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, January 31, 2007

13 steps on how to be a Khasidic Catholic in daily life


For those who feel called to live out their vocation as a Catholic Jew in the spirit of Khasidut here is a suggested day. A gentile Catholic may adapt this to his own customs but keep the basic framework.

1. In the morning awake with the thought that I will live this day not for the things of this world but for those of the next world as I pray the Modeh Ani prayer and wash my hands with the blessing. The first three pourings on the hands we unite with the Thrice -Holy God, with the second three pourings on the hands we give thanks for Creation, Redemption and Sanctification.
2. We do our prevenient act of praying to do all our acts of the Day in his Divine Will for all and on behalf of all from the acts of Adam until the Last Man.
3. Go to the bathroom and say the blessings before and take a shower or bath uniting with the divine Will in the water (as a link with the mikveh)and all creation by praising Hashem on behalf of all. Be the voice of the whole Creation in offering, praise, adoration and thanksgiving to him.
4. Do Morning Prayer (Shacharit) - say the Shema and the Amidah. You may like to also do the Catholic morning prayer from the Breviary.If time do some spiritual reading. Unite yourself in prayer and thought with spiritual role models of the Jewish and Catholic saints (tzaddkim).Meditate on the Passion. 5. Eat breakfast in a reflective way. Eat in my eating, lord. Drink in my drinking, chew in my chewing, Lord. Eat in joy, peace and thanksgiving. Say Grace after meals.
6. Go to Mass and follow it (or predede it) with a personal holy hour of hitbodedut of talking in your mother tongue with Hashem about everything on your heart preferably in front of the Blessed Sacrament.Precede your holy hour or close it with a Rosary.If one goes to Mass in the evening then one may also wish to do their holy hour then.
7.Go to your work doing all in Divine Will and sanctifying each act of your work. Work in my working Lord. Clean in my cleaning Lord. Teach in my teaching Lord. Garden in my gardening Lord etc.
8. During the day look out for opportunities to practice the virtues in all situations. Embrace challenges and difficulties. Use difficult people and challenges as a way to avoid anger and to practice love and selflessness. Eat your lunch in the same manner as beakfast. If possible discuss something spiritual with those present.

9. Say Minchah prayer in the afternoon. You may wish to say the Afternoon prayer from the Breviary. Say a Rosary or a Divine Mercy chaplet or both. Make sure you also do some spontaneous dancing and singing to Hashem throughout the day.


10. Say Maariv and the Evening Prayer. Study some Torah or other spiritual writings. Say a Rosary.

11. Spend time with your family and eat a joyous dinner. Say Grace together after the meal.
12. Say the Bedtime Prayers invoking the protection of the angels against the Evil One and his forces and tricks. Say a Rosary or Divine Mercy chaplet or both. Reflect on your day and repent of sins and mistakes and look to the saints as role models.
13. Go to bed as early as possible so you can get up after midnight to say Tikkun Chazot. Say the Psalms or say a Divine Mercy chaplet in tikkun (reparation) for all.
Be flexible somedays you will have to rearrange your schedule. Love is a priority but don't use this an excuse for being slack. Find a rythm that suits your personality and lifestyle.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Devekut


The Jewish experience of God is 'devekut'which means 'cleaving to God'.This experience leads one to action - to a spiritual way of sanctity. This may lead one to the Jewish spiritual way of chasidut, 'the way of Mercifulness'- to become a Chasid 'a merciful one'. At the heart of Jewish Mysticism are the concepts or ways of Maaseh Bereshit, 'Work of Creation', and Maaseh Merkavah, 'Work of the chariot', but in order for a complete way we need Maaseh Avodah 'Work of service' which is the way of practical mercy (or acts of mercy). We have a built in desire for 'devekut', to be united and to cleave to God. We contemplate the 'image of God' engraved within us and we long and desire to unite and cleave to the Divine Man in whose image we are made.

Devekut is entering into the depths of the Divine Heart. This desire (taanug) in us for devekut is real and the Will (ratzon) of God responds to it. Rabbi Safran states: "Man's aspiration here below evoke the Will on High". God and man meet face to face in the Divine Man who is God revealed in his Attributes. We thus experience the Divine Pesence of God (the'face over the deep')and we behold the face of the Shekhinah (the 'face over the waters'of Genesis 1)which is the created presence of God in the Mother united with the Holy Spirit (the Spirit of the Messiah).

Devekut, which at its deepest is living or dwelling in the Divine Will, according to Rabbi Safran "does not entail the dematerialisation of man" or the dissolution of the soul into God. Man's will and person become as nothing before the Divinity and his will lives within God's Will. The pagan eastern mystical concept of man being absorbed into Nirvana (ceasing to exist) is alien to authentic Jewish and Catholic mysticism. The traditional Catholic understanding of Divine or Mystical Union is the same as the Jewish idea of devekut. Great harm to the soul and spirit is done when one seeks to distort Jewish or Christian mysticism into a syncretism with the pagan concept. Man's will and person remains but in total accord and union in the Divine Will as Adam was in the Garden of Eden.
Devekut does not lead to spiritual passivity or inaction but through dying to selfishness it leads us to spiritual action - avodah (service) to God and others. This experience of Living in God's Will impels us to service to God and man in the world as Living Hosts bringing the presence of God's Will to all. As Miriam (Our Lady) was the Theotokos (God bearer)so we become mini-theokotoses who bear God in our souls and we give birth to souls in the Holy Spirit. We nurture souls as icons of the Holy Spirit and Our Lady. This devekut is an experience of love, and love is always fruitful - we generate life in souls as created icons of the Father like St Joseph and Yeshua (in his humanity but uncreated icon in his divinity). Like them we generate and plant life in souls. Yeshua is the ultimate icon of God as the uncreated in his Divinity and created in his humanity.

