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.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hebrew Catholic Reflection on the Bahir

This was written many years ago.

Hebrew Catholic Reflection on the Bahir


The 'Bahir' is a book of ancient Jewish mysticism that was first revealed to a wider audience in the Middle Ages. At its heart it presents the mystical teachings of the mystical school of the first century Rabbi Nehunia ben Ha Kana. His disciples passed on and developed these mystical insights. It is my belief that the 'Bahir' was brought to Provence in the 8th century by a scion of the Royal House of King David in Babylon. This Davidic Western Exilarch is known as Rabbi Amorai in the 'Bahir'. He was known as Aimeri or Aumery in the French Chansons. He is also identified with Machir Todros ben Judah who was also called Theuderic, Duke of Narbonne and Jewish King of Septimania.

It was Rabbi Amorai that compiled this collection as teachings preserved by the Davidic House. His descendants in Narbonne passed on these teachings in the Rabbinic Yeshivah in Narbonne. Rabbi Nehuniah ben Ha Kanah was the founder of a mystical tradition within crypto Judeao-Christianity. Secrecy and prudence were very important in the passing on of these secret mysteries. Rabbi Nehuniah was closely connected to the disiples of Yeshuah and his father was Shimon Ha Kana one of the twelve Apostles.

Rabbi Nehuniah's school was said to be in Emmaus and this was a code word used for the Eucharistic Mysticism of Adoration of the Heart amongst the early disciples of Yeshuah within Judaism. Rabbi Nehuniah and his son Rabbi Yair ha Kanah were involved with the foundation of the Jewish Christian (Hebrew Catholic) Yeshivah of Kinyani in southern Iraq. This Yeshivah was closely connected to the Exilarchic family in Babylon and with the Jewish Christian Bishops descended from the Holy Family. After the 4th century the wisdom of this mystical school of Emmaus spirituality was preserved within Judaism among the mystics coming from the Davidic House.

Shimon ben Zoma and Rabbi Eliezer ben Arukh were also part of this crypto Judeao -Christian mysticism. It was the Emmaus experience of the 'breaking of the bread' revealing the Messiah as Divine Light and Presence that was at the heart of this mysticism. For the Rabbinic Jews in the tradition of Rabbi Akiva this interpretation of the mystical ascent was called 'going to Emmaus' in a negative sense. That some of the greatest Torah scholars found this 'road or way to Emmaus' experience had to be concealed from the general Jewish populace. As a result the Rabbinic authorities while acknowledging such a mystical ascent discouraged people from attempting such a journey.

One of the men that Yeshuah met on the way to Emmaus was his cousin Cleophas who was a brother of Shmon Ha Kana. Their father was the older Cleophas, the brother of St Joseph who married Miriam (Mary) a neice of the Blessed Virgin. The spiritual descendants among the Hebrew Catholic of Iraq were called the Kinyani and it was Thomas ha Kinyani that went to India in the 4th century from Kinyani to revive the Church in India. The 'Bahir' along with the' Zohar' and the Sefer Yetzirah are important sources for understanding pre-Lurianic Kabbalah. These are the sources familiar to the Catholic Kabbalists of the Middle Ages.

Bahir 1

"1. Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaKana said: One verse (Job 37:21) states, "And now they do not see light, it is brilliant (Bahir) in the skies…[round about God in terrible majesty]." 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 the same."..."

The opening lines of the the 'Bahir' reveal why this book is called 'Bahir'. Bahir is the Divine Light called 'Brilliance' and is the light of the Attribute of Netzach (Victory). This is the Light or Victory of the Resurrection. Rabbi Nehuniah uses Job 37:21:"And now they do not see light, it is brilliant (bahir) in the skies (shechakim)... round about God in terrible majesty", to reveal to the secret adorers (Reapers of the Field) that the days of prophecy and mystic vision are not finished as claimed by Rabbinic Judaism (ie the Pharisees).

