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Kabbalah?

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What is the Orthodox view on Jewish Kabbalah? Has the Church said anything about this? From my investigations, it is an extremely complex, comprehensive, and systematic form of Jewish mysticism which is not easy to understand at all. I've only heard about it within the last few months and have been attempting to investigate it by reading a commentary on the primary book of this practice, the Zohar, and I still do not understand it, it took 70 pages in the book I'm reading just to explain what the first chapter was attempting to communicate and indeed, it is very very very obscure and vague and requires a lot of diagrams and illustrations to even understand and I still can't fully grasp it... The best way I can put it is that they seem to understand God as a kind of dynamic force which is manifested directly in our own human psyches and that we must ascend through different levels in order to subsume back into God by transforming our, and subsequently God's, "desires" into benevolence... but that's not even half of it and that's probably a really incorrect way to put it anyway... It also has a very unique creation myth based on extremely strange Biblical exegesis and takes the metaphor of the marriage between God and Israel extremely literally and applies extreme depths of interpretation to it, our own souls seem to be understood as literal fragments of God. Don't get the wrong idea here, I have not been attempting to implement Kabbalistic practices into my own spiritual life because 1. It's not Orthodox, obviously, but also 2. It would probably be extremely disrespectful since it would be a form of appropriation. However, in order to truly engage with Jews and Judaism I think we ought to have an understanding of its teachings just as St. Irenaeus investigated the Gnostic heresies. Funnily enough, I'd characterize Kabbalah as a form of Jewish Gnosticism really. The Church must recognize this, but I can't seem to find and word on it by any bishop or anything... Apparently some Catholics and Protestants attempt to appropriate it though. :oops:
 
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rakovsky

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As I recall, my own reading about Kaballah, like on Wikipedia, made it sound like it was invented a few centuries before Columbus in Spain and the passed off as hidden ancient mysticism.
 

FULK NERA

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Abp. Alexander Golitzin has some things to say about it as a tradition that parallels our own mystical tradition because they both derive from the same sources in the diverse religious-ascetical-mystical scene around the Second Temple. He is cordial with many Jewish scholars and they all share much common language.
 

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Abp. Alexander Golitzin has some things to say about it as a tradition that parallels our own mystical tradition because they both derive from the same sources in the diverse religious-ascetical-mystical scene around the Second Temple. He is cordial with many Jewish scholars and they all share much common language.
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Katechon,
Since you have already been warned in another thread for a similar infraction, your warning here will serve to supplement the one you have already received. This is a political attack which you either levelled against an Orthodox bishop or an OC.net member. It may also have been meant as a racist attack. Such behaviour will not be tolerated. I trust that this is clear. As mentioned earlier, you will be on post moderation for a time and your warning will last 6 weeks. Please address any appeal to me.

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If all you want is room to engage with Jews, the Kabbalah is useless. The vast majority of Jews have nothing to do with it, and those who have studied it won't readily discuss it with random goyim.

For engagement purposes, Rabbi Ruttenberg has some insight:
 

FULK NERA

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You have already been warned for employing ad hominem attacks against others. Your warning will therefore be increased.
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Fulk Nera,

You were warned earlier not to engage in personal attacks against other members. Your warning will now be increased to 200 points. For a period of at least 2 weeks, possibly longer, you will be on post moderation. This means that any post you make will have to be vetted by moderators before appearing on the board. Your "combined" warning will last for 6 weeks. Please address any appeal to me.

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Katechon

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Content removed. - Pravoslavbob
 
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FULK NERA

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Content removed. - Pravoslavbob
 
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Pravoslavbob

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Thread re-opened. No further personal attacks of any kind will be permitted.
 
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Abp. Alexander Golitzin has some things to say about it as a tradition that parallels our own mystical tradition because they both derive from the same sources in the diverse religious-ascetical-mystical scene around the Second Temple. He is cordial with many Jewish scholars and they all share much common language.
Yes I do agree that many things in it strongly parallel our tradition, particularly Hesychasm, but I've even seen hints of a Trinitarian like understanding of God in it though that might just be my own religious biases inclining me to see that where it may not actually be. However, a significant part of it seems to have a lot of similarities within Gnosticism imo and the Church would certainly not approve of those teachings. As I understand it, it has become a significant religious tradition in Judaism, Hasidic Jews are fully steeped in it and it has a strong apocalyptic/eschatological bend to it. Many Hasidics actually proselytize it to other Jews for the very reason that they think it will lead to the coming of their messiah. Learning some of it opened my eyes up to why they do what they do, understanding this will make it much easier to engage with Jews about Christianity though of course we shouldn't attempt to appropriate it like some Protestants have for the reasons I listed in my OP.
 