Only God can give the grace of devekut and the grace of Dwelling in the Divine Will in a continous eternal mode. However one can share the teachings and insights deriving from these experiences of God's grace so that the soul will desire such graces. At this level we observe the mitzvot 'commandments' of God out of total love and as a way to grow in sanctity and love. One who claims mystical and spiritual life but does not grow in observance of the mizvot 'commandments and good deeds', is on a false spiritual path.The type of mitzvot and the level of observance will differ for each person depending on their state and vocation in life, and their stage of spiritual development.

In another sense the Torah is an icon of the Messiah and his Mother. The Messiah and his Mother in their turn are the living pure icons of the Torah in action. The Chumash (first five books of the Bible)begins with the Hebrew letter 'beit' and ends with the Hebrew letter 'lamed'. The two together read from right to left spells the word LB 'lev'which is heart in English. The heart of Scripture is the Heart of the Son -BN - Genesis begins with the 'beit' and the Apocalypse ends with the 'nun' of Amen.

The Life of sanctity is a following or walking in His Ways. The Talmud states: "You shall emulate His ways and his attributes of goodness." We do not just receive from the Lord but we must give of what we have been given. This devekut 'cleaving' is compared to the cleaving of a husband to his wife leading to their spiritual and sexual union. Chief Rabbi Safran states: " In its purity, loyalty and holiness, his conjugal devotion metaphorically mirrors the Devekut that binds man to God."(Wisdom of the Kabbalah). Husband and wife become one flesh but still retain their personal identities. The same is true in a deeper way with the Divine Union of the soul with God. When we experience this cleaving we imitate God in his works of mercy (chasidut) and goodness but not in his justice and judgement. We in this way become like our Creator. The one who dwells in Divine Will gives by doing good to others unselfishly in the Lord's Name, not our own name. Thus Torah and mitzvot observance will cause the soul to desire to give to others. When we are consecrated to the Holy Spirit we will act in the Spirit. Just as the union of husband and wife generates fruitful life so the Divine Union bears much fruit in good works (mitzvot).

Note: This is written as a reflection on Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran's book "The Wisdom of Kabbalah".Chief Rabbi Safran

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Kingdom of the Divine Will

This is the Sefirot array including the outer face of Keter which is Divine Knowledge (Daat).


Click the image below and see a diagram of the Kingdom of the Divine Will.

Breslov Khasidim


Two signs of a Breslov (Lev Basar) Khasid as a follower of Rebbe Nachman.

1. Hitbodedut [spontaneous conversation with God]
2. Halakah [learning how to be a Jew]

Hitbodedut is devotion to the daily personal Holy Hour in which one enters into intimacy with Hashem. This is a separate time from set prayers it is the time to pour out one’s heart to God. This is the whole essence of Torah activated in our lives. This is living out the commandment of ‘Love of God’.

Halakah is learning how to be a better person and a better Jew. This is the fulfillment of ‘In all your ways acknowledge him’ (Proverbs). Halakah means direction or way. This is process of getting clarity. This is learning how to live out the commandment of ‘Love thy neighbour’ by observing the mitzvot.


There are five constants to Lev Basar (Heart of Flesh) Khasidic spirituality.

1. Be joyful always (simkhah)
2. Trust and know God in our life (emunah)
3. Be humble (shiflut) which is be real to oneself
4. Be simple – live in simplicity
5. Live in the Now


As a Catholic Jew who follows the teachings of my ancestor Rebbe Nachman of Breslov I try to live by these basic Breslover principles. For the Catholic Jew the Holy Hour is best done in a chapel of Eucharistic Adoration where heart is poured out to Heart. Rebbe Nachman developed his unique type of Khasidus by uniting the teachings of his great grandfather the Baal Shem Tov with that of his father-in-law's Zoharist teachings based on those of Jacob Frank.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Thirty Two Paths of Wisdom


In the Jewish Mystical Tradition the Divine Heart is made up of 32 paths of Wisdom. Each of these 32 paths are linked to the ten sefirot (attributes) and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The 32 mentions of God's name elohim in Genesis 1 are linked to these 32 paths. There a few different ways of presenting this in Jewish sources. In the sefirotic array the diagonal lines are made up of the 12 elemental letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The horitonzal lines in the array of the Divine Heart are the 7 double letters and the three vertical letters and called the mother letters.

