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.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Three Levels of Manna: A Hebrew Catholic Mystical Insight

In Jewish Mysticism the term Shekhakim is closely associated with the concept of Manna from Heaven. The Manna was the heavenly bread that God provided the Israelites in the Wilderness. The Jewish mystics also speak of their feeding on the Heavenly Dew or Manna in their mystical adorations of the Divine Presence. For the Catholic Jew this Manna mysticism has great Eucharistic significance. A Midrash states "The Torah could only be given to Manna eaters." The Melkilta states that the true interpreters of Torah are the manna eaters who are linked to the heave-offering eaters (Terumah offering). The Terumah is the dough-bread or challah offering. Thus the concepts of the manna and challah are united as types of the Eucharistic Bread. These both allude to the Eucharistic sacrifice and communion of the New Covenant.

The Manna also represents the three matzot of the Passover Seder and the incorrupt Manna preserved in the golden vessel in the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple. The three kinds of Manna also allude to the three kinds or stages of adoration or meditation. The first level of the Manna is represented by the Manna in the wilderness and the daily bread or Manna that we eat. One needs to get their mind emptied of wordly concerns and relax and appreciate the beauty of God's Creation. This form of meditation or adoration is therapeutic. The Late Lubavitch Rebbe also spoke of three kinds of Meditation and this first level he referred to as a 'technique of relaxing'. The second level the late Rebbe called 'focusing the mind and heart on God's Presence'. This is the level of the Manna and the shewbread in the Temple representing the food of the Divine Presence. Some Sephardi Jews made challah with 12 braids in honour of the 12 loaves of shewbread in the Temple. For the Catholic Jew this is the level of Eucharistic Adoration.

Rebbe Schneursohn calls the third level "concentrated contemplation on the Mysteries of Torah". This is the deepest penetration of the concept of the Heavenly Manna which is like dewy food for the mystics. This is the level of seeing the Divine Will in all things and uniting with it and returning it to its source. This is the level of the contemplation of the Seder Hishtalshelut - the chain of events leading back to the One Act of the Divine Will. For the Catholic Jew this is the deepest penetration of the Eucharistic mystery unto the very essence of God in the Divine Will.

We are also led to reflect on Yeshua's parable of the bread woman who divided the dough into three portions of bread as a symbol of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:33;Luke 13;20-21). The traditional challah of the Sabbath meals also allude to the manna and to the three portions of the bread woman. The challah is made of three strands of dough braided together to symbolise Jacob's ladder. The two loaves of challah represent the double portion of Manna that was given to the Israelites on Friday for the Sabbath. The challah braids at first form the mysterious Hebrew letter shin that become the one loaf (challah means loaf). For the Catholic Jew this has deep mystical signifcance as the shin unites yod hay with vav hay to form the Divine name Y-H-Sh-V-H pronounced Yeshuah or Yehoshuah who is our Eucharistic Bread of Life.

Rabbi Ginsburg writes on his website inner.org:

"The Rebbe pointed out that there are three general levels of meditation: At its simplest, meditation is a technique for relaxation, which has become so essential in our contemporary, harried lifestyle. In this context, meditation is simply a form of medicine, administered to cure a psychological ailment, such as stress, anxiety, or tension. To be successful, meditative techniques of this type need not involve explicit Jewish content, although, for the Jew, they must of course be free of association with any other belief system. (Meditation techniques that involve explicit or derivative forms of idolatrous practices are forbidden for non-Jews, as well.)

The next level of meditation involves focusing the mind and heart on God's presence in our lives and His Providence over everything, as expressed in the verse from Psalms (16:8)I place God in front of me always.

Finally, the deepest level of meditation involves the concentrated contemplation of the mysteries of the Torah. Since the time of the Ba'al Shem Tov, contemplating these mysteries and their pertinence to us in our daily lives has become the call of the hour. Indeed, the Mashiach himself promised the Ba'al Shem Tov that his coming will be a consequence of "spreading your wellsprings--that which I have taught you and that which you have comprehended--to the furthest extreme."

Mystery of the Shekhakim: A Hebrew Catholic Understanding

The Mystery of the Shekhakim is at the very heart of Jewish mysticism. The term shekhakim is the mystical plural [based on the similiar sounds of the words not the spelling] of shekhen and shekhinah which are the male and female forms of the word 'to dwell'(see Bahir 74 & 120). Shekhakim is often translated in the English Bibles as clouds or skies or heavens. The literal meaning of the singular of shekhakim in Aramaic is shekhak or shekhaka which can mean to grind, pound, to rub, dust, clouds, old garments or thin linen. Shekhakim is linked to the concepts of Victory (netzach) and Glory (kavod). They are also linked to the cherubim who God rides. This is the hidden mystery of the mystical reading of Deuteronomy 33:26-27 and Psalm 18:11. These Shekhakim are the Presences associated with the four cherubim of the Holy of Holies. The four Presences are enveloped by a fifth presence which unites them as one- this fifth Presence is the Holy Spirit.

The mystical midrash on the first line of Ezekiel called the 'Vision of Ezekiel' links the Mystery of the Shekhakim with the merkabah (chariot)of the cherubim. According to this midrash its mystery includes the mystical understanding of the heavenly Jerusalem, the Heavenly Temple and Sanctuary, the Heavenly Ark of the covenant,the Menorah, the Shewbread Table, the sacred utensils and decorations of the Temple focused on the mystery of the Heavenly Manna as the image of the Divine Man (Adam Kadmon) who is the Mystical Jacob/Israel. Whereas the Talmud in Chagigah 12b places this at the level of Zevul (dwelling or abode)and the Angelic grinding of the millstones that produce the Manna from Heaven for the tzaddikim at the level of Shekhakim. These two sources give a different ordering of the seven palaces (Hekhalot) or heavens. "Shekhakim is that in which millstones stand and grind manna for the righteous for it is said: “And He commanded the skies [shekhakim] above, and opened the doors of heaven; and He caused manna to rain upon them for food etc.” (Psalm 78:24)."

