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Mirror of 404 Website http://members.tripod.com/~RobertGillette/Kabbalah.htm About Kabbalah, Cabala, Kaballah, Kabbala, Torah, Qaballa, Judaism, Kabala, Judaic, Kabalah, Judaica, Jewish, Kabballah, Orthodox Judaism, Caballa, Orthodox Jews, Cabbala, Orthodox, Qabala, Kosher, Qabalah, Observant, Qaballah, Observant Jews, Qabbalah, Karaite, Qabballah, Karaites, Quabala, Jacob Frank, Frankists, Quaballa, Shabbetai Zevi, Sabbetai Zevi, Quabalah, Gershom Scholem, Quabbalah, Jewish mysticism, Quabballah, Kabaal, Zohar, Merkabah, En Sof, Luria, Sefirot, Sefir Yezirah, Hassidic, Hassidism, Hassid, Chassid, Chassidic, Chassidim, Lurianic, Doenmeh, Merkabah

KABBALAH


The Kabbalah's origins were pagan” or what might be called heathen” from a Judeo-Christian perspective. That is, the Kabbalah arose from sources that were neither Jewish nor Christian. Babylonian religion, astrology, myth and magic, Persian Zoroastrianism, dualism, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and religious and philosophical speculations from all over the Hellenistic world of 2000 years ago, were progenitors of what became the Kabbalah.

It was direct disobedience to God for the Jewish people to meddle in and pick up these religious influences. God had commanded His Chosen People to have nothing to do with such things. Just as samples, consider the following three passages from the Hebrew Scriptures:

“Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth,” Deu 6:13 -15.

“When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it,” Deuteronomy 12:29-32.

Jer. 10:2 says Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen.”

But learn those ways, they did. And that is how the Kabbalah came to be. It is like the story of the Trojan Horse,” and how the Greeks enticed the Trojans into taking the wooden horse into the besieged city. After the Trojans dragged the great statue into the city, the Greeks which were hiding inside the horse crept out during the night, and so the great city of Troy fell. That is where the old adage derives, Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” Well, 2000 years ago, another Trojan Horse” saga was unfolding. Greek (Hellenistic) culture was saturated with not only the religious errors and myths and fantasies of their own making, but also those from Babylon, Egypt, Rome and Persia. And tragically, some of Gods Chosen People, the Jews, instead of being satisied with pure Judaism derived from Abraham, Moses, the written Torah and the Prophets (in other words The Hebrew Scriptures), became enfatuated with Hellenistic (heathen) elements, and enticed by them, and allowed those elements to creep into and blend with Jewish spiritual speculations. The new kind of mysticism” that resulted is what grew to be the Kabbalah.

Professor Gershom Scholem rightly deduced that the formation of the Kabbalah "proper" or the Kabbalah as we know it today, took place in the thirteenth century. When you read my references to 2000 years, and even older influences, I am not lending credence to the theories that drape such great antiquity on the Kabbalah. No, I concur with Gershom Scholem. I am refering to those pagan influences in antiquity that were picked up and assimilated and eventually led to the rise of the Kabbalah in the thirteenth century,

It is wrong to call it Jewish” mysticism, for it represents actually an invasion of The Jewish Faith, an assault, an attack upon true Judaism. Not only were Kabbalahs ancestors” and parents” non-Jews, but likewise, the “offspring” that Kabbalism itself produced, the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren of Kabbalah, have brought ruination and confusion and countless evils down upon world Jewry. The nature and kind of a tree may be discerned by the fruit it produces. If it produces an apple, it is an apple tree. If it brings forth pears it is a pear tree. True to its heathen parentage, the Kabballah has shown its heathen nature. It has produced countless heretics, has produced liars, deceivers, false Messiahs, and entire false religions, and has made countless Jews apostasize from Judaism. Not only so, from the ranks of the Kabbalists have arisen some of the worst enemies of Judaism and of the Jewish people, that have ever lived, such sons of wickedness as Sabbatai Zevi and Jacob Frank (who inflamed blood libel against the Jews which brought slaughter upon them) , not to mention the fact that Kabbalistic theosophists such as Madame Helena Blavatsky and the theosophical circles of of Germany eventually spawned the Nazi Party, which produced the Holocaust. No, what the Kabbalah produced should not be called Jewish” mysticism. It has shown itself to be destructive of that which is truly Jewish. For centuries there have been well-meaning Jews who have tried to Judaize” it. They took those originally pagan-Gnostic, Neoplatonist, Hellenist errors, and tried to make them clean,” make them more Jewish” by blending them with more and more Jewish” concepts. But the Golem” or Frankensteins monster” never truly became Jewish.” Rather, what happened may be likened to the counterfeiting of money. False or counterfeit money is achieved by making it look like real actual money. But the truth is, when all that crafty and cunning artistry is done, and it looks just like the real thing, we condemn it for what it is, false, fake, phoney. It is not money” at all. The fact that criminals have made it look and feel just like money, does not change the fact that it is a mere deception. And that is what Kabbalah is. All the attempts through the centuries to make it look and sound and feel Jewish” have done nothing but make this pagan” religion a successful enough counterfeit that it can be passed off on the Jews as something Jewish. People have used the wrong rule of measure, thinking if it quacks like a duck... It must be a duck.” They ought rather contemplate counterfeit money, than ducks in this matter.

