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Reading Kabbalah
10-11-2010, 07:10 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-17-2010, 10:04 PM by Director Michael.)
#11
RE: Reading Kabbalah
Shalom dear friends,
I have two questions which are important for me.

1) If a Noahide can study the Torah "if it is only to gain knowledge of what is written and not to involve one's self in expounding Torah or seeking to derive new explanations in it," does this mean that a Noahide cannot write a pshat (simple meaning) commentary on the Hebrew Bible?

2) What about in-depth philosophical studies, such as the teachings of Hasidic philosophy? I am well read in secular philosophy, and I have found no ontological or cosmological system that could replace those found within the Kabbala. I haven't studied original sources, which I understand is forbidden (except for certain parts with the help of an Orthodox Jewish teacher), but I have read many overviews from reliable Orthodox sources. If I comprehend correctly, the only area of Torah which transcends any and all rationalizations or debates is the halakha (Torah Law), because G-d's will is absolute. On the other hand, there is no dogma, as far as I know, regarding philosophic speculation, and even Hasidic philosophy contains different schools of thought which interpret the Torah according to their subjective understanding. Therefore, in the event that a Noahide does indeed derive a new (consistent with Torah Law) philosophical explanation or teaching through his intellectual comprehension, who is the final arbiter who decides whether his insights are correct?

Warmly,

Hrvatski Noahid
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10-17-2010, 10:03 PM, (This post was last modified: 10-17-2010, 10:38 PM by Director Michael.)
#12
RE: Reading Kabbalah
1) It's not within the purview of a Gentile to write an original pshat (simple-meaning) commentary on the Hebrew Bible that is authentic pshat, because the pshat meaning is part of the Oral Torah, so one who expounds the pshat must first deeply and broadly study within the Oral Torah, for its own sake. But that level of Torah study is not permitted for Gentiles. So a Noahide may learn the pshat explanations from great Torah scholars, that have been accepted in the body of the Oral Torah, as well as straightforward insights that are taught by any reliable Orthodox Rabbis.

2) - In fact, G-d's will for the halakha (Torah Law) is revealed from the rationalizations and debates of the faithful Jewish Sages and Torah scholars, in their final accepted rulings on any particular matter.
- Hasidic "philosophy" is not philosophy in the secular sense of the word, G-d forbid. Rather, the Hasidic masters, with their Divine inspiration, revealed deeper dimensions (plural) of understanding G-d and His Divine wisdom that was concealed within His Torah.
- If a Noahide thinks that he (or she) sees (as opposed to "derives," which implies in-depth study) a new philosophical explanation or teaching through his intellectual comprehension, he can consult with a reliable Orthodox Torah scholar to find out if his new understanding is acceptable, and whether the scholar knows if it has been expounded publicly before. (It may be that the particular "new" insight was previously recognized privately, but not yet brought out to the public domain).
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10-19-2010, 03:54 AM,
#13
RE: Reading Kabbalah
B"H

Thank You for your answers. My thoughts are still half-formed and it will take years of Torah study for them to crystallize within my mind. However, it gives me great joy to know that, should I desire to ponder the Torah deeply, this would not be prohibited.

G-d bless all,

Hrvatski
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10-24-2010, 03:56 PM,
#14
RE: Reading Kabbalah
In-depth Torah study of subjects included within the Noahide Code is permitted for a Noahide if he or she observes the Noahide Code because it was commanded by G-d through Moses at Mt. Sinai. And in fact, this kind of study is to be encouraged and respected.
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07-22-2014, 02:58 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-29-2015, 02:29 PM by Director Michael.)
#15
Knowledge of angels and heavenly levels
Hello, dear Rabbis!

I have two questions, please.

1. There are many legends inside Judaism teachings today. Some of them are strange to me. For example, different stories about angels and events in Heavens. How could a man get aware about things happened in Heavens in exact details? How to differ truth from a myth?

2. It is known that Adam and Eve lived in Paradise which was (is) located between Beriah and Yezirah. Why was the Earth (Asiyah) mentioned in Genesis 1:1 created then?

