonof unbalanced force; you have substituted a deity of disorder and of jealousyfor a God of order and of love; you have perverted the teachings of thecrucified One. Therefore at this present time an English translation ofthe Qabalah is almost a necessity, for the Zohar has never before beentranslated into the language of this country, nor, as far as I am aware,into any modern European vernacular." 19.
Perusing further we see the presentationof a Trinity, alongside other "Christian" statements but it is clearlynot Christian in content. The way to heaven is described through the useof Gematria.
"Thus the Qabalahis called ChKMh NSThRH, Chokhmah Nesthorah, 'the secret wisdom;' and ifwe take the initials of these two words Ch and N, we form by the secondkind of Notariqon the word ChN, Chen, 'grace.' Similarly, from the initialsand finals of the words MI IOLH LNV HShMIMH, Mi Iaulah Leno Ha-Shamayimah,'Who shall go up for us to heaven?' (Deut. xxx. 12), are formed MILH, Milah'circumcision,' and IHVH, the Tetragrammaton, implying that God hath ordainedcircumcision as the way to heaven." 20.
Gematria is based on the relativenumerical values of words. Words of similar numerical values are consideredto be explanatory of each other. In other words, it is lettered numerologywhich explains that circumcision is the way to heaven.

However, Galatians5:2-6 states: "Behold, I Paulsay unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtorto do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoeverof you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we throughthe Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christneither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faithwhich worketh by love."

Influenceof Kabbalah

Mysticism is met with variedreactions within the Jewish community.

"…Like most subjectsof Jewish belief, the area of mysticism is wide open to personal interpretation.Some traditional Jews take mysticism very seriously. Mysticism is an integralpart of Chasidic Judaism, for example, and passages from kabbalistic sourcesare routinely included in traditional prayerbooks." 21.
"Other traditionalJews take mysticism with a grain of salt. One prominent Orthodox Jew, whenintroducing a speaker on the subject of Jewish mysticism, said basically'it's nonsense, but it's Jewish nonsense, and the study of anything Jewish,even nonsense, is worthwhile.'" 22.
Jewish historian Graetz claimed that the Cabala is at variance with Orthodox Judaism. Other anti-Cabalists such as Theodore Reinach declare that the Cabala is:
"…a subtle poisonwhich enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it.; SalomonReinach calls it 'one of the worst aberrations of the human mind.'" 23.
Michael Sidlofsky in "Kabbalah-ABrief History" shows that the Kabbalah has fluctuated in its popularity among Jews.
"The history of Jewishmysticism has taken some dramatic turns, from elite, secretive club tomass movement to object of scorn and back and forth. Right now the Kabbalahseems to be enjoying unprecedented popularity. Will it become, either inits Orthodox or Jewish Renewal forms, the Judaism of the future?It is premature to say so, but one thing seems clear: given the trend towardseasier and faster mass communication and the increasing hunger for genuinespirituality, Jewish mysticism as a widespread phenomenon is here to staythis time." 24.
Kabbalah is also making a hugeinflux into North America. Michael Sidlofsky maintains the interest in mysticism has risen dramatically.
"…A more traditionalAmerican Orthodox rabbi, Aryeh Kaplan, spent the seventies and early eightiesreconstructing the forgotten Jewish meditative tradition by researchinglong-neglected kabbalistic texts, many only extant in manuscript. He boldlydisregarded the centuries-old rabbinic ban on the dissemination of kabbalisticpractices among those under forty and unschooled in Bible and Talmud--aresult of the Shabbetai Tzvi tragedy--by teaching Jewish meditation classesand publishing practical manuals and source readers on the subject. Thankslargely to Kaplan's efforts, many Orthodox rabbis and lay people have taughtand written about Kabbalah, recognizing its appeal to non-practicing Jewssearching for spritual guidance." 25.
Israeli journalist, Hannah Newman,wrote "Masters of the Blinding Light" to warn fellow Jews of the infiltrationof New Age mysticism, via Kabbalah, into Judaism. The door-to-door saleof the Zohar throughout Israel may result in the replacement of the Torah with Kabbalah.
"In a similar developmenton the mystical side of Judaism, N[ew] A[ge] spokesmen applaud orthodoxJewish teachers for recently releasing Kabbalah from the restricted accessimposed on it by past generations of Jewish sages, making its teachingsavailable to all, and even encouraging free exploration without rabbinicsupervision. In Israel the Zohar (a major Kabbalistic work) is even beingsold door-to-door. [This is strictly forbidden under the 'old order' ofJudaism, but NAers are not concerned with proper understanding of the teaching,since Kabbalah is simply one path to their goal of getting as many peopleas possible, as quickly as possible, into 'contact with the spirit realm'].These teachers are being hailed as 'co-conspirators' who are furtheringthe NA Plan. [not stated whether deliberately or unknowingly, but the resultswill be the same.] From the NA standpoint, however, the value of JewishKabbalah lies only in its teachings which overlap "the other ancient occultdoctrines", specifically: reincarnation; traffic with angels, demons anddeparted human spirits; 'monism' (light and darkness, good and evil, areall sides of G-d); attributing 'secret messages' or 'hidden meanings' towords or statements which mean something else at face value; self-inducedtrances, resulting in visions or 'astral' (out-of-body) travels; and harnessingof superhuman powers by pronouncing sacred names. [It is noteworthy thatnone of these can be supported by a clear (pashat or darash) Torah passage,while some are expressly forbidden; yet they are arguably the best-knownelements of Kabbalah today. The fact that they are accepted by so manyTorah Jews in spite of their dubious relevance to Torah, only supportsthe claims of the NA missionaries.] The NA goal is to promote a Kabbalahin the Jewish community which goes through successive 'transformations'until it is finally severed from all links with the Torah, thus 'recovering'its 'purity'." 26.

