THE KABBALAH Refuted!
"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an 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 the Old Testament that the Hebrew people fell from obeying the Law and embraced witchcraft and sorcery, Baal worship and all manner of idolatry. Throughout the Old Testament we encounter their obedience, disobedience, repentance and constant struggle to remain faithful to God and His Law. Their tenacity and desire to obey the Law cannot be disputed. The question will be addressed whether the Jew's disobedient practices were, and are still, taught in the oral traditions which evolved into the Talmud and Kabbalah and which are referenced by various Hebrew Roots leaders.
The Kabbalah itself consists of 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 generally is subdivided into four sections: meditative, devotional, mystical and magical. It is for this reason that Kabbalah is regarded as an esoteric offshoot of Judaism.
The gnosis of the Kabbalah is well recognized by Jewish scholars. From an article cited in the Jewish Encyclopedia, we see the intimate relationship between Gnosticism and the Cabala:
"...The Jewish Encyclopedia quotes the opinion that 'the central doctrine of Gnosticism -a movement closely connected with Jewish mysticism-was nothing else than the attempt to liberate the soul and unite it with God;' but as this was apparently to be effected 'through the employment of mysteries, incantations, names of angels,' etc… it will be seen how widely even this phase of Gnosticism differs from Christianity and identifies itself with the magical Cabala of the Jews. Indeed, the man generally recognized as the founder of Gnosticism, a Jew commonly known as Simon Magus, was not only a Cabalist mystic, but avowedly a magician… instituted a priesthood of the Mysteries and practiced occult arts and exorcisms…" 1.
M. Matter states in Histoire du Gnosticisme, that Jewish scholars fully understand that the secret oral traditions of the Cabala were previous to any Christian Gnosticism.
"The Cabala is anterior to the Gnosis, an opinion which Christian writers little understand, but which the erudites of Judaism profess with a legitimate assurance."2.
In Some Notes on Various Gnostic Sects and their Possible Influence in Freemasonry, D.F. Ranking remarks that the secret oral tradition of the Cabalists confirms them as being Gnostics.
"This claim to the possession of a secret oral tradition, whether known under the name of [similar to yvwois only in Greek]…or of Cabala, confirms the conception of the Gnostics as Cabalists and shows how far they had departed from Christian teaching. For if only in this idea of 'one doctrine for the ignorant and another for the initiated,' that Gnostics had restored the very system which Christianity had come to destroy."3.
Author Nesta Webster concurs with M. Matter and other historians that Gnosticism involved an attempt to Cabalize Christianity.
"... M. Matter is therefore 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 to cabalize Christianity by mingling its pure and simple teaching with theosophy and even magic." 4.
Jacob Prasch of Moriel, however, does not recognize Jewish mysticism as Gnosticism:
"People began reinterpreting the Bible, not using the Jewish method of midrash, but using Greek methods. Typology and allegory. Midrash uses typology and allegory-symbols-in order to illustrate and illumine doctrine…"
"The symbolism illustrates the doctrine, which is itself stated plainly elsewhere in Scripture…In the Gnostic world of Greek thinking, the opposite happens. Gnostics claim to have received a subjective, mystical insight-called a gnosis-into the symbols. They then reinterpret the plain meaning of the text in light of the gnosis. For Gnostics, symbolism is the basis for their doctrine, contrary to the ancient Jewish methods…" 5.
In The Sacred Books of the Jews, Harry Gersh certifies the early origins of Jewish mysticism:
"Jewish mysticism began in Biblical days, long before the term Kabbalah was invented. By the first century it had become a proper subject for scholarly study. Philo Judaeus speculated on the Platonic idea of emanations as intermediaries between God and the physical world. The Roman philosopher Plotinus (205-270) traveled in the East and returned to combine Indian, Persian, Greek, and Jewish mystic theories into a systematic structure of these emanations." 6.
"…H. Loewe, in an article on the Kabbala in Hastings' Encyclopœdia of Religion and Ethics, says: 'This secret mysticism was no late growth. …we can be fairly certain that its roots stretch back very far and that the mediæval and Geonic Kabbala 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, including those of the Gnostics and Pythagoreans. The Kabbalah did not restrict itself solely to instruction on the apprehension of God but included teachings on cosmology, angelology, and magic." 8
Despite God's many warnings, the Jews incorporated paganism into their traditions.