Please correct my text at your consideration.
Thanks!
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07-24-2014, 06:05 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-29-2015, 02:30 PM by Director Michael.)
#16
RE: Knowledge of angels and heavenly levels
(07-22-2014, 02:58 PM)Demockrat Wrote: 1. There are many legends inside Judaism teachings today. Some of them are strange to me. For example, different stories about angels and events in Heavens. How could a man get aware about things happened in Heavens in exact details?

Here are some of the ways this happened:

a) In order to learn the Torah from G-d, Moses ascended from the top of Mount Sinai into the Heavenly realm, where he also saw and conversed with angels and received information from them. Moses transmitted that experience and information to the Jewish people through teachings in the categories of Midrash and Kabbalah.

b) True visions of the Heavenly realms, and encounters with angels within those realms, were experienced by true Jewish prophets and recorded in their Biblical books: for example, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Daniel, etc. See there.

c) Before the Torah was given to the Children of Israel, there were exceedingly righteous individuals who were regularly or occasionally visited by angels, some of whose names are recorded in Torah sources. For example, it is related in the Book of Genesis that Abraham and Jacob (Israel) were on that level, and they passed that down to their descendants the Jewish people in teachings that were incorporated into Midrash and Kabbalah. Not to mention that before he sinned, Adam was openly aware of spiritual levels in G-d's ongoing process of creation, and he passed that information on to select individuals among his descendants, which was transmitted to Noah and on to the prophets Shem and Eber, who taught it to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Abraham wrote some of this down in a book of Kabbalah called Sefer Yetzirah. Also, most opinions agree that Isaac ascended and lived temporarily in the Heavenly realms for several years after he was bound on the altar by his father Abraham.

d) There were righteous Jewish individuals who were regularly visited and taught by Elijah the Prophet, who was taken to the Heavenly realm alive and never died, and who since then has been going about on missions in the physical world, while otherwise residing as a soul in the Heavens. For example, Elijah taught Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, and Rabbi Anan in Talmudic times, and more recently Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov. Through Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and other Sages, teachings from Elijah about angels and the Heavenly realms were incorporated into Kabbalah (specifically the book of Zohar), Midrash, and other books.

e) There were Jewish sages who themselves entered temporarily into the Heavenly realms during their lifetimes through ascension of the soul (and in some cases perhaps bodily as well), and when they returned they taught what they saw and learned there. For example, Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, and Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov.

(07-22-2014, 02:58 PM)Demockrat Wrote: How to differ truth from a myth?

Authentic Torah teachings are true. In the Five Books of Moses, this applies not only to the correct spiritual messages but also to the straightforward correct reading of the Hebrew text. In the rest of the Hebrew Bible and in the Midrashic and Kabbalistic sources, the teachings may be either literally or metaphorically true. That was largely sorted out in the Kabbalah teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (that AriZal), and further clarified in subsequent Chassidic teachings, beginning with the teachings of Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov.

In regard to all of this, Gentiles should not delve into such matters beyond the parts that are related to logically understanding the Unity and Oneness of G-d, and how nothing in the created spiritual or physical realms has any independent existence aside from its being continuously created by G-d according to His will. The essential thing is to know the truth of the existence of the One True G-d, and how to properly fulfill the details of the commandments that one is commanded by Him to observe. Before the Messianic Era, G-d grants a person a physical life as a short amount of time during which to accumulate merit by serving Him in a challenging situation, and then the person's soul returns to the spiritual realm which is the World of Truth, where there is no question as to what is literally or metaphorically true.

(07-22-2014, 02:58 PM)Demockrat Wrote: 2. It is known that Adam and Eve lived in Paradise which was (is) located between Beriah and Yezirah.

The souls of Adam and Eve were in a state of spiritual Paradise associated with the spiritual worlds of Beriah and Yezirah *before* G-d created bodies for them in this world as physical receptacles for their souls.

(07-22-2014, 02:58 PM)Demockrat Wrote: Why was the Earth (Asiyah) mentioned in Genesis 1:1 created then?