In the first centuries of the Common Era there were good rabbis who spoke out against the infiltration of those pagan-Gnostic, Neoplatonist, Hellenist errors and their insinuation into Jewish thought. And over the centuries there were good rabbis who denounced the Kabbalah. Others who were not brave enough to condemn it, moved to at least restrict it, admitting that it was dangerous, in that it could lead weak souls into heresy (which it consistently and frequently did). Rabbinical courts moved to make it unlawful for anyone under the age of forty to study Kabbalah. The reason being that if one has first lived forty years and been raised and trained in, and has studied Judaism, then perhaps his Judaism would be strong enough to dominate what he finds in the Kabbalah, rather than have the Kabbalah shape his Judaism. Other rabbis perhaps were less brave, and seeing the Kabbalah becoming entrenched in “Jewish” life and it being considered “Jewish” by many, and seeing it becoming popular, opted to keep silent, and not step on anybodys toes. Others, and this is tragic, gave full place to it as part of Jewish life. It is a sad day indeed when they that are entrusted as watchmen on the wall, who should guard the gates of the city and warn the people when danger approaches, instead become more like those who flung open the gates of Troy and drew the deadly wooden beast inside, and naively looked upon it as a trophy! What is needed today is more brave men and women who will raise their voices against Kabbalism and call for all of world Jewry and Judaism itself, to be purged of its influences.

Consider these observations from the Jewish Encyclopedia:

The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901). Its full title, if you include its lengthy subtitle, reads, "The Jewish Encyclopedia, A descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish People from the earliest times to the present day. Prepared by more than four hundred scholars and specialists." Published by Funk and Wagnalls Co., New York and London, 1901.

Of the 400 scholars, their most renowned scholar and editor, Louis Ginzberg, PhD. of their "Department of Rabbinical Literature," himself, headed up the project of their article on "Cabala."

It begins on page 456 of the 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia, and goes to page 479.