"… In spite of the imprecations against sorcery contained in the law of Moses, the Jews, disregarding these warnings, caught the contagion and mingled the sacred tradition they had inherited with magical ideas partly borrowed from other races and partly of their own devising. At the same time the speculative side of the Jewish Cabala borrowed from the philosophy of the Persian Magi, of the Neo-Platonists, and of the Neo-Pythagorean. There is, then, some justification for the anti-cabalists contention that what we know today as the Cabala is not of purely Jewish origin." 9.
Harry Gersh shows the migration of the Middle Eastern Kabbalists throughout Europe:
"From Babylonia and Palestine, Jewish mysticism moved into the Jewish communities of Europe and 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 in magic; others were mainly 'speculative', emphasizing philosophical explanations; many combined practical and speculative Kabbalah in equal parts." 10.
History of Kabbalah
Colin Low's Kabbalah FAQ indicates that the origins of Kabbalah date from remote antiquity.
"…Kabbalah is a mystical and magical tradition which originated nearly two thousand years ago and has been practiced continuously during that time. It has been practiced by Jew and non- Jew alike for about five hundred years. On the Jewish side it has been an integral and influential part of Judaism. On the Hermetic side it has created a rich mystical and magical tradition with its own validity, a tradition which has survived despite the prejudice generated through existing within a strongly Christian culture." 11.
Michael Sidlofsky of Toronto, writing on "Kabbalah and Jewish Renewal" states that Kabbalah...
"…is the most commonly-used term for the Jewish mystical tradition, especially the kind which originated in twelfth-century France and spread through Europe, the Middle East and eventually world-wide, to this day. The two main varieties of pre-kabbalistic Jewish mysticism are called Maaseh Merkavah and Maaseh Bereshit (more on these below), and the particular variety emerging in eighteenth-century Eastern Europe and continuing among Ashkenazic Jews until today is called Hasidism." 12.
Most scholars concur that these secret oral traditions were first committed to writing around the thirteenth century. Dr. Christian Ginsburg states in "The Kabbalah":
"…The first date at which the Zohar is definitely known to have appeared is the end of the thirteenth century when it was committed to writing by a Spanish Jew, Moses de Leon…." 13.
Renaissance scholar Pico della Mirandola - a Gnostic, Hermeticist and Cabalist - was described by Vicomte Léon 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 himself to studying the Cabbala under the direction of Jewish masters such as Jehuda Abravanel:
"It was in the princely house of Pico de Mirandola that the Jewish scholars used to meet….The discovery of the Jewish Cabbala, which he imparted to various enlightened Christians contributed far more than the return to Greek sources to the extraordinary spiritual blossoming which is known as the Renaissance. About half a century later, the rehabilitation of the Talmud was to lead to the Reformation….Pico de Mirandola had understood that the indispensable purification of Christian dogma could only be effected after a profound study of the authentic Jewish Cabbala." 14.
James Webb, author of The Occult Underground, wrote that Pico della Mirandola, a student of Marsillo Ficino, founder of the neo-Platonic Academy of Florence, "...conceived of Hermes and Plato as aids to persuading those to religion who would not accept Scripture alone."
"This reasoning appears eventually to have been endorsed by the Church in the case of Pico, who joined to his Hermetism a 'Christian Cabala,' and concocted a universal system in which Cabalistic ideas played a considerable part. Although condemned by a tribunal, Pico's synthesis was rehabilitated in 1493 by Alexander VI, whose recognition of the Cabalist as a loyal son of the Church seemed to give some authority to Pico's position. It should be remembered in this context that Sixtus IV (Pope, 1471-84) had himself translated seventy Cabalistic books into Latin, and that the concept of the 'Christian Cabala' was not peculiar to Italian thought. Reuchlin, the foremost Orientalist of the time, and the author of the first Hebrew grammar, came nearest to success in the attempt to transform the Cabala into Christian philosophy - although his pupil Widmanstadt considered the Jewish tradition as 'a Trojan horse introduced into the Church'. But the Hermeticists and Cabalists of the Renaissance were always maintaining their orthodoxy." 15.
Drach's "De l'Harmonie entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue II," confirms that Pico della Mirandola received instruction in the Kabbala. Pico de Mirandola imagined that it held the doctrines of Christianity and therefore encouraged Pope Sixtus IV to order Latin translations for divinity students. 16.
A reference from the Jewish Encyclopœdia's articles on Cabala and Reuchlin, shows the history of the influx of Cabalism into Catholicism and Christianity.