As Jesus said to the Pharisees: "Your traditions have made the Word of God of none effect"

H. Loewe's articleon "The Kabbalah" in Hastings' Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics declaresits impact on modern Judaism:
"[Kabbalism] has contributedto the formation of modern Judaism, for, without the influence of the Kabbala,Judaism today might have been one-sided, lacking in warmth and imagination.Indeed, so deeply has it penetrated into the body of the faith that manyideas and prayers are now immovably rooted in the general body of orthodoxdoctrine and practice. This element has not only become incorporated, butit has fixed its hold on the affections of the Jews and cannot be eradicated."27.
Whatis Kabbalah?
"The secretthings belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealedbelong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the wordsof this law." Deut.29:29
According to "The Kabbalah Unveiled"website, the Kabbalah is esoteric doctrine.
"The Qabalah may bedefined as being the esoteric Jewish doctrine. It is called in Hebrew QBLH,Qabalah, which is derived from the root QBL, Qibel, meaning 'to receive'.This appellation refers to the custom of handing down the esoteric traditionby oral transmission, and is nearly allied to 'tradition'." 28.
Another website, "Kabbalah: TheMisunderstood Doctrine," discloses that the Talmud alludes to a secretwisdom for an elect group of students.
"The Talmud containsvague hints of a mystical school of thought that was taught only to themost advanced students and was not committed to writing…" 29.
It was Pico della Mirandola'sthesis that the secret oral tradition of the Rabbinic sages were no lessdivinely inspired than the Law given to Moses. Mirandolastates that because they were not written they were passed through a 'regularsuccession of revelations.'
"In exactly the sameway, when the true interpretation of the Law according to the command ofGod, divinely handed down to Moses, was revealed, it was called the Kabbalah,a word which is the same among the Hebrews as `reception' among ourselves;for this reason, of course, that one man from another, by a sort of hereditaryright, received that doctrine not through written records but through aregular succession of revelations....In these books principally resides,…the spring of understanding, that is, the ineffable theology of the supersubstantialdeity; the fountain of wisdom, that is, the exact metaphysic of the intellectualand angelic forms; and the stream of knowledge, that is, the most steadfastphilosophy of natural things." 30.
Gerry Rose, author of The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation of Freemasonry presentsthe fallacy that this Ancient Wisdom was passed down from Moses to the elitedisciples and that only the initiated could understand Kabbalah.
"According to tradition'...the Kabbalah was the fount of ancient wisdom that Moses passed downto elite disciples, an esoteric doctrine that only an elect can interpret.'"31.
"The Authenticity of Kabbalah"ascribes to the Kabbalah the secrets of life which are supposedly hiddenin the Torah.
"'The Kabbalah' uncoversmany of the infinite layers of the secrets of life, of Creation, of thesoul, of the heavenly spheres. It penetrates beyond the garments and thebody of the Torah. It is the very core and soul of Torah, the ultimaterevelation of Divinity - exposing the inner meaning, effects and purposeof Torah and mitzvot. The illumination emanating from the Kabbalah ignitesthe soul of man, setting it on fire in the awareness of a deeper and higherreality. Its study and insights are themselves mystical experiences. TheKabbalah is all this - but always and exclusively within the context ofTorah." 32.
Moses warned Israel in Deuteronomy4:2:
"Ye shallnot add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish oughtfrom it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which Icommand you."
OralTraditions

The term "Qabalah," in Hebrew signifies "reception", or "a doctrine orally received" in which the"speculative, philosophical and theosophical doctrines of Israel are tobe found." These doctrines were originally contained in two books, the SepherYetzirah and the Zohar".33.