The term Shekhakim also is used for one of the seven heavens of Jewish Mysticism. In some sources shekhakim is associated with the fifth heaven and in others with the third heaven. The five alludes to the five presences Yeshua/Metatron; Miriam/Matronita; Joseph/Sandalphon; Luisa/Nukvah and the Holy Spirit. The three alludes to Atzilut and the Third Fiat (yehi). Some Jewish writings relate that Shekhakim is the third Heaven where the Angels grind with millstones the Manna which becomes the food of angels. It is said that the concept of the Manna was created on the second day of Genesis 1. Thus the term Shekhakim refers to the Cherubic Presences as well as to a place and to a stage in mystical meditation and contemplation. Many Catholic mystics speak about the stage of encountering mystical clouds in their meditation before they ascend to the deeper penetration of the Divine Mysteries. Are these the Clouds or wings of the Cherubic Shekhakim which the mystic then uses as a chariot (merkabah) in order to ascend or descend to the inner mysteries of the Kingdom?

The concept of God riding on the cherubim as a chariot is found in Psalm 18;11 " and He rode upon a cherub, and did fly" with Deuteronomy 33 26-27 "There is none like the God of Jeshurun, The Rider of the heavens (shamayim)is your Helper, his pride is in the Shekhakim (skies/clouds)...". Here we see how the cherubim and shekhakim are linked together by Scripture. Jewish Mysticism also links these concepts of the mystery of the Shekhakim with Proverb 8 and Genesis 1. The mystical understanding of the seven Hekhalot (palaces) and the Merkabah or Chariot mysticism also have their mystical source in the mysteries of the first chapter of Genesis regarding the four faces and the four lights. Genesis 1 read mystically alludes to deep Triune mysteries but also hidden and deep Marian, Josephian and Luisian mysteries. These seven are called in the Talmud: Vilon (the Veil), Rakia (the Firmament), Shekhakim (the skies), Zevul (the dwelling), Ma'on (the residence), Makhon (the resting Place) and Aravot (dry land). They are seven stages of meditation in the spiritual journey of the soul in the mystical realms.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan states that the word shekhakim refers usually to the Sefirot of Netzach (whose light is called Bahir) and Hod (whose light is called Zohar). Bahir is the male light and Zohar the female. Shekhakim is mystically connected to the terms shekhen, shekhinah, mishkan and Sukkah (see Bahir 74,75 and 120). Bahir 185 also speaks of the Mystery of the Shekhakim. It states: "...then, 'His pride is in the shekhakim'. What is shekhakim? We say that it is in the innermost chamber. The Targum thus renders it; 'His Word is in the Heaven of Heavens'...".

Bahir 74 and 75 links the Shekhakim with the concepts of the Tzadik (Tzedek/Joseph)and the Shekhinah (Our Lady). Bahir 75 also alludes to the Tzadaka (female Tzadik/Luisa) as well as the Tzadik who is Truth (emet) and Peace (shalom). The dwelling place of these cherubic Shekhakim is seen as the Heaven of Heavens and the Alter Rebbe signals out Shekhakim first in his description of the seven heavens as the place where heavenly Manna is ground for the Tzaddikim (righteous ones). This heavenly Manna is the bread of the Torah which is the Divine Word. The Divine Word took flesh as the Messiah and then transubstantiated himself as the Eucharistic Bread of Life. In one sense the Clouds that accompany the Divine manifestations are the clouds of flour dust (shekhakim) or bread/manna clouds that alludes to the Eucharistic Lord manifesting out of eternity into historical time and place.

The Lady of Wisdom and Understanding is discussed in Proverbs 8 and in Wisdom 7 – 9. In the original Hebrew of Proverbs 8 the language alludes to Genesis One using the terms ‘reshit’ and ‘kadmin’ used for beginning in the Hebrew and Aramaic versions. “YHVH created me as the beginning (reshit) of his way, the first of his works of old (kedem). I was set up from Eternity, from the head (rosh), from before ever (mikadmei) the earth was. When there were no depths (tahomot) I was acting; when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills I was acting…When he established the heavens (Shamayim) I was there (sham ani). When he drew a circle over the face of the deep (panei tahom), when he established the clouds (skies/shekhakim) above, when the fountains of the deep (tahom) became strong…then I was by him as an architect (artificer/amon) and I was his daily delights (shashuim), playing daily before him; playing with the world, his earth and my delights (shashai) were with the sons of Adam…” (Proverbs 8: 22- 3).

Wisdom 7: 22 also calls the Lady of Wisdom the artificer or architect of all. This Lady Miriam in Eternity is the masterpiece of God. In time she comes later but in eternity she is first in the mind of God. “She is the radiance (zohar) of eternal Light (bahir Or), an immaculate mirror (Mariah) of God’s majestic power and an image of his goodness. Though she is only one she can do all things, all while remaining in herself she renews all things and in all generations she dwells with all holy souls making them friends and prophets of God. For God loves none but him that dwells with Wisdom, for she is more beautiful than the sun, and above all the constellations. Being compared to light, she is found before it. For after this comes night (lilah)…” (Wisdom 7:26-30).