"At the same time the Cabala was introduced into Germany by Reuchlin, who had learnt Hebrew from the Rabbi Jacob b. Jechiel Loans, court physician to Frederick III, and in 1494 published a Cabalistic treatise De Verbo Mirifico, showing that all wisdom and true philosophy are derived from the Hebrews. Considerable alarm appears, however, to have been created by the spread of Rabbinical literature, and in 1509 a Jew converted to Christianity, named Pfefferkorn, persuaded the Emperor Maximilian I to burn all Jewish books except the Old Testament. Reuchlin, consulted on this matter, advised only the destruction of the Toledot Yeshu and of the Sepher Nizzachon by the Rabbi Lipmann, because these works 'were full of blasphemies against Christ and against the Christian religion,' but urged the preservation of the rest. In this defence of Jewish literature he was supported by the Duke of Bavaria, who appointed him professor at Ingoldstadt, but was strongly condemned by the Dominicans of Cologne. In reply to their attacks Reuchlin launched his defence De Arte Cabalistica, glorifying the Cabala, of which the "central doctrine for him was the Messianology around which all its other doctrines grouped themselves.1." 17.
"His whole philosophical system, as he himself admitted, was in fact entirely Cabalistic, and his views were shared by his contemporary Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim. As a result of these teachings a craze for Cabalism spread amongst Christian prelates, statesmen, and warriors, and a number of Christian thinkers took up the doctrines of the Cabala and 'essayed to work them over in their own way.' Athanasius Kircher and Knorr, Baron von Rosenroth, author of the Kabbala Denudata, in the course of the seventeenth century 'endeavoured to spread the Cabala among the Christians by translating Cabalistic works which they regarded as most ancient wisdom.' 'Most of them,' the Jewish Encyclopœdia goes on to observe derisively, 'held the absurd idea that the Cabala contained proofs of the truth of Christianity…. Much that appears Christian [in the Cabala ] is, in fact, nothing but the logical development of certain ancient esoteric doctrines.2'" 18.
S.L. McGregor Mathers', Introduction to the Kabbalah Unveiled is actually Mathers' English translation 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 time a powerful wave of occult thought is spreading through society; thinking men are beginning to awake to the fact that "there are more things in heaven and 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 misconstrued than any other book ever written, contains numberless obscure and mysterious passages which are utterly unintelligible without some key wherewith to unlock their meaning. THAT KEY IS GIVEN IN THE QABALAH. Therefore this work should be of interest to every biblical and theological student."
"Let every Christian ask himself this question: "How can I think to understand the Old Testament if I be ignorant of the construction put upon it by that nation whose sacred book it formed; and if I know not the meaning of the Old Testament, how can I expect to understand the New?"
"Were the real and sublime philosophy of the Bible better known, there would be fewer fanatics and sectarians. And who can calculate the vastness of the harm done to impressionable and excitable persons by the bigoted enthusiasts who ever and anon come forward as teachers of the people? How many suicides are the result of religious mania and depression! What farragos of sacrilegious nonsense have not been promulgated as the true meanings of the hooks of the Prophets and the Apocalypse! Given a translation of the sacred Hebrew Book, in many instances incorrect, as the foundation, an inflamed and an ill-balanced mind as the worker thereon, what sort of edifice can be expected as the result?"
"I say fearlessly to the fanatics and bigots of the present day: You have cast down the Sublime and Infinite One from His throne, and in His stead have placed the demon of unbalanced force; you have substituted a deity of disorder and of jealousy for a God of order and of love; you have perverted the teachings of the crucified One. Therefore at this present time an English translation of the Qabalah is almost a necessity, for the Zohar has never before been translated into the language of this country, nor, as far as I am aware, into any modern European vernacular." 19.
Perusing further we see the presentation of a Trinity, alongside other "Christian" statements but it is clearly not Christian in content. The way to heaven is described through the use of Gematria.
"Thus the Qabalah is called ChKMh NSThRH, Chokhmah Nesthorah, 'the secret wisdom;' and if we take the initials of these two words Ch and N, we form by the second kind of Notariqon the word ChN, Chen, 'grace.' Similarly, from the initials and 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 ordained circumcision as the way to heaven." 20.
Gematria is based on the relative numerical values of words. Words of similar numerical values are considered to be explanatory of each other. In other words, it is lettered numerology which explains that circumcision is the way to heaven.
However, Galatians 5:2-6 states: "Behold, I Paul say 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 debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."
Influence of Kabbalah
Mysticism is met with varied reactions within the Jewish community.
"…Like most subjects of Jewish belief, the area of mysticism is wide open to personal interpretation. Some traditional Jews take mysticism very seriously. Mysticism is an integral part of Chasidic Judaism, for example, and passages from kabbalistic sources are routinely included in traditional prayerbooks." 21.