In the very first paragraph, it cites "the influence of Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean philosophy" that went into Kabbalah. In the same paragraph, what other books have called "practical Kabbalah" this source more aptly calls "theurgic" Kabbalah, which denotes the practice of magic. On page 457 it tells that Rabbi Ben Sira wrote against it centuries ago. The Encyclopedia says "Ben Sira warns against it, in his saying, "Thou shalt have no business with secret things." On the same page, it states many of the sources who believed the Essenes wrote the Kabbalah. On the same page it states the Kabbalah got its belief in the PRE-EXISTENCE of human souls from Plato, in Timaeus, and its belief in the magic power of numbers and letters from the Pythagoreans. And on page 458 it specifies particularly those in Chaldea (Babylon). Its says it "seems to have originated in Chaldea (see Lenormant, 'Chaldean Magic')." It cites a legend among the Jews that the Kabbalah "induced babylonian rabbis of the fourth century to 'create a calf by magic.'" The reference simply shows that Kabbalah was held to be the practice of magic, and was a problem arising in Babylon. Having already cited the Pythagorean and Platonic and Babylonian influences in the forming of it, the Encyclopedia goes on, on the same page, to cite the Gnostic origin of the Kabbalah as well. And the Gnostic stream, it again traces back to pagan sources in Babylon, and, to the Zoroastrians of Persia. It says, it "goes back to Zoroastrianism and ultimately to old Chaldea (Babylon), can be traced through Gnosticism; having influenced the Cabala before it reached the medieval" stage. It refers to "the fact also that the 'Kelippot' (the scalings of impurity in the Kabbalah), which are so prominent in the medieval Cabala, are found in the old Babylonian incantations." Page 459 cites such elements of the Kabbalah as the SHIUR KOMAH and the anthropomorphic description of the Deity ... the letters laid across the body in Atbash .. forming the limbs ... the garments of light, the male female nature, the double face, the eye, hair, arm, head and crown, of the King of Glory” as all coming from Gnosticism. On the same page, it says, As to speculative Cabala, it was not (as with practical Kabbalah) Persia with her tenth-century Sufism, but Alexandria (Egypt) of the first century or earlier, with her strange COMINGLING OF EGYPTIAN, CHALDEAN (BABYLONIAN) Judean and GREEK culture, that FURNISHED THE SOIL and the SEEDS FOR THAT MYSTIC PHILOSOPHY... There sprang up that MAGIC literature which showed the name of the Jewish God and of the Patriarchs PLACED ALONGSIDE OF PAGAN DEITIES AND DEMONS, AND THE HERMES BOOKS (see Hermeticism) .... but ABOVE ALL, IT WAS NEOPLATONISM ... It gave rise to those GNOSTIC songs which flooded Syria and Palestine. ... THE WHOLE PRINCIPLE OF EMANATION, with its idea of evil inherent in matter as the dross is found THERE (Neoplatonism & Gnosticism), and THE ENTIRE THEURGIC CABALA is in ALL its detail developed THERE. Even the spirit-rapping and table-turning done in the seventeenth century by German cabalists by means of shemot” (magic incantations) have THERE their prototypes.” On the same page it refers to the Kabbalahs PANTHEISTIC” tendencies. It also states that some Jews of of that era were so infatuated with GREEK PHILOSOPHY, that they assumed that it must be true, and that therefore there must be some backup for GREEK PHILOSOPHY hidden in secret layers of the Scriptures. In other words, being convinced of the truth of GREEK PHILOSOPHY, they sought to make the Scriptures support it. It says, These interpretations had their ORIGIN in the CONVICTION that the TRUTHS OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY were already contained in Scripture, ALTHOUGH, it was given to ONLY THE SELECT FEW to lift the VEIL and to DISCERN them beneath the LETTER of the Bible.” In other words, THE SELECT FEW” (or Kabbalists) would use their interpretations to make the Scriptures seem to preach GREEK PHILOSOPHY, for THAT is what they were CONVICTED was Truth. The Jewish Encyclopedia goes on to also address the Kabbalahs clash with Scripture over whether God created matter. This is because Kaballah adopted the Neoplatonist and Gnostic teaching that God did NOT. On page 460 it says this view of Kabbalism is IN CONTRAST TO THE EXPLICIT STATEMENT OF SCRIPTURE THAT GOD CREATED NOT ONLY THE WORLD, BUT ALSO THE MATTER OUT OF WHICH IT WAS MADE.” It adds that the opposing view of Kabbalism on the subject was also due to the influence of the Platonic-Stoic cosmogeny.” It says that people fell for this teaching IN SPITE OF THE PROTEST OF GAMALIEL II.” On the same page it states that the doctrine of the pre-existence of matter was the ancient Babylonian doctrine of Apsu.” The belief in Apsu, the primal ocean, existing before all things, was taken over by the Gnostics. Some Jews converted to that belief from the first to the third centuries. It states that some of the Jews LATER attempted to justify that adherence to the pagan religious myth, and make it more Jewish” by modifying it to say that the elements of Apsu,” the Babylonian primal ocean” were the first elements created. But the Jewish Encyclopedia declares, t was an attempt to JUDAIZE the UN-JEWISH conception of PRIMAL SUBSTANCES.” The Encyclopedia further states on the same page, that the belief of the Gnostic religion, that, not God, but a secondary god, known as the DEMIURGE”, created the material universe, worked its way into the Talmudic writings, and later was borrowed from the Talmud for use in the Kabbalah. The following, in quotes, is verbatim, unchanged, from the Jewish Encyclopedia: So, also, the the figure of METATRON passed into the Cabala from the Talmud, where it played the role of the demiurgos (see GNOSTICISM), being expressly mentioned as God (Sanh. 38b)”. The direction to see GNOSTICISM” for what is meant by demiurgos” is not my direction, but the Encyclopedias. Says the Encyclopedia on page 463, the Kabbalists “posit mediate BEINGS in place of IMMEDIATE CREATION out of nothing; and these mediate beings were not created.” On page 463 it says they contrived an angel” as the real ruler of the world” (named Metatron) and to this angel EVERYTHING must be referred that Scripture recounts of God” !!! And without apology, the Jewish Encyclopedia refers to it as this Jewish form of the GNOSTIC DEMIURGE.” On page 461 the Jewish Encyclopedia also says that Kabbalah seeks to make the material world in a sense divine” as the New Agers do. In other words, the belief that yonder tree is God” or is part” of God. The Greeks borrowed that notion from the Hindus of India. Speaking of the Kabbalah on page 478 it refers to “the STRONGLY PANTHEISTIC coloring of its metaphysics.” The Kabbalists used many approaches to try to “bridge the gulf between God and the world.” The Encyclopedia says The attempts of the mystics to bridge the gulf between God and the world are especially evident in the doctrine of the preexistence of the soul ... a doctrine taught by the HELLENISTIC (Greek) sages.” They also used the Gnostic belief that the soul could ascend BACK UP to it’ original divine state, which the Encyclopedia calls the central doctrine of Gnosticism”, page 461. It all came from the pagans. The Encyclopedia says, The practice of magic and incantation, the angelology and demonology, WERE BORROWED FROM BABYLONIA, PERSIA AND EGYPT; but these FOREIGN ELEMENTS were Judaized in the process, and took the FORM of the mystical adoration of the name of God and of speculations regarding the mysterious POWER of the Hebrew alphabet, to become finally the foundations of the philosophy of the Sefer Yetzirah.” The Jewish Encyclopedia also says ANOTHER PAGAN CONCEPTION which, in refined form, passed passed into the CABALA through the Talmud, was the so-called mystery of sex.’” Babylonian and Egyptian and other pagan religions held that sky was male, earth was female, etc. All of the old pagan fertility cults espoused these doctrines. Cetain Talmudists and the Kabbalists took over those beliefs and came up with the notion that the waters above the fermament” in Genesis were male, and the waters below the fermament” were female, and that they had union, and that their union fructfied the earth” says the Encyclopedia. They also infused