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 01, 2011

Mother and the Bahir: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection


Among the mysteries of the Bahir is discussed the mystery of the Mother who is the created Wisdom and Glory of God. She is seen as a mirror of the Divine Heart. In English editions of the Bahir in a couple of places the word for 'mother' or 'my mama/imma' is translated as 'If so'. Rabbi Kaplan in his translation does mention in his notes that a variant reading is 'mother' which is preferred by many of the Jewish mystics. In Bahir 63 "If so" seems wrong and leaves one wondering who it is referring to- who is the you?. (For a fuller discussion see my article on "Adoration of the Heart")

Bahir 63 should read: "What is his heart? He said: Mother (Imma), Ben Zoma is out side, and you are with him. The heart(Lev) [in gematria] is thirty-two. These are concealed, and with them the world was created. What are these 32? He said: These are the 32 Paths. This is like a king who was in the innermost of many chambers. The number of such chambers was 32, and to each one there was a path. Should the king bring everyone to his chamber through these paths? You will agree that he should not. Should he reveal his jewels, his tapestries, his hidden and concealed secrets? You will again agree that he should not. What then does he do? He touches the Daughter, and includes all the paths in her and in her garments. One who wants to go inside should gaze there. He married her to a king, and also gave her to him as a gift. Because of his love for her, he sometimes calls her “my sister,” since they are both from one place. Sometimes he calls her his daughter, since she is actually his daughter. And sometimes he calls her “my mother.”..."

Later in the Bahir the mystery of the Mother is once more discussed in relation to being God's created Wisdom and Glory. She is associated with the term 'makom'(place) alluding to 'makom' in Genesis 1 and to the double mem which is also found in the words mayim and Miriam (hidden in the text of Genesis 1 beginning at the first word mayim). We see that Bahir 130-134 speaks of this mystery of the 'mother'. Both Heart (leb/lev) and Glory (Kabod/kavod)add up to 32 in gematria. "Makom" also alludes to the concept of Joseph.

"130. What is the meaning of, “the whole earth is filled with His glory”? This is the earth that was created on the first day. It is on high, filled with God’s glory and paralleling the Land of Israel. And what is [this glory]? It is Wisdom, as it is written (Proverbs 3:35), “The wise shall inherit glory.”

131. What is “God’s glory”? What is this like? A king had a matron in his chamber, and all his troops delighted in her. She had sons, and each day they came to see the king and to bless him. They asked him, “Where is our mother?” He replied, “You cannot see her now.” They said, “Let her be blessed wherever she is.”

132. What is the meaning of “from His place”? This indicates that none know his place. This is like a royal princess who came from a far place. People did not know her origin, but they saw that she was a woman of valour, beautiful and refined in all her ways. They said, “She certainly originates from the side of light, for she illuminates the world through her deeds.” They asked her, “From where are you?” She replied, “From my place.” They said, “Mother, the people of your place are great. May you be blessed, and may your place be blessed.”

133. Is this “glory of God” then not one of His hosts? Is it not inferior? Why then do they bless it? But what is this like? A man had a beautiful garden. Outside the garden but close to it, he had a nice section of field. On this section, he planted a beautiful flower garden. The first thing that he would water would be his garden. The water would spread over the entire garden. It would not reach the section of field however, since it was not attached, even though it was all one. He therefore opened a place for it and watered it separately.

134. Rabbi Rahumai said:
Glory(Kavod) and Heart(Lev) both have the same [gematria of 32]. They are both one, but Glory refers to its function on high, and Heart refers to its function below. “God’s glory” and the "heart of heaven” are therefore both identical."


Here we see that the Mother is the created female Wisdom found in the Old Testament in the Proberbs, Ecclesiastes, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach and Job. Recently I have been reading the tradition of Sophia and Sophiology as taught in the Eastern and Western Churches and we see here in the Bahir a further development of this concept which is a Marian Sophiology. This created Wisdom (Hokhmah/Sophia)is also associated with the Matronita and the Shekhinah. She is the immaculate mirror of the Heart and the created feminine Glory. Baruch 3:37 prophecies that this female Wisdom (Sophia)will afterwards appear on earth and live among men. This alludes to the mystical Miriam becoming the woman Miriam who would be the female vessel that holds the male Divine Wisdom in her Womb. She is the Theotokos- the God bearer- the Mother of God. This mystical Miriam is the universal soul of suffering and the suffering soul of Israel. She is the Virgin Miriam (the Matronita=Mother and Maiden)in Eternity united to her spouse the Holy Spirit and dwelling in the mystical depths of the Divine Heart of her Son.

