baudrunner's space: Kaballahrama
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Basically, Kabbalah is the study of the inner secrets of the Torah, which comprise the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Hebrew bible, and which happen to comprise the Old Testament of the Bible. Devout Jews and Christians alike believe those five books to be the direct word of God. Adherents to Kabbalah subscribe to the belief that God revealed secrets, including all those about creation and the true nature of the Godhead, to Adam, who is construed to be the first of God's Earth's human expressions.

The bible is rife with mystical experience – the miracles leading to the exodus, for example; the burning bush and the encounter with God on Mount Sinai. Jewish orthodox belief holds that Moses also accepted the Torah on Mount Sinai by divine inspiration, in addition to the Ten Commandments. This places a great mystical importance on the Old Testament to the occasional class of believers so inclined.

Kabbalists seek to understand the hidden meaning of the words of the Torah in the attempt to gain a closer understanding of that which Jewish orthodoxy believes cannot ever truly be understood – the very nature of God, and to perhaps derive some knowledge of the secrets behind the working of miracles, which are perceived as magic.

The revelation of the Pentateuch and the witness of those miracles by the ancients have imbued an almost irreconcilable curiosity in those who yearn to know more about occult things. This thirst for knowledge has persisted, ever since those times when Egypt was under the rule of the pharaoh Ramesses II, and when he acknowledged the great power of the slaves’ God who worked those miracles through Moses. Ramesses released them from their bondage as a result. Since then Kabbalah, in its original intent, which is to find out if it is possible for one of God's creations to do that at will, has become a legitimate area of study by rabbinical scholars. Those of whom who are devoted to it study the Torah for up to three hours a day.

It is probable that the entire history of the evolution of sorcery and witchcraft to the levels where they exist today in all their various manifestations have their origins in the witness of, and wondering about, all divine miracles. And about the mystery of creation, which Kabbalists have attempted to rationalize, and about which they have come to develop theory and hypotheses.

Out of their study of Kabbalah has come their limited knowledge of God – limited because God cannot be understood by human beings because we are too deficient in our capacities compared to him; that he encompasses the universe but that the universe does not encompass him; that creation is a manifestation, extension if you will, of his divine presence and that all matter and spirit are one with him. Curiously enough for their being a part of the same religion, some believe that matter did not exist before God - and yet others believe that matter did exist before God.

Over the centuries, it seems that the study of Kabbalah has seen as many interpretations by scholarly rabbis as there have been scholarly rabbis.

The Jewish Diaspora tended toward a decentralization of the rabbinical college, and this precluded their ever developing an integrated school of thought. As a result, many rabbinical scholars developed original interpretations and ideas concerning the Torah’s hidden secrets. In fact, over 2,000 years ago the hermetical scholar Ben Sira even warned against delving into esotericism, saying, “You shall have no business with secret things”.

It is thought that Kabbalah, as a field unto itself, actually has its beginnings during the middle ages and the Rennaisance. Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534–1572) is considered to be the most influential of the Kabbalist teachers, founder of an important school of mysticism whose understanding of the way of things linked man’s deeds to the secret processes of creation. He taught that through deed, the original order of the cosmos might be restored and that then the way of reality would unfold into the climactic coming of the Messiah. He taught mostly through oratory but his philosophy was expounded in numerous works by his disciple Hayim Vital.

The death of Rabbi Isaac Luria and his disciples left a void which a charismatic and controversial Kabbalah scholar by the name of Sabbatai Zevi (1626-1676) filled - to satisfy the public need for greater spiritual insight, a need made all the more profound by the chaos left by the pogroms of the Ukrainian Cossacks who massacred Jews and Roman Catholics alike, during the years 1648 to 1654. The Jewish masses were convinced that their “Jewish Messiah” had come. Zevi's meditations included mystical chants and incantations.

To the disillusionment of most Jews, Zevi became an apostate to Judaism. He converted to Islam to avoid execution by the Ottoman Sultan for plotting to conquer the world and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. The Sabbatinian movement retained some followers in Turkey, who concluded that his conversion was but a clever ploy to inspire Islamic followers into the way of the Jewish faith. There are Sabbatinian sects today.

The “Frankists” were followers of the pseudo-mystic Jacob Frank (1726-1791), a Kabbalist who eventually became an apostate to Judaism when he converted to Catholicism.

There are sects of Judaic Orthodoxy which maintain that idolatry is sinful, and yet the red string bracelet of Tamar’s first born twin (Genesis 38:28), placed there innocently so that the first named could be re-identified, has become a talisman to dilettantes. The thought among the more occult Kabbalists is that the red string bracelet wards off the evil eye. Apparently, Rachel's tomb was encircled by her devotees with a red string, and bracelets subsequently cut from it. Therein lies the tradition. Talismans are really just small idols.

Between the extremes of divine dignification and its antithesis, however that may be described, lies the gamut of all things pertaining to the supernatural, including superstition. The study of the Torah will continue, because the messages that can be read into them are virtually infinite in number, and they must be realized.

Underlying the real purpose of scriptural study is the establishment of a specialized adaptation to inspired epiphenies so that they manifest into the deeds from which civilization is ultimately hewn, insomuch as curiosity gives rise to invention.

It is acknowledged amongst all religions that there is much more to reality than meet the senses, and that we exist in but a narrow sliver of the entire spectrum of it, insomuch as we can see but a narrow detectable sliver of the range of frequencies that comprise the entire optical spectrum. That is the lure to which real students of Kabbalah are drawn.

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