The word 'shechakim' (skies) is associated in kabbalah with the Attributes (sefirot) of Netzach (Victory/ Endurance) and Hod (Majesty/Splendour). The light of Hod is called 'Radiance' (zohar) and is associated with the suffering Messiah ben Joseph of Isaiah 53. Netzach and Hod are the levels of prophecy and mystic vision connecting with gazing on the Divine Heart also called the Divine Man (Yosher/Adam Kadmon/ Ben Adam) through the mirror of the Mother (see Bahir 63).

Rabbi Nehuniah reveals that there are two main ways of making the spiritual ascent- one the way of Brilliant Light and the other is Radiant Light seen as cloud and gloom and darkness. The term 'Shechakim' includes both the Way of Brilliant Light (Bahir) through focusing on the victory (Netzach) of the Resurrection or the Way of Radiant Light (zohar) through focusing on the hidden majesty of the suffering and Crucified Messiah.

Rabbi Nehuniah reveals that Job 37:21 reveals the way of Bahir and that Psalm 18:12 and Psalm 97:2 reveal the way of Zohar- hidden in darkness. R. Nehuniah states that these two ways seem to be a contradiction to each other but he reveals that a third verse Psalm 139:12: "Even darkness is not dark to you. Night shines like day- light and darkness are the same." Thus a higher understanding reveals this as two ways to the one goal - Divine Union. Thus Rabbi Nehuniah reveals his trinitarian approach to Scriptural interpretation. First he reveals the level of the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha Kodesh) - the Way of Bahir . Second he reveals the Way of Zohar or Radiant Darkness which is the level of the Son (Zer Anpin). These two levels are united in the level of the Father as the source of the Divine Union within the Divine Will (Ratzon). This is also the two main ways of Catholic spiritual life called the Way of Light and the Way of Darkness. Two Hebrew Catholics St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross represent these two main spiritual approaches. St Teresa of Avila's way is the way of Light (bahir) and St John of the Cross is the way of darkness (zohar). St Teresa's way is the way of the Diamond and the Interior Castle. St John of the Cross' way is the Way of the Dark Night and the ascent of Mt Carmel closely associated with the Prophet Elijah.

Bahir 2

2."Rabbi Berachiah said:It is written (Genesis 1:2), "The earth was Chaos (Tohu) and Desolation (Bohu). What is the meaning of the word "was" in this verse? This indicates that the Chaos existed previously [and already was]. What is Chaos (Tohu)? Something that confounds (Taha) people. What is Desolation (Bohu)? It is something that has substance. This is the reason that it is called Bohu, that is, Bo Hu -- "he is in it." ..."

Rabbi Berachiah was the successor of R. Nehuniah as leader of this Eucharistic mystical school of the way of Emmaus. R. Berachiah teaches that Chaos (tohu) reigned before God created the earth. This refers to the fall into chaos brought about by Lucifer (Satan) and his fallen angels. The angels(spirits) were created as vessels to receive and reflect the Divine Light. Lucifer and his angels chose to reject this receiving of the Divine Light and became broken vessels (Klippot). They plunged the Cosmos into Chaos (tohu). Out of this chaos (tohu) and desolation or emptiness (bohu) it brought with it, God would create the present Cosmos and Earth - turning the Darkness into Light. God said: " Let there be Light... and it was Good (Tov)". Turning desolation (Bohu) into substance (bo hu) and chaos (tohu) into Divine Order (tav hu). How can this be? How can bohu (desolation) become substance (bo hu - literally 'in it is it' or 'in it he is')? Chaos (tohu) is redeemed or rectified (tikkun) through the Tav.