it into Kabbalism wth such notions as Israel is the MATE of the Sabbath”, and that the Shekinah” (which in the Scriptures is the glory of God, but which Kabbalists almost make another entity) dwells between a man and woman during sex, thus again, in a sense, accenting the male-female fertility concept of deity. The old pagan male-female fertility religions passed their doctrines on to Gnosticism. They were modified to suit the religion of Gnosticism, and they moved on from there. On page 461 the Jewish Encyclopedia describes that pathway, saying, Thus the GNOSTIC theory of syzygies, or PAIRS, was ADOPTED by the Talmud and later was developed into a system by the Cabala.” The Encyclopedia discusses the developement of the Kabbalistic doctrine of EMANATIONS, and refers to an early stage in the second century: It says, The heterogeneous elements of THIS Talmudic mysticism are AS YET unfused; the PLATONIC-ALEXANDRIAN, ORIENTAL-THEOSOPHIC, and Judaeo-allegorical ingredients being STILL EASILY RECOGNIZABLE and NOT YET elaborated into the system of the Cabala. Jewish monotheism was STILL TRANSCENDENTALISM.” In other words, in the second century, you could still identify and recognize the old traditional (Scriptural) Jewish monotheism (which was transcendentalist) as separate and distinguishable from the PLATONIC-ALEXANDRIAN, ORIENTAL-THEOSOPHIC” concepts (such as all things are God, you and I and yonder tree are God”). The Jewish and the pagan had not yet been blended in the Kaballah. The Encyclopedia says this blending was rendered possible by the INTRODUCTION of the PANTHEISTC DOCTRINE of EMANATION, which taught that in reality nothing existed outside of God.” This is precisely how the Hindu concludes that “you are God, I am God, and that tree is God.” The opposite is “transcendentalism” as the Encyclopedia stated. It does not mean the “transcendentalism” found in modern philosophies and heresies. The older and correct meaning of “transcendentalism” refers to the fact that God is above the universe, and is distinct from it. The tree is not God. God is not the tree. God “transcends” the universe. He is above” it, superior to it, and is other than” the universe. When you cut down a tree, you are not cutting the body of God.” If you could destroy the whole world, you have not destroyed part of God. His being is still whole and entire and undamaged. That is how God is revealed in the Scriptures. The rise of the Kaballah blurred the lines between pagan pantheism and the biblical revelation of God as transcendent Creator. When this heresy first arose, there was vehement opposition to it from the Jewish Rabbis. Gamaliel II has already been cited. There were many. It was a “movement” of those who were faithful to the old biblical Judaism. But the movement was eventually supressed and eclipsed by the Kabbalists, and those who were afraid to speak against it. On page 461 the Jewish Encyclopedia says “Although Talmudic-Midrashic literature has left few traces of THIS MOVEMENT, OF THE RABBIS OPPOSING SUCH EXTRAVAGANCES, yet the writings of the (Christian) Church fathers bear evidence of many Judaizing Gnostics.” For a time, the Rabbis managed to stand against this invasion of Gnostcism, but it eventually overwhelmed them, and they caved in. On page 464 the Encyclopedia refers to the “awakening of Jewish GNOSTICISM, that had been suppressed for centuries by the increasing preponderance of Rabbinism.” But the Rabbis did eventually “cave in” and it says “they made allowance for a revival of GNOSTICISM.” It further states on the same page, that “doctrines of ARAB PHILOSOPHY especially INFLUENCED Jewish mysticism.” Of particular groups of adherents to those ARAB (and Greco-Arabic) doctrines it says “The ‘Faithful Brothers of Basra,’ as well as the NEOPLATONIC ARISTOTELIANS of the ninth century, have left their marks on the Cabala. The brotherhood taught, similarly to GNOSTICISM ... (the doctrine of) emanations.” Of the poponents of those pagan beliefs, who had a hand in shaping the Kabbalah, it says, “Solomon ibn Gabirol’s DOCTRINES influenced the developement of the Cabala more than any other philosophic system. ... Gabirol assumes five intermediary BEINGS between God and matter.” There is no compatibility between the heresies of the Kabbalah and the truth of God as He has revealed Himself, and what the Holy Scriptures teach about Him. The Holy Scriptures teach that God has DEFINITE ATTRIBUTES. It says that God LOVES humanity. He feels love. It says He has THOUGHTS. He thinks. It says He is ANGRY with the wicked. He feels righteous holy anger. It says He feels GRIEF. He is grieved. It says He has COMPASSION and MERCY. It says He has SIGHT. He SEES. He HEARS. It says He feels FRIENDSHIP toward His righteous servants. The Scriptures are quite clear in teaching these, and many more, ATTRIBUTES of God. PAGANISM DENIES THIS. As an example, HINDUISM teaches that the “concept” they call “God” HAS NO ATTRIBUTES. They imagine that “God” must be too “high” to have attributes like those cited in the Scriptures. They imagine that “God” must be too “high” to do such a thing as create a world with animals and mud and humans in it, that have sex and reproduce. These speculations are what led to the presumption that “lesser gods” or “lower gods” or “intermediary beings” must have created the universe, but that the “highest” and “original” or “first God” could not have. Men entranced with these pagan, Gnostic and Neoplatonist notions, so foreign to the Scriptures, carried them over into Jewish mysticism, and they shaped the formation of the Kabbalah. The Jewish Encyclopedia says on page 465, “Possbly even Maimonides, the greatest representative of RATIONALISM among the Jews of the middle ages, contributed to the DOCTRINE of the ‘En Sof’ by his TEACHING that NO ATTRIBUTES could be ASCRIBED TO GOD.” On page 472 it says, “The DOCTRINE of the En-Sof is the starting point of ALL cabalistic speculation, God is the infinite, unlimited being, TO WHOM ONE NEITHER CAN NOR MAY ASCRIBE ANY ATTRIBUTES WHATEVER; WHO CAN THEREFORE BE DESIGNATED MERELY AS EN-SOF (the infnite). ... One cannot predicate of God either WILL or INTENTION or THOUGHT or DEED.” This of course is sheer heresy, as the Holy Scriptures show plainly that God has all of those attributes; will, intentions, thoughts, and deeds. As stated above, this is why the Kabbalists used the Gnostic Demiurge teaching, and invented the angel Metatron, and taught that “to this angel EVERYTHING must be referred that Scripture recounts of God.” It is not only heresy, but BLASPHEMY, to rob God of His glory as the Creator of the universe. He says in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord (literally Yaweh, or Jehovah); that is My Name: and My glory will I not give to another.” Isaiah 40:28 calls Him “the Lord (literally Yaweh, or Jehovah) the CREATOR of the ends of the earth. The Lord the Creator. Yaweh the Creator. To teach that the original “first” divine being is a non-creating “something” that must “BE DESIGNATED MERELY AS EN-SOF,” NOT The Lord, NOT Yaweh, NOT Jehovah, NOT Creator God, and to instead give all credit for creation to an angel named Metatron, and, to each that all the attributes and works of God and the glory thereof must be given to Metatron, is sheer blasphemy. The Kabbalah also teaches the pagan belief in REINCARNATION. As already stated, it teaches the Gnostic doctrine of the PRE-EXISTENCE of souls. On page 476 the Jewish Encyclopedia says “Closely connected with THIS view is THE DOCTRINE of the TRANSMIGRATION OF THE SOUL, ON WHICH THE CABALA LAYS MUCH STRESS. In order that the soul may RETURN to its source, it must previously have REACHED FULL DEVELOPEMENT of all its perfections IN TERRESTRIAL LIFE. If it has NOT fulfilled this CONDITION in the course of ONE life, IT MUST BEGIN ALL OVER AGAIN IN ANOTHER BODY, continuing (to reincarnate) until it has completed its TASK.” The Lurianic (see below) Kabbalah takes the pagan doctrines of reincarnation to even more outrageous and hideous extemes than the pagans did, and teaches “the impregnation of souls.” In this scheme, it is taught that more than one soul can be reincarnated into one body! You might have two souls. Two different people who lived long ago, who need a “fresh start,” may be in you! Such unscriptural nonsense hardly needs comment.