Mention of Elohim Pathway

1. In the beginning elohim created/ vav /elemental 1/ Keter-Khokhmah

2. Spirit of elohim hovered/ heh/ elemental 2/ Keter-binah

3. Elohim said let their be light/ Keter/ Sefirah 1/ Keter

4. Elohim saw the light & it was good/ Bet/ Double 1/ Khokhmah-Khesed

5.Elohim divided between light/ zayin/ Elemental 3/ Khokhmah-Din

6. Elohim called the light Day/ Khet/ Elemental 4/ Binah- Khesed

7. Elohim said Let there be Rakia/ Khokhmah/ Sefirah 2/ Khokhmah

8. Elohim made rakia/ alef/ Mother 1/ Binah-Khokhmah

9. Elohim called Rakia/ tet/ Elemental 5/ Khesed-Tiferet

10. Elohim said lt the waters/ Binah/ Sefirah 3/ Binah

11. Elohim called the dry land/ Yod/ elemental 6/ Din-Tiferet

12.Elohim saw that it was good/ Gimel/ Double 2/ Binah-Din

13. Elohim said let the earth be/ Khesed/ Sefirah 4/ Khesed(gedullah)

14. Elohim saw that it was good/ dalet/ Double 3/ Keter-Tiferet

15. Elohim said let there be lights/ Din/ Sfirah 5/ Din (gevurah)

16. Elohim made two lights/ mem/ Mother 2/ Khesed-Din

17. Elohim place them in Rakia/ lamed/ elemental 7/ Tiferet-Netzach

18. Elohim saw it was good/ kaf/ Double 4/ Khesed-Netzach

19. Elohim said let the waters/ Tiferet/ Sefirah 6/ Tiferet (Rakhamim)

20. Elohim created great fish/ nun/ Elemental 8/ Tiferet-Hod

21.Elohim saw it was good/ peh/ Double 5/ Din-Hod

22. Elohim blessed them/ samekh/ Elemental 9/ Netzach-Yesod

23.Elohim saidlet...animals/ Netzach/ Sefirah 7/ Netzach (bahir)

24. Elohim made the beasts/ shin/ Mother 3/ Hod-Netzach

25. Elohim saw it was good/ resh/ Doouble 6/ Tiferet-Yesod

26.Elohim said let...man/ Hod/ sefirah 8/ Hod (zohar)

27. Elohim created man/ ayin/ Elemental 10/ Hod-Yesod

28.In the form of elohim/ tzadi/ Elemental 11/ Netzach-Malkut

29. Elohim blessed them/ kuf/ Elemental 12/ Hod-malkut

30. Elohim said be fruitful/ Yesod/ Sefirah 9/ Yesod (Tzadik)

31. Elohim said behold/ Malkut/ Sefirah 10/ Malkut (Shekhinah)

32. Elohim said all/ tav/ Double 7/ Yesod-Malkut


This version of the sefirotic array accords with the 13 triangular relationships of Divine Mercy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hebrew Catholic Mysticism - Part 1

Introduction to the Jewish Mystical Tradition


Pope Sixtus IV (1471-1484) believed that the Jewish Mystical Tradition called Kabbalah was an important means for deepening our understanding of the Catholic mysteries of the Faith. He ordered the translation of the main texts of Kabbalah into Latin and ordered that all Divinity students study these texts for their insights into the deep mystical truths of the Catholic mysteries. Some Catholic scholars began this exploration such as Pico de Mirandola but with the rise of the new rationalism of the Enlightenment this was neglected by mainstream orthodox Catholic theologians and scholars. The Catholic mystics without realizing it have been receiving mystical revelations that mirror the mystical understandings of Judaism. Blessed Raymond Lull also taught some ideas that parallel those of the Jewish Mystical Tradition. 

Recent Popes have developed the Church’s teaching in regards to the role of the Jews and Judaism during the time of the Gentiles building on the statements in the Nostra Aetate document of the Second Vatican Council. This has built on the new understandings as articulated by the Lemann and Ratisbonne brothers in the 19th century, four Jews who became Catholic priests. The new Pope, Benedict XVI, in his writings proclaims a continuing positive role for Judaism (not just the Jews) during the time of the Gentiles. He states: “…Beyond all historical and strictly theological discussions, we find ourselves placed at the heart of the question of the present responsibility of Jews and Christians before the modern world. This responsibility consists precisely in representing the truth of the one Will of God before the world and thus placing man before his inner truth, which is at the same time his way. Jews and Christians, must bear witness to the One God, to the Creator of heaven and earth, and do this in that entirety which Psalm 19 formulates in an exemplary way: the light of the physical creation, the sun; and the spiritual light, the commandment of God, belong inextricably together. In the radiance of the Word of God the same God speaks to the world who attests to himself in the sun, moon and stars, in beauty and fullness of creation. ‘The sun is heaven’s pride, yet your law, Lord, much more besides’…”(Many Religions – One Covenant).


Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran states: “ …The Kabbalah is thus both divine revelation and human acceptance and transmission: it is Tradition. Even when written it retains its eminently oral character; it is alive because it is made for life, for the development and fulfillment of life according to the “Word of God”. Consequently, the “Word of God is Halakah”: it is Law…The Law is a mitzvah , a “commandment” of God, of that personal God who communicates with man. This divine mitzvah transcends man’s reason. The Kabbalah endeavours to penetrate its meaning by sounding the depth of its spirit; far from disregarding the rationale of the Law, it rather seeks to reach its supra-rational dimensions…In this moment of awakened consciousness…man finds himself in quest of God…At the same time, he finds that God too is seeking him, is coming towards him, he feels that his “desire” is real, for the “Will” of God responds to it. Man’s aspirations here below evoke the “Will on High”…” (Wisdom of Kabbalah). This ‘commandment of God’ mentioned by both Pope and Chief Rabbi is the single Act or command of Creation in which all other acts or commands proceed – this ‘commandment of God’ is also the ‘Word of God’ who proceeds from the one Will of God on High. This Divine Will to Create manifests visibly as the ten attributes (sefirot) of the Divine Man (Adam Kadmon). These ten attributes are seen in the Jewish Mystical Tradition as 10 names and lights and as the 10 decrees of Creation and the 10 commandments of Sinai. In the Catholic tradition Blessed Raymond Lull calls them 10 reasons and lights. Pope Benedict XVI refers to the “Word of God” as the Reason (Logos) and he has a deep understanding of the concept of reason in this connection based on the opening words of John’s Gospel.

