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The Kabbalah

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Subject: The Kabbalah
   According to tradition "...the Kabbalah was the fount of ancient
   wisdom that Moses passed down to elite disciples, an esoteric
   doctrine that only an elect can interpret."
   - Gerry Rose ,"The Venetian Takeover of England and Its Creation
   of Freemasonry"
   To Jewish mystics, every letter in the Hebrew alphabet was a
   channel to the life force of God and possessed of sacred meaning.
   Hebrew numbers were also represented by letters so that names and
   words had numerical values. Finding associations of words with
   the same value revealed a complex series of hidden meanings
   beneath the text of the Torah, the book of law attributed to
   Moses. In fact, the entire Torah can be considered to be a single
   long word spelling out one of the names of God. The significance
   of the name of God goes back to ancient Egypt where knowing the
   name of a god allowed one to gain power over that god.
   "The Qabalah may be defined as being the esoteric Jewish
   doctrine. It is called in Hebrew QBLH, Qabalah, which is derived
   from the root QBL, Qibel, meaning 'to receive'. This appellation
   refers to the custom of handing down the esoteric tradition by
   oral transmission, and is nearly allied to 'tradition'."
   "The Qabalah was first taught by God himself to a select company
   of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise. After the
   Fall the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly
   doctrine to the disobedient children of earth, the furnish the
   protoplasts with the means of returning to their pristine
   nobility and felicity. From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then
   to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt,
   where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine
   to ooze out. It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some
   knowledge of it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it
   into their philosophical systems. Moses, who was learned in all
   the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into the Qabalah in the
   land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his
   wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the
   leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in
   it from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science
   the law-giver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose
   during his management of the Israelites, in spite of the
   pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseries of the nation. He
   covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in the
   first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from
   Deuteronomy. Moses also initiated the seventy elders into the
   secrets of this doctrine, and they again transmitted them from
   hand to hand."
   - McGregor Mathers, Introduction to The Kabbalah Unveiled
   "In exactly the same way, when the true interpretation of the Law
   according to the command of God, divinely handed down to Moses,
   was revealed, it was called the Kabbalah, a word which is the
   same among the Hebrews as `reception' among ourselves; for this
   reason, of course, that one man from another, by a sort of
   hereditary right, received that doctrine not through written
   records but through a regular succession of revelations....In
   these books principally resides, as Esdras with a clear voice
   justly declared, the spring of understanding, that is, the
   ineffable theology of the supersubstantial deity; the fountain of
   wisdom, that is, the exact metaphysic of the intellectual and
   angelic forms; and the stream of knowledge, that is, the most
   steadfast philosophy of natural things."
   - Pico della Mirandola
   The Kabbalah " uncovers many of the infinite layers of the
   secrets of life, of Creation, of the soul, of the heavenly
   It penetrates beyond the garments and the body of the Torah.
   It is the very core and soul of Torah, the ultimate revelation of
   Divinity - exposing the inner meaning, effects and purpose of
   Torah and mitzvot.
   The illumination emanating from the Kabbalah ignites the soul of
   man, setting it on fire in the awareness of a deeper and higher
   reality. Its study and insights are themselves mystical
   The Kabbalah is all this - but always and exclusively within the
   context of Torah."
   - "The Authenticity of Kabbalah"
   The early plebeian Israelites were Canaanites and Phoenicians,
   with the same worship of the Phallic gods - Bacchus, Baal or
   Adon, Iacchos - Iao or Jehovah'; but even among them there had
   always been a class of initiated adepts. Later, the character of
   this plebe was modified by Assyrian conquests; and, finally, the
   Persian colonizations superimposed the Pharisean and Eastern
   ideas and usages, from which the Old Testament and Mosaic
   institutes were derived. The Asmonean priest-kings promulgated
   the canon of the Old Testament in contradistinction to the
   Apocrypha or Secret Books of the Alexandrian Jews - kabbalists."
   - H. P. Blavatsky, Isis Unveiled
   "Early Hebrew prophecy and Bacchism are similar in some aspects.
   The Qabbalists called the Holy Spirit, the mother, and the Church
   of Israel, the daughter. Solomon engraved on the walls of his
   Temple, likenesses of the male and female principles, to
   adumbrate this mystery; such it is said, were the figures of the
   cherubim. This was, however, not in obedience to the words of the
   Torah. They were symbolical of the Upper, the spiritual, the
   former or maker, positive or male, and the Lower, the passive,
   the negative or female, formed or made by the first."
