I love opinionated non-PC people. This blog is to vent my opinions on life, the universe and everything. Which is 42 which in gematria is "My Heart" (LBY) according to Rabbi Abulafia. The Divine Heart is the centre of everything.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jacob Frank and the Zoharist Catholic Khasidim: A Hebrew Catholic Perspective

Jacob Frank




Recent Catholic writers of a Latin traditionalist bent have written slanderous and incorrect commentaries in regards to the leaders and writers of the modern phenomena of Hebrew Catholics [or Catholic Jews]. They have been accused of all sorts of evil agendas and their writings misconstrued. This leads one to reflect back to that other large group of Catholic Jews later called Frankists but in their own era and milieu as Zoharists or Leb (Heart) Khasidim. They were in the main scholarly and religious Jews who looked to the mystical interpretation of Scripture and Tradition as proposed in the Jewish Mystical commentary on the Torah called “Zohar”. These Zoharists who became Catholic Jews with their Rebbe Jacob Leib ben Judah Leib (aka Jacob Leibowitz Frank), were misunderstood, persecuted, and maligned by both Catholics and Jews who opposed their movement as well as later writers and researchers such as Gershom Scholem. Instead of reviewing them according to their own terms they were placed in a mixed bag with Sabbatians, occultists and Gnostics. While some later followers of Frank’s ideas did associate with such groups- Frank himself remained true to his Zoharist vision which led him to embrace the Catholic Church in 1760 as that force which would be the foundation and base for a renewed Universal Religion which would unite all the lost sparks found in all religions and philosophies. He was ahead of his time with ideas that later would be accepted by Vatican II. The Jesuits were the only group that could understand such ideas at this time and they were great supporters of the Zoharist Jews. The Jesuits themselves unfortunately were being persecuted by their fellow Catholics and would soon be disbanded.

Frank’s letters and sayings must be evaluated in the light of a Catholic Jewish and Marian reading of the “Zohar”. One needs to contemplate Frank and the Zoharists from a position of perceiving the Kabbalah as authentic Jewish Mysticism rather than a development of Gnostic occultism. When one does this, one comes to different conclusions than most of the writers of the last two centuries of slander. Gershom Scholem is hostile to Kabbalah in general and so is a negatively biased researcher even if very erudite. One can also perceive that the Frankist insights are the seeds and forerunner of Pope John Paul II’s phenomenological “Theology of the Body” which draws from Polish Frankist sources. Some extremist authors indeed condemn John Paul II and his teachings due to their Frankist origins, which they perceive as evil. Phenomenology itself has roots in the teachings of Jacob Leib Frank who wished to encourage a spirituality that looked at truth from the perspective of man and his life. This phenomenological approach is also found in the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov who was influenced by the secret Jewish followers of Frank that remained in the Jewish community. Rebbe Nachman spent 5 years learning with the Zoharist Tzadik Benjamin Ephraim Broida (Brody) his father-in-law who was a rabbi in Ossatin at this time.

Much has been made of the claims that the Zoharists were anti-Talmud. A reading of the letters of Jacob Frank and the writings of some of the early Frankists, show that they had a detailed knowledge and use of the Talmud and Jewish tradition. The Zoharists were not anti-talmudic but opposed a dry legalistic way of interpreting the Scriptures and Talmud. The so-called anti-Talmud and blood-libel disputations attended by some of the Zoharists, were more due to the prejudices of the anti-semitic Gentile Christian clergy with whom the Zoharists were driven to ally with in order to save their lives. Jacob had nothing to do with these disputations and did not attend them. The lists of the Frankists so-called beliefs reflect more the ideas of the Catholic clergy and their anti-semitic ideas than the beliefs of the Zoharists. Most writers seem to be ready to believe the picture of Frank painted by his enemies and assume his insincerity in his Catholic beliefs. It is clear that the Zohar alludes to the Trinitarian idea of three persons in one God. It also emphasizes the role of the heavenly Mother in Eternity who lives in deep union with the three lights within the Godhead who manifests in 10 attributes. In fact, the Zoharist movement could be called a Marian movement. Frank’s use of the term ‘goddess’ for Our Lady comes directly from the Zohar which calls the feminine aspect of Shekhinah ‘elleh’ or goddess. Jacob Frank was not antinomian, he believed in the Torah but believed through baptism (the mikveh of the Messiah) the Zoharists were free in the Messiah to observe Torah at the mystical level of the Torah of Atik and for this greater purpose of universalizing the Mystical insights, they were free to appear as Gentiles to the Gentiles. Nevertheless, in the privacy of their own homes and communities they continued to observe circumcision, the Sabbath, their own burial customs and they practiced endogamy. Endogamy is the practice of only marrying other Jews. They mostly married others from Zoharists families. Women were sometimes allowed to marry non-Jews for social reasons but the men were encouraged by their mothers only to marry those from appropriate families. Frank was endeavouring to preserve the election of Israel as a community within the Church but he was too far ahead of his time.