Vladimir Soloviev

Pope John Paul II saw that the third millennium would be a time of unifications leading to a new springtime. Vladimir Soloviev the famous Russian Orthodox philosopher saw that it was the Jews as a spiritual-ethnic identity that would be instrumental in the reunion of the Christians of East and West.
Two other Catholic Jews, who foresaw and worked towards the time of unifications of not only the Catholics and Orthodox but of the Jews and Islam, were Jacob Leib Frank (1725-1791) and Rabbi Moshe ben Zalman (1783-1877) son of the first Lubavitch Rebbe. The late Rebbe Menakhem Mendel Schneursohn of Lubavitch also spoke of this reunion of Jacob and Esau (the Jews and the Christians) as does his disciple Rabbi Isaac Ginzburg a leading teacher of Kabbalah

Today there are many different spiritualities claiming to be a form of Kabbalah such as that which Madonna and other celebrities have been involved in. Authentic Kabbalah is that which is Biblically based and rooted in the mystical levels of Scripture. Much modern day Kabbalah has taken on concepts from occultic Eastern sources and these need to be removed, in order for many to see the true beauty of the Jewish Mystical Tradition. Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran is an orthodox Jewish authority on the teaching of authentic Kabbalah rooted in the Scriptures and Tradition. He states that the Jewish Mystical Tradition is a doctrine of unity. Reality is a whole as a unity of visible and invisible, material and spiritual, that are intermingled and united. This process of unity is called “Life”. The source of this Life is the Creator God who is ‘Chai Chaiyim’ (Life of Lives), the Cause of Causes and the Root of Roots . These titles of God have a triune meaning which in the ‘Zohar’ are referred to as the three sparkling Lights of the Godhead and they manifest as the three heads of the Divine Will (Ratzon). 

Safran teaches that Man (Adam) is conscious of the Life-Giving Presence. Adam is aware of the Presence (shekhen kavod YHVH ) through his acts which imitate the acts of the Creator. Adam is invested (milluim) with a unique (yakhid) mission. This ‘Yakhid Mission’ is for man to strive to embrace with his spirit this total union of the visible material and invisible spiritual reality in order to discover with love the visible manifestation/revelation (Gillui) of His Presence. 

The Akeidah (Binding) of Isaac by his father Abraham is a further revealing of this Mission, as Isaac is the symbol of the Yakhid (unique son) and this is cryptically mentioned in the ‘Sefer Yetzirah’. The Jewish Siddur in the prayers of the Akeidah refer to the ‘zera Yitzchak yakhido’ [seed of Isaac his unique son] as the Yakhid and ‘adat Yaakov binkha b’korekah’ [community of Jacob your firstborn son] as the firstborn son. On one level this prayer is referring to the whole people of Israel and on a more Messianic mystical level to the seed of Genesis 3:15 who is the Messiah and his mother. She is the Messianic Woman who with her mystical right foot (netzach) will triumph over the fallen Serpent. The Messiah and his mother embodies the whole people of Israel. 

The Messiah is the ultimate son of the covenant and son of Abraham and the loved one of God who will be sacrificed in reality on Mt Moriah (this chain of small mountains includes the Temple mount, Zion, Olives and Golgotha). He is the Yakhid (unique son) who is sacrificed atop the altar of the wooden Cross and the firstborn son of God and of the mystical community of Jacob – the firstborn of all Creation. He is one that God adores, delights and rejoices in. He is named Messiah Israel as the one who struggles in prayer and triumphs. He is named Jeshurun as the Yosher the visible manifestation of God in his Attributes- the Upright One. His Mother is the Ultimate Woman [isha] the daughter of the Covenant and daughter of Abraham. She is the one that God delights in (Hepzibah ) who united her sacrifice on Moriah at the foot of the Cross with her son the seed of Isaac. “…But we are your people, the sons of your covenant, sons of Abraham, your loved one, to whom you swore an oath at Mt Moriah; the seed of Isaac, his unique son, who was bound atop the altar; community of Jacob, your first born son, whom –because of the love which you adored him and the joy with which you delighted in him- named Israel and Jeshurun…” (Jewish Siddur).