The concept of good and evil in the Kabbalah is also borrowed from paganism, from Hinduism, Persian dualism, Gnosticism and Neoplatonism. it embraces the pagan notion that evil is somewhat the “flip-side” of good, or, the other side of the coin, similar to the cosmic religion portrayed in the Star Wars films, in which some people were using the “dark side” of the “Force” and others were using the “good side” of it. The pagan religions also taught that evil is an illusion. The Hindus call the illusion principle “Maya.” On page 477 the Jewish Encyclopedia says of Kabbalah, “Evil is the reverse of the divine, the left side, while the good is the right side, a GNOSTIC idea. As the divine has TRUE being, evil is that which has NO being, the UNREAL or SEEMING thing, the thing as it APPEARS. ... Evil in man is manifested in that he takes SEMBLANCE for substance.” While Hinduism, Gnosticism and Theosophy will applaud such religion, it has no basis in the Holy Scriptures.

On page 466 the Jewish Encyclopedia says, speaking of the developement of the Kabbalah in Provence, France “... the speculative philosophy of Provence, like German mysticism, ORIGINATED IN BABYLON: NEOPLATONISM, reaching THERE its highest developement in the eight and ninth centuries, could not but influence Jewish thought. Gabirol, as well as the author of ‘Torat ha-Nefesh,’ bears evidence of this INFLUENCE in Jewish philosophy; while the Cabala took up the mystic elements of NEOPLATONISM.” Speaking of the developement of elements of the “Bahir” and “Sefer ha-Temunah” in the Kabbalah, it says, it “corresponds EXACTLY with the syzygy theory of the GNOSTICS” and “the disjointed mystico-GNOSTIC conceptions of the ‘Bahir’ were gradually and untiringly woven into a connected, comprehensive system.” As cited above from page 458 of the Jewish Encyclopedia, pagan magic, “old Babylonian incantations” and such, “FURNISHED THE SOIL and the SEEDS FOR” the rise of the Kabbalah. But that spirit was not only in the ancient beginnings, but the “tree” that grew from that “soil” and from those “seeds” also brought forth “fruit” in its more “modern” stages, true to its parentage: Page 469 0f the Jewish Encyclopedia speaks of the the developement of the Kabbalah under Isaac Luria (1533-72) at the beginning of the Hasidic stage. “the theoretical DOCTRINES of Luria’s Cabala were later taken up by the Hasidim and organized into a system. Luria’s influence was first evidenced in certain mystical and fanciful religious exercises, by means of which he held, one could become MASTER OF THE TERRESTRIAL WORLD. The WRITING OF AMULETS, CONJURATION OF DEVILS, MYSTIC JUGGLERY OF NUMBERS AND LETTERS, INCREASED as this school spread.” The Lurianic school of the Kabbalah gave rise to the claim that their new “spirituality” would lead to the appearing of The Messiah. But it was a wicked “messiah” that arose in the person of Shabbetai Zevi. The huge and sweeping success of this infamous devil, the Kabbalist who claimed to be The Messiah, was the direct result of the twisted “spirituality” of the Lurianic Kabbalah. Even after the chaos that engulfed world Jewry in the Shabbetai Zevi deception, the Jewish Encyclopedia seems to MARVEL that still, Kabbalists did not give up their addiction: “Shabbethaism, however, did not in the least compromise the Cabala in the eyes of the Oriental Jews, the majority of whom even today esteem it holy and believe in it” (page 470). Researchers need to realize and understand how the devilish Shabbatean movement and the subsequent wicked and deceptive Kabbalistic Frankist movement (see Jacob Frank) arose from the Kabbalah, and continue to be forces of evil in the world today.