Jacob Frank also had nothing to do with the Lvov consistory of 1757 and its statements. The Zoharists were being persecuted at this time by the Rabbinic authorities who wished the Church to burn their fellow Jews at the stake. In desperation a group of the Zoharists in fear of their lives and families sought church protection at the price of appearing anti-Talmudic just as they were to do in 1759, in regards to the blood libel disputations, in order to gain the protection of Bishop Stoltyk a notorious anti-semite and promoter of the blood libel. Once again Jacob took no part in this disputation but appeared in Lvov at the end to lead his people to the waters of salvation. Many tried to discredit Frank and his followers by slandering them and claiming they were not sincere converts to Catholicism. In one sense, this was true. They were not converts to a narrow view of Catholicism popular in their time. They had a vision of a broader Catholicism that was truly universal and allowed Jews in the Church to be truly Jews. Frank discerned that until his Marian vision could be fulfilled they would practice hiddeness and silence. The Church of Poland however in 1760 did acknowledge officially that the Frankists were sincere in their Catholic beliefs. The Frankists were sincere believers in the infallible teachings of faith and morals but did not feel bound to the man-made traditions and prejudices of the church of their time just as they didn’t feel bound by the Rabbinic legalistic approach. They were primarily mystics not theologians and lawyers. They saw a grand vision of what Judaism and Catholicism could be as a Universal uniter of all peoples. The Frankists were ecumenical in an age when ecumenism was not popular. They envisioned not just the union of Jews and Catholics but also of Muslims and Eastern Orthodoxy. Those with a more limited vision interpret these Frankist approaches as insincerity rather than a broad universal approach. John Paul II and Benedict XVI are also condemned, by many narrow insular Catholics, for their broad and loving ecumenical approach. Even in Frank’s own life time, he noted that there were some of his followers that did not understand his deep Marian insights. After his death his daughter, Eva Frank was influenced by Sabbatians from Prague and Frank’s relative Moses Debruska headed in an occult direction. However many other hidden groups of Zoharists remained true to Frank’s original vision. Jacob originally sought permission for his people after baptism to keep the Jewish customs openly in the Church. However, the narrow anti-semitic prejudices of the clergy of the Polish Church of the time denied his request so that they were forced to dwell in hiddeness and silence. His enemies in the church could only criticize his teachings on the Intermediate or Second Coming of Christ in glory and the Day of Judgement and the Final Coming. This is a question that the church has never formerly defined and is still open even today for theological debate and speculation according to Pope Benedict XVI.

Jacob Frank was not the originator of these Catholic Jewish insights; he learnt them from the Catholic Jewish followers of Nathan of Gaza. After Nathan of Gaza’s conversion to Catholicism many other Sabbatians either openly became Catholics or secretly remained in the Jewish community. Nathan of Gaza now began to focus on the Zohar rather than the Gnostic and occultic elements which had led Sabbatai Tzvi in a false path. These occultic Gnostic elements from the East had been introduced by Chayim Vidal, and other followers of Isaac Luria (the Ari), which distorted the teachings of the Ari into an occultic direction. Nathan of Gaza and his new followers now realized that Yeshua was the true Messiah of Zohar not Sabbatai Tzvi. Nathan of Gaza came to see that he had been deceived about Sabbatai Tzvi. Nevertheless, he saw some holy sparks in his teachings but also perceived that they could only be redeemed through the power of baptism in the Catholic Faith, which gave one the power of Eternal Life. Frank later saw Sabbatai Tzvi as inspired by the demon Asmodeus. He refers to him as Asmodeus the Elder and to Berakya Russo as Asmodeus the Son. Jacob’s father was a Sabbatean follower of an extremist group following the early teachings of Berakya Russo and Rabbi Mordechai Margolioth initiated Jacob into this group at his wedding in 1752. In 1753, Frank moved to Salonika where he learnt with the followers of Berakya Russo and he became a fanatical follower of this sect. However, on a visit to Skopje in 1754 to the tomb of Nathan of Gaza he met a holy woman who followed the baptized Nathan of Gaza’s teachings. She tried to reveal them to Frank but he misunderstood her. Frank desired to enter more deeply into the Sabbatian occult mysteries and Rabbi Mordechai became fearful of his fanaticism. He also started to question his teachers Rabbi Mordechai and Rabbi Issachar about Berakhya Russo and became disillusioned with his version of Sabbatianism. He decided to go into Turkey as a merchant and learn with the secret Sabbatians called the Donmeh. In Turkey, he outwardly converted to Islam, in the tradition of the Donmeh, with 70 of his followers. However after he experienced