As mentioned above both Pope Benedict and Rabbi Safran teach that God manifests his Presence through Torah and the Universe (Creation). The Torah reveals the reason or purpose (logos) for the Creation. The Universe represents this reason in Act (reality). This understanding of reason as logos is a favourite theme of Pope Benedict XVI. It is impossible for man to comprehend the Infinite God (Ain Sof ). The Infinite One provides a way to allow man to reach him through the ‘work of Creation’[Maaseh Bereshit] and the ‘work of the Chariot’ [maaseh Merkabah] according to Rabbi Safran. Man responds to this experience of Divine encounter with the ‘work of Ministry’ [maaseh Avodah] as mentioned by St Paul. He writes in Ephesians 4:13: “…to equip the Tzaddikim for the ‘maaseh avodah’ for the building up of the body of Mashiach until we all attain to the ‘echad haEmunah’ and of the ‘daat Ben Elohim’ to ‘malei Adam’ , to the ‘shiur komah ha Milluim Mashiach’ …”. Rabbi Alexandre Safran calls the ‘maaseh avodah’ simply ‘avodah’ [service] which in time develops into ‘avodat ha- kodesh’ [labour of holiness] becoming ‘avodat ha-Shem’ [service for the Name] which is continuous ‘avodah Elohim’ [service of God]. The Catholic servant of God [oved ha-shem] Luisa Picarretta refers to ‘maaseh Bereshit’ as ‘Yehi Bereshit’ [Fiat of Creation] and the ‘maaseh Merkabah’ as the ‘Yehi ha-Geulah’ [Fiat of the Redemption] and ‘avodah Elohim’ as ‘Yehi ha-Kodesh’ [Fiat of Sanctification]. Those mystics who lived after the Fall of Adam and before the coming of Messiah Yeshuah attained to the level of the ‘work of Creation’ and looked ahead in anticipation to the revelation of the ‘work of the chariot’ and the ‘work of holiness’. St Joseph (Yosef ha Tzadik) was the first to attain the grace of baptism of desire at the moment after his conception and is the father of all the Redeemed who have attained salvation in the Messiah. The era of Living in the Divine Will is the full and complete blossoming of the ‘work of holiness’ [maaseh ha-kodesh].

The Jewish Mystical Tradition sees that the Infinite God forms his Attributes (sefirot) into 10 groupings formed in the pattern of the Divine Man or Adam Kadmon [also called the Yosher and Shiur Komah]. One can then approach the Divinity through these 10 revealed names of the Sefirot also called Reasons (logoi) by the Catholic Blessed Raymund Lull. The ten names are ‘echad’ [one unity] with God. In the Divine Man who is the Word of God the 10 sefirot are 10 uncreated lights of one essence with the Godhead. In the likeness or mirror of the Divine Man, who is the Woman or female Presence, the sefirot are created lights. In Man the sefirot are created lights that are in the image and likeness of Elohim. The ‘image’ or the uncreated male icon of Elohim is the Divine Son and the ‘likeness of Elohim’ is the Mother in Eternity who is the created female icon of Elohim.

This Divine Man of the Sefirot is also called Torah and the Blueprint (Aumonuta). Rabbi Isaac the Blind of Provence states that the name of the Primordial Torah was Amon (architect). Breslov Rabbi Louis Kramer writes: “The Torah is an extension of God’s intellect, the ‘blueprint’ He drew up to enable us to walk through life…Each mitzvah is a conduit through which we bind ourselves to God and come to know him. Torah and mitzvot are constrictions through which the Infinite Light of God can be channeled down to us, finite human beings, in order to partake of spirituality.” Rabbi Kramer further teaches based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Brelsov in the ‘Likutey Moharan’ that at the coming of the Messiah the Torah will ‘remove its cloak’ which refers to some of its constrictions, as the Messiah will reveal a higher level of Torah. This higher level is called the Torah of Atik (Torah of the Hidden Ancient One). This is the “New Torah” of the Messiah [Mashiach] which the prophets and sages of Israel were given glimpses of in the future Days of Messiah. 

 This Messianic level of understanding Torah is the fifth level of ‘Mysteries of Mysteries’ [razin d’razin] associated with the fifth Messianic Cup of the Passover also called Elijah’s Cup. This “New Torah” is called a revelation (Gillui) of truth and great knowledge (Daat). Kramer states, “…we can now understand how Mashiach, with the revelation of the Torah of Atik, will be able to direct people’s free choice towards the will of God…Mashiach will reveal the truth…the new covenant that God will make with His People – for Mashiach will be able to reveal the deeper meaning of every facet of Torah…”. Messiah Yeshuah himself said that he came not to abolish the Torah and prophets but to fulfill them. He does this by taking Torah to this deeper Messianic level of the heart through the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

This Messianic fulfillment of a mitzvah reveals the goodness and holiness of the Torah. When one observes Torah with the right intention according to Rabbi Safran “he is fulfilling the Will of God, thereby fulfilling a mitzvah, which ‘finds grace… in the eyes of God and men’ (Prov.3:4). But if, dragged down by his words and deeds…he causes them to ‘miss the goal’ indicated in the Torah, he transgresses the Will of God…”. Rabbi Shaul of Tarsus teaches that all men have missed the goal (with some exceptions) and the Messiah Yeshuah himself has fulfilled all the Torah and mitzvot perfectly at all levels of Torah and through his life, death and resurrection offers all men his very own sanctity of living Torah through the gift of the sacraments of grace.


Hasidut is the Jewish understanding of Mercy (Khesed) in action and is linked to the 13 Attributes or Aspects of Mercy. It is also linked to the 10 Sefirot and the three lights within the Godhead. By meditating on the Godhead and his Attributes (Sefirot) one is graced with merciful qualities (hasidut) to use in merciful service (avodah) towards God and man. In order to attain these qualities one needs to aquire certain spiritual traits or levels of spirituality which are linked to the 10 sefirot. Rav Phinchas ben Yair lists these traits or levels as recorded in the Talmud (Avodah Zera 20b). 

Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto discusses these traits in detail in his book “Mesillat Yesharim”. In order to begin the mystical journey into the Divine Presence which is the Kingdom of the Divine Will one studies the Word of God (Torah study) which results in the fruit of Lowliness (Shiflut). Torah leads to the second trait of Watchfulness associated with the Attribute of Righteous Foundation and results in the fruit of Truth (emet). Watchfulness leads to the third trait of Zeal associated with the Attribute of Majestic Splendour which results in the fruit of sincerity (temimut). Zeal leads to the fourth trait of Cleanliness associated with the Attribute of Triumphant Endurance which results in the fruit of Confident Boldness (Bitachon). Cleanliness leads to fifth trait of Separation associated with the Attribute of Beautiful Compassion which results in the fruit of compassion in action (rakhamim). Separation leads to the sixth trait of purity associated with the Attribute of Powerful and Discerning Judgment which results in reverential awe (yirah). Purity leads to the seventh trait of mercifulness (hasidut) associated with the Attribute of loving mercy which results in the fruit of love (ahavah). 

Mercifulness leads to the eighth trait of Humbleness associated with the Attribute of Understanding which results in joy (simkhah). Humbleness leads to the ninth trait of Fear of Sin associated with the Attribute of Wisdom which results in total self-abnegation (bitul). Fear of Sin leads to the tenth trait of Holiness associated with the Attribute of the Crown of Divine Will which results in the fruit of holy union (yikhud). Holiness leads one to the experience of the Holy Spirit associated with the inner light of the Divine Will called Desire (Taanug) which results in the fruit of hopeful desire (taanug/tikvah) to create. The experience of the Holy Spirit leads to the spiritual Revival of the Dead associated with the inner light of Divine Will called Will (ratzon) which results in the Will to create love. Revival of the Dead leads to continuous Living in the Divine Will associated with the inner light of Divine Will called Faith (emunah) which manifests as the fruit of faithful trust.

Through man’s participation in ‘Maaseh Bereshit’ [Work of Creation] he is made steward or overlord of all creation in order to tend it and reveal His Presence (Divine Will) within it, in order to lead fallen mankind back to the Source in the Crown of the Divine Will. Through participation in ‘Maaseh Merkavah’ [Work of the Chariot] God offers man the opportunity to be a co-worker, co-redeemer with Him in unfolding History in time, linking it to God’s Plan of Salvation (meta-history) and placing it in Eternity in the Divine Will. Through ‘Maaseh Galgalim’ [Work of the Rounds] or ‘Maaseh Galgal’ [Work of the Wheel] man enters back into ‘malei Adam’ [the full and complete Adam] as co-sanctifier leading to the ‘shiur komah’ [measure of the stature] ‘ha milluim Mashiach’ [of the fullness of Messiah] which is the Divine Will done on earth as it is in Heaven in fulfillment of the Messiah’s Prayer ‘Avinu’ [Our Father].
Isaiah 43:7 reveals that man is named, created, formed and made for God’s created Glory and Wisdom – the Shekhinah, the Lady Mother of Israel. She is the suffering Soul of the Universe called Miriam. As the sorrowing Mother of Israel she is called Kneset Israel and Heavenly Rachel.

The Oral Torah is perceived in Judaism with this Motherly Presence which is united to the Word of God as the one who fully understands the Torah. The Torah is a Person-to-person revelation according to Rabbi Safran. It is a revelation or manifestation of the Word of God. The Written Torah is a revelation of the Word of God who is an oral revelation. The Word of God is the Living Eternal Torah who manifests himself in the Written Torah and in the halakah.

Jewish and Catholic mysticism is the encounter with the Divine Word or Language of the Heart revealed in signs and symbols. The Jewish and Catholic mystics behold the Divine Mysteries in the form of this symbolic language of images. This form of Mysticism uses the concepts of man and his visible world to ascend and understand in a limited way the Divine Realm. The chief source of these symbols is man himself – his body, soul, desires and life. The mystics enter into understanding in the depths of the Divine Heart through their own human heart and the mind and intellect is embraced by the Divine Love with a profusion of symbols. Certain of the Pharisees and their successors in Orthodox Rabbinic Judaism sought to restrict this symbolism of the heart by making the intellect paramount and then conforming the mystical tradition to their accepted intellectual framework. Judaism has thus had difficulty through the centuries with its mystically inclined people who stress the Heart. The Baal Shem Tov of the 17th century was one such Jewish mystic who stressed the heart symbolism at a time when Judaism had taken refuge in dry intellectualism that could be practiced only by a scholarly elite. 

The Hasidic ‘heart’ movement revived Judaism as a religion of joy and simplicity for all Jews. In his times some Jews had also taken the Kabalistic methods into this intellectual approach and thus it lead to lack of spiritual discernment of the heart and many strange practices. The Baal Shem Tov sought to bring the Kabalistic ideas back to the heart service of man to his God through Hasidut – the way of merciful love rather than prideful control of cosmic forces.

 The Messiah Yeshuah also challenged the Pharisees and Sadducees of his time, stressing the ‘heart’ response and understanding of the Torah. The intellectualistic approach to religion can lead to outward ritualism rather than a religion of fire of the Heart in relationship with the Divinity. The intellect is important as a way of ordering the understandings of the Heart, but it is secondary to the outpourings of the Heart united to the Divine Mysteries, which is at the centre of Catholicism. Both Judaism and Catholicism are at their best when observed at the level of the heart and both wither when its mysteries are overly intellectualized. 

This heart understanding is the well of Miriam – when the heart teachings of the Mother dry up then the dry intellectual approach dominates. This dryness causes man to attempt to force access to the spiritual realm in order to control, which is symbolized in Torah by Moses striking the Rock (which was Miriam’s well) in order to force torah understandings (biurim) of the Mother’s heart. Moses had to perform the tikkun (reparation) of not entering the Holy Land in his flesh for this sinful action.
The Mother’s milk (teachings of the heart) cannot be mixed with the sinfully attained goat-like meat (teachings of the evil other side). Some of the Lurianic Kabbalists who sought the Divine for access to power rather than Love distorted the Jewish Mystical Traditions into evil occultic directions – as did the Gentile Christian Cabalists and the Freemasons. 

