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.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Traditions of the Sages in Mark 7: A Hebrew Catholic Perspective

In a course I am studying I was asked this question. I thought some of you would be interested in my response.

Question: If the Sages which came before Yeshua could not be trusted in their teaching, why cannot the teaching of the Sages of the Talmud, which came after Yeshua, be trusted?

Answer: I do not like this question. I do not think Yeshua intended to discredit the traditions of the Sages of Israel. He did criticise a group of Pharisees and Scribes who were placing the teachings of the Elders above the Biblical commandments and interpreting them in a way that distorted both the Sages teachings and Scripture. Mark in chapter 7 verses 3-4 is not criticising the Jewish customs but explaining them to the Gentile audience he is writing to. Yeshua goes on in Mark 7 to give some examples of this misuse of Scripture and tradition. These Pharisees and Scribes appeal to the authentic ‘traditions of the Elders’ but Yeshua never criticises this tradition only the twisted reasoning of this group who have misused the ‘traditions of the Elders’ to create their own man-made tradition that actually undermines the Torah and its interpretation by the Sages. Yeshua very pointedly calls it “your tradition” to distinguish it from the “tradition of the Elders”.

Yeshua using the commandment of “Honour thy mother and father”, as an example, demonstrates this unspiritual approach. Yeshua is not criticising the idea of a korban or the setting aside of gifts for God’s service. What he is criticising is this group's perverted use of tradition to justify their evil desire to not help their parents and thus by their twisted use of tradition they undermined the written Torah and make the mosaic tradition of no value. When they criticised others for not performing n’tilat yadaim (washing of hands), Yeshua saw that it was from a hypocritical heart of judging others on secondary matters that at this time was not even a universal custom. Unfortunately this has been confused by the Greek of the text which has translated the Hebrew word ‘kol’ as ‘all’ when in Hebrew it can also mean ‘many’. The text should read in English ‘and many of the Judeans’ rather than “and all the Jews”. The Jews of the Galil had a different minhag (custom) but it is obvious that Yeshua himself observed the Judean and Pharisee minhag as they did not criticise him for eating without doing n’tilat yadaim, only some of his talmidim (disciples). The reason for this is that Yeshua’s family originally came from Judea and observed this greater stringency of washing before eating ordinary food (chullin/common) that many of the Pharisees practiced at that time. This stringency is not what Yeshua condemned when done in the right spirit of enhancing the spiritual sanctity in ordinary acts, but when this stringency was used as a judgement of how pure another Jew was, he was indignant.

We must also never take Scripture out of context. Matthew 23 states that the Pharisaic authorities sit in the chair of Moshe and that their teaching of the Mosaic tradition is correct and must be followed. Yeshua warns them however not to follow the distorted interpretation of this Tradition that leads certain groups of them to live out in their lives in a hypocritical manner. Everything is done for show not from kevanah (heart devotion).

As for the Sages of the Talmud they also teach with Mosaic authority and their opinions should be respected and the consensus of the Sages followed by all Jews. Of course Gentile believers are not bound to adhere to the particular Jewish Torah-observances or to the Mosaic authorities, they live out Torah at the universal level and follow Yeshua according to their own particular ethnic minhaggim (customs) under the teaching of the New Covenant authorities who sit in the chair of Peter.

Jewish believers in Yeshua while respecting the chair of Moshe and adhering to its teachings on Jewish relevant issues are also under the New Covenant chair of Peter and its teaching authority on faith and morals. Those of us in the New Covenant should also be aware of distorted interpretations of the New Covenant Scripture and Tradition by many priests, theologians and bishops of the New Covenant. We must be aware that Yeshua is criticising certain groups and trends within the Pharisee movement who had distorted Torah. The Talmud itself criticises five different groups of fanatical Pharisees. I believe when Yeshua speaks of the ‘yeast of the Pharisees’ he is referring to a small but powerful group within the broader body of the Pharisee movement. It is obvious Yeshua is not speaking of those Pharisees who are sincere like Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea and Gamaliel. Even today in Orthodox Judaism (the Modern Pharisees) we see certain groups that are a dangerous yeast that tends towards fanaticism and burdensome and unloving stringency, but this does not represent the bulk of Orthodox Jewry or the consensus of Rabbinic teaching.