the martyrdom of a Christian, who had converted to Islam who then openly recanted his conversion and was beheaded by the Muslims, his heart started to question his former beliefs. He started to read the Zohar more deeply and remembered back to what the holy old woman of Skopje had told him about Nathan of Gaza and Berayka Russo who had drawn close to the Eastern Orthodox Church (whom he referred to as Edom) in his later years. In 1755 he returned to Poland and sought to provide some leadership to the numerous Sabbatian groups and lead them into a more Zoharist and thus Catholic Marian direction. In 1756 he was forced to flee to Turkey in order to save his life. Frank and his followers sang praises to the Matronita (Virgin Mary) from the Zohar with the sexes mixed. They were discovered doing this and they fled. Their enemies stated that they were involved in some kind of sex worship of a naked woman. They were arrested and forced to confess to all sorts of lies in order to save their lives. The church court later investigated the claims of the Jewish court of Satanov and dismissed it as baseless slander against the Zoharists. In 1758 under royal protection, Frank and those followers who had fled to Turkey returned to Poland and in 1759, 3,000 were baptized formally with him to the Catholic Faith in Lvov. In 1760, many more were baptized in Warsaw. Frank claimed that 60,000 Jews were baptized into the Catholic Faith under his leadership. Many others didn’t get baptized but secretly followed his teachings remaining within the rabbinic Jewish communities. However later in 1760, his and the Jesuits enemies in the Church had him slandered and imprisoned in Czestochowa the great Polish Marian shrine. Here he was to experience apparitions of Our Lady of Czestochowa whom Frank called the Goddess (Elleh) of Czestochowa.




Frank connected the holy icon of the Virgin with the Zohar’s teaching of the Celestial Mother as the mirror image of the 10 Attributes. She was the Lady Mother of Wisdom of the Book of Proverbs to whom King Solomon was devoted. Frank said “What did Christ show? Just that, that all pray to an icon. There is in this world a ‘likeness’ to which all kings went. King Solomon gazed at that icon more than the others. That is why it is said, he was wiser than all the rest. If only one would sincerely pray to God at this entrance (the icon of Czestochowa) then from here God would answer him.” (Zbior Slow Panskich 91). Our Lady revealed to him that when the Jewish people as a collective come and honour the Lady of Czestochowa then the Russian people would also honour her by entering a renewed Marian Catholic Church. Frank said about Czestochowa, “We are running (ratz) after an icon…Czestochowa was called from ancient times the Matronita (Maiden/Virgin). When we (the Jewish people) will come here so then will the Muscovites enter her” (Zbior Slow Panskich 95 & 106). In his writings Frank seems very upset with the leaders of the Frankist Jews who disobeyed him and did not bring all the Catholic Jews to honour the Lady of Czestochowa in a mass gathering. A great grace that God had in store was postponed to a later time. This grace was connected with the mystery of the Divine Will that is represented in the Jewish Temple by the three arks in one of the Ark of the covenant which represents the three heads (or skulls) of Divine Will. Frank revealed, “In Czestochowa I beheld a vision of this ‘likeness’, I was in a synagogue where there were three arks which looked like altars. I paused before one of the altars and davened. After I had finished my davening according to Jewish custom I returned to my place and took off my tallis…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 7). He then receives a vision of 12 Jewish men and 12 Jewish women whose faces radiate like Moses full of wisdom (hokhmah), beauty (tiferet) and purity (tzadik/tahor) who would in the future lead the Jews to fulfill this mission which Frank had begun. Frank was hoping they would gain the grace of ‘daat’ (knowledge) of the Divine Will, which would prepare the world for the third fiat of living in Divine Will as did Yeshua and Miriam. Frank said to his followers, “You have not yet come to Daat, since Daat is that hidden Daat [of the array of the sefirot] and the understanding (binah) of that Daat means knowledge… ‘Know before whom you stand’. If you were dwelling in this Daat you would no longer be subject to defect… therefore I have taken you only to ordinary baptism…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 110). This grace is connected to the ‘well of Miriam’ which is discussed in the Zohar. Frank discusses this mystery of the Maiden (Matronita/Matrona), “All the efforts of our fathers were devoted to this, that they might run after that Matronita, upon whom the whole of life depends and who gives protection from all evil, no weapon has any power over us because of her help. Just as the patriarchs dug a well, and Jacob found a well and at it Rachel and he removed the rock from that well. And also Moses after arriving at the spring met a maiden there…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 124). Jacob Frank also was frustrated with those unbaptised followers of his that