We are called to purify with the fire of the Divine Love of the Heart the traditions and unify and understand them with the humble, pure loving heart of the Mother. An overly mechanical and impersonal understanding of the Divine Attributes (Sefirot) has led to many misunderstandings and ultimately to leads to polytheism and occultism. Throughout Jewish and Catholic History the Holy Spirit (Ruakh ha Kodesh) has stirred up revivals of the Heart – preparing both Jews and Gentiles for the time of the Ingrafting when both Jewish and Catholic mysticism will reach its unification and completeness which will usher in the spiritual ‘Revival of the Dead’ spoken of by Paul when the Divine Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

The source of all mysteries revealed by the Jewish and Catholics mystics is to be found in Scripture. Some of these mystical mysteries are revealed on the surface of the literal level (p’shat) and others at the spiritual levels of the moral homiletical level (drash), the allegorical level (remez) and the mystical anagogical level (sod). The acronym PaRDeS reveals these four main levels found in the Scriptures. The word Pardes which means Orchard or Garden is the origin of the word Paradise. The concept of Paradise is associated with the Mystical Rose. 

The Jewish understanding of the 10 Sefirot are also called the orchard or field of Apple Trees. This Apple Orchard is the 32 paths of Wisdom within the Divine Heart who is the Divine Man. In the Enochian literature and the Book of Daniel he is called the Son of Man. The 10 Sefirot and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet make up these 32 paths. The Jewish Mystical Tradition relates that from the beginning these mystical traditions have been passed down from Adam and Eve to Seth, Enoch, Noah and Shem. When these mysteries became perverted and twisted God sent Melchizedek to prepare for the advent of Abraham and his descendants to whom the mysteries would be gradually unfolded.

Kabbalah means a receiving. The Torah on Sinai was received by Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses Our Teacher). The Revelation on Sinai is Kabbalah. The Oral Torah – preceding and prefiguring it and following or succeeding it, in order to complete, understand and explicate it. This Oral Torah is also perceived as the Mother (Shekhinah) in Eternity, who encompasses her Son the Living Torah who is revealed in the written Torah. The antediluvian Patriarchs, the postdiluvian Patriarchs and the Hebrew Patriarchs encountered this Oral Torah who is the Shekhinah [the female Presence] who reveals the Eternal Word of God, the ‘Shekhen Kavod YHVH’ [the dwelling glorious Presence of God]. He is hidden in the depths of her Immaculate Heart which manifests as spiritual fire. She as fire is enveloped and protected by the Cloud who is Joseph in Eternity manifesting as the protector of the Messiah and his Mother. Joseph is thus the icon of the Father (Abba). Miriam haKedosha is the fire and icon of the Holy Spirit.
There are major five major revelations of the Word of God. The first revelation (Assiyah) took place at the Beginning of Creation (bereshit) and is renewed daily. This is a revelation of Oral Torah and is Torah in Act. The second revelation was the Promulgation of Torah (Yetzirah) as Torah in Form which is the Written Torah. It echos daily from Har Sinai. The third revelation is the redemptive salvation (Beriyah) which is the Torah in Spirit which is a further manifestation of Oral Torah. This is the beginning of man becoming a new creation in Mashiakh, who comes as a man in total humility. The fourth revelation is the coming of Mashiakh in Glory and apparition (from the world of Atzilut). This is the ‘gillui shekinah’. Gillui is the revelation or manifestation of God’s Goodness, in its fullness and splendour. This is the intermediate coming of the Lord mentioned by St Bernard and other Catholic saints. This glory is the Mother who unveils and reveals her Son as the Divine Will to create and his presence in all things. This is the time of the spiritual Resurrection of the Dead and the Ingrafting of the Jews. This is the revelation of the glory revealed in the Eucharist. The total Gillui will take place in the Messianic Era of Shabbat. The fifth revelation is the Final Coming and Consummation of all things. This is Living in Eternity in the Divine Will. Heaven and earth are one. This is the final physical Resurrection of the Dead and the Final Judgment. Time and History has come to an end.