The opening words of the Jewish mystical book “Bahir” allude secretly to these Scriptural passages about Lady Wisdom who is the circle [or circuit / round] called the face upon the waters that like a bride circles her Groom who is the face upon the deep. This process of doing the round of the Rose Bride is then associated with the word shekhakim (skies). “Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaKanah said: one verse (Job 37: 21) states, ‘And now they do not see light, it is brilliant (bahir) in the skies (shekhakim)…[round about God in terrible majesty (hod)].’ Another verse however (Psalm 18;12) states, ‘He made darkness his hiding place.’ It is also written (Psalm 97:2), ‘Cloud and gloom surround him’. This is an apparent contradiction. A third verse comes and reconciles the two. It is written (Psalm 139: 12), ‘Even darkness is not dark to you. Night shines like day – light and darkness are alike’.” (Bahir 1).

Rabbi Nehuniah is teaching that these two verses that mention shekhakim are revealing a mystery found in Genesis 1. Psalm 18:12 reveals that the shekhen or Shekinah that is Zohar is the face upon the waters which is the face of the dark light and waters called Night. The Mother who hides her son in her Immaculate heart. “He made darkness (khoshekh) his hiding place, his pavilion round about him was dark waters (mayim) and thick clouds of skies (shekhakim)[Psalm 18:12].” Once again Scripture links the concepts of the cherubim mentioned in Psalm 18:11 with the Shekhakim mentioned in verse 12 of the same Psalm.

The “Zohar” seeks to explain this concept of the mother creating a pavilion or palace to hide her son – this is the mystery connected with the name Elohim and the letter beyt. The mother in union with the Holy Spirit is created Zohar and the Holy Spirit the uncreated Zohar. The mother in union with her Son is the created Bahir and her son is the uncreated Bahir.This has a deep connection to the Mystery of the Incarnation in time and Eternity.

The light of Bahir is associated with prophecy and the light of Zohar with mystic vision and when they are united they produce Nogah the light of the righteous. Miriam saw the Bahir light at the opening of the Sea as a naked young boy and then she experienced Zohar light by her prophetic Song of Miriam. Just as Miriam ha Kedosha received the Bahir light in her womb at the Annunciation and she then experienced the zohar light in the Magnificat.

The concept of meditating or gazing on the Mystical Rose is connected with the term shasha adoration. Proverbs 8 associates this kind of deep delighting or frolicking in the Divine Will with the Lady of Wisdom. She also plays (m’sakheket) which is also connected to the word Shekhakim. She is also associated with the term kholal (performing/acting/doing) which is also connected with halel for praising and praying. She is in continuous act in the single and unique act of Creation by frockling and playing in the divine Will while doing the rounds of her beloved Bridegroom. She also does her rolling frolicking rounds in the Rose Wheel with those who also live in Divine Will among the sons of Adam. Living in Eternity they can mystically and spiritually enter with the mother into the lives and acts of every generation (l’dor v’dor) from Adam to the last man. What is true of Our Lady as one of the Shekhakim applies to the other Shekhakim.

Rabbi Eliezer Berland teaches: "...Everyone was at the giving of the Torah—Shechakim. The Megaleh Amukos (by Rav Nosson Shapira, the Rav of Krakow, p. 99) says that the giving of the Torah came from the heavenly realm called “Shechakim.” ...This is why the Megaleh Amukos asks where the giving of the Torah came from, for everyone was at the giving of the Torah—all of the souls were at the giving of the Torah. Everyone saw the giving of the Torah—everyone knew what was going on, says the Megaleh Amukos. Where did the giving of the Torah come from? The Megaleh Amukos says that Hashem imparted a mystery to Moshe in the Sinai desert; he revealed the secret of Shechakim. It was from there that Hashem revealed Himself to Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. This is why we say, “G-d of Avraham, G-d of Yitzchak, and G-d of Yaakov,” because Avraham called himself “dust and ashes” (Bereishis 18:27), and Yitzchak’s ashes are always heaped upon the Temple’s altar [i.e. those of the sheep that was sacrificed in his place]...".This alludes to how all the souls of Israel were present at the giving of the Torah on Sinai in a mystical manner when Moses and Sinai were taken up into Eternity (Shekhakim) where they were given the heavenly food of the Torah.

Thus the Catholic Jew perceives that the God of Sinai is one of the Cherubic Shekhakim who revealed the Torah at Sinai who was also represented at the Akeidah by the sheep that was sacrificed as a sign of the Sacrifice of Golgotha and its re-presentation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharistic Lamb of God. It is in mystical union with these cherubic Shekhakim who live in Divine Will as chariots to the Divine that we can be present out of eternity at Sinai and Golgotha.

Rebbe Nachman of Brelsov in 'Likutey Moharan' (II:5,10) associates Shekhakim with the word sekhok (laughter). He sees Shekhakim as the dwelling place of the angels and alludes to the bread of joy which is also called elsewhere the bread of angels. This word for laughter(sekhok) is connected the name of Isaac (yitzhok)linking this concept with the Akeidah (Binding) of Isaac and the angelic intervention which leads to the great joy of Abraham and Isaac as part of the Divine Comedy as explained by Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) in his book entitled "Behold the Lamb". The Breslov Rebbe then associates this bread of angels with the Passover month of Nisan and the concept of Redemption as a renewal of the Divine Will. He also comments that the Divine Will can also be renewed throughout the rest of the year by means of joy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cardinal Burke of the Apostolic Signatura

Well the saying goes that God blesses those that bless the Jews and curses those who curse the Jews. The new Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke the former Archbishop of St Louis and now Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura is to be raised to the honour of Cardinal. As a great supporter and defender of the Association of Hebrew Catholics and the rights of the Jews in the Church we are very pleased with this announcement and wish Cardinal Burke all the blessing of the Heavenly realm.