were reluctant to get baptized and thus formerly leave their Jewish communities. He wanted to lead them to Daat which could not be accessed except through the grace of baptism. He said to them, “At the beginning we needed a plain baptism but now it is necessary for us to go on to Daat. I am with you but I am baptized and you are not. Why is this so? It is because you are not following the one sent by God… Now this must wait days and years before we can reach that grace. I will not be able to bring you near it now… unless you will be humble and meek as a doormat upon which everybody treads…when the Good God reveals himself in this world your simkhah will be great but when you see the grace lost by you, you will become sad and will be very sorry…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 143). Frank warns his followers of the persecution of the Pope of their time (by Napoleon a type of the antichrist) which is not the time of the prophesied persecution and exile of the Pope at the period called the end of times (of special mercy for the gentiles). This can only be fulfilled at the time when the Jewish people have entered the Catholic Church through baptism. “…When the high priest came out from the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippor the whole world rejoiced and it was said ‘Blessed is the eye which saw it’. That was only a sign and type for the present when they will drag out the high priest from Rome and the whole world will rejoice at that time…But you will be only present at the likeness of that event…because when we shall come to Esau (the Roman Catholic Church) only then will be fulfilled ‘The Lord appeared to me from afar’ (Jeremiah 31: 3). Only there (Tam) and then we will put on the robe of Esau…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 156). The verse “the Lord appeared from afar” is discussed in Zohar 2: 125b linking it with Exodus 24 and the mysteries of the Shekinah who is linked to Miriam in the verse “and his sister stood afar off” (Exodus 2: 4). The word ‘tam’ in Zohar 2: 126a refers to Jacob as the image of the Divine Adam, which Frank also reads as Edom. The Messiah is the man in scarlet garments coming from Edom. In Zbior Slow Panskich 154-155, it tells of message from the Maiden in a time of great change and upheaval. In 155 he alludes to the time of the footsteps and heel of Messiah and the Day of Judgment (not the final Judgement day but what Catholics call the mini Judgement or Warning) and the era of the grace of Living in the Divine Will. This last mystery he is not permitted to reveal except by allusions to the Sun and its rays. The robes of Esau are also the robes of Adam according to Zohar 1: 142b. The field is also associated with Esau in the Zohar and Frank links in with Poland as the word field is ‘Pole’ in Polish. This field is associated with the divine Adam and his Attributes (Sefirot). In ZSP 157 Frank speaks of an evil King of the nations (Zar) that will come to rule over the nations alluding to Zohar 2: 95a-96a. From this very brief look at some of the teachings of Frank one perceives that only those who themselves share the Catholic Jewish and Marian understanding can evaluate the teachings of Frank in the light of the Zohar. One also must be careful to read his comments about his life and thoughts as a Sabbatian as a form of confession of his past sins. As a Sabbatian he was antinomian, it was his teshuvah and entry into baptism and the Catholic Church that drew him back to the true path of righteousness. However in the collection (Yalkut/Zbior) of his writings the Prague Sabbatians that joined Eva’s Frankists in Offenbach added their own occultic ideas to the collection in Frank’s name. Frank was totally devoted to the Maiden of Czestochowa (who he called the heavenly Rachel) but the Prague Sabbatians detested her and associated her with Lilith the mother of evil. An example is 397 in the collection. Here they use many of the allusions and symbols that Frank used in praise of the Maiden drawing on the Zohar and they turn it to the opposite and attack the Law of Moses as well. These interpolations in the material reveal the hatred that they have for those followers of Frank who remain devoted in sincerity to Our Lady and the Catholic faith. This false Frank in 397 disparages the Rosa Mystica whereas the true Jacob Frank honours her. “…And if you had been worthy to see her you would have said only one word… you would have said that word “Shoshana”- Rose. Then you would have caught hold of her with an eternal grip without stopping. She would have blessed you saying ‘You are blessed my children! You run after (ratz) me until now so from now on I will be with you forever.’ She would have led you then…” (Zbior Slow Panskich 410). Unfortunately, this perverted image of Frank is the one which has been embraced by history. When one doesn’t separate the false image from the true Jacob Frank it looks like Frank is schizophrenic. One is an arrogant power mad, sex driven occult leader, the other a humble, simple spiritual man who has suffered for his total devotion to his Maiden yet a strong, humourous man who was very naughty in his youth, and wayward and violent until his conversion to the Maiden.