The first Book, the SepherYetzirah is believed to be contemplations of Abraham. This contradictsthe view that the oral traditions were taught by God to angelsand then transmitted to Adam.

"…The Sepher Yetzirah,or Book of Creation, is [believed to be]… 'a monologue on the part of Abrahamin which, by the contemplation of all that is around him, he ultimatelyarrives at the conclusion of the unity of God'…" 34.
The second and main work of theKabbalah is called the "Zohar." From Adolphe Franck and other sources,including Zohar treatises, we see slightly different renditions as to how the Zohar was conceived.
"… The immense compilationknown as the Sepher-Ha-Zohar, or Book of Light, is… of greater importanceto the study of Cabalistic philosophy. According to the Zohar itself, the'Mysteries of Wisdom' where imparted to Adam by God whilst he was stillin the Garden of Eden, in the book delivered by the angel Razael. FromAdam the book passed to Seth ...Enoch ...Noah... Abraham, and later toMoses, one of its principal exponents.4. Other Jewish writers declare…that Moses received itfirst time on Mount Sinai…to the SeventyElders… to David and Solomon… Ezra… Nehemiah and finally to the Rabbisof the early Christian era.5" 35.
The Jewish authority on mysticism,Adolphe Franck, and author Drach, relate from Talmud treatises the strange manner in which thesecret oral teachings of the Zohar were developed and put into writing.
"…the Zohar had remaineda purely oral tradition… written down by the disciples of Simon ben Jochai.The Talmud relates that for twelve years the Rabbi Simon and his son Eliezerconcealed themselves in a cavern, where sitting in the sand up to theirnecks, they meditated on the sacred law and were frequently visited bythe prophet Elias.6. In this way, Jewish legend adds, the great book ofthe Zohar was composed and committed to writing by the Rabbi's son Eliezerand his secretary the Rabbi Abba.7" 36.
According to the Introductionto The Kabbalah Unveiled byMcGregor Mathers, who co-founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn,in 1888 this secret oral tradition of the sages was believed to have beentaught by God to angels, who then taught it to fallen humans. Abraham isviewed as a mystic who taught the Egyptians some of their occult doctrine.
"The Qabalah was firsttaught by God himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophicschool in Paradise. After the Fall the angels most graciously communicatedthis heavenly doctrine to the disobedient children of earth, to furnishthe protoplasts with the means of returning to their pristine nobilityand felicity."
"From Adam it passedover to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated withit to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrineto ooze out. It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledgeof it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophicalsystems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiatedinto the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became most proficient init during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted toit the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons init from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science the law-giverwas enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his managementof the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseriesof the nation. He covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrinein the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deuteronomy.Moses also initiated the seventy elders into the secrets of this doctrine,and they again transmitted them from hand to hand." 37.
Speculative& Practical Kabbalah

Until his death in 1982, Gershom Scholem was a renownedprofessor of Jewish mysticism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was considered the pioneer of the modern study ofJewish mysticism. His many writings explain these concepts in the Talmud, Zohar and the Kabbalah.

In "Zohar, the Book of Splendor:Basic Readings from the Kabbalah", Scholem describes the importance andauthority of the Zohar to Judaism.