Something MORE should be said about the FRUIT of the Kabbalah. We have seen some of what the Kabbalah came FROM, and some of what it CONTAINS. But attention should also be given to what it DOES. What FRUIT does this tree PRODUCE? What does it lead to? We have already noted the rise of the Kabbalist, Shabbatai Zevi, and the deception he subjected all of world Jewry to. And we have cited the devilish Jacob Frank, and the Frankists. But on page 478, the Jewish Encyclopedia itself titles a chapter, the “NOXIOUS INFLUENCES” of the Kabbalah, under which title it makes special mention of “several most PERNICIOUS ones.” While to some, myself included, the worst and most pernicious of the noxious influences of the Kabbalah is its twisting of religion, the damage it does to biblical doctrine, the encyclopedists rather cite MAGIC; that Kabbalism has led countless Jews, and non-Jews alike, into the belief in and practice of magic. Of course, we noted above, that such things are inherent in the very fabric of the Kabbalah, but here we treat of luring its devotees into the actual pactice of magic. It says “The cabalists developed a Jewish MAGIC. They TAUGHT that the elements are the abode of beings ... namely, elemental beings of FIRE, AIR, WATER, AND EARTH.” It speaks of “DEMONS being endowed with various supernatural powers and with INSIGHT into the HIDDEN realms ... and even occasionally into the FUTURE ... Magic may be PRACTICED WITH THE HELP OF THESE BEINGS.” It says Kabbalah teaches that “all men are endowed with insight and MAGICAL POWERS WHICH THEY MAY DEVELOPE. ... From these principles many cabalists developed their theories on CASTING OF LOTS, NECROMANCY ... . BIBLIOMANCY, and the MYSTICISM OF NUMBERS (NUMEROLOGY) AND LETTERS were developed into complete systems.” It cites the ultra superstitious belief of cabalists that “EVERYTHING BEHELD BY OUR SENSES HAS A MYSTICAL MEANING.” One may hear in this superstition, faint echoes of the Kabbalist and murderer Charles Manson, who believed even Beatles music coming over the radio was instructing him to do things. I goes on; “Hence the cabalistic DOCTRINE of the heavenly alphabet, whose signs are the constellations and stars. THUS ASTROLOGY WAS LEGITIMIZED, AND BIBLIOMANCY FOUND ITS JUSTIFICATION.” It cites the Kabbalah’s teaching that the HEBREW LETTERS ARE NOT MERELY SIGNS for things, but IMPLEMENTS of of divine POWERS, BY MEANS OF WHICH NATURE MAY BE SUBJUGATED.” To their credit, the encyclopedists finish the topic, saying “ALL THESE VIEWS WERE MOST PERNICIOUS IN THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE INTELLECT AND SOUL OF THE JEW.” And I would add, upon Judaism.