After Frank’s death in 1791 his daughter Eva (Rachel) became the Tzadikess of the Frankists in Germany but unfortunately was led astray by the Prague Sabbatians. This caused a split between Eva and her sisters who continued in Frank’s original vision. Frank’s daughter Anna Rosa (Rivka Shoshana) Jacob [b.1755 d. 1798 Athlone] and her husband Nathan Mayer went to the crypto-Jewish community in Athlone Ireland where their daughter Miriam Hannah Mayer (Mary)became a Tzadikess to the secret Zoharist community. Her brother Joseph Mayer was a Tzadik in England among the secret Zoharists in the orthodox Jewish community. Two of his grandsons were to become Anglican priests. Another sister Rachel Mayer married in 1790 to Rabbi Benjamin Ephraim Broida (Brod/Brody) who would be the Tzadik among the secret Jewish Zoharists of Russia called the Shklov Khasidim. Frank’s daughter Ruth (Maria) and her husband Stanilas Rostowski (Shlomo Russo) went to lead the Zoharists in Scotland. Jacob Joseph Frank had seven daughters Rachel Chayah, Dinah Ruth, Esther Matrona, Rivka Shoshana, Miriam Hannah, Leah Golda and Sarah Judith. Esther Matrona married Rabbi David Wolf of Bavaria. From Frank’s study of the Zohar and his apparitions of Our Lady, he knew that a new Eve from Edom would come to reveal the concept of Living in the divine Will on earth and open this gateway for all. This was the very little chaya mentioned in the Zohar 1:26a. Yeshua was the superior Chaya as the new unfallen Adam (Adam was called Nefesh Chayah) and Miriam ha Kedosha (the maiden) was little Chaya as the new unfallen Eve (Chavah) and this new Eve (Chavah) from amongst the fallen was the very little Chayah. Frank called his youngest daughter Rachel Chaya and she was given the name Eva at her baptism in the hope that she might be this one. However, this ‘very little one’ was to be born in Corato, Italy in 1865, a virgin of belonging to Rome (Edom). Her surname Piccaretta can mean ‘a very little one’ and Luisa signed herself as the little child in the Divine Will. She died in 1947 one year before the proclamation of the State of Israel. Jesus told Luisa that the Kingdom of the Divine Will would be given back to Jerusalem by Rome in thanksgiving for the Jews part in giving Redemption to the world. This will be that time when Jacob (Jews) will put on the robes of his brother Esau (Rome) and there would be an explosion of spirituality in the world at the high level of the sanctification of dwelling in Divine Will (Ratzon). The Pope who will approve and beatify Luisa may be Ratzinger whose name can be read as living in the Divine Will as ratzon (will) and gar (live). It was the Polish Pope, John Paul II, who approved of St Faustina and the Divine Mercy. Some believe that the Woytila family may be of Frankist ancestry and recent research by an Orthodox Jewish scholar has demonstrated that John Paul’s mother was of Litvak Jewish ancestry. From Jacob Frank’s field (pole) have come the three great Poles of the 20th century –John Paul the Great, St Faustina Kowalski and St Maximillian Kolbe. Jacob Frank saw that Poland, France, Russia, Islam and the Jews were to play important roles in the end of the times of the Gentiles. He predicted the holocaust of Jews in central Europe if the Jews didn’t embrace Edom, which was fulfilled 150 years after his death.