The St Louis Review reports :"...In a statement released Oct. 20, Cardinal-designate Burke wrote: “I express my deepest gratitude to His Holiness for the great confidence which he has placed in me, and I renew my commitment to serve Him, as Shepherd of the universal Church, in total fidelity and with all my being.”..."

Cardinal Burke's recent interview with David Moss

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Mark Kinzer, the AHC and Hebrew Catholicism

Mark Kinzer

Messianic Jewish Rabbi and theologian Mark Kinzer of the UMJC writes in his recent book "Post Missionary Messianic Judaism" about the Association of Hebrew Catholics and Father Elias Friedman its founder in a section about Hebrew Catholicism. In this he mentions that Father Elias rejects Jewish observances whether biblical or Rabbinic. This may have been the personal opinion of Father Elias and many of those of his generation but it was never the official position of the AHC. In fact Father Elias never intended his magnus opus "Jewish Identity" to be the last word but as a beginning to the discussion.

Father Elias was convinced that Jewish Identity must be preserved in the Church but how that was to happen he didn't know. He left these questions to the future Hebrew Catholic community to discuss and work out over time. Even though Father Elias himself seemed personally negative towards Torah observances, the co-founder of the AHC holocaust survivor Andrew Sholl was not. In the first ever and longest running AHC discussion group in Melbourne Australia, Andrew and some others would wear the traditional kippa and tallis and open the meeting with the traditional Jewish kiddush. The present President of the AHC David Moss has also hosted Passover Seders at the Hebrew Catholic centre in St Louis. David would see that while the AHC doesn't hold to any official opinion on Torah observance by Hebrew Catholics, it certainly does not reject such observances practiced by some members of the AHC. The position of the AHC today is that one is free to practice such observances as long as one does not make them a requirement of salvation and that they are practiced in the light of the Messiah Yeshua.

That the newer generations of Hebrew Catholics are open to increased Torah observance by Catholic Jews is demonstrated in the questions that David Moss put to Archbishop Burke in the recent interview. Some have not seen the signifcance of the interview as it is not a defined statement by the Magisterium on the purpose of Hebrew Catholics practicing Jewish observances. However it is a watershed moment that the highest judicial authority in the Church (under the Pope)sees no obstacles in Catholic teaching to Hebrew Catholics practicing such observances done in the light of their Messianic faith in Yeshua. He also saw no obstacles to the collective vocation of Hebrew Catholics and in fact seemed to see such developments in a very positive light. The development of Hebrew Catholic spiritualities and theologies is only in its early days and it will take time to see where the Holy Spirit will lead this movement in the coming years. That an important if not central place must be given to Torah observance in order to perserve Jewish Identity in the Church is gathering support.

Father Aidan Nichols a leading orthodox Catholic theologian from England writes in 'Epiphany: A Theological Introduction to Catholicism': “Since Judaism is not in the fullest sense a different religion from Christianity, there can be and are such a thing as Hebrew Catholics, Jews who have entered the Church but with every intention of maintaining their Jewish heritage intact…Hebrew Catholics…have a special place in the Church; their association enables them to experience a common identity as the prototype of the Israel of the end, and not merely a random collection of assimilated Jews…”. Father Aidan sees that “Judaism’s distinctive continuing light can add to the Church an orthopractic concern with mitzvoth, the divine precepts, whose actualization is a sign that makes present the Creator’s reign and a celebration of a total liturgy,referring the Creation to the Creator and so consecrating it to God through human agency.”

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hebrew Catholics and Sin

David P Goldman Editor of First Things

Jewish writer David P Goldman in an article in "First Things" entitled “Hebrew Catholics Association” in St. Louis: A Source of Sin? writes "...If a Jew converts to Christianity, as a handful do, he or she nonetheless is obligated to perform the commandments of the Torah, including dietary and marital-purity laws, Sabbath observance, phylacteries and so forth. For a Jew not to perform these commandments is to be in a state of grievous sin. The Torah states that anyone who rejects God’s commandments “with a high hand,” that is, wittingly and deliberately, “shall be cut off from his people.” There is no retroactive exemption from the mitzvot. This remains an issue between us and Jewish converts to Christianity. Michael Wyschogrod write an open letter to the late Cardinal Lustiger of Paris, perhaps the most prominent Jewish convert in the Catholic hierarchy, informing him that he was required to perform the mitzvot. (Wyschogrod addresses these issues in essays in the collection Abraham’s Promise).

Gentiles of course are not required to perform the mitzvot, except for the basic rules of behavior grouped under the so-called Noahide laws. St. Paul argued that Gentiles should be exempt from the mitzvot, but never once did he argue that he himself, who was born a Jew, should stop performing the mitzvot.

From the Jewish theological reading, by acknowledging an Association of Hebrew Catholics without encouraging its members to remain Torah-obedient, the Church is reinforcing sinfulness in its ranks. That is why observant Jews must feel profoundly uncomfortable with the action of the St. Louis Archdiocese. Proselytism, schmoselytism–we know that Catholics would prefer that everybody convert. But all Jews have a responsibility to discourage other Jews from sinning..."