How did this nightmare come about? What caused the rise of the Kabbalah? Is there one factor that can be seen as chief? Yes. And it is not only the premise of my entire treatise, but the Jewish Encyclopedists have put their finger on the same thing: I have maintained that Jews should clearly IDENTIFY those elements in “compromised” Judaism that are pagan, or “foreign” and cast them out, weed them out, and thus preserve genuine biblical Judaism. The encyclopedia identifies the fact that the OPPOSITE was done. Speaking of the process of developement that led to the Kabbalah, it says, “In a word, its works represent THAT MOVEMENT in Judaism which ATTEMPTED to Judaize all the FOREIGN elements in it” rather than expel them.

The Jewish Encyclopedia, page 469, tells us of courageous Rabbis who stood up and tried to resist the spreading Kabbalah plague, but who met fierce opposition from the Kabbalists, including Kabbalist Rabbis who had been swept up in the movement. Pro-Kabbalah Rabbis even oversaw the erasing of the written works of these heros. “In Italy however, there appeared also the first ANTAGONISTS of the Cabala, at a time when it seemed to be carrying everything before it. Nothing is known of RABBI MORDECAI CORCOS’ WORK AGAINST THE CABALA, a work that was never printed, OWING TO THE OPPOSITION of the Italian rabbis. RABBI JOSEPH DEL MEDIGO’S wavering attitude toward the Cabala injured rather than helped it. RABBI JUDAH DE MODENA ATTACKED IT RUTHLESSLY in his work, ‘Sha’agat Aryeh’ (The Lion’s Roar); ... A century later still, SAMUEL DAVID LUZZATTO ATTACKED THE CABALA with the weapons of modern criticism.” And of course Rabbi Ben Sira who opposed it has already been mentioned.

(END OF JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA NOTES)

Let me here state very simply what I personally hold to be the only valid basis of the “true Jewish Faith.” I have already made clear that Kabbalah has no part in it. What is the legitimate basis of the true Jewish religion? The Canon of Scripture. The written Torah, that is, The Pentateuch, The Five Books of Moses, the eight books of The Prophets, and the eleven books known as The Writings, which were long ago declared “Canon.” Thirty Nine Canonical Books (some men combine certain pairs of these books together as single books in their count, so the total number is less, but exactly the same books or written material is still included). 2000 years ago the Jews called this body of Holy Writ “The Scriptures.” Twenty centuries ago, the Jewish historian Josephus called them “our Scriptures” and called them “books that are believed to be Divine.” And he glories that among all devout Jews “not a soul has ventured to add or to remove or to alter a syllable, and it is the instinct of every Jew, from the day of his birth, to consider these Scriptures as The Teaching of God, and to abide by them, and, if need be, to lay down his life in their behalf.”

