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.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Rebbe Nachman, Consecrated Flesh and the Divine Will: A Hebrew Catholic Reflection

The great Eucharistic discourse of John 6 is a hard saying for many as it was for the first disciples of Yeshua ha Mashiach. It is obvious that the difficult thing (which was difficult not just for those disciples who left him but also for those who stayed) was the concept of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. These were not the Pharisees who opposed him but people who actually were his disciples. 

This whole Johannine discourse is connected to the mystery of Yeshua as the Messiah and Manna from Heaven who is the Living Torah in which Jewish tradition speaks about eating and drinking or feeding on Torah. The sages said: “The Torah could be given only to eaters of manna.” (Midrash Tankhuma, Parshat Beshallakh). Many observant Jews read the passage of the Manna everyday as a Jewish version of eating or receiving their daily manna or spiritual food which blesses them physically as well as spiritually. The Greek New Testament refers to this daily bread as supersubstantial bread (in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3). This can be linked to the daily or perpetual (tamid) offering of the Lambs. The daily korban (offering/ sacrifice) that draws us near to God in devouring intimacy. Jewish tradition also links the incorrupt manna (kept hidden in a golden vessel in the Ark) with the afikoman of the Pesach. 

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov in Likutey Moharan 36 links the concept of "devouring me" (the Davidic King Messiah) of Psalm 27:2 with the consecrated flesh of Haggai 2:12 and the "Eat lovers" of Song of Song 5:1. He teaches: "to devour my flesh-This alludes that their eating- as it is said "Eat lovers"(Song of Songs 5:1)- namely their strengthening is "Consecrated flesh"(Haggai 2:12). This is to devour my flesh, the aspect of "The ascent of Yesod until Abba and Imma" ...".  Strictly speaking "Eat Lovers" should be translated as "Eat companions or friend (rei'im or rei'in)" whereas lovers (dodim) are those that drink to get drunk. Rebbe Nachman does not interpret mrei'im of Psalm 27:2 as evildoers but in accord with Song of Songs 5:1 and other passages in Tenakh (such as Job 17:5; Proverbs 18:24 and 19:4; Jeremiah 3:1)  as friends or lovers (rei'im).

The concept of devouring or eating the Messiah (or devouring the years (shnei) of the Messiah) is also found in Sanhedrin 99a. Rav Cardoza sees this discussion in Sanhedrin 99a being about the coming of two (shnei) Messiahs. Rav Hillel talks of the Messiah already having come and R Joseph of the Messiah to still come. Rav Joseph's discussion is in the context of the great Messianic passage of Zechariah about the Daughter of Zion and the Messiah coming as a humble Tzadik, riding on a donkey and in the context of Deuteronomy 8:3  "And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live."   

Just as the consecrated flesh of Haggai 2:12 is real flesh as well as having a spiritual (allegorical/ metaphorical), mystical and moral meanings so Yeshua's statement about eating his flesh and drinking his blood have these multi-faceted dimensions. It is real and literal but not literalistic. Yeshua (in John 6:63) went on to say that the flesh (human will) alone without the Spirit (Ruach) will not bring life or sanctification. If we just receive the Eucharistic host (flesh and blood of the Messiah) without discerning that it is the real flesh or body of the Lord by the power of the Spirit, then one eats to their own judgement (see 1 Corinthians 11: 28-29). The Hebrew term basar ve-dam (flesh and blood) refers to the whole person in Hebrew thought. Thus if we view the Eucharist as just a piece of Yeshua and not his entire resurrected and glorified body, soul, blood and divinity (the whole Messiah) we are not truly discerning the mystery of his flesh and blood.The whole language of the Eucharist is one of deep and mystical intimacy of the Lover for his Beloved in which they consume and devour one another with great passion and love. This is a true Jewish and Catholic 'theology of the body'. 