As I have written about Jacob Frank elsewhere. "Jacob Frank saw him self in the role of a new Jeremiah called to knock down and destroy, and then to build and to plant. He was a trail blazer whose work would bear fruit in the future. He foresaw the destruction of European Jewry and saw that their salvation lay with the Catholic Church who in accord with Rabbinic tradition he called Esau or Edom. The Virgin of the Zohar the Matronita would lead them to become nothing -to die to Rabbinic Judaism and rise to Messianic freedom in the Catholic faith. He saw a future pure and humble Universal Messianic Religion that would come forth from the present Catholic Church. He saw a great Ecumenical Church that would through the Virgin's leading usher in a universal era of peace where the hidden mysticism of the Zohar would be fully understood and deepened as the Torah of Atzilut ( Torah of Atik). Frank saw the barriers and rules of present religions as obstacles between people. He came under Divine Guidance to nullify or to become as nothing which was a entering into the highest level of Keter (Crown) - the realm of entering in to the Divine Will. Frank looked to the earth and salvation history (the world of man and the person) to see God at Work rather than looking to the heaven which is veiled even for great mystics. His was a down to earth and practical spirituality that sanctified man's works. He foresaw that Poland would be the place that would prepare for the coming universal transformation (by the Divine Will) of the earth in the coming Messianic Era of Peace. He saw Poland as a place to be in the turn of 'night' before the great era of light that was coming. He foresaw a Slavic or Polish Pope who would draw on the insights that his follower's descendants in Poland would spread in spiritual and mystical circles among the common people. He also foresaw a great role for the Jews and for the French in this coming time. He foresaw a united Catholic Europe under a Great Catholic Monarch called Messiah ben Ephraim (or Messiah ben Joseph) a Catholic descendant of King David and a descendant of the Stuart Kings. He foresaw the coming a Great French Pope and saw the French return to their position as the eldest daughter of the Church. He also foresaw the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in bringing about the unity of East and West. He sought to dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Czar who visited him. He foresaw the destruction that Russia and the Muslims would inflict before the Virgin would lead them into the bosom of the new and purified universal Church. He tried to dialogue with the Muslims involved in mystical circles that had much in common with the Frankist mystics. He perceived that all laws and rules that separate people and divide them must be caste down and that not only Jews had to be saved but all mankind. The man-made social institutions had to be caste down because they stand in the way of universal salvation. Jacob sensed that he and his followers (Haverim/ Friends) had to go like Jesus to all people even to the lowest in this time when mankind was at its worst. They must like the Messiah become all things to all men. One has to descend (become nothing and totally die to self - to be annihilated or nullified) before one can ascend. This is dangerous because evil is similar to good - it imitates the good and perverts the goodness to the evil side. This is the mystery of Jacob's Ladder. Frank saw himself as a New Jacob who must descend to the abyss of nothing at the bottom of the ladder in order to redeem the one caught in the grip of the evil side. He further saw the role of himself and his followers as New Jacobs who were called to totally die to self (even to being Jews) through baptism in order to unite with their brother Esau/Edom (Rome). The Tanak (Old Testament) foresaw that the Messiah was to come from Edom (Seir or Esau) in certain prophecies and the Rabbinic tradition spoke of the Messiah dwelling among the poor Gentiles on the outskirts of Rome. Frank also developed a deep mystical 'theology of the body' based on the teachings of the Zohar. It was earthy and sexual while being mystical at the same time. His enemies and even some of his Frankists misunderstood these teaching and distorted and misrepresented them. Some of his followers took these teachings into an occult direction such as his relative Moses Debuchka. Frank also correctly perceived that the Catholic Church (Esau /Rome) of his time was not fully ready for his insights so that he and his followers must practice 'holy silence' outside the Frankist's circles. Through their silence they must become a Jewish leaven in Catholicism from which in the fullness of time would emerge 'holy knowledge' (Daat) hidden within the Zohar which would be universalized for the benefit and enlightenment of all.

Frank also realized that while they must join the nations of the Catholic Church they still needed to retain their Jewish identity in some form. In order to attain the mystical goals of the Frankists they may for a time have to move freely not bound by the strictures of Orthodox Jewish rules and traditions. As Paul felt free to be a Jew to the Jew and as one under the Torah to those under the Torah for the sake of the Gospel, the Frankists felt able to be Gentiles to the Gentiles for the sake of the Mystical traditions. Their acceptance of baptism and Jesus as the Messiah allowed them this freedom in the Messiah. They saw that by entering into the Messiah they would now observe Torah at the mystical levels of the Torah of Beriyah and in the future at the level of the Torah of Atzilut. In order to fulfill their mission as New Jacobs they must go on the 'way to Esau' (also known as the way to Emmaus) which was conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. Esau (Rome) belonged to the Good God where the power of death is made nought by the Resurrection and it is the dwelling place of 'the Virgin' (Matronita or the Maiden) who is the mystical Rachel ( The Church and Mary in her role as Mother of the Church). Frank taught that to the Virgin "all the King's weapons are surrendered" [i.e. Mediatrix of all Graces]. The Virgin is the much sought after Wisdom or Sophia. She is destined to be the victor over Death (Satan) and to be as the Zohar calls her ‘the Ark of the Covenant, Sovereign of all the Earth’. Until this time she is concealed in a Castle (the Church). This is the Woman in the Wilderness in the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse. She is the feminine aspect of Shekinah that went into Exile with Adam and Eve. The place of Esau symbolizes the nullification and dwelling in the Divine Will which is the home of the Virgin who dwells in the Divine Will (Keter) at the level of Gulgalta (Golgotha). Mary in Eternity dwells at the foot of the Cross at Golgotha totally united with the Divine Will. This is a hidden light that will be revealed to believers when these mystical insights about the Virgin will start to bear fruit. Frank saw that the time for this had not come but that a New Eve and virgin in the spirit of Eve before the fall and in the spirit of Mary would come to open this future Era of Blessing, Peace and Holiness that would lead to Revival of the Dead. He named his daughter Eve in the hope that it could be her that would be this New Eve of the future. He foresaw that a virgin of Esau (Rome) would lead the way to this Era of Holiness and the fulfillment of the Jewish mystical traditions.