Also the Sages of Israel compare the holy vessels of the Temple with the vessels of ones tongue and heart. It is forbidden to comment on the level of observance of another Jew in a negative way this is lashon hara (evil talk). This is why Yeshua is so upset with these Pharisees, that they should be committing the sin of lashon hara which is much worse than putting non-kosher food on holy vessels. To speak lashon hara pollutes the inner man and the temple and domestic purity of dishes is only a sign alluding to this spiritual purity/impurity of the inner heart and tongue.

Note: When I speak of stringencies I am not referring to stringencies one does out of Kevanah (heart devotion)which one does not burden other groups or individuals with their level of stringency.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Miriam haKedosha the Lady Moon of Israel: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

Zohar Beshallakh [2:49b] states, "When this deepest river of all flows forth, all is in joy. Matronita is crowned by the King, all worlds are joyous, and dominion of other nations is eliminated in the presence of Matronita. Then all who are linked to Her raise their heads". The deepest river of all is the Sefirah of Keter (Crown) through which the Divine Will (symbolised as a river of water) flows. The river bed is the Crown of the Matronita. Matronita is a term appropriate to Miriam ha Kedosha who is both married matron and innocent Virgin. Matronita is in this section of Zohar is called the Shekhinah. The concepts of Shekhinah and Matronita are both symbolised by the Moon. In Zohar Chukat Miriam the Virgin sister of Moshe and Aharon (a type of the Celestial Miriam haKedosha) is also associated with the moon and Shekhinah. This is part of the mystery of the Red Heifer and the death of Miriam. 

Zohar Beshallakh reveals the mystery and coronation of the Lady of Israel which reminds us of Revelation 12 where the Ark of the Covenant is revealed as the Lady of Israel who stands on the Moon. The Stone Edition of the Chumash notes the connection between the Red Heifer and Miram as demonstating: that as the offering of the Red Heifer brings atonement to the nation so does the death of Miriam bring atonement for the nation. It also draws our attention to the death of Miriam and the water of Miriam's well drying up(Numbers 20).The Talmud makes this statement in regard to the mystery of the Red Heifer. "A handmaiden's son soiled the king's palace with his filth. The king commanded, 'Let the mother come, and clean up the child's filth'." The Rambam also speaks of the mysterious tenth Red Heifer who will be connected with the coming of the Messiah. This links the Red Heifer with the Mystical Miriam also called Shekhinah as the tenth of the sefirah of the Sefirot.

The ashes of the red Heifer symbolise the sacrifice of Miriam ha Kedosha's son the Messiah and the pure spring waters mixed with the ashes alludes to Miriam's Well and the spousal relationship of Miriam ha Kedosha and the Holy Spirit. These are the Mayyim Hayyim (living waters) that Yeshuah referred to at the Well in John 4. Miriam ha Kedosha is the pure Mother of sinful mankind who unites her sacrifice with that of her Son in order for her sinful children to regain sanctity. The ashes mixed with the living waters is called the 'waters of Sanctification'. It is not the actual ashes of the Red Heifer that cleanses but it is a powerful symbol pointing towards the spiritual fulfilment of the mystery of the Red Heifer. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai states in regard to the ritual of the Red Heifer: "...By your lives, understand this well: it is not the death which renders impure, nor the waters which cleanse - it is all the word of God. So said the Holy One, "I have engraved an ordinance with no explanation - and you cannot transgress it."..." It is in the coming era of the Kingdom of the Divine will on earth that the mystery of Miriam and the Red Heifer will be fully understood in all its details.

