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."

2 comments:

Yahnatan said...

Aharon,

I'm sorry you took down your latest post responding to the Middle East synod. I wanted to post a link to it to raise awareness in the Messianic blogosphere that the Synod may hold a minority view, that it is in disagreement with the Vatican, and that there are Roman Catholics on the ground who support Vatican II's correction of Israel. And also to raise awareness of the Hebrew Catholic movement.

Would you mind re-posting the article?

Aharon (Athol Bloomer) said...

Dear Yahnatan,

I wrote that post in anger and then realised I had revealed too much about powerful people and that could endanger the groups I am involved with. So I probably won't be posting it again. However the comments by the Melkite Archbishop are only his personal opinions from which the Vatican has distanced itself. In the Catholic Church today we have a battle raging between those who are loyal to the Pope and the infallible teachings of the Church against those who seek a Masonic and Modernist agenda. The other side has already destroyed such mainline Protestant Churches as the Anglicans. They now seek to do the same to the Catholic Church. We do know that the Catholic Faith will win the battle in the end as the gates of hell cannot prevail against her but it can certainly do much damage before that victory.