"Other traditional Jews take mysticism with a grain of salt. One prominent Orthodox Jew, when introducing 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 poison which enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it.; Salomon Reinach calls it 'one of the worst aberrations of the human mind.'" 23.
Michael Sidlofsky in "Kabbalah-A Brief History" shows that the Kabbalah has fluctuated in its popularity among Jews.
"The history of Jewish mysticism has taken some dramatic turns, from elite, secretive club to mass movement to object of scorn and back and forth. Right now the Kabbalah seems to be enjoying unprecedented popularity. Will it become, either in its Orthodox or Jewish Renewal forms, the Judaism of the future? It is premature to say so, but one thing seems clear: given the trend towards easier and faster mass communication and the increasing hunger for genuine spirituality, Jewish mysticism as a widespread phenomenon is here to stay this time." 24.
Kabbalah is also making a huge influx into North America. Michael Sidlofsky maintains the interest in mysticism has risen dramatically.
"…A more traditional American Orthodox rabbi, Aryeh Kaplan, spent the seventies and early eighties reconstructing the forgotten Jewish meditative tradition by researching long-neglected Kabbalistic texts, many only extant in manuscript. He boldly disregarded the centuries-old rabbinic ban on the dissemination of kabbalistic practices among those under forty and unschooled in Bible and Talmud--a result of the Shabbetai Tzvi tragedy--by teaching Jewish meditation classes and publishing practical manuals and source readers on the subject. Thanks largely to Kaplan's efforts, many Orthodox rabbis and lay people have taught and written about Kabbalah, recognizing its appeal to non-practicing Jews searching for spiritual guidance." 25.
Israeli journalist, Hannah Newman, wrote "Masters of the Blinding Light" to warn fellow Jews of the infiltration of New Age mysticism, via Kabbalah, into Judaism. The door-to-door sale of the Zohar throughout Israel may result in the replacement of the Torah with Kabbalah.
"In a similar development on the mystical side of Judaism, New Age spokesmen applaud orthodox Jewish teachers for recently releasing Kabbalah from the restricted access imposed on it by past generations of Jewish sages, making its teachings available to all, and even encouraging free exploration without rabbinic supervision. In Israel the Zohar (a major Kabbalistic work) is even being sold door-to-door. [This is strictly forbidden under the 'old order' of Judaism, but New Agers are not concerned with proper understanding of the teaching, since Kabbalah is simply one path to their goal of getting as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, into 'contact with the spirit realm']. These teachers are being hailed as 'co-conspirators' who are furthering the NA Plan. [not stated whether deliberately or unknowingly, but the results will be the same.] From the NA standpoint, however, the value of Jewish Kabbalah lies only in its teachings which overlap "the other ancient occult doctrines", specifically: reincarnation; traffic with angels, demons and departed human spirits; 'monism' (light and darkness, good and evil, are all sides of G-d); attributing 'secret messages' or 'hidden meanings' to words or statements which mean something else at face value; self-induced trances, resulting in visions or 'astral' (out-of-body) travels; and harnessing of superhuman powers by pronouncing sacred names. [It is noteworthy that none of these can be supported by a clear (pashat or darash) Torah passage, while some are expressly forbidden; yet they are arguably the best-known elements of Kabbalah today. The fact that they are accepted by so many Torah Jews in spite of their dubious relevance to Torah, only supports the claims of the NA missionaries.] The NA goal is to promote a Kabbalah in 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 article on "The Kabbalah" in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics declares its impact on modern Judaism:
"[Kabbalism] has contributed to 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 many ideas and prayers are now immovably rooted in the general body of orthodox doctrine and practice. This element has not only become incorporated, but it has fixed its hold on the affections of the Jews and cannot be eradicated." 27.
What is Kabbalah?
"The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law." Deut. 29:29
According to "The Kabbalah Unveiled" website, the Kabbalah is esoteric doctrine.
"The Qabalah may be defined 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 tradition by oral transmission, and is nearly allied to 'tradition'." 28.
Another website, "Kabbalah: The Misunderstood Doctrine," discloses that the Talmud alludes to a secret wisdom for an elect group of students.
"The Talmud contains vague hints of a mystical school of thought that was taught only to the most advanced students and was not committed to writing…" 29.
It was Pico della Mirandola's thesis that the secret oral tradition of the Rabbinic sages were no less divinely inspired than the Law given to Moses. Mirandola states that because they were not written they were passed through a 'regular succession of revelations.'