I also do not subscribe to the theory that "Judaism" is "people" or "culture" based. Some theorists have put forward that claim, that is, that Judaism is more about the physical descendants of Abraham and their cultural life and developement, than about a body of religious doctrine. I could not disagree more. While it is true that the descendants of Abraham and their culture are included in and important to Judaism, it is important to keep priorities straight. If one could make a "list" showing what is at the "top" in true Judaism and what has a lower or subordinate "level" the matter becomes clear: Contrary to what these theorists suggest, Almighty God is at the top of the list. And obedience to His Word is "up there." The Torah makes it clear in the story of Noah's flood, that obedience to God is the thing. At one time it repented God that He had even made humankind, and the flood came and destroyed them. Only those he deemed "righteous" were spared. Abraham being willing to offer up Isaac on the altar shows that obedience to God is of greater import than the comfort and blessedness of Abraham's offspring. The fact that God will let His Temple get burned to the ground and let the people be carried away into slavery when the nation is rebellious, shows that the people and the culture are not the chief thing. God is, and obedience to Him. The fact that Abraham had other "seed," Ishmael, who was even the "firstborn" son, but the promise rested with Isaac, shows that Judaism is not "race" based, was not based simply on being descended from Abraham, but on obedience to God, abiding in the religion, and being faithful to it. If it was about physical offspring, then Ishmael deserves a role and a status that is denied him today. The fact that God chose Jacob but rejected Esau, Isaac's firstborn son, based on which one would desire the promises and the calling of God and which one would despise them, shows it is not about "race" or "descent" or being firstborn. It is about following after the truth of God. The fact that an Israelite could be "cut off" or "excommunicated" from the people of Israel, and henceforth be counted as a non Jew, shows it is not about being a physical Jew, but one who is obedient to God. The fact that people of other races and countries and cultures, "strangers," could be converts to and "join" Judaism, shows that it is not about race or the people or descent or culture, but about God and obedience to Him and faith in Him. Those who promote the erroneous claim that Judaism is about race or an elite people or its culture, pave the way for racists of other schools of thought, even antisemites, to claim that their racism is moral, even citing as an excuse, that “even the Jews” believe that God sanctions that kind of elitism. But it is not true. I could go on and on. Torah and The Prophets and The Writings make it clear. Judaism is not based on race or culture. It is based on God and His Word and oebedience to Him and faith in Him. What made Israel and the Jews “special” or in a sense “elite” was their being bound to and devoted to The Faith, and their being messengers of it and vessles carrying it. And whenever they forsook that Faith and obedience, they lost that special status. And the way to being restored to their calling and their special status, was always and only a return to that Faith and obedience, the religion of Judaism. True Judaism. Those who would lower Judaism to being human-based instead of God-based, are wrong. Judaism is not secular and human. It is spiritual. It is "religious." Judaism is about the spiritual beliefs, doctrines, and ordained practices that came forth from God as Divine revelation. Many today who are not truly Observant Jews, and who want to get away with disobeying Torah and The Prophets and The Writings, that is, disobeyng Judaism, yet lay claim to being "as Jewish as the next guy," push and promote this secularizing and humanizing claim that Judaism is about the culture. But that attacks the sovereignty and authority of God. True Judaism had Divine origin. It came down from heaven. It did not spring up as a "culture club," nor should it be reduced to one. If anyone tries to give you that line, that Judaism is not a religion or a "Faith" but is a culture and a people, tell them they need to get their spiritual priorities straight.

I suggest that he is not truly a “Jew” whose faith in and worship of God is not rooted and grounded in those Scriptures. And whoever begins to elevate either Talmud or Kabbalah or the opinions of rabbis to anything even near the authority of The Scriptures is endangering The Jewish Faith and introducing religious confusion. He is no friend of truth. He that spends an hour in the Talmud for every hour in The Divine Scriptures is allowing something merely “human” to have equal place with God. He that spends ten hours in the Talmud for every hour in The Holy Scriptures, is giving religious man ten times the place of honor he is giving to God. God’s Word must be supreme, and all other religious studies and concepts must be kept subordinate and realized to be lesser lights. And of these religious studies that I say are “lesser lights,” the very “best” are those which are dedicated to honoring and upholding and magnifying that which is written in The Canon of Scripture, not merely picking it apart or explaining it away or raising possibilities and speculations about its meanings. But rather, pointing at The Scripture and declaring, “Thus saith the Lord!” That, I declare to you, is the fountain from which true Judaism springs.

He who would be “a good Jew” and would do a service to Judaism should be bold to declare the Talmud to be a lesser to The Canon of Scripture, and be bold to declare any expounditures of the rabbis (whether oral or written) to be lesser to The Canon of Scripture, and be bold to work toward exalting The Holy Scriptures to their rightful place far above all other things “religious” in the hearts of his fellow Jews.

But as for Kabbalah, let it be altogether purged out of Jewish life and culture and religion, forever!




CONTINUE TO PAGE 2 OF ROBERT GILLETTE ON KABBALAH



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