"The book of Zohar,the most important literary work of the Kabbalah, lies before us in somemeasure inaccessible and silent, as befits a work of secret wisdom…To havedetermined the formation and development over a long period of time ofthe religious convictions of the widest circles in Judaism, and particularlyof those most sensitive to religion, and, what is more, to have succeededin establishing itself for three centuries, from about 1500 to 1800,asa source of doctrine and revelation equal in authority to the Bible andTalmud, and of the same canonical rank---this is a prerogative thatcan be claimed by no other work of Jewish literature." 38.
Gershom Scholem explained the contentsof the Zohar, and its various components, including "the Midrash ha-Neelam(The Secret Midrash) and Sitre Torah (Secrets of the Torah), which is alarge number of Pentateuch portions…" 39. According to Scholem, the latteris a deeply mystical treatment of the Torah:
"The Secret Midrash…avoidsgenuinely mystical and theosophical trains of thought…The Secrets of theTorah, on the other hand, which in the main was composed without the useof Midrash form or the addition of names, represents the transition fromphilosphical-eschatological allegory to genuinely mystical exegesis. TheIdra Rabba (The Great Assembly) describes, … the mystical 'figure' of theDeity in the symbol of the Primal Man…" 40.
Scholem expounds the belief thatthe Zohar, composed of contradictions and folk-tales, is the anonymouswork of centuries, "like the Bible" --
".. the Zohar hasbeen regarded…as a work without unity…in which the most varied and oftencontradictory forces of the kabbalistic movement found expression…Mosesde Leon was…regarded as the redactor of ancient writings and fragments…Thetheory that 'primitive' sources and documents have been preserved in theZohar..in revised form is today widespread. Thus the Zohar…would reallybe, even in its external beginnings, a deposit of the creative folk-spiritand, like the Bible and Talmud, the anonymous work of centuries…" 41.
We assert that the Bible, unlike the secret oraltraditions and teachings, is neither an anonymous work nor is it comprisedof contradictions, myths, or fairytales.
"All scriptureis given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof,for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God maybe throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim.3:16

"Thy wordis true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endurethforever." Psalm 119:160

"Every wordof God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Addthou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." Prov. 30:5-6

Gershom Scholem states that the"Secret Midrash" writings of the Zohar were in all probability the earliestpart of the work. His profile of the Jewish mystic who authored the Kabbalahbegins with his education in the Talmud:
"Behind the wholestands the living personality of a mystic who, starting with philosphicaland talmudic education of his time, lets himself be ever more deeply drawnto the mystical and gnostic ideas of the Kabbalah, and finally gives uphis philisophical interests altogether, developing instead a truly astonishinggenius for mystical homiletics…such is the author of these most importantparts of the Zohar--no redactor or collector but a homiletic genius. Itwas Kabbalah, as it had developed before his time, and having become hisspiritual home, which he, with unexpected and impressive power, constructedfrom out of the text of Scripture and the ancient haggadic motifs ofthe Midrash…" 42.
Out ofthe Abundance of the Heart

"Ancient haggadic motifs ofthe Midrash" constructed out of the text of Scripture also comprise anesoteric volume titled, Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesisby Robert Graves and Robert Patai. Robert Graves also wrote TheWhite Goddess and I, Claudius.The White Goddess is frequently studied by those involved in the occultand witchcraft. Robert Patai also wrote many books and was Director ofResearch of the Theodor Herzl Institute in New York and also Director ofthe Palestine Institute of Folklore and Ethnology. Hebrew Mythsstates that he was a Biblical scholar.

In a private correspondence,this writer received the following description of the book's thesis thatGenesis was a collection of haggadic myths:

"…The premise of thebook seems to be that the Bible is a book of myths, very much likethe Greek myths. And the authors attempt to show how Hebrew myths and Greekmyths are related. In the course of writing about the book of Genesis theyquote extensively from writings such as the Talmud, The Gospel ofSaint Thomas, Midrash, apocryphal books, pagan myths, the Kabbalaand various kabbalistic works, The Book of the Dead, Cave of Treasures,Sepher, Enuma Elish, Sephir Hadar Zeqenim (midrashic explanations tothe Bible), Imre Noam, the Koran, Mishna, Massekhet Soferim, Megilla,Mekhilta, Midrash Alphabetot attributed to Rabbi Akiba (second centuryA.D.) but actually compiled much later, lots of sephers including "SepherRaziel, a kabbalistic work on the secrets of Heaven, creation, angels,amulets, etc", Sode Raza "a Kabbalistic work by Eleazar ben Judah of Worms,,Targum this and that, the Zohar which the authors say is the'Bible of the Kabbalists, written by the Spanish Kabbalist Moses deLeon, in Aramaic, during the thirteenth century. It is a commentary onthe Bible, pseudepigraphically attributed to Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, thefamous Mishna-teacher. First printed at Mantua, 1558-60, in three volumes.'and other Zohars…." 43.
The authors of HebrewMyths: The Book of Genesis also suggest that thereare missing sacred documents which contain a more accurate record of creationthan Genesis:
"The book's authorswrite that 'All pre-Biblical sacred documents in Hebrew have been eitherlost or purposely suppressed...Post-Biblical sacred documents are abundant.In the thousand years after the Bible was first canonised, the Jews ofEurope, Asia and Africa wrote prolifically. Theirs were either attemptsto clarify the Mosaic Law; or historical, moralistic, anecdotal and homileticcomments on Biblical passages.... although the canonical books were regardedas written by divine inspiration and the least taint of polytheism hadtherefore to be exorcised from them, the apocryphal books were treatedmore leniently. Many suppressed myths were also allowed to re-emergein the unquestionably orthodox context of the post-Biblical midrashim....Lilith, Eve's predecessor, has been wholly exorcised from Scripture, thoughshe is remembered by Isaiah as inhabiting desolate ruins [but not in theKing James Version, only in some modern versions]. She seems, from midrashicaccounts of her sexual promiscuity, to have been a fertility goddess..."
"So, it seems thatthese two authors have used these Kabbalistic writings to make their casethat the Bible is a book of myths and in quoting from these writings theyreveal to the reader just how low-down and wicked the writers of the Kabbalaand the Midrashim, etc. were. And so I wonder how anyone who has read thisawful stuff would want to urge others to read it and give it respectablitiy."44.
In "An Explanation of Midrash",Jacob Prasch states: "A classical work of Midrash in Judaism is theMidrash Rabba on Genesis (Berashith). Another is Lamentations Rabba".Prasch also upholds the Talmud as authoritative for understanding theBible, i.e. "The Talmudtells us there are multiple interpretations" and "It takes the wisdomofthe ancients to really understand these things...not the wisdom of the16th century, but the wisdom of the first century." 45.

In another article, Mr. Praschstates that the Midrash of the Jewish sages at the time of the second temple period is wisdom Christians can turn to with full confidence since these sages neverdeny the authenticity of the Biblical accounts.