Michael Wyschogrod a leading Orthodox Jewish Theologian of our time

Once again we see that the Jewish community gives a conflicting message. Some of them oppose Hebrew Catholics observing the mitzvot and other demand that they keep them. The AHC is not opposed to nor in any way discourages Hebrew Catholics from being Torah observant in fact they encourage and support those Hebrew Catholics such as myself who do. Hebrew Catholics come from all kinds of backgrounds- many from non-observant backgrounds. Encouraging these Jews in the Church to observe Pesach and other Jewish customs means many of these Jews are now more observant of Torah and mitzvot in the Catholic Church than they ever were outside the Church. Some Hebrew Catholics come from observant backgrounds and some coming from non-observant or limited observance have become more and more observant as Jews while in the Church.

Those Jews in the Church who are Torah observant have had to battle the prejudices of those on the right and left. Many traditional and orthodox Catholics think that Jews should cease being Jews and sit at the back of the bus and keep quiet. Others obsessed with the Jewish Catholic dialogue also wish the same thing but for a different motivation- they don't want to upset their dialogue with the Jewish community. Both are manifestation of anti-Semitism among Catholics and this form of prejudice and anti-semitism is often encouraged and abetted by many in the Jewish community. This is why the recent interview with Archbishop Burke by David Moss President of the Association of Hebrew Catholics is so encouraging to all Hebrew Catholics and especially those who are Torah observant.

An interesting question that I have never really seen clearly answered is in regards to those Hebrew Catholics who themselves didn't leave Judaism and convert to Christianity but it was their parents or grandparents who became believers in Jesus. According to Orthodox Judaism they are halakically Jewish but do they come under the same penalties as those who the Jewish community see as apostates? Many of these second or third or more generations as Hebrew Christians are now also embracing Torah observance while retaining their belief in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. What is the official position of the orthodox Jewish community to them?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Archbishop Burke and the Hebrew Catholics

At the recent Hebrew Catholic conference in St Louis Missouri, a filmed interview with Archbishop Burke [Head of the Apostolic Signatura and the former Archbishop of St Louis] with David Moss President of the Association of Hebrew Catholics, was shown. This interview by one of the leading voices of the Church's Magisterium was a wonderful vindication of the work of the Association of Hebrew Catholics towards a collective witness of the Jews in the Church and the preservation of their heritage. It is also a wonderful vindication for the whole Hebrew Catholic apostolate and its centrality in the life of the Church and its place in the new evangelisation.

Here is the link to this historic interview http://www.hebrewcatholic.org/ahcinterviewofar.html

The Archbishop affirmed the major insights of Father Elias Friedman- the Jewish doctor turned Carmelite priest- who founded the AHC with holocaust survivor Andrew Sholl in 1979. The Archbishop clarifies how to interpret the seeming differences between the Bull of Pope Eugenius IV and that of Pope Benedict XIV. He speaks on the celebration of Passover Seder and of Circumcision and other Jewish ceremonies and rites. These statements by the Church's highest judicial authority (under the Pope)carries great weight and authority in the Roman Catholic Church.

Thus we can be assured that there is nothing in Canon Law that impedes a Hebrew Catholic today from being Torah observant. Archbishop Burke speaks of the development of doctrine teaching [which was clearly articulated by Blessed John Henry Newman]as important when examining past Papal and Church documents. It is fitting that Archbishop Burke of the Signatura clarifies the context of the Bull of Pope Eugenius IV to the Copts as the formation of the Signatura was begun by this same Pope. Archbishop Burke mentions that the main concern of Pope Eugenius and of the Magisterium through the ages is not the observance of Jewish rites in themselves but when certain people make these rites a condition of salvation for all.

see Taylor Marshal's blog on the recent Hebrew Catholic conference entitled "Here Come the Hebrew Catholics"

Friday, October 08, 2010

Noah and the Sun of the Divine Will

Noah (father of Shem) was also called Menakhem which means comforter or consoler but can also mean in Egyptian ‘Eternal Sun’ which is a symbol of the Divine Will (Ratzon). The names of the three sons of Noah are connected with the triune nature of the sun and the three heads of Divine Will represented by the three skull shaped boxes that make up the Ark of the Covenant.

The name of Noah’s son Shem refers to shemesh the fire or essence of the sun also seen as shem yesh (name being). It is also connected to the word Shamayim or shamya for heaven. This refers to Ratzon (will) and God’s omniscience.

The name of Noah’s son Kham refers to the heat of the sun (Kham or Khamah). This refers to Taanug (Desire) and God’s omnipresence. Noah’s son Japhet refers to the Beautiful Light of the Sun. This refers to Emunah (Faith or Trust) and God’s omnipotence. This understanding of the sun as a symbol of the Divine Will in later generations degenerated into sun worship.

The original Patriarchal religion followed by Enoch and Noah was connected with this mystical understanding of the Sun as a symbol or type of the Divine Will (Ratzon). Due to its perversion, firstly by certain descendants of Noah such as Cainan and later by the Egyptians, the connection of the Sun as the symbolic understanding of the Divine Will had to be hidden until mankind reached a higher level of spiritual development.

This triune understanding of the Divine Sun as Divine Will also alludes to the three Sparkling Lights (Tzachtzachot)within the Godhead at the heart of the mysteries of the Kabbalah. In the Catholic understanding this alludes to the Triune God: Shem represents the Father, Ham the Holy Spirit and Japhet the Son.