The 'Tav' is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It represents the Sefirah (Attribute) of Malkut-Shekinah (Kingdom-Divine Presence). In the ancient Hebrew Phoenician alphabet "Tav' is written as a cross as it is in English (t). Therefore the cross or 'tav' is the entry to the Divine Heart. The path leading from Malkut/ Shekinah (Kingdom/ Presence) to Yesod/ Tzaddik (foundation/righteousness) is also called the Tav. It is through the Cross (Tav) that darkness can be turned into Light. Here we see that the power of the Cross (Tav) is beyond time and space. This is a mystery. The divine 'Hu' or 'Ani Hu' is the Divine Presence and Kingdom. He is called the Alef and the Tav.

Jewish tradition teaches that the Universe (heavens and the Earth) were created through the Alef and Tav (the 'et' of Genesis 1:1) who is the Divine Word (Davar/Memra). Thus the Divine Word (Ani Hu) sent his creative Light in to the chaos (tohu) and desolation (bohu) and turned bohu in to 'In it he is' substance and the choas (toh) , through the power of the one who would redeem the world by his Tav (Cross), becomes the Divine Order or Kingdom. 'Tav Hu' can therefore mean 'the Cross he is' or ' the Kingdom He is' or the'the Divine Presence He is".

This process or concept of turning darkness in to light is called yeshua (see the Tanya). Later in the Bahir it calls this One (Hu) who creates- the Heart of the Blessed Holy One. Lucifer and his angels were created to be vessels of Light and were unable through their free choice, to hold the light thus breaking the vessels and plunging the Cosmos in to Chaos. This is the main source of Evil. According to Kabbalah the Messiah was to gather these sparks of Light lost by the breaking of the vessels and return them to God. This is salvation (Yeshua).

The whole of the Creation are vessels made to receive the Divine Creative Light but it is only those creatures who have free will and free choice that can also give the Divine Light. The angels (spirits) and Man have this ability. Lucifer and his demons rejected the Divine Light and refused to give it. Instead they brought death and decay in to Creation. They turn substance into death (emptiness/bohu) and the Divine Order or Kingdom in to the kingdom of chaos (tohu). This is why R. Berachiah connects 'tohu' with the word 'taha' -confounds. The Evil Ones try to confound or confuse man with their chaos which brings eternal death.

Yeshuah entered through his Cross (tav) in to chaos (tohu) and desolation (bohu) and broke its power with his Divine Light thus rectifying or redeeming the Cosmos(world). Yeshuah confounds (taha) the Evil Ones with his Cross of Light ( Or Tav). Tav (tav yod vav) is also Tov (tav vav beth). Thus the creative process of forming good is also the power of the Cross of Light in Eternity. This is connected to the New Testament saying "The Lamb that was slain before the foundations of the earth".

Bahir 3

3."Why does the Torah begin with the letter Bet? In order that it begin with a blessing (Berachah). How do we know that the Torah is called a blessing? Because it is written (Deuteronomy 33:23), "The filling is God's blessing possessing the Sea and the South." The Sea is nothing other than the Torah, as it is written (Job 11:9), "It is wider than the sea." What is the meaning of the verse, "The filling is God's blessing?" This means that wherever we find the letter Bet it indicates a blessing.
It is thus written (Genesis 1:1), "In the beginning (BeReshit) [God created the heaven and the earth."BeReshit is Bet Reshit.] The word "beginning" (Reshit) is nothing other than Wisdom. It is thus written (Psalm 111:10), "The beginning is wisdom, the fear of God." Wisdom is a blessing. It is thus written, "And God blessed Solomon." It is furthermore written (I 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 with her as you desire."..."

In Bahir 3 Rabbi Berachiah discusses the significance of the letter B (Beth/Beit) as the first letter of the word 'blessing' (berachah) and the first letter of the Written Torah (Bereshit). Reshit is Beginning and Bereshit can mean either 'In the Beginning' or 'With the Beginning'. Reshit (Beginning) is also called 'Wisdom' (Hokmah) based on the Scriptural verse "the beginning of Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord". Beginning is seen as the 'point of Hokmah' (point of Wisdom).