"We have, along thisline, advocated that Christians familiarize themselves with the works ofthose who have understood this from Alfred Edersheim to Arnold Fruchtenbaum.We have also tried to re-acquaint the church with the lost art of Jewishhermeneutics in terms of New Testament uses of Midrash, and the illustrativeHebraic models of typology and allegory … What is perhaps most absurd isthe fact that contrary to both New Testament Christianity and OrthodoxJudaism… In the Judaic midrashim we similarly never see a denial ofthe historical authenticity of biblical accounts.
"…any early examplesof Judaic Midrash... It is these early examples of rabbinic midrashicwritings that are closest in time frame to the authorship date of the NewTestament. Having looked at New Testament narrative from a Midrashic perspectivefor years and read every major Christian scholar who addressed thesubject …" 46.
Are we to understand that Mr.Prasch is referring to the same Genesis Midrash and Talmud referenced byGraves and Patai's Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis?Our correspondent continues to be amazed that the teachers of the HebrewRoots of Christianity would promote such works:
"What I find interestingis that the excerpts from these sources are so wicked. The 'fleshingout of the Bible' that is done by these writings not only have many variationsbut have the persons written about in the Bible doing very evil thingsthat we have never read about in the Bible. And God is written about assaying and doing all sorts of things that are out of character and neverwritten about in the Bible. Very evil motives and actions are attributedto God in these writings. I am not surprised that the authors of this bookwho obviously do not believe the Bible is truthful would make their caseusing such writings, but I am perplexed that many of the Hebrew Roots peoplewho claim to be Christians would also be using these wicked writings. 47.
Peter Michas informs us furtherthat Jesus quoted the Midrashim and the Talmud, apparently with approval:
"… The New Testamentis in the pattern of the Jewish traditional work of Torah, Mishnah,Haggadah, Halakah, Talmud and Midrash, but inspired by God Himselffor the common people. These Hebraic works as well as theInspired Scriptures were quoted from by Jesus and all the writersof the New Testament. But even now, to have full comprehension, wemust read the scriptures in the proper Hebraic context…Most all of theJudaic writings have been preserved for us and now translated into properEnglish directly from the Hebrew…" 48.
Avi ben Moredechai also referencesthe Oral law, separate and distinct from the written Bible, as having beentaught by Paul and Jesus:
"Rabbi (Haham)Sha’ul was a scholarly teacher of Torah, both of the Oral and Written codes.Not only did he order his life by it, but he also taught it to others,born Jews and born Gentiles alike. Since Sha’ul followed Messiah Y’shua,who also taught the Oral and Written Torah, I submit (at this time in mylife) that we should be following in the footsteps of Judaism’s great teachersof G-d’s Law… I also recognize that our Rabbi Y’shua also had His Gemara(discussion and teaching) on the rabbinic Mishnah and the written codeof Sinai. Thus, we are His talmidim or students of His Oral Traditionswhich is the proper definition of the term 'Gospel.' We are to follow HisMishnah and Gemara, i.e., His Talmud…ancient scholars and sages were farmore knowledgeable on the Oral Traditions than we could ever hope to be."49.
From Hebrew Myths: TheBook of Genesis, Genesis Rabba and folios from theTalmud and Midrash are cited excerpts regarding Adam's bestiality, themyth of Lilith and other unscriptural teachings. (cf. Part IV)
Chapter 10
"(b) Some say thatGod created man a woman in His own image on the Sixth Day, giving themcharge over the world, [as in the Bible] but that Eve did not yet exist.Now, God had set Adam to name every beast, bird and other living thing.When they passed before him in pairs, male and female, Adam-- being alreadylike a twenty-year-old man-- felt jealous of their loves, and though hetried coupling with each female in turn, found no satisfaction in the act.He therefore cried: 'Every creature but I has a proper mate', and prayedGod would remedy this injustice. from Gen. Rab. 17-4; B. Yebamot 63a"
"(c) God then formedLilith, the first woman, just as He had formed Adam, except that He usedfilth and sediment instead of pure dust. From Adam's union with this demoness,and with another like her named Naamah, Tubal Cain's sister, sprang Asmodeusand innumerable demons that still plague mankind. Many generations late,Lilith and Naamah came to Solomon's judgment seat, disguised as harlotsof Jerusalem. from Yalqut Reubeni ad. Gen. II 21: IV. 8
"Then Lilith desertsAdam because she didn't want to lie beneath him during sex because shewas his equal. Adam complained to God who sent angels after her. They foundher beside the Red Sea where she had been bearing demons (more than 100a day) The angels told her to return to Adam or they would drown her. Sheargues with them and tells them that God has ordered her to strangle babies. She also seduces dreaming men. Then God makes Adam another mate but Adamis disgusted by the sight of her creation. God knew that he had failedonce more, and took First Eve away. (God failed?) God tried a third time,and made her out of Adam's rib, braided her hair and adorned her with 24pieces of jewellery before waking Adam up. Adam approved. Gen Rab 161"
"Some say God createdEve from a tail ending in a sting which had been part of Adam's body .God cut this off, and the stump-- now a useless coccyx-- is still carriedby men. Gen Rab 134 B. Erubin 18a "
"Others say that God'soriginal thought had been to create two human beings, male and female;but instead He designed a single one with a male face looking forward,and a female face looking back. B. Erubin 18a"
"Still others holdthat Adam was originally created as an androgyne of male and female bodiesjoined back to back. This made walking difficult and conversation awkward,so God divided the androgyne, and gave each half a new rear. These separatebeings He placed in Eden, forbidding them to couple. Gen Rab 55 LevRab 14.1 and other sources" 50.
Are teachers of the Hebrew Roots of Christianity really saying that these writings do not contradict the Word of God?

Well does Matthew7:15-20 warn: "Beware offalse prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly theyare ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gathergrapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every goodtree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evilfruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupttree bring forth good fruit. Every tree thatbringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Whereforeby their fruits ye shall know them."