Haggai 2 reveals that the consecrated flesh reveals the mystery of the Divine Will whereas the other foods represent the wayward human will.  Yeshua said that it was his food was to do the Will of God in John 4:34. The Messianic manna or food (which is like a white round full moon) is doing the Divine Will and the Messiah himself is the Sun of the Divine Will. One who lives in Divine Will is another Yeshua or Living Eucharistic Host or Sun. In Judaism the full moon is also an icon of the Shekhinah. In Jewish mysticism the concepts of the Sun is associated with the concept of the Tzadik (Righteous one) based partly on the verse "the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in His wings" (Malachi 4:2).

Haggai 2:11-14 "...Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'Ask now the priests for a ruling: 12If a man carries consecrated flesh in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?'" And the priests answered, "No." 13Then Haggai said, "If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?" And the priests answered, "It will become unclean." 14Then Haggai said, "'So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,' declares the LORD, 'and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean. ..."

Consecrated flesh is also sacrificial flesh and it is holy and the garments of the priest (representing the outward sacrificial rituals and system) who carries it  is also holy in a lesser sense. This whole concept is at a deeper level about living or dwelling in the Divine Will and then doing acts in the Divine Will. However doing one's own will and expecting God to bless it and make it holy does not work as a method of sanctification. They are the works of a dead corpse and pollute all our actions. It is the consecrated flesh (the Divine Will of the Messiah which is the deepest penetration of the Eucharistic mystery) that makes the garments (our actions) holy not the other way round. Yeshua states in Matthew 23:19: "Ye blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?" A Catholic may ask: Which is greater- the Eucharist or the priesthood that consecrates the Eucharist? Both are needed but we must get our priorities in the right order. 

In Psalm 27:2 it alludes to the concept of devouring the flesh of the Davidic king in the context of others falling and stumbling. Rebbe Nachman reads psalm 27:2 as "When two lovers come close to eat my flesh, my foes and enemies they stumble and fall."John obviously has this in mind when he alludes to those disciples of Yeshua that ceased to follow him and to the Jewish enemies of Yeshua in John 6:66. It is in regards to Yeshua being God in the flesh (the mystery of the Incarnation) and giving us his flesh to eat (Mystery of the Eucharist) that they fall and stumble. The acceptance of this Mystery by all Israel and their devouring the consecrated flesh of the Messiah will cause the rise or spiritual resurrection from the dead promised by Simeon (Luke 2:34) and by Shaul (St Paul) in Romans 11 and Philippians 3.

In John 6 Yeshua emphasises the importance of the Spirit (Ruach) and life (chaiyim). Jeremiah states in Lamentations that the Messiah is the breath (ruach) of our nostrils (Lamentations 4:20). Rebbe Nachman and the Breslov Rabbis associates this with the two missions of the Messiah as Messiah son of Joseph (humble suffering Tzadik) and Messiah son of David (the glorious reigning King). Just as there is a nose with two nostrils so the Messiah has two missions. Thus both R. Hillel and R Joseph in Sanhedrin 99a are right that the Messiah has already come (the position of Rav Hillel based on Isaiah) and he is still to come or coming (the position of Rav Joseph based on Zechariah) and these are reconciled by Rebbe Nachman of Breslov (by the means of Jeremiah). 

...Rabbi Chiyya opened: "I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have plucked my myrrh with my spices, I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey, I have drunk my wine with my milk. Eat, companions! Drink, and be drunk, Lovers." (Song of Songs 5:1)... Zohar 3:3b

The Zohar (in Parshat Va-Yikra) discusses the whole concept of eating and drinking as the intimate consummation of the love between the bride and the bridegroom of the Song of Songs is discussed. This section of Zohar teaches that the companions who eat are higher than those who are lovers who drink. Companions or chaverim (or rei'im) are those that are permanently with the Beloved living in His Will whereas lovers (dodim) are those who are yearning and seeking after His Will and only occasionally and temporarily consummating that love with wild passion and abandon. At the Last Supper Yeshua referred to his disciples as Chaverim (friends).