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FULK NERA

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Yes I do agree that many things in it strongly parallel our tradition, particularly Hesychasm, but I've even seen hints of a Trinitarian like understanding of God in it though that might just be my own religious biases inclining me to see that where it may not actually be. However, a significant part of it seems to have a lot of similarities within Gnosticism imo and the Church would certainly not approve of those teachings. As I understand it, it has become a significant religious tradition in Judaism, Hasidic Jews are fully steeped in it and it has a strong apocalyptic/eschatological bend to it. Many Hasidics actually proselytize it to other Jews for the very reason that they think it will lead to the coming of their messiah. Learning some of it opened my eyes up to why they do what they do, understanding this will make it much easier to engage with Jews about Christianity though of course we shouldn't attempt to appropriate it like some Protestants have for the reasons I listed in my OP.
In interseminary dialogue I found hasids rely on Prophets mich as we do but they don’t derive Christ Jesus from them and don’t like us much. There is a book by Levin, author of Sinai and Zion, called Two Powers in Heaven that talks about Hebrew henotheism. It’s anachronistic to speak of monotheism among ancient Hebrews. It’s a later ‘corrective’ against the influence of the Church.
 

biro

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I used to have a copy of half the Talmud. Just half. (I forget which one.) Just that book was so huuuge, it was like two or three old phone books put together.
 
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I do not understand why any Orthodox Christian would dive into the Kabbalah.
We have all we need in Christ.
I outlined my reasons above. I have absolutely no desire to practice it and I have delved deep into many other religious systems before, this isn't my first rodeo. I continue to see the complete light of truth, which is Christ, in the Orthodox faith in light of the teachings of other faiths. It is good to understand the faith of others, it allows us to properly critique it whilst also exposing the elements of truth which it does contain, that way we can guide others into the Orthodox faith. Even paganism has truth to it, for it at least acknowledges the existence of the divine.
 
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I used to have a copy of half the Talmud. Just half. (I forget which one.) Just that book was so huuuge, it was like two or three old phone books put together.
I have only read a few small tractates in that work, it is much much too large and in a language I have very little knowledge about.
 

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Kabbalah and the Talmud are two very different things.

The Talmud is divided into two types of readings - legal and ethical. The legalities are related to minutiae such as the laws of kashrus (keeping kosher), Shabbos (Sabbath - one full tractate), Holy Days of observance, kosher slaughtering, laws for marriage (a whole tractate), laws for divorce (another tractate), judicial laws (2 tractates). In total there are 20 tractates (volumes) to the Babylonian Talmud. The Jerusalem Talmud is only 7 volumes. There are various English translations - Rodkinson, Soncino, Jacob Neusner.

The Kabbalah on the other hand is often misinterpreted to be simply one set of books - the Zohar. The Zohar is a mystical interpretation of the Torah (Pentateuch) chapter by chapter. However other books such as Sefer Yetzirah and Sefer Bahir also form the foundation of the umbrella term Kabbalah.

These are quite different from the mystical teachings found in Chasidic (Hasidic) writings by later rabbis. These worlds draw upon both Kabbalistic thought as well as Rabbinic commentaries of the Torah with the Torah as well being the base teaching.

There is definitely a common ground of Talmudic ethical teachings that are parallel to the New Testament and Orthodoxy.

You can find the Rodkinson and Soncino translations of the Talmud online. Rodkinson is pretty straight forward and easy to understand. Ein Yaakov (Ein Jacob) is a summary of the ethical teachings of the Talmud and can also be found online in English.

In terms of Kabbalistic thought and Orthodox thought, there are many similarities with the teachings of the Desert Fathers and the Philokalia. Just as it is difficult to dive into both of these works, it is difficult to understand Kabbalistic works. However if one actually does have the time, skills and ability to separate differences, the similarities are quite astounding and you can in fact find explanations in one that help understand the other.