"In exactly the same way, when the true interpretation of the Law according to the command of God, 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 hereditary right, received that doctrine not through written records but through a regular succession of revelations....In these books principally resides,… the spring of understanding, that is, the ineffable theology of the supersubstantial deity; the fountain of wisdom, that is, the exact metaphysic of the intellectual and angelic forms; and the stream of knowledge, that is, the most steadfast philosophy of natural things." 30.
Gerry Rose, author of The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation of Freemasonry presents the fallacy that this Ancient Wisdom was passed down from Moses to the elite disciples and that only the initiated could understand Kabbalah.
"According to tradition '...the Kabbalah was the fount of ancient wisdom that Moses passed down to 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 hidden in the Torah.
"'The Kabbalah' uncovers many of the infinite layers of the secrets of life, of Creation, of the soul, of the heavenly spheres. It penetrates beyond the garments and the body of the Torah. It is the very core and soul of Torah, the ultimate revelation of Divinity - exposing the inner meaning, effects and purpose of Torah and mitzvot. The illumination emanating from the Kabbalah ignites the soul of man, setting it on fire in the awareness of a deeper and higher reality. Its study and insights are themselves mystical experiences. The Kabbalah is all this - but always and exclusively within the context of Torah." 32.
Moses warned Israel in Deuteronomy 4:2:
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you."
The term "Qabalah," in Hebrew signifies "reception", or "a doctrine orally received" in which the "speculative, philosophical and theosophical doctrines of Israel are to be found." These doctrines were originally contained in two books, the Sepher Yetzirah and the Zohar". 33.
The first Book, the Sepher Yetzirah is believed to be contemplations of Abraham. This contradicts the view that the oral traditions were taught by God to angels and then transmitted to Adam.
"…The Sepher Yetzirah, or Book of Creation, is [believed to be]… 'a monologue on the part of Abraham in which, by the contemplation of all that is around him, he ultimately arrives at the conclusion of the unity of God'…" 34.
The second and main work of the Kabbalah 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 compilation known as the Sepher-Ha-Zohar, or Book of Light, is… of greater importance to the study of Cabalistic philosophy. According to the Zohar itself, the 'Mysteries of Wisdom' where imparted to Adam by God whilst he was still in the Garden of Eden, in the book delivered by the angel Razael. From Adam the book passed to Seth ...Enoch ...Noah... Abraham, and later to Moses, one of its principal exponents.4. Other Jewish writers declare… that Moses received it…first time on Mount Sinai…to the Seventy Elders… to David and Solomon… Ezra… Nehemiah and finally to the Rabbis of 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 the secret oral teachings of the Zohar were developed and put into writing.
"…the Zohar had remained a 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 Eliezer concealed themselves in a cavern, where sitting in the sand up to their necks, they meditated on the sacred law and were frequently visited by the prophet Elias.6. In this way, Jewish legend adds, the great book of the Zohar was composed and committed to writing by the Rabbi's son Eliezer and his secretary the Rabbi Abba.7" 36.
According to the Introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled by McGregor Mathers, who co-founded the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in 1888 this secret oral tradition of the sages was believed to have been taught by God to angels, who then taught it to fallen humans. Abraham is viewed as a mystic who taught the Egyptians some of their occult doctrine.
"The Qabalah was first taught by God himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise. After the Fall the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly doctrine to the disobedient children of earth, to furnish the protoplasts with the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity."
"From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out. It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical systems. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in it from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science the law-giver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his management of the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseries of the nation. He covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in 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 and Practical Kabbalah
Until his death in 1982, Gershom Scholem was a renowned professor of Jewish mysticism at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and was considered the pioneer of the modern study of Jewish 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 and authority of the Zohar to Judaism.
"The book of Zohar, the most important literary work of the Kabbalah, lies before us in some measure inaccessible and silent, as befits a work of secret wisdom…To have determined the formation and development over a long period of time of the religious convictions of the widest circles in Judaism, and particularly of those most sensitive to religion, and, what is more, to have succeeded in establishing itself for three centuries, from about 1500 to 1800, as a source of doctrine and revelation equal in authority to the Bible and Talmud, and of the same canonical rank---this is a prerogative that can be claimed by no other work of Jewish literature." 38.