In Jewish thought the Creation began when the Divine Wisdom or Light created the visible world. The letter Beth meaning 'in' or 'with' is the concept of 'filling'. Therefore throught the point of Hokmah, God began filling the Cosmos. this is alluded to in Isaiah 6:3 "The whole earth is filled with His glory." This Divine Wisdom is the Divine Will to Create manifesting in the visible world. Through this point of Wisdom the visible creation is filled with the Divine Glory or Light which is the Divine Presence himself.

The Zohar also says that God "fills all worlds and surrounds all worlds" (Zohar 3:225a). This Divine Filling of the Creation (also called the Ray of Light) is associated with the letter beth which also means 'house' (bayit/ beth). Rabbi Kaplan says in his commentary on the Bahir: "the concept whereby God'fills all worlds' is indicated by the word 'blessing'. Whenever God reveals His Essence in anything, He is said to 'bless' that thing, and the verse therfore states that 'the filling is God's blessing'." Therfore we see that the Divine Wisdom is also Torah. Thus Torah is blessing or is filled with God's blessing, which is God as Divine Wisdom himself. Rabbi berachiah associates the Torah with the Sea referring to Job 11:9. This is also referred to as the Sea of Wisdom and is connected to Imma (Mother/mama) as the vessel who receives and holds the Divine Wisdom. Miriam ha Kadosha is called 'full of Grace' i.e. filled with Hesed (Mercy).

Miriam (Mary) like the Universe is a 'House' (beth/Bayit) that receives the point of Divine Wisdom as a seed, and is then filled with the Blessing from on High. Mary is thus the 'House of God' or 'Temple of God' and the 'Mother of the Creation' and 'Mother of the Church' (Kehilla/Kneset), which is called the 'Household of God' in the New Testament. Mary is also 'Bethlehem' (Beth=House, Lehem=bread) the House that receives the Living Bread. In one sense Mary's role in the Incarnation mirrors the Creation.

Tzimtzum (constricted space) was a 'House' or 'womb' created through the Divine Light constricting or veiling itself and at the same time entering the Tzimtzum (Creation) through the point or seed of Hokmah and filling it with the Divine Love manifesting as Presence. Mary is also the 'House' and 'Womb' in which the Divinity entered his Creation through the Seed of Wisdom and Mary was filled with the Divine Love/mercy/Grace (Hesed/Chen).

Shekinah or the Divine Presence is also called the minature Presence. Mary in the mystery of the Incarnation can also be called the Minature Universe. In one sense we can say Mary is the Universe and the Universe is Mary as Mother of the Creator. Mary was a 'Woman' born in time, but she and the events of her life transcends time. This is a great mystery. This is the mystery of the Rosary.

In Bahir 3 the Divine Torah is described as the mystical or cystal sea before the throne of God. Elsewhere we see that this mystical Sea is associated with Binah-Imma (Understanding Mother) as the vessel that receives Wisdom. R. Berachiah thus links the concept of Torah as 'Blessing' with the first word of the Torah 'Bereshit' (In or with the Beginning). Here we understand that Divine Wisdom is Divine Torah, and Divine Torah is Divine Blessing or Divine Filling. Therefore, for the Hebrew Catholic, Yeshuah ha Mashiach is the Divine Wisdom, Divine Torah and the Divine Blessing who is responsible for the Beginning of Creation. He is the Beginning or Head of Creation - the First Born. He is the only begotten Alef (first born). From all Eternity he is the only begotten Son of the Father (Ain Sof).

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Miriam Mystical Rose Havurah

A new Hebrew Catholic Havurah (Study group) has been started in the United States. It also has a wonderful new blog. This new group is called Miriam Mystical Rose Havurah in Indianapolis.

The lastest blog begins. "We want to thank everyone who attended our first Chanukah Party. We had about 17 crammed into our little townhouse and it was very cozy. In case you missed it here is what happened.