The Rainbow as female alludes to the created Shekhinah who is Our Lady in Eternity as the created Wisdom or Sophia that is formed by the Sunlight hitting the Hidden Waters of the Sky (mayim hashamayim/the female created dark or hidden waters). The Rainbow as male also alludes to the Coat or Garment of many colours of Joseph (who is the created male Shekhen). The Zohar refers to the Rainbow (keshet)as the female spouse of Joseph (see Zohar 1:247a)and it also associates the Rainbow with the male phallus and yesod. These are part of the deep mysteries of a mystical Jewish 'Theology of the Body'. Yehuda Liebes In "Studies on the Zohar" writes: "The Rainbow (keshet)alludes to the sefira of Yesod (I,18a)and the same word in its Rabbinic usage, refers both to the male organ(Sanhedrin 92a) and to the glory of God (Hagiga 16a, based on Ezekiel 1:28)...the Rainbow may have Messianic significance, for according to the Zohar(eg I, 62b)the Rainbow will appear on the eve of the Messiah's coming (although there the Rainbow would seem to represent the sefira of Malkut and not Yesod)."

The Jewish month of Kislev in which Chanukah and Christmas occur is represented by the keshet (bow). This month is celebrated in honour of Mary and Joseph by Christians. The mystery of the Rainbow as the mystical union between Shekhinah (also represented by malkut as Mystery of the Kingdom) and Yesod (Tzadik/Joseph)represents the virginal nuptial union of Mary and Joseph. Thus Noah as a Tzadik represents the Tzadik Joseph and in Catholic Marian spirituality the refuge of Mary's Immaculate Heart is sometimes associated with the refuge of Noah's Ark. Noah's wife's name according to the Book of Jubilees is Emzara which can mean "mother of the seed"- this alludes to Genesis 3:15 and thus she is a type of the future Mother of the Messiah.

see Noah and Yom Kippor

The Divine Heart, Divine Filling and Divine Blessing: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

Bahir 3 alludes to Deuteronomy 33: 23 in regards to the ‘filling’ of God who is also called ‘Berakhah’(blessing), ‘reshit’ (beginning) and ‘khokhmah’ (wisdom). The Bahir explains that the beyt [b] that begins the Torah is the symbol of this filling and blessing. It reveals that the hidden aleph represents the divine Will in the Godhead. The first beyt of Genesis is seen as a vessel (the womb of the Mother) that holds the male Divine Wisdom – this is the uncreated blessing (berakhah). The vessel is the created House (beth/beyt) or Daughter (bat) who is the created Wisdom (Sophia/Hokhmah)that holds the uncreated Divine Wisdom who is the son (bera).

Bahir 3 after speaking of this uncreated ‘filling’ and ‘blessing’ who is the male Divine wisdom then alludes to the created female Celestial wisdom called ‘blessed’ (barukh) who is the beyt (house or palace) that is ‘blessed’ with ‘blessing’ and full (meleat) with filling (malei). The Bahir states: “Wisdom is blessing (berakhah). It is thus written ‘And God blessed Solomon’. It is furthermore written (1 Kings 5: 26), ‘And God gave wisdom to Solomon.’ This resembles a King who marries his daughter to his son. He gives her to him at the wedding and says to him, ‘Do as you desire’.”

The beyt as a house also represents the concept of the Heart (lebb) as the vessel that contains all of God’s filling or blessing. Thus the Son of the Divine King is the uncreated Wisdom called ‘blessing’ and ‘filling’. This is Sar Shalom who is the complete man (Shalem and Tam) who is the complete heart mentioned in 1 Chronicles 29. He is the one who reveals the hidden Abba.

The daughter of the Divine King is the created Celestial Wisdom called ‘blessed’ and ‘filled’. She is the sea, vessel or well that receives and holds and gives the uncreated Wisdom. She is called Binah (understanding) and imma (mother). She is the mystical Miriam who is the mother, sister-spouse and daughter of the Divine King. Read horizontally the open mem of her name represents her heart who receives the filling of the closed mem which is the heart of her son the divine Wisdom. Read vertically the upper mem united to the resh (head knowledge) represents the imma Leah as Lady (marah) Wisdom and the lower mem united with yod (hand or arm of mercy and heart knowledge) represents imma Rachel as the Vessel (yam) of Mercy – united they are the Celestial Miriam who is mirrored on earth by Miriam sister of Moses and who herself in the flesh was Miriam mother of the Messiah the new and unfallen Eve (Khavah/Khayah). Luke’s Gospel reveals that she is the ‘meleat’ filled or full (Ranani meleat/Hail perfectly filled One). Miriam ha Kedosha herself proclaims ‘all generations (l’dor v’dor) shall call me blessed (barukh)’.

The first beyt (in Bereshit) may represent the Sacred Heart as the Head Tefillin and the second beyt (in bara/created) may represent the created female wisdom connected with the arm tefillin pointing towards the heart. This second beyt of bara represents the Mother of the Uncreated Son. Or it may be that the first beyt of bereshit represents the Mother and the second beyt of bara (which can be read as Bera/son)represents the Sacred Heart of the Son.

The son is uncreated in his divinity but in his humanity he receives his flesh and blood from his mother. He is uncreated in his divinity as ‘reshit’ and ‘khokhmah’ but in his humanity he is created (bara) as a son of Adam and Eve like all men except without the stain of the fall. Thus he is Adam Kadmon (divine Man) and Son of Adam (fully Man). The first word of the Torah in Aramaic Bekadmin also alludes to him and his mother.