Zohar Beshallakh also speaks of the Aaronite priests, murdered at Nob (Mt Scopus), as the bridesmen of Matronita. In Revelation the Lady's 144,000 celibate Marian priests or monks are also murdered by an evil ruler. "...This is a mystery pertaining to the Lady of Israel, whose bridesman Aharon - to prepare the House, to attend to her, to conduct her to the King to unite as one. From here on, every priest serving in the Temple follows this pattern." The Aaronite priesthood is the priesthood of the Lady of Israel and her Son (Ben) - this is the mystery of Tabernacle and Temple. This is the mystery of the two cherubim - one male, one female. This is a priesthood of the Moon of Israel which in honour of the Mystical Moon follows a lunar calendar which honours every Rosh Chodesh (new moon) as a feminine celebration of the Shekhinah. Nisan 1 is called the 'Ilui Miriam' the exaltation or assumption of Miriam the Prophetess who died then (see Numbers 20:1) and was assumed incorrupt into Heaven. (However the Seder Olam Rabbah says Nisan 10 is the death of Miriam). The celebration of Chodesh haRishon is the new moon of Nisan-this was also the date when the Shekhinah dwelt above the completed Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Zohar Chukat states, "There were three siblings Moshe, Aharon and Miriam, as it says: 'and I sent before you Moshe, Aharon and Miriam' [Micah 6:4] Miriam is the moon, Moshe is the sun, Aharon is the right arm, and Hur is the left arm or some say Nahson...At first Miriam died, and the moon departed and the well disappeared. Afterward, the right arm [aharon] that always brings near the moon joyfully and with friendship broke. Therefore it is written: 'and Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aharon, took...' [Exodus 15:20] surely she is Aharon's sister, for he is the arm that brings her near in unity and brotherhood with the Body...". The right arm represents the attribute [sefirah] of Mercy. Aharon is known for his gentle mercy and his ability to reconcile people.

While there are priests of the Virgin (both Matronita and Miriam are seen as virgins in the Jewish mystical tradition)then divine mercy will be drawn to us men. However when the priests are murdered divine judgement of the left arm will befall man. "Happy the person who finds Wisdom...this is the person for whom the Blessed Holy One prepares on the way, the face of Shekhinah." Both the Zohar and the Apocalypse of John refer to our day in the time of mercy for the Gentiles. When Our Lady's priests are persecuted and killed then Divine Judgement will fall and the special time of mercy for the gentiles (nations)will end. An evil Assyrian ruler will arise on earth but he and his followers like Sennacherib the Assyrian King (who was poised at Nob to attack Nob and Jerusalem) will be destroyed by the Divine Hand of Judgement. This Divine Hand of Judgement is represented by a Davidic prince of Judah symbolised in the Jewish tradition by Prince Hur and Prince Nahson of Judah ancestors of King David. This future Davidic Prince, like David and Solomon, will be devoted to the Lady of Israel who is the Mystical Moon called Miriam, Matronita, Rachel and Shekhinah among others.

This Davidic prince, like King David, will sing the song of the Lady of Israel - the Song of Miriam. Zohar Chukat states: " ...During the era of Solomon the moon was dominate in her fullness and was visible in the world. Solomon was established in the wisdom of her light and he ruled the world. As soon as the moon set, due to his sins..." The Zohar reveals that the fullness of the earth and the moon is the 'glory (Kavod) who is the Lady of Israel - the 'Ark of the covenant, Sovereign of all the Earth (see Joshua). " ... Of David, a Psalm - a song about the Lady of Israel...the Lady of Israel and all the multitudes joining 'her fullness' this is 'the whole earth is full of His glory' [Isaiah 6:3]". The Zohar teaches that these mysteries of the Matronita will be fulfilled in the future period. Zohar Shemot [2:7a] state: "Well, because the King was coming to bring out Matronita who was there, in honour of the Matronita, He came. So the blessed Holy One wished to honour Her and came to Her to raise Her, extending His hand - as He will do at the end of the exile of Edom." This exile ended in 1948 with the reestablishment of the Israeli State. This reestablishment of Israel is associated with the rise of Marian devotion (see Zohar Shemot [2;7a]).

After the restoration of Israel will come a time of intense purification and great trouble for Israel as explained in Zohar Shemot 2:7b. "...How many troubles upon troubles for Israel...after these troubles flare upon Israel and all the kings of the nations conspire as one against them and countless evil decrees arouse - all designed alike against them- and trouble upon trouble befalls them, the later erasing all memory of the earlier, then a single column of fire will appear for forty days, poised from above to below, seen by all nations of the world." This could refer to the Great Warning mentioned by Our Lady to the children of Garabandal in the 1960's.