Thus the Frankists had a liberated view of the role of woman and woman played an important role in their movement. They were prophets and mystics of great respect and Frank's daughter Eve was leader of the group after his death. Frank was a Hebrew Catholic Rebbe or Tzaddik and his daughter was a female Tzaddik. Like the Hasidic Rebbes they maintained a court. They saw that returning to Eden before the Fall reversed the curse that divided the sexes. They were new Adam's and the new Eve's - the Lords of Creation. The Virgin was seen by Frank as one of the Cherubim/Seraphim who guarded the Garden of Eden. She was the Queen of the Cherubim and Seraphim. Satan or Samael had once been Lucifer, the Ruler of the Cherubim and Seraphim. The Seraphim were holy fiery Serpents and thus Satan took the form of a fallen Serpent or Seraphim. Jesus is symbolized by the Bronze Serpent (a Seraph) on the Cross or Pole in the Book of Numbers. The Two Cherubim of the Garden are the two Cherubim of the Ark of the Covenant - they are Jesus and Mary in Eternity as Metatron and Matronita, the male and female aspects of Shekinah. Entry back to Eden (Paradise/ pardis/ bliss) is through these two Cherubic Hearts. The Frankists wanted to return to the conditions of Paradise where man was naked before God. Some Frankists like the Adamites took this literally and prayed and meditated naked causing scandal to others.

The Frankists had great devotion to this female (the Virgin) in the Zohar and they obeyed the Zoharic command to sing praises to this Woman who is the Ultimate Eve or Mother of the Living. That the Frankists allowed women and men to join these praises together caused misunderstanding and slander from other Jews. The Frankists saw that men and woman were restored to an Edenic relationship and thus the curses of Genesis were lifted through the triumph of the Virgin Daughter of Zion and her Seed the Messiah. In order to achieve the nakedness of soul that man had in Eden one must follow the Torah at the mystical level as revealed in Zohar. The Zohar reveals this level of Torah was offered to Israel at Sinai where they had a taste of seeing the Divine Mysteries clearly as a Sea parting in the Heavens just as the prophetess Miriam had. However Israel sinned with the Golden Calf and they had to be content with the lower level of understanding Torah that took in to account their need for rituals regarding forgiveness of sin and purity. The Frankists saw that baptism was a path leading back to this higher level of understanding Torah. Frank's aim was to lead his followers 'towards Life'. That Life was Messiah Jesus and his Virgin Mother, who allow the Jews (Frankists) to return to Edenic purity and enter the Garden of the Two Cherubim, where the Tree of Life is. There are no laws only love when one attains this total self-nullification and union with the Divine Will of the Good God. Jacob Frank wanted to unite Jacob, Esau and Ishmael (Jews, Christians and Muslims). The only way to do this was through the Virgin (Matronita) who was totally one with the Divine Will (her will was united to the Divine Will). "Frank's ultimate vision of the future was based upon the still unrevealed laws of the Torah ofAtzilut which he promised his disciples". They would take effect once they had come to Esau (Rome), when they had died to self and had been totally nullified through baptism. The level of the Messiah is the level of Keter/Ratzon (Divine Crown and Will) which is the stage of total self nullification to the Divine Will. This is the level of the Torah of the Hidden Ancient One (Torah of Atik or Atzilut)."