This section of Zohar is also linked with the concepts of the Kneset Yisrael, Shekhinah and Matronita in the mystery of the tabernacle as the dwelling place. The bridegroom is associated with Tiferet (beauty) as the Blessed Holy One of Israel as the Divine Son. This also is linked to the Bridegroom described as the Sun and the mystery of the ends of the Ark of the Covenant. In the Jewish concept of the Divine Face Tiferet (beauty) is represented by the nose. 

Some scholars (such as Leonora Leet) believe the whole secret rituals of the Temple priesthood revolved about the intimate mysteries of the Kissing of the Divine Son of Psalm 2:12. The Temple itself is built in the image of this Divine Son (represented by Jacob / Israel reclining on Jacob's pillow). Some even propose in accord with the Epistle of Barnabas that there was a priestly ritual that commanded them to eat of the slightly bloody flesh of the goat sacrifice on the Day of Atonement, without the washing of vinegar to remove any last traces of blood, in the Holy Place. Some link this to Leviticus 10:16-17. It seemed to be some kind of ritual that sought to take on the Jewish priests the curse of the people due to their sins and through this act as a Tzadik or victim soul take on the sins of the people. 

We do know that the rituals of the Temple service take precedence over the laws of the Sabbath and most likely over the laws of kashrut. A Jewish woman is permitted to eat non-kosher food if she is pregnant or in danger of death or starvation if no kosher food is available. Thus it would be appropriate that in the case of the greater danger of spiritual death the priest may be commanded to perform a ritual of sanctification for the people that breaks with the lower laws of kashrut and fasting. This may explain how the Sabbateans (many from very Torah observant backgrounds) seemed to be able to justify the breaking of Jewish laws as part of a perverted Sabbatean programme of redemption.

The haroset of Passover may have been the origin of the blood libel against Jews as the red wine mixed in with the other ingredients (representing the mortar) was said to represent the blood of the  boy children murdered by Pharoah. This haroset is put in a matzah sandwich (Hillel's sandwich). Anti-semites looking to accuse Jews of the blood libel used this innocent ritual as evidence for the Jews killing Gentile children for their blood to mix with matzah on Passover. Did this custom also reflect a lay participation in the ritual and tikkun (reparation) of the priests? 

The Tzadik is also associated with the Brit (meaning both covenant and phallus) and the Jewish mohel (circumciser) sucks the blood from the newly circumcised baby's tip of the phallus to help in its healing. The Tzadik as Yesod (foundation or Pillar) is also associated with the concept of Joseph and Messiah son of Joseph who guards his loins. In the Sefirotic array Yesod represents the sexual organ of the male while Hod (majesty) and Netzach (endurance) represent both the legs/ feet and the scrotum of the Divine Man (Adam Kadmon). Yeshua naked on the Cross is an icon of the suffering Messiah son of Joseph whereas the naked David dancing is an icon of the Messiah son of David who will arise with healing in His wings and frolic like a bull calf released from his stall (see Malachi 4:2). 

The word egel (bull calf) means rolling or circling around which reminds us of the Luisan rounds in the Divine Will. The bull calf is also a symbol of the Tribe of Joseph. Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich states that the Egyptians associated Joseph with Osiris and his wife Asenath (Osnat) with Isis. The bull calf represents Osiris, Moses and Joseph and the cow with milk or the blood-coloured heifer represents Isis, Miriam and Asenath. The Israelites when Moses went up the mountain sinned not for making an image but for making one and worshiping it with a phallus worshiping male same-sex orgy. They made a bull calf which represents the male principle without the corresponding female principle represented by the heifer. This is why the remedy for their cleansing from sin was with the ashes of the red heifer (cow) to correct the imbalance or to make tikkun (reparation). The Sabbateans also perverted the Jewish mystical tradition by misinterpreting the marital and sexual imagery of the spiritual intimacy with God. In this life it is only in the context of traditional marriage that this nuptial intimacy is expressed genitally as a sign or foreshadowing of the virginal nuptial intimacy and unions in the kingdom of the Divine Will.  

Messianic Kosher Food, Circumcision and Rebbe Nachman: A Hebrew Catholic Teaching

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