I come from a Jewish background and I feel blessed that I am able to see the differences and similarities.

The Tanya, a later Chasidic writing, read from an Orthodox perspective is like reading an Orthodox book. The Jewish interpretation of course is different but reading it from an Orthodox perspective, you can actually see Christ and His teachings and that of the Church in the words. I have one copy that I started studying almost 30 years ago marked up with Christian teachings that echo the words in the Tanya and point to Christ (when read from an Orthodox Christian perspective).

I think too many people feel there is contradiction in these works and of course just like reading Roman Catholic books one needs to weed out the parts that contradict Orthodoxy, the same must be done in reading the above mentioned works.

But all in all, personally I find they enrich my Christian faith alongside the Church Fathers.
 

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it contradicts enmasse Orthodox Christianity on all levels, as I am aware its word for neopaganism [1][1] and medieval protonationalism [2] so Hit The Road Jack is better jukebox choice before waiting for the Hey Joe to come around ...

made huge impact that changed even judaism itself if we know that khazars syncretized judaism and mazdaism which could be seen by various teachings and rituals [6][6][6] that as dualistic was rejected by the semitic jews tho [7][7][7][8][8][8] https://www.politicsforum.org/forum...p=15196871&hilit=kabbalah+kabbalism#p15196871
reading anything but recension about kabbalah and kabbalism levels to reading any other neopagan mysticism thus risk from heretical tempting thoughts if not apostasy!
 

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it contradicts enmasse Orthodox Christianity on all levels, as I am aware its word for neopaganism [1][1] and medieval protonationalism [2] so Hit The Road Jack is better jukebox choice before waiting for the Hey Joe to come around ...

reading anything but recension about kabbalah and kabbalism levels to reading any other neopagan mysticism thus risk from heretical tempting thoughts if not apostasy!
There is no pagan origin to these Jewish books, by definition! It’s been pointed out by very eminent Orthodox scholars that the similarities between the Jewish mystical tradition and the Orthodox are not accidental but genetic as they both derive directly from the spirituality that is part of worship involving the Second Temple In Jerusalem.
 
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There is no pagan origin to these Jewish books, by definition! It’s been pointed out by very eminent Orthodox scholars that the similarities between the Jewish mystical tradition and the Orthodox are not accidental but genetic as they both derive directly from the spirituality that is part of worship involving the Second Temple In Jerusalem.
Someone at my church is writing his thesis on this. But I think it's merkabah mysticism not kabbalah. I don't know but I'm not sure if they are the same.
 

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@FULK NERA please elaborate, tho I really dont have time for chit chat, please see the linked thread and the footnotes I've shared, I am sure You will see that kabbalah is neopagan dualism, not sure just how big one i.e. ultimate or next to it!?

trying to blatantly equate Christianity and kabbalism is same as saying that in mitraism or zoroastrianism also could be found similar if not joint inertia to Christianity, just dont confuse the talmudic tradition as connection so would make claim!​

after all Please point to me who are those prominent orthodox scholars how say that Christianity and kabbalism have genetic link!
 

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Someone at my church is writing his thesis on this. But I think it's merkabah mysticism not kabbalah. I don't know but I'm not sure if they are the same.
They are not. Merkava Mysticism was a promethean attempt to remain in communion with God after the destruction of the temple, with some of it's results being taboo in rabbinic circles even today (Especially an essay written by two of its most prominent founders speaking of God in physical terms. Describing his hands, feet, face, etc.).
The reason provided for this prohibition of untill then a valid if exclusive and secret practice, was that some of the Jews who practiced it had a vision of God Manifest in the Flesh enthroned besides the Glory (Gevurah). The encounter of which led them to become Christians. The Talmud thus forbade Merkavah Mysticism two centuries later in the Mishnah (the first half of the Talmud).

Kabbalah, as you and I know it, seem to have begun in the 13th century, in Spain and the Poland/Lithuania area. While Merkavha Mysticism could claim some precedence on Ezekiel's vision, the Kabbalah dropped all pretenses. It does share one commom theme with the former though: The idea of the true, valuable knowledge being imparted to the select limited few.
 
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