   - Isaac Myer, The Qabbalah
     "Each soul and spirit prior to its entering into this world,
     consists of a male and female united into one being. When it
     descends on this earth the two parts separate and animate two
     different bodies. At the time of marriage, the Holy One,
     blessed be He, who knows all souls and spirits, unites them
     again as they were before, and they again constitute one body
     and one soul, forming as it were the right and left of one
     - The Hebrew Zohar
     "And when They are conjoined together, They appear to be only
     one body. "Hence we learn that the Masculine, taken alone
     appeareth to be only half the body, so that all the mercies
     are half; and thus also is it with the Feminine. "But when
     They are joined together, the (two together) appear to form
     only one whole body. And it is so. "So also here. When the
     Male is joined with the Female, They both constitute one
     complete body, and all the Universe is in a state of
     happiness, because all things receive blessing from Their
     perfect body. And this is an Arcanum."
     - The Kabbalah Unveiled
   ...The visionary nature of the Qumran corpus [Dead Sea Scrolls]
   is much under-estimated. Texts of this kind border of what goes
   in Judaism under the name of Kabbalah, and indeed it is difficult
   to see how there cannot have been some very direct relationship
   albeit an underground one."
   - Robert Eisman and Michael Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered
   "Jewish mysticism began in Biblical days, long before the term
   Kabbalah was invented. By the first century it had become a
   proper subject for scholarly study. Philo Judaeus speculated on
   the Platonic idea of emanations as intermediaries between God and
   the physical world. The Roman philosopher Plotinus (205-270)
   traveled in the East and returned to combine Indian, Persian,
   Greek, and Jewish mystic theories into a systematic structure of
   these emanations."
   - Harry Gersh, The Sacred Books of the Jews
   According to Plotinus (205-270 AD), "there are stages in the
   soul's ladder of ascent. The first includes purification, the
   freezing of the soul from the body, and the practice of the
   cardinal virtues. In the second the soul rises above
   sense-perception to Nous through contemplation. A third and
   higher stage, already ineffable, leads to union with Nous.
   Finally there is the climax of the whole ascent in mystical and
   ecstatic union with the One."
   - John Ferguson, An Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Mysticism and
   the Mystery Religions
     "He will lapse again from the vision: but let him again awaken
     the virtue which is in him, again know himself made perfect in
     splendor; and he shall be again lightened of his burden,
     ascending through virtue to Nous, and then through wisdom to
     the Supreme."
     - Plotinus
   "The Rabbis of the Talmud speculated on these mysteries,
   particularly when they were commenting on Genesis and the visions
   of Ezekiel. The speculations were later embroidered by new ideas
   that entered Jewish thought from the Syriac Greeks, the
   Zoroastrian Babylonians, and the Gnostic sect of the Byzantium
   Christians. From these foreign and domestic concepts and myths,
   the Jews wove into their mysticism ideas of upper and neither
   worlds, angels, and demons, ghosts and spirits - ideas that had
   been unknown or of little importance to the Jews until then."
   - Harry Gersh, The Sacred Books of the Jews
     "Thou shalt have no business with secret things."
     - Apocryphal Book of Ben Sirach 3:22 (2nd century BC)
   "From Babylonia and Palestine, Jewish mysticism moved into the
   Jewish communities of Europe and blossomed there. Every community
   produced its own mystic literature, mystic belief, and mystic
   practices. There were distinctive Spanish, French, Italian, and
   German Kabbalahs. Some were mainly 'practical', dealing in magic;
   others were mainly 'speculative', emphasizing philosophical
   explanations; many combined practical and speculative Kabbalah in
   equal parts."
   - Harry Gersh, The Sacred Books of the Jews
   "The earliest documents (~100 - ~1000 A.D.) associated with
   Kabbalah describe the attempts of 'Merkabah' mystics to penetrate
   the seven halls (Hekaloth) of creation and reach the Merkabah
   (throne-chariot) of God. These mystics used the familiar methods
   of shamanism (fasting, repetitious chanting, prayer, posture) to
   induce trance states in which they literally fought their way
   past terrible seals and guards to reach an ecstatic state in
   which they 'saw God'."
   - Colin Low, "cabalah.cln"
   "As the Kabbalah evolved, it came to share certain ideas with
   other ancient mystical systems, including those of the Gnostics
   and Pythagoreans. The Kabbalah did not restrict itself solely to
   instruction on the apprehension of God but included teachings on
   cosmology, angelology, and magic."
   - Ancient Wisdom and Secret Sects
   "Besides The Zohar, the other chief book of the Kabbalists "the
   Sefer Yetsirah, or Book of thought to date from the
   6th century....Another important work is the Sefer-hab-Bahir, or
   Book of Bahir, which was probably written in the 6th century by
   Isaac the Blind. Supporters of the Kabbalah insist, however, that
   it can be nothing less than divinely inspired."
   - David Conway, Ritual Magic
   "By the early middle ages further, more theosophical developments
   had taken place, chiefly a description of 'processes' within God,
   and a highly esoteric view of creation as a process in which God
   manifests in a series of emanations. This doctrine of the
   'sephiroth' can be found in a rudimentary form in the Yetzirah,
   but by the time of the publication of the book Bahir (12th
   century) it had reached a form not too different from the form it
   takes today. "
   - Colin Low, "cabalah.cln"

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