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, June 26, 2010

Ramban, Our Lady and Kabbalah: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

One of the greatest commentators of Judaism was Moses ben Nachman (Nachmanides). He is also known as Ramban and lived in the Middle Ages at the time of Maimonides (Rambam). He was born in 1194 in Geronda Spain and died in 1270 in the Holy Land. Nachmanides was also a master of the Jewish Mystical Tradition called Kabbalah. He includes some kabbalistic insights in to his great Commentary on Torah. However some Litvak publishers try to conceal those mystical sections by not translating these portions into English.

Ramban himself is cautious about what he reveals to his readers about the Mystical dimensions of the Torah. This is because he is afraid of the misuse of these mystical teachings by the Gnostics. He is also concerned because of the clear similiarities with Christian ideas, and that those Jews who were against Kabbalah could use this to suppress the Kabbalists.

I will now discuss one such passage that is not translated into English in some modern translations of Ramban. Ramban discusses the first word of the Torah Bereshit (In the Beginning). He demonstrates how the term reshit (beginning)is associated with the Torah and Israel. Ramban writes: "...In the beginning God Created. Rashi wrote:"This verse calls aloud for elucidation, as Our Rabbis have explained it:"For the sake of Torah which is called reshit, as it is said, 'the Eternal made me as 'reshit'(the beginning)of His way', and for the sake of Israel who is called reshit, as it is said, 'Israel is the Eternal's hallowed portion, the 'reshit'(first-fruits) of his increase'."..."

Ramban then goes on to link this reshit with the concepts of the Challah (dough or bread offering), the maasrot (tithes), and the bikkurim (first fruits). "...For the merit aquired by... three things has the world been created: for the merit of challah, for the merit of Tithes and for the merit of the first fruits (bikkurim)...Reshit surely signifies the Dough-offering, as it is said, 'The first of your dough' [Numbers 15:20]. Reshit surely signifies the Tithes, as it is said, 'the first of thy grain' [Deut.18;4]. Reshit surely signifies the first-fruits, as it is said, 'the first-friuts of thy land' [Exodus 23:19]..." For the Hebrew Catholic this clearly has Marian and Eucharistic significance.

From this we see that the concept of Israel is the spiritual vessel in which all has come to be in the Creation. What aspect of Israel does this refer to? Ramban reveals it is the concept of Kneset Yisrael -the Lady of Israel. Ramban further reveals that this Lady is the mystical daughter, sister and mother as revealed in the Sefer Bahir. He then links her to the Mother of the Song of Songs and to the Isparklarya (crystal mirror). This alludes to the Immaculate mirror associated with the female Wisdom in the "Wisdom of Solomon" a book that Ramban also quotes from in his commentary on Torah. In fact he has an Aramaic version of this book which he translates into Hebrew. These are all Marian allusions and demonstrates that it is the concept or thought of the mystery of the God-bearer (Theotokos)which is the prototype through which all of reality comes forth.

Ramban writes:"...Their intent in the above texts is as follows: the word bereshit alludes to the Creation of the World by Ten Sefirot, and hints in particular to the sefirah called Hokhmah (wisdom/Sophia), in which is the foundation of everything, even as it says, 'The Eternal hath founded the earth by Wisdom' [Proverbs 3:19]. This is the Terumah (Heave-offering)...and it is holy; it has no precise measure, thus indicating the little understanding created beings have of it. . Now just as a man counts ten measures- this alludes to the Ten Sefirot- and sets aside one measure of the ten as a tithe, so do the wise men contemplate the Tenth Sefirah and speak about it. The Dough-offering, which is the single commandment pertaining to the dough, alludes to this." The Eucharistic mystery is alluded to here right at the beginning [reshit]where starting with the tav in bereshit we count 26 letters and so on until we find the word terumah (heave or lifted offering) hidden in the text of Genesis. Ramban preveals that this terumah is connected to the mystery of the challah or dough-bread offering. Our minds are drawn to the offering of bread and wine by Melchizedek and Abraham as well as to the imagery of the Last Supper and the Catholic Mass.

Ramban continues: "Now Israel, which is called reshit as mentioned above, is the "Kneset Yisrael", which is compared in the Song of Songs to a bride and whom Scripture in turn calls daughter, sister and mother. The Rabbis have already expressed this in a homiletic interpretation of the verse, 'Upon the crown wherewith his mother has crowned Him [Song of Songs 3:11]', and in other places." Similarly, the verse concerning Moses, 'And he chose a first part for himself' [Deut. 33;21], which they interpret to mean that Moses our teacher comtemplated through a Isparklarya (lucid speculum/ clear crystal mirror or looking glass), and he saw that which is reshit (the first) for himself, and therefore merited the Torah. Thus all the Midrashim above have one meaning." This meaning is the mystery of the Marian, Messianic and Eucharistic concept of the Incarnation in Eternity as it becomes veiled and hidden in the words of the written Torah given to Moses on Sinai. Here Nachmanides reveals that Moses beholds this first (reshit)who is the Mystical Mother in Eternity as the source behind all things and that the Torah that he merited is this female Wisdom of the Mystical Mother in Eternity. She, in the mystery of the Incarnation, is the first thought of the Godhead outside himself. She is bat reshit (the daughter who is first or beginning). Nachmanides reveals that all the midrashim have their source and inner meaning in this mystery of the Mother in Eternity. The Jewish Encyclopedia describes Midrashim: "In contradistinction to literal interpretation, subsequently called "peshaṭ"...the term "midrash" designates an exegesis which, going more deeply than the mere literal sense, attempts to penetrate into the spirit of the Scriptures, to examine the text from all sides, and thereby to derive interpretations which are not immediately obvious. The Talmud (Sanh. 34b) compares this kind of midrashic exposition to a hammer which awakens the slumbering sparks in the rock..." From this midrashic sculpting emerges the mystery of God's masterpiece- the Hidden Mystical Mother in Eternity we call Our Lady and Miriam.


michael said...

I find your blog very intriguing. Also very timely, considering the current evolution of my own spiritual journey.
I will be back regularly.

(Aharon Yosef) Athol Bloomer said...

Dear Michael,

Lovely to hear from you. i will keep you in my prayers for your future direction. i hope you find my blog interesting and helpful.

cheers Athol

Michael said...

Thank you so much Athol. Your prayers are appreciated.

All the best,