Gershom Scholem explained the contents of the Zohar, and its various components, including "the Midrash ha-Neelam (The Secret Midrash) and Sitre Torah (Secrets of the Torah), which is a large number of Pentateuch portions…" 39. According to Scholem, the latter is a deeply mystical treatment of the Torah:
"The Secret Midrash…avoids genuinely mystical and theosophical trains of thought…The Secrets of the Torah, on the other hand, which in the main was composed without the use of Midrash form or the addition of names, represents the transition from philosphical-eschatological allegory to genuinely mystical exegesis. The Idra Rabba (The Great Assembly) describes, … the mystical 'figure' of the Deity in the symbol of the Primal Man…" 40.
Scholem expounds the belief that the Zohar, composed of contradictions and folk-tales, is the anonymous work of centuries, "like the Bible" --
".. the Zohar has been regarded…as a work without unity…in which the most varied and often contradictory forces of the kabbalistic movement found expression…Moses de Leon was…regarded as the redactor of ancient writings and fragments…The theory that 'primitive' sources and documents have been preserved in the Zohar..in revised form is today widespread. Thus the Zohar…would really be, even in its external beginnings, a deposit of the creative folk-spirit and, like the Bible and Talmud, the anonymous work of centuries…" 41.
We assert that the Bible, unlike the secret oral traditions and teachings, is neither an anonymous work nor is it comprised of contradictions, myths, or fairytales.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; That the man of God may be throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Tim. 3:16
"Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth forever." Psalm 119:160
"Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. Add thou 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 earliest part of the work. His profile of the Jewish mystic who authored the Kabbalah begins with his education in the Talmud:
"Behind the whole stands the living personality of a mystic who, starting with philosphical and talmudic education of his time, lets himself be ever more deeply drawn to the mystical and gnostic ideas of the Kabbalah, and finally gives up his philisophical interests altogether, developing instead a truly astonishing genius for mystical homiletics…such is the author of these most important parts of the Zohar--no redactor or collector but a homiletic genius. It was Kabbalah, as it had developed before his time, and having become his spiritual home, which he, with unexpected and impressive power, constructed from out of the text of Scripture and the ancient haggadic motifs of the Midrash…" 42.
Out of the Abundance of the Heart
"Ancient haggadic motifs of the Midrash" constructed out of the text of Scripture also comprise an esoteric volume titled, Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis by Robert Graves and Robert Patai. Robert Graves also wrote The White Goddess and I, Claudius. The White Goddess is frequently studied by those involved in the occult and witchcraft. Robert Patai also wrote many books and was Director of Research of the Theodor Herzl Institute in New York and also Director of the Palestine Institute of Folklore and Ethnology. Hebrew Myths states that he was a Biblical scholar.
In a private correspondence, this writer received the following description of the book's thesis that Genesis was a collection of haggadic myths:
"…The premise of the book seems to be that the Bible is a book of myths, very much like the Greek myths. And the authors attempt to show how Hebrew myths and Greek myths are related. In the course of writing about the book of Genesis they quote extensively from writings such as the Talmud, The Gospel of Saint Thomas, Midrash, apocryphal books, pagan myths, the Kabbala and various kabbalistic works, The Book of the Dead, Cave of Treasures, Sepher, Enuma Elish, Sephir Hadar Zeqenim (midrashic explanations to the Bible), Imre Noam, the Koran, Mishna, Massekhet Soferim, Megilla, Mekhilta, Midrash Alphabetot attributed to Rabbi Akiba (second century A.D.) but actually compiled much later, lots of sephers including "Sepher Raziel, 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 de Leon, in Aramaic, during the thirteenth century. It is a commentary on the Bible, pseudepigraphically attributed to Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, the famous Mishna-teacher. First printed at Mantua, 1558-60, in three volumes.' and other Zohars…." 43.
The authors of Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis also suggest that there are missing sacred documents which contain a more accurate record of creation than Genesis:
"The book's authors write that 'All pre-Biblical sacred documents in Hebrew have been either lost or purposely suppressed...Post-Biblical sacred documents are abundant. In the thousand years after the Bible was first canonised, the Jews of Europe, Asia and Africa wrote prolifically. Theirs were either attempts to clarify the Mosaic Law; or historical, moralistic, anecdotal and homiletic comments on Biblical passages.... although the canonical books were regarded as written by divine inspiration and the least taint of polytheism had therefore to be exorcised from them, the apocryphal books were treated more leniently. Many suppressed myths were also allowed to re-emerge in the unquestionably orthodox context of the post-Biblical midrashim.... Lilith, Eve's predecessor, has been wholly exorcised from Scripture, though she is remembered by Isaiah as inhabiting desolate ruins [but not in the King James Version, only in some modern versions]. She seems, from midrashic accounts of her sexual promiscuity, to have been a fertility goddess..."