The incarnation is the final descent of the blessing into the world of assiyah and the completion of the mission of YHVH as the divine Filling (Milluim Mashiach) . Now the Mashiach must embrace all in the Divine Will and ascend with it back to Atzilut. This is the tikkun of the Mashiach and his Mother Miriam the one in whom God delights (hephzibah). He becomes the leper Mashiach for all men by taking all sin upon himself and making divine tikkun. He is the male Presence (Metatron and Shaddai) who is the Kingdom (Malkut) of heaven (shamayim). This the mystery of Name (shem) as shin and mem. He is Menakhem, Metatron, Malkut and Mashiach mystery of the male mem as the merkabah (divine chariot) that is the Rose Wheel. They are four wheels within the one wheel representing the four worlds of assiyah, yetzirah, Beriyah and atzilut.

Menakhem is linked with Shemesh, Metatron with Shaddai, Malkut with Shamayim and Mashiach with Shekhinah. This is the mystery of shin as a rose (shoshan) wheel. Shemesh and Menakham is the tier of three petals (atzilut), Shaddai and Metatron is the tier of 7 (or 6) petals (beriyah), Malkhut and Shamayim is the tier of 12 (or 13) petals (yetzirah) and Mashiach and Shekhinah are the 5 leaves surrounding the Rose (asiyah). The thorns are the world of Klipot (evil). The thorns are the world of Klipot (evil) which can also be symbolized by the black Magen David made up of six A’s of the ancient Hebrew Phoenician alphabet arranged as six thorns. This is the symbol of Armillus the deceiving light who appears as a beautiful Rose but is actually from the other side (sitra ahra).

Mystery of Naphtali and Divine Will: A Hebrew Catholic Insight

The first two words of Genesis reveal the mystery of the Incarnation as the mystery of the two hearts (lebb). Bahir 10 reveals that the whole of the Creation of the Universe is made in the image of these two hidden hearts. The Bahir refers us to the prophecy about Naphtali in Deuteronomy 33: 23, “The filling is the blessing of YHVH”. The Bahir wishes us to ponder on this verse in relation to the context of the story of Naphtali in Scripture. Naphtali’s birth is recorded in Genesis 30: 7-8. Read at a mystical level we see the Mystical or Heavenly Rachel associated with the word maidservant or handmaid (shifkhat). Rachel calls the son (bar/ben) Naphtali because “I influence God, I influenced my sister” [naftuley elohim niftalti im-akhoti]. The word translated as influence can also be translated as wrestle or maneuver. Mystically this proclaims that the heavenly Handmaid Rachel (also associated with the maidservant Miriam at the Red Sea) through her prayer and praise influences God and influences her sister-spouse the Holy Spirit to bring forth the Son (bar/ben/bera) represented by the Patriarch Naphtali. Through this prayer influence or maneuvering she attains all. In Luke’s Gospel Miriam ha Kedosha (Our Lady) refers to herself as the humble maidservant (handmaid) of the Lord thus linking her with Rachel and Miriam (sister of Moshe Rabbenu). Rashi speaks of Miriam in the Mechilta, “A maidservant saw at the Red Sea what Ezekiel did not see in his visions.” The Jewish sages tell us that God appeared to Miriam and the children of Israel as a young boy (naar/yeled) as the God of redemption and salvation. At Sinai He appeared as a bearded old man (zaken/elder) wrapped in his Tallit as the God of the Written Law.

Deuteronomy 33: 23 states: “And to Naphtali saying Naphtali satiated with Divine Will and Filling is the blessing of YHVH to inherit the Sea and the South” [naftali s’ba ratzon u-maley birkat YHVH yam v’darom y’rashah]. Here is revealed at a mystical level that the Divine Filling (maley) comes from Divine Will. The Divine Filling is the satiated Will -the full and complete Will (ratzon). The One that is fully satiated with Divine Will is Miriam ha Kedosha (Our Lady). Naphtali as ‘Son’ is the One influenced by the prayers of the handmaid. Genesis 49: 21 however refers to Naphtali as a female deer (Hind), “Naphtali is a hind let loose delivering beautiful sayings”. The Zohar also refers to Kneset Yisrael as the Hind. This is Naphtali as the Handmaid herself as one that influences by prayer and understanding. Thus Divine Filling is the Divine Will in continuous Act. The handmaid enters that Divine Will in continuous act through influencing prayer and she is let loose as a young hind in that Will frolicking and rolling in the rounds of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification. She beholds God firstly at the level of the ‘Yehi’ (fiat) of Creation as a bearded elder wrapped in a tallit of light. As she descends (ascends) into the Divine Will she beholds God as a naked young man at the level of the ‘Yehi’ of Redemption. At the third level of the ‘yehi’ of Sanctification one beholds Him as a small boy or Christ Child or baby (tenoch). As Miriam ha Kedosha enters this Mystical rose wheel she too goes from mature Warrior Queen to young woman to the small child Miriam. This is symbolized as the young Miriam (sister of Moses) watching over the Ark of the baby Moses.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Woman of Zarephath and the Mashiach

There are certain Jewish traditions that associate the Mashiach ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph) with the story of the woman of Zarephath and her Son who Elijah resurrected from the dead in 1 Kings 17. It is interesting that the seventh Lubavitch Rebbe spoke about the significance of Zarephath (France) and that the Chabad movement also speaks about the Mashiach ben Yosef rising from the dead. Besides the Phoenician city of Zarephath, France is also called Zarephath (Tzarefat) and Britian as the Isles of Zarephath. The Rabbis of the middle Ages believed that the mention of the Exile of Zarephath in Obadiah referred to the Exile of the Ten Tribes symbolised by Joseph.