Footnotes

1.    Jewish Encyclopœdia,article on Cabala; as Cited in Nesta H. Webster, op.cit., p.29.
2.    Matter,
Histoiredu Gnosticisme,I.44, (1844)as Cited: Webster, Ibid. p.28.
3.    D. F.Ranking; Some Notes on Various Gnostic Sects and their PossibleInfluence in Freemasonry,republished from ArsQuatuor Coronatorum (Vol. XXIV, p. 202, 1911) in pamphlet form, p.7.;as Cited Webster, Ibid. Pg. 32
4.    NestaH. Webster; op. cit. p. 29.
5.    JacobPrasch, Explaining the Midrash; www.cw.co.za/moriel/midrash.html
6.    HarryGersh "The Sacred Books of the Jews," http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
7.    Webster,op.cit., p.10
8.    AncientWisdom and Secret Sects ; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
9.    Webster;op.cit., p.11
10.    HarryGersh, The Sacred Books of the Jews
11.    KabbalahFaq, Colin Low, 1996; www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/faq.htm
12.    MichaelSidlofsky, Kabbalah-A Brief History; www.shamash.org/kavannah/kabbalah.html
13.    Dr.Christian Ginsburg, The Kabbalah,pp.172,173; as Cited in Webster, Ibid.,p. 9.
14.    JoshuaJehuda, L’antisemitisme, Miroir du Monde["Anti-Semitism, Mirror of the World"-p. 164]
15.    JamesWebb, The Occult Underground, Open CourtPress, 1976, p. 221.
16.    Drach(De l'Harmonie entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue,II.p.30) says that Piccodella Mirando paid a Jew 7000 ducats for the Cabalistic MSS. from whichhe drew his thesis.; Webster,op.cit.,p.85]
17.    (1)-JewishEncyclopœdia, articles on Cabala and Reuchlin;Webster,op.cit.p.86
18.    (2)-JewishEncyclopœdia.,article on Cabala; Webster,op.cit.p.86
19.    IntroductionTo Kabbalah Unveiled By S.L. McGregor Mathers; www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html]
20.    IntroductionTo Kabbalah Unveiled By S.L. McGregor Mathers; www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html]
21.    Kabbalah:The Misunderstood Doctrine; http://baptist1.com/judaism/kabbalah.htm
22.    Ibid.
23.    Vulliaud,p.20, quoting Theodore Reinach, Historie des Israelites,p.221 and SalomonReinach, Orpheus, p. 299. As Cited in Webster, p.9]
24.    MichaelSidlofsky, Kabbalah-A Brief History; www.shamash.org/kavannah/kabbalah.html
25.    MichaelSidlofsky, Kabbalah-A Brief History; www.shamash.org/kavannah/kabbalah.html
26.    HannahNewman; "Masters of the Blinding Light,"http://www.ovrlnd.com/Cults/exposeofthenewage.html
27.    Hastings'Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics; article on the Kabbala by H. Loewe;Webster,op.cit.,p.374
28.    TheKabbalah Unveiled; www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html
29.    Kabbalah:The Misunderstood Doctrine; http://baptist1.com/judaism/kabbalah.htm
30.    Picodella Mirandola ; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
31.    GerryRose ,"The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation of Freemasonry"http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
32.    "TheAuthenticity of Kabbalah"; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
33.    NestaH. Webster; p.7, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements,Omni Publications, Eighth edition, 1964.
34.    Ibid,p.7.
35.    (4).Zohar, section Bereschith, folio 55 and section Lekh-Lekha, folio 76 (dePauly's trans., Vol. I pp.431, 446; 5. Adolphe Franck, La Kabbale, p. 39;J.P. Stehelin, The Traditions of the Jews, I. 145 (1748); as Cited in Webster,Ibid., p. 8.
36.    (6).Adolphe Franck, op.cit.,p.68, quoting Talmud treatise Sabbath folio 34;Dr. Christian Ginsburg, The Kabbalah, p. 85; Drach, De l' Harmonie entrel'Eglise et la Synagogue, I. 457; 7. Adolphe Franck, op.cit., p. 69; asCited in Webster, Ibid., p. 8.
37.    McGregorMathers, Introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html
38.    GershomScholem, Zohar, the Book of Splendor: Basic Readings from theKabbalah, p. vii
39.    Ibid.,p. xi
40.    Ibid.,p. xii
41.    Ibid.,p. xiii
42.    Ibid.,p. xv-xvi
43.    Hebrew Myths: The Bookof Genesis by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai. 1964Doubleday and Co., Inc. It is copyrighted 1963; private email correspondence, Feb2,199 re:Hebrew Myths
44.    Ibid.
45.    JacobPrasch, Explaining the Midrash; www.cw.co.za/moriel/midrash.html
46.    JacobPrasch; Satans Seduction of the Hebrew Root Movement
47.    Privateemail correspondence, Feb 2, 199 re:Hebrew Myths
48.    PeterMichas, http://www.ez/com/~peterm/HB.GK.RF.HTML
49.    Aviben Mordechai, Halacha, www.millenium7000.com/halacha.htm
50.    Hebrew Myths: The Bookof Genesis, Robert Graves and Raphael Patai.; Ch10,p.65; Doubleday and Co., Inc. 1964 It is copyrighted 1963.
 
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