Footnotes
1.Sixtus IV was born in 1414 and was devoted to the Immaculate Conception. He is said to have ordered 70 Kabbalistic books translated in to Latin.
2.See Encyclodepia Judaica article on “Kabbalah”.
3 A Catholic saint of the medieval period.
4 Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran (1910-2006) was the Chief Rabbi of Rumania and is credited with saving over half of the Jews of Rumania during the Shoah. In 1948 he was forced to flee the Communists and became the Chief Rabbi of Geneva in Switzerland. He was also involved in religious dialogue with Catholics and was a friend of Cardinal Bea. He died in 2006.
5 Mitzvah is a commandment or good deed.
6 Vladimir’s mother was of Frankist Jewish ancestry on her maternal line. He is one of most influencial thinkers in Russian Orthodox Christianity in the last two hundred years. He believed in the importance of the Papacy in the Church and also wrote a famous tale about a future antichrist that would appear in the ‘end of times’ period. He is often quoted by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI and other Catholic writers. He greatly influenced Father Alexander Men a Russian Orthodox priest of Jewish ancestry who was influential in the entry of many Jewish intellectuals into the Church during the Communist era.
7 See “Doubly Chosen” by Judith Deutsch Kornblatt
8 Rabbi Ginzburg has websites in Hebrew and English on the internet discussing Kabbalah from a Lubavitch Chabad perspective in the tradition of the “Tanya” of the Alter Rebbe Schneur Zalman of Liadi.
9 Chief Rabbi Safran of Switzerland in “Wisdom of Kabbalah”
10 ibid
11 Exodus 24:16. The mirror (maraah) of this glorious Presence is the female Shekhinah.
12 see Genesis 22
13 The ‘Sefer Yetzirah’ is a short book contains the foundations of the Kabbalah in cryptic form as originally recorded by Abraham. It speaks of this mystery of the Yachid.
14 See Artscroll Siddur (Sefard) p.30. The Siddur is the Jewish Prayer Book.
15 Hepzibah was the Queen Mother of the Davidic Kingdom wife of King Hezekiah of Judah. It is also a title used for the people of God as an alternative for Zion. Hepzibah is the daughter of Zion and daughter of Jerusalem. Hepzibah means the ‘one in whom He delights’ and the mother of Messiah son of David is called the Woman Hepzibah in the ‘Sefer Zerrubabel’ and she will assist Messiah son of Ephraim in defending Jerusalem in the period called the ‘end of times’ before the era of Messianic Sabbath rest.
16 Moriah is linked to the idea of the mirror (maraah or mareah). These words all have Marian allusions.
17 Ain Sof means without end or no end. This is God as the Infinite One whose attributes are also infinite. This is the Divine Light and Will within the mystery of the Godhead which is the three sparkling lights who manifest as the 10 Sefirot.
18 Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran ‘Wisdom of the Kabbalah’.
19 Or the work of Service or Worship.
20 Theophilus High Priest, brother of Jonathan to whom Luke dedicated his writings. He retired to the High priestly estates in Ephesus.
21 Tzadik is a Righteous One. The Bible calls God a Tzadik and the humble Messiah riding on a donkey is also called the Tzadik. Tzaddikim means saints or righteous ones. Matthew calls St Joseph a Tzadik and Judaism refers to the Patriarch Joseph as the Tzadik.
22 Messiah or Christ. Mashiach means anointed One.
23 Unity of Faith
24 Knowledge of the Son of God
25 the full man or Adam
26‘the measure of the stature of the fullness of Messiah’.
27 Luisa received in 1889 the gift of Living in the Divine Will while still on earth in a continuous eternal mode. This grace is now possible for all who desire it since September 8, 1889.
28 Rabbi Louis Kramer ‘Mashiach: Who? What? Why? How? Where? When?” p. 62-63
29 ibid
30 ibid p.102
31 ibid p.104,105
32 Rabbi Safran “Wisdom of Kabbalah” p.162.
33 Even these are preserved from missing the goal by the graces attained by the Messiah.
34 Moshe Hayyim Luzzato (1707- 1746) called the Ramchal. He was an Italian Jewish Rabbi, Kabbalist and philosopher. He wrote ‘Mesillat Yesharim’ in 1740. His writings were popular with the Hasidim, the Mussar movement and the Haskalah movement.
35 Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto “Mesillat Yesharim” [The Path of the Just]. This is a spiritual Resurrection of the Dead mentioned by St Paul in Romans 11 and also found in Ezekiel 37. Rav Phinchas ben Yair (2nd century) and Rabbi Luzzato (18th century) speaks of it in the context of the spiritual life of the saints. Paul and Ezekiel in the spiritual journey of the People of God.
36 Chief Rabbi Safran ‘Wisdom of Kabbalah’.
37 See Ezekiel 10 and the writings of Luisa Picarretta “The Book of Heaven”
38 Shiur Komah is also called ‘the Body of God’ and is the title of an ancient Jewish mystical writing. It is a method of meditating on the cosmic form of Adam Kadmon [Primordial or Divine Man].
39 In the teaching of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov based on the ‘Zohar’.
40 Rabbi Safran “Wisdom of Kabbalah”
41 The personalistic philosophical and theological approaches of Pope John Paul II are very compatible with mysticism of this type rather than the Greek, Maimonidian and Thomistic approaches which start with God and descend to man.
42 Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in “Sefer Yetzirah-the Book of Creation”.
43 The goats are associated with sin as the High Priest places the sins of Israel on the two scapegoats. One is sacrificed and the other sent to the desert demon Asmodeus. This is the reason the goat is associated with the Devil and Satanic worship. The devil is seen in our Western culture to have the legs and cloven hooves of the goat.
44 See the Zohar for this mystical understanding of the Kosher food laws of the separation of milk and meat dishes.
45 The Ingrafting refers to Romans 11 where Paul speaks of the time when Jews will enter the Church as a collective.
46 The Catechism of the Catholic Church also mentions these four levels of Scripture.
47 Chief Rabbi Safran in “Wisdom of Kabalah”.
48 Seen as Binah as the Understanding Prayerful Heart of the Mother (Imma) united with the Spirit of Undrstanding (the Holy Spirit).
49 I first gained the understanding of Joseph as the cloud from the Australian Geraldine the Hermitess.
50 Rabbi Safran
51 In Judaism there are two thousand years known as the Messianic Era where the Messiah is active in a hidden manner and then a third millennium known as the Messianic Shabbat where his Presence is revealed in the world.