Raphael Patai a Jewish Israeli scholar in his book "The Messiah Texts" mentions in his chapter on the mother of the Messiah the link with the woman or widow of Zarephath and her Son with the Mother of the Messiah and her Son - the Messiah son of Joseph. Patai quotes from Seder Eliyahu Rabba 18 where the Rabbis are discussing from whom Elijah the prophet descends, whether from the seed of Rachel (meaning from the Tribes of Joseph and Benjamin) or from the seed of Leah (from whom Levi and thus Aaron the first High priest descended). Elijah appears to them and states the he is from the seed of Rachel from the lineage of Benjamin. "...Thereupon they said to him:"if you are not a Kohen [priest]. How, then, could you say to the widow [of Zarephath], Make me a little cake first and bring it forth to me [which is the prerogative of a Kohen] and afterwards make for thee and thy son(1kings 17:13)?" He said to them: "That child [the son of the widow]was none other than Messiah ben Joseph, and I wanted to give a signal to the world that first I go down to Babylonia, and thereafter will come the Messiah." We see that here the story of the woman of Zarephath is seen as a sign of the coming Messiah who will appear after the Babylonian Exile. We see that the wheaten cakes allude to the Eucharistic mystery, and the son who rises from the dead after Elijah lays on him in the form of a crucifix is a sign of the Messiah who will rise from the dead.

We also see that in 'Yalkut Hadash, Mashiach par 22' that the Jewish traditions also links this story with that of Jonah who was in the belly of the whale for three days. "The son of the widow of Zarephath was Jonah, and he was Messiah ben Joseph." Thus we see that Jesus' linking of the Messianic Son of Man with the story of Jonah is found also in the orthodox Jewish traditions. In fact the whole account of Elijah in 1 Kings alludes to Eucharistic and Marian themes, which explains why Carmelite tradition associates Elijah with devotion to the Mother of the Messiah as Our Lady of Carmel. Here is concealed that Eucharistic Hidden Child of which the Zohar speaks in connection with Elijah as the old donkey Driver. This hidden child will soon be revealed to all as the crucified and resurrected Mashiach ben Yosef as prophecied in the Book of Zechariah.

“ ... His mother came and said to them, ‘Masters, please look on my son with a good eye.’ They said to her, ‘Happy are you, worthy woman! Singled out from among all women! The Blessed Holy One has selected your portion, raised your banner above all women of the world.’

The Child said, ‘I am not afraid of the evil eye, for I am the son of a great and precious fish, and fish do not fear the evil eye, as it is written, ‘They shall multiply like fish in the midst of the earth’ (Genesis 48:16). This blessing includes protection from the evil eye, for we have learned: ‘Just as fish of the sea are covered by water and are immune to the evil eye etc [so the descendants of Joseph are immune to the evil eye].’ ‘In the midst of the earth,’ indeed ‘among human beings on earth’.

They said, ‘Son, Angel of YHVH! There is no evil eye in us, we do not come from the side of the evil eye. The Blessed Holy One is covering you with His wings.’

They kissed him as before and said: ‘Come, let us bless,’ He said, ‘I will bless, because everything you’ve heard until now was from me, I will fulfill the verse: One whose eye is generous will be blessed. Read it: ‘will bless’. Why? ‘Because he gave of his own bread to the needy’ (Prov. 22:9). From the bread and food of my Torah you have eaten.’

Rabbi Judah said: ‘Son, Beloved of the Blessed Holy One! We have learned: ‘the master of the house breaks bread, and the guest blesses.’

He said to them, ‘I am not master of the house, and you are not guests! But I have found a verse and I will fulfill it, for I am truly generous. Without your asking, I have spoken until now and you have eaten my bread and my food.”

He took the cup of blessing and began to bless. His hands could not hold the cup; they were trembling. When he reached ‘for the land and the food’ he said ‘I raise the cup of salvation and invoke the name, Y~.’ (Psalm 116:13). The cup stood firm and settled in his right hand and he continued blessing. At the end he said, ‘May it be the Will that life be extended to one of these from the Tree of Life on which all depends! May the Blessed Holy One be surety for him. May he find surety below to share his surety with the Holy King.’

Having finished blessing he closed his eyes for a moment. Then he opened them and said, ‘Comrades, Shalom to you from the good Lord who possesses all Shalom! They were amazed, and cried, and blessed him.

They stayed the night. In the morning they rose early and left. When they reached Rabbi Shim’on, they told him what had happened. Rabbi Shim’on was amazed. He said, He is the son of an invincible rock! He deserves this and more than any human can imagine. He is the son of Rav Hamnuna Sava.”
[from the Zohar]

Mystery of Water and Miriam's Well

In this blog I have discussed the Mystery of Miriam's Well in connection to Our Lady in Eternity who is the Mystical Miriam. I have demonstrated from Jewish writings her connection with the waters (mayim) of Genesis One and how her name Miriam is hidden in the text of Genesis One in the waters section. We have seen how Miriam is associated by the Rabbis with the feminine or dark waters which are associated with the feminine created light. However Rabbi Naftali Reich reveals the connection between Miriam and the waters and the concept of Divine Will.

Rabbi Naftali Reich of torah.org writes "...A number of questions come to mind. Why was the water given to the Jewish people only in the merit of Miriam? Why couldn’t the water continue after her death without Moses speaking to the rock? Why didn’t God want to leave the faucet open for the Jewish people? The commentators explain that one of the most striking features of water is that its viscosity allows it to adapt perfectly to its surroundings; water will naturally assume the shape of any container into which it flows. Symbolically, Miriam represented this quality. She was able to adapt her faith and her steadfast fealty to God’s will under any and all circumstances. Come what may, Miriam shone as the paragon of staunch faith..."