We began with the lighting of the Chanukah candles with the traditional blessings. The Chanukah Menorah is full of Messianic significance as you might expect. In John 8:12, Yeshua (Jesus) proclaimed himself the Light of the World. And the Menorah has one extra candle that is called the "shamash". This means servant. The servant candle is always lit first and all the other candles that we light daily for the eight days of Chanukah are lit by this candle. This is very much what happens in our journey of faith as Catholic Christians. It is the Messiah, Jesus who came to serve us and to light our way in this life and to heaven. It is His light that lights our path through the darkness in our lives and the world so that the Church and all of us have the Light of Life..."
[for the whole article click Miriam Mystical Rose Havurah]

This group is led by Gershon ben Shaul who writes "I am a Hebrew Catholic living in the Indianapolis area. I am married with one son and one grandson. I am currently enrolled in the Ecclesial Lay Ministry certificate program in the Diocese of Lafayete in Indiana. I love my heritage since it is the heritage of our Lord and Messiah, Yeshua and our Blessed Mother, Miriam. I love my Church since this is the Church of the first Jewish apostles and the Church that Yeshua left for us and all the nations."

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

St Faustina and Kabbalah

One of the great mysteries of the Jewish Kabbalah and the Zohar is that of the tzachtzachot. The tzachtzachot are the mysterious three sparkling lights within the Godhead. The word is also associated with the idea of an unquenchable thirst or drought. This is a reference to the essence of the infinite God beyond all knowing - the Ain Sof. It is only through the manifestation of the Sefirot (Attributes/ emanations)that appear like a lightning flash of the Divine Man (Adam kadmon) that one can come into relationship with the Divinity.

This mystery is also found in the Diary of St Faustina of the Divine Mercy devotion. St Faustina writes: "On one occassion I was reflecting on the Holy Trinity, on the essence of God. I absolutely wanted to know and fathom who God is... In an instant my spirit was caught up into what seemed to be the next world. I saw an inaccessible light, and in this light what appeared like three sources of light which I could not understand. And out of that light came words in the form of lightning which encircled heaven and earth. Not understanding anything, I was very sad. Suddenly, from this sea of inaccessible light came our dearly beloved Saviour, unutterably beautiful with His shining Wounds. And from this light came a voice which said, Who God is in His essence, no man will fathom, neither the mind of Angels nor of man. Jesus said to me, Get to know God by contemplating His attributes. A moment later, he traced the sign of the Cross with His hand and vanished".

It is through His Attributes that the Divine Man reveals himself to our souls in flashes of Mercy. St Faustina writes: "In the beginning, God lets himself be known as Holiness, Justice, Goodness- that is to say, Mercy. The soul does not come to know this all at once, but piecemeal, in flashes; that is to say, when God draws near. And this does not last long, because the soul could not bear such light. During prayer the soul experiences flashes of this light which make it impossible to pray as before...This light which has touched the soul is alive within it, and nothing can either quench or diminish it. This flash of the knowledge of God draws the soul and enkindles its love for Him. But his same flash, at the same time, allows the soul to know itself as it is; the soul sees its whole interior in a superior light, and it rises up alarmed and terrified. Still it does not remain under the effects of terror, but it begin to purify itself, to humble and abase itself before the Lord...".

In Zohar Vayechi it states: "..."And satisfy your soul (Nefesh) in tzachtzachot." What is "tzachtzachot"? One tzach (Eng. 'bright or dazzling') it receives while attached to the Ruach (spirit) in the terrestrial Garden of Eden; it receives the tzach inside tzach, when attached to the Neshamah (soul/charism) above in the bundle of life. This is the meaning of tzachtzachot: tzach is singular, and tzachot dual. They are high above, in the preciousness of the Neshamah. Who will inherit the tzachtzachot? "your soul (Nefesh)." Your Nefesh indeed. Happy is the portion of the righteous..." This alludes to the Catholic concept of the indwelling of the Triune God in the soul. One tzach plus two tzachot equals the three tzachtzachot.