An article entitled "Parables and Princesses in the Bahir" by Professor Francis Landry of the University of Alberta states: "...What is the archetypal earth? Is it the matronita's room, the side of light, or the garden planted outside the garden? Do these terms mean the same thing, or are they different?...The heart in §134, whose gematria or numerology is 32, corresponds to the 32 paths of wisdom with which God created the world, according to the Sefer Yetsirah or "Book of Creation", the foundational text of Jewish esoteric cosmology. The 32 paths of wisdom, according to a parable in §63, were infused by the king into his daughter, who is the heart; in a reversal of our parable in §131, it is the king here who is secluded, and the daughter who is accessible. The 32 paths of wisdom comprise the 22 letters of the alphabet and 10 sefirot (numbers, potencies, divine emanations); thus the whole of language, the entire divine organism and the creative process are included in the heart. The "heart of heaven", at the end of §134, alludes to the great fire that burned up to "the heart of heaven" at the giving of the Ten Commandments, according to Deut. 4.11. The great fire, in §46, is a terrestrial voice of God, from the midst of which speech emerges... God speaks the Ten Commandments - conceived metaphorically as the epitome of the entire Torah (§124) and the process of creation...The Glory of the Name in §134 is also a loaded term. The Name (shem) of God is identified with the heavens (shamayim) in §100. Thus, even though Glory and Heart are one and the same thing, but correspond to two modes of action - above and below - these two modes converge on the heavens: the Glory of the Name is the heavens, and the heart is the heart of heaven (cf.§106). We could go much further with this. But I want to return to the question of the matronita and the princess. The matronita is the Glory, but if the Glory normally refers to the apprehensible aspect of God -his splendour, his works, the glory that fills the whole earth - here it is hidden, and it is God himself who speaks to the sons...Thirdly, what is the function of the king's knights, who love her or, literally, long for her? In the parable as we have it they seem to be redundant, what Mieke Bal calls a wandering rock. The knights (lit. warriors, hayyalot) presumably correspond to God's hosts in §133, from which the Glory is or is not removed... The longing of the knights for the matronita may represent that of Merkabah mysticism for the new Kabbalah, but also introduces the coupling of king and queen as the central drama of the latter... This raises the question of the identity of the matronita. Scholem unambiguously equates her with the Shekhinah. But she may also have an element of Binah - Understanding, the third Sefirah - which is the Divine Mother. She is mother to the children, which in §104-105, are identified with the seven lower sefirot and the seven days of creation. The Shekhinah often acquires a maternal connotation, reflects and is interchangeable with Binah, notably at the conclusion of the already cited parable of the heart in §63: "Sometimes he calls her, in his love for her, my sister ... sometimes he calls her my daughter ... sometimes he calls her my mother." As well as God's bride, then, the matronita has the quality of God's mother...That which is united and separated from everything - the glory, the heart, the princess - is the nucleus of everything. The ramifications are interminable... The Glory in our text is identified with Hokhmah - Wisdom - the second of the sefirot which is male and the source of everything - but it is also the matronita and the princess. Upper and lower Hokhmahs constantly correspond. At the heart of the heavens - a male, harmonising principle in Kabbalah - is the heart, the Shekhinah itself."

We see that this Mother is associated with the concept of the Burning Fire from which the commandments came forth. The Biblical Wisdom literature also associates her with the commandments (mitzvot). She is the mitzvot put into deed or action- she is the Oral Torah. Joseph Karo calls her Matronita, Shekhinah and Mishnah- she is the rebuking Mother. The Catholic Jew is devoted to the inner essence of that which manifests in time and place as Torah and mitzvot- the Messiah is the Living Torah and his Mother is the Living Mitzvot of the Heart. For the Catholic Jew devotion to Torah and Mitzvot is Messianic and Marian devotion at its highest penetration. All of the Torah and Mitzvot at its highest levels of the heart unite or bind the soul of the Catholic Jew to the Messiah and His Mother- she who is both Matron and Maiden- the Matronita. The inner light of the Torah and mitzvot is the light hidden in Genesis 1 (Bereshit) which is the conceptual light of the Annunciation in Eternity- the first thought of God outside. She is Bat Reshit- the created daughter of the beginning. Reshit (Beginning refers to Wisdom (Hokhmah /Sophia)alluded to in the verse "the beginning of Wisdom is fear of the Lord".

3 comments:

Χριστιανος said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Χριστιανος said...

Hi, I really appreciate your work on this blog. Although I'm not a Jew I started to discovery christian widom included in the book of Zohar or Bahir. I'm a Pole so as you can guess I'm a Catholic as well. Very often I'm attacked how I dare read Kabbalah! For my friends it's just an occultism and spiritualism. Becouse of You and a simmilar blogs as yours I see there is a great wisdom in Kabbalah and I want to share with this belief to others but I need some proofs that Church allows for that. Do you know any documents or practices of Popes, Mistics etc which could defend Sefer Zohar or Bahir. I've heard that in Poland Catholic Church allowed to Frankist to use book of Zohar but I don't have any evidences for that. If you can help me I'd be so grateful.

Aviv said...

don't you think it's amazing that Jesus in English Gematria is Power: http://www.gematrix.org/?word=Jesus