"So, it seems that these two authors have used these Kabbalistic writings to make their case that the Bible is a book of myths and in quoting from these writings they reveal to the reader just how low-down and wicked the writers of the Kabbala and the Midrashim, etc. were. And so I wonder how anyone who has read this awful 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 the Midrash Rabba on Genesis (Berashith). Another is Lamentations Rabba". Prasch also upholds the Talmud as authoritative for understanding the Bible, i.e. "The Talmud tells us there are multiple interpretations" and "It takes the wisdom of the ancients to really understand these things...not the wisdom of the 16th century, but the wisdom of the first century." 45.
In another article, Mr. Prasch states 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 never deny the authenticity of the Biblical accounts.
"We have, along this line, advocated that Christians familiarize themselves with the works of those who have understood this from Alfred Edersheim to Arnold Fruchtenbaum. We have also tried to re-acquaint the church with the lost art of Jewish hermeneutics in terms of New Testament uses of Midrash, and the illustrative Hebraic models of typology and allegory … What is perhaps most absurd is the fact that contrary to both New Testament Christianity and Orthodox Judaism… In the Judaic midrashim we similarly never see a denial of the historical authenticity of biblical accounts.
"…any early examples of Judaic Midrash... It is these early examples of rabbinic midrashic writings that are closest in time frame to the authorship date of the New Testament. Having looked at New Testament narrative from a Midrashic perspective for years and read every major Christian scholar who addressed the subject …" 46.
Are we to understand that Mr. Prasch is referring to the same Genesis Midrash and Talmud referenced by Graves and Patai's Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis? Our correspondent continues to be amazed that the teachers of the Hebrew Roots of Christianity would promote such works:
"What I find interesting is that the excerpts from these sources are so wicked. The 'fleshing out of the Bible' that is done by these writings not only have many variations but have the persons written about in the Bible doing very evil things that we have never read about in the Bible. And God is written about as saying and doing all sorts of things that are out of character and never written about in the Bible. Very evil motives and actions are attributed to God in these writings. I am not surprised that the authors of this book who obviously do not believe the Bible is truthful would make their case using such writings, but I am perplexed that many of the Hebrew Roots people who claim to be Christians would also be using these wicked writings. 47.
Peter Michas informs us further that Jesus quoted the Midrashim and the Talmud, apparently with approval:
"… The New Testament is in the pattern of the Jewish traditional work of Torah, Mishnah, Haggadah, Halakah, Talmud and Midrash, but inspired by God Himself for the common people. These Hebraic works as well as the Inspired Scriptures were quoted from by Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament. But even now, to have full comprehension, we must read the scriptures in the proper Hebraic context…Most all of the Judaic writings have been preserved for us and now translated into proper English directly from the Hebrew…" 48.
Avi ben Moredechai also references the Oral law, separate and distinct from the written Bible, as having been taught 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 my life) that we should be following in the footsteps of Judaism’s great teachers of 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 code of Sinai. Thus, we are His talmidim or students of His Oral Traditions which is the proper definition of the term 'Gospel.' We are to follow His Mishnah and Gemara, i.e., His Talmud…ancient scholars and sages were far more knowledgeable on the Oral Traditions than we could ever hope to be." 49.
From Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis, Genesis Rabba and folios from the Talmud and Midrash are cited excerpts regarding Adam's bestiality, the myth of Lilith and other unscriptural teachings. (cf. Part IV)
"(b) Some say that God created man a woman in His own image on the Sixth Day, giving them charge 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 already like a twenty-year-old man-- felt jealous of their loves, and though he tried coupling with each female in turn, found no satisfaction in the act. He therefore cried: 'Every creature but I has a proper mate', and prayed God would remedy this injustice. from Gen. Rab. 17-4; B. Yebamot 63a"
"(c) God then formed Lilith, the first woman, just as He had formed Adam, except that He used filth 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 Asmodeus and innumerable demons that still plague mankind. Many generations late, Lilith and Naamah came to Solomon's judgment seat, disguised as harlots of Jerusalem. from Yalqut Reubeni ad. Gen. II 21: IV. 8
"Then Lilith deserts Adam because she didn't want to lie beneath him during sex because she was his equal. Adam complained to God who sent angels after her. They found her beside the Red Sea where she had been bearing demons (more than 100 a day) The angels told her to return to Adam or they would drown her. She argues 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 Adam is disgusted by the sight of her creation. God knew that he had failed once 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 24 pieces of jewellery before waking Adam up. Adam approved. Gen Rab 161"
"Some say God created Eve 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 carried by men. Gen Rab 134 B. Erubin 18a "
"Others say that God's original 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 hold that Adam was originally created as an androgyne of male and female bodies joined back to back. This made walking difficult and conversation awkward, so God divided the androgyne, and gave each half a new rear. These separate beings He placed in Eden, forbidding them to couple. Gen Rab 55 Lev Rab 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 Matthew 7:15-20 warn: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