In my article on the "Mystical Rose" I also mention Jacob Frank. "The new Adam and the new Eve represent these feminine and masculine mysteries that are at the heart of the Jewish mystical theology. This is the mystical forerunner of the ‘theology of the body’ that has recently been unveiled by Pope John Paul II and is starting to be unfolded by Catholic theologians and writers such as Christopher West and Professor Janet Smith. The Hebrew Catholic Frankists are also forerunners of this theology of the body through their deep study of the Zohar which led Jacob Frank and his followers to embrace the Catholic Church. The Frankists remained influential in Polish Catholicism and many of the Polish sources that influenced the insights of Pope John Paul II come from Polish Catholic thinkers who are influenced by the Frankist ideas. The Frankists have been misrepresented by their enemies and critics but I think that their teachings need to be reassessed in the light of the present Papal theology and teachings of John Paul II. The Frankists’ symbol was the red Magen David which is also the red Rose. Jacob Frank spent 13 years at Czestochowa where Our Lady appeared to him as a beautiful Virgin. Jacob Frank was a devotee of the Zohar and Our Lady. He saw her connection with the concepts of Kneset Yisrael, Matronita and Sabbath Queen as revealed in the Zohar. He stated: “If you had caught on to that Maiden (The Virgin Matronita) in whom rests all the power of the world then you would have come in to the power to do works. But since you are not worthy of this, to cling to her, I know not to whom she will reveal her secret, and I am sworn and wait to do and fulfill whatever she orders done. And I bless you, for she has commanded me to receive you, and I rejoice. I told you that I am only a messenger, and whatever she says to me, I do.” Jacob Frank here humbly claims to be only a servant and messenger of Our Lady. He also stated: “You were not worthy to understand when I said to you, ‘I will show you God’, for first you must meet the Virgin because she is the Gate to God, and through her one enters in to God.” He also referred to her as the Redemptress . The Jewish tradition also calls Esther a Redemptress. This has significance for the Catholic belief in Mary as the Co-Redemptrix. Jacob Frank and his teaching have been distorted by his enemies and also by occultists to their own ends. Even some of his own followers did not fully understand what he had taught them. Zohar 1:11b refers to Rabbi Shimon as a precious pearl. This pearl shines forth as a great light. Jacob Frank describes the light or aspect of God that he had and its growth as a pearl. As Rabbi Shimon was in a cave for 13 years so Jacob Frank was in a ‘cave’/prison for 13 years at Czestochowa. He predicted a wonderful era of living in the Divine Will when the Jewish people would enter the Catholic Church. He associated this era with miraculous Roses that would bloom every day for 110 years. These Roses are the wonderful mystical insights that would find their full blossoming when the Jewish mystical tradition would be united with the Catholic mystical tradition leading to a wonderful era of peace. He also predicted the coming Holocaust of the Jews in Europe if they didn’t enter into Rome (whom he called Edom/Seir). The Jesuits had strongly supported Jacob Frank and his followers and both the Frankists and Jesuits were hated by certain groups within the Church that worked with the anti-Frankist Jewish authorities in order to slander and persecute both groups. The Frankists were also called Zoharists and they brought great riches into the Catholic Church that is bearing fruit in the pontificate of the Polish Slavic Pope which had been predicted by Frank. This prediction had been passed down by the families of Frankist origin in Poland. He also saw a future important spiritual role for Poland, France and the Jews which was passed down by the Frankist families. Our Lady of Czestochowa who appeared to Frank is close to the heart of Pope John Paul II and the whole Polish nation. John Paul presented the shrine of Czestochowa with a Golden Rose to signify the importance of this shrine of Our Lady. The Lady of the Zohar who is the Jewish Rosa Mystica is revealed to Frank as Our Lady of Czestochowa of Catholic devotion. The Frankists were the first fruits of the future ingrafting of the Jews to the Catholic faith followed by Our Lady’s apparition to the Jew Alphonse Ratisbonne in 1842."


Note: Since writing this article certain Catholics have also sought to slander and miscontrue what I have written here. I am no way a Sabatean nor do I approve of Sabateanism. While I give a new positive evaluation of Jacob Frank and his teachings I do not necessarily agree with his conclusions or ideas in certain areas. I also do not approve of the perverted Frankists who followed the teaching of Moses Debruschka or Eva Frank. I neither believe in or approve of New Age, occultism, freemasonry, nor Kabbalah interpreted through a Buddhist or Hindu or occult perspective. I personally adhere to the infallible teachings of the Catholic Church on faith and morals. I believe that any sex outside monogamous, heterosexual life-long marriage as contrary to the Divine Will, while at the same time not judging anyone else. I also respect the viewpoints of others who choose to disagree with me. What I take issue with is those who misrepresent what I am saying and seek to link my personal ideas and opinions with those of other Hebrew Catholics in a negative and frankly anti-semitic manner. My ideas are my own and do not represent any other organisation or persons as I state on my blog for all to see.