All Scripture Quotes From the King James Bible
1. Jewish Encyclopœdia, article on Cabala; as Cited in Nesta H. Webster, op.cit., p.29.
2. Matter, Histoire du Gnosticisme,I.44, (1844)a s Cited: Webster, Ibid. p.28.
3. D. F. Ranking; Some Notes on Various Gnostic Sects and their Possible Influence in Freemasonry,republished from Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (Vol. XXIV, p. 202, 1911) in pamphlet form, p.7.; as Cited Webster, Ibid. Pg. 32
4. Nesta H. Webster; op. cit. p. 29.
5. Jacob Prasch, Explaining the Midrash; www.cw.co.za/moriel/midrash.html
6. Harry Gersh "The Sacred Books of the Jews," http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
7. Webster, op.cit., p.10
8. Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects ; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
9. Webster; op.cit., p.11
10. Harry Gersh, The Sacred Books of the Jews
11. Kabbalah Faq, Colin Low, 1996; www.digital-brilliance.com/kab/faq.htm
12. Michael Sidlofsky, 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. Joshua Jehuda, L’antisemitisme, Miroir du Monde ["Anti-Semitism, Mirror of the World"-p. 164]
15. James Webb, The Occult Underground, Open Court Press, 1976, p. 221.
16. Drach (De l'Harmonie entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue,II.p.30) says that Picco della Mirando paid a Jew 7000 ducats for the Cabalistic MSS. from which he drew his thesis.; Webster,op.cit.,p.85]
17. (1)-Jewish Encyclopœdia, articles on Cabala and Reuchlin;Webster,op.cit.p.86
18. (2)-Jewish Encyclopœdia.,article on Cabala; Webster,op.cit.p.86
19. Introduction To Kabbalah Unveiled By S.L. McGregor Mathers; www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html ]
20. Introduction To 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
23. Vulliaud,p. 20, quoting Theodore Reinach, Historie des Israelites,p.221 and Salomon Reinach, Orpheus, p. 299. As Cited in Webster, p.9]
24. Michael Sidlofsky, Kabbalah-A Brief History; www.shamash.org/kavannah/kabbalah.html
25. Michael Sidlofsky, Kabbalah-A Brief History; www.shamash.org/kavannah/kabbalah.html
26. Hannah Newman; "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. The Kabbalah Unveiled; www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html
29. Kabbalah: The Misunderstood Doctrine; http://baptist1.com/judaism/kabbalah.htm
30. Pico della Mirandola ; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
31. Gerry Rose ,"The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation of Freemasonry" http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
32. "The Authenticity of Kabbalah"; http://marlowe.wimsey.com/rshand/streams/thera/canaan.html
33. Nesta H. 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 (de Pauly'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 entre l'Eglise et la Synagogue, I. 457; 7. Adolphe Franck, op.cit., p. 69; as Cited in Webster, Ibid., p. 8.
37. McGregor Mathers, Introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled www.webvs.com/hogd/kabalah_unveiled.html
38. Gershom Scholem, Zohar, the Book of Splendor: Basic Readings from the Kabbalah, p. vii
39. Ibid., p. xi
40. Ibid., p. xii
41. Ibid., p. xiii
42. Ibid., p. xv-xvi
43. Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis by Robert Graves and Raphael Patai. 1964 Doubleday and Co., Inc. It is copyrighted 1963; private email correspondence, Feb2, 199 re:Hebrew Myths
45. Jacob Prasch, Explaining the Midrash; www.cw.co.za/moriel/midrash.html
46. Jacob Prasch; Satans Seduction of the Hebrew Root Movement
47. Private email correspondence, Feb 2, 199 re:Hebrew Myths
48. Peter Michas, http://www.ez/com/~peterm/HB.GK.RF.HTML
49. Avi ben Mordechai, Halacha, www.millenium7000.com/halacha.htm
50. Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis, Robert Graves and Raphael Patai.; Ch10,p. 65; Doubleday and Co., Inc. 1964 It is copyrighted 1963.
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