G-d creates the Heavenly realms and the angels therein only as an intermediate step in His step-by-step process of creating His desired end result, which is the creation of this physical world with human beings as its crowning inhabitants. This is because it arose in His original thought that He desired to have a dwelling place for His Divine Presence in an eternal Messianic Era, along with created human beings in a created physical realm. But He also wants to give people the opportunity to earn the merit for this (or to fail to earn that merit) through their own free choice to live righteously by following their commandments in the face of challenges, during a temporary intermediate period of time (which has now almost reached its conclusion, before the time comes for G-d to send the Messiah descended from King David, to usher in the Messianic Era. That is why we have been seeing so many open miracles in our day and age, and increasingly so, especially in the Holy Land of Israel.
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07-26-2014, 08:06 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-29-2015, 02:29 PM by Director Michael.)
#17
RE: Knowledge of angels and heavenly levels
Hello, dear Director Michael!
First of all, thank you very much for the fullness of your answers. Please, let me have more questions.
1. Why did G-d punish the angel Samael (Satan)? Angels have no will, so how could this angel disobey G-d? If he executed G-d's will then why punishment?
2. Is anything known about souls of angels? What type are they of?
3. You mentioned that righteous persons ascended to angelic levels. Has the opposite situation ever occurred, when angels were sent "down" to mankind in the post-Tanakh era?

Many thanks!
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08-30-2014, 08:33 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-29-2015, 02:30 PM by Director Michael.)
#18
RE: Knowledge of angels and heavenly levels
(07-26-2014, 08:06 PM)Demockrat Wrote: Hello, dear Director Michael!
First of all, thank you very much for the fullness of your answers. Please, let me have more questions.
1. Why did G-d punish the angel Samael (Satan)? Angels have no will, so how could this angel disobey G-d? If he executed G-d's will then why punishment?

This is explained in the midrashic source "Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer."

During the 6 days of creation, the ministering angels raised a complaint to G-d about His plan to make Adam and mankind the masters over the physical world. In response, G-d showed told them an aspect in which Adam in his righteousness was comparable to them, and an aspect in which Adam in his spiritual greatness was greater than them, thus informing them of His determination to carry through with this plan.

Up until then the angels were assigned to rule over the physical world, but now they were faced with the logical contradiction that Adam (a physical person) in his righteousness and spiritual greatness would be too great for them to rule over, hence nullifying part of the task which G-d had given them (to rule over the physical creation). So the angels sought an emergency plan - to cause Adam to sin and thus lower his spiritual level, so they would be able to rule over him (which was their understanding of their mission from G-d). As one of the great Heavenly princes, Samael descended to earth with a company of angels in order to carry out this plan, by acting through the serpent to entice and trick Hava, and through her, Adam, to sin.

When G-d then inflicted consequences on the serpent, He also caused Samael (and his company of angels) to fall from the holy levels of the Heavens. But Samael (Satan) was not banished from the spiritual realms entirely, because he still comes to stand before G-d in the spiritual Heavenly Court to bring charges against sinners.

Obviously this was all part of G-d's plan, because He wants human beings (as a whole) to be tempted by their evil inclinations, so He can judge them and bestow reward for righteousness and punishment for sins, measure for measure. So that is the intended main mission for which Samael / Satan was created, in G-d's plan.

(07-26-2014, 08:06 PM)Demockrat Wrote: 2. Is anything known about souls of angels? What type are they of?

As explained in our web page http://asknoah.org/faq/types-of-angels
there are a number of types of angels, and they are indigenous to different spiritual levels, and those are levels of ascending spiritual rungs in the chain of the heavenly worlds, with the higher levels transmitting life and influence to the lower levels, one after the other.

In this system, a higher-level angel is the soul of the next lower angel. That is what is meant by the statement that the bodies of angels are not radically different from their souls. This is described in
Ezekiel 19-21:
Quote:And when the Chayot [the angels with 4 faces] would go, the Ofanim [the angels that were "wheels within wheels"] would go beside them; and when the Chayot would lift themselves off the ground, the Ofanim would lift themselves.
Wherever there was the will to go, they would go; there was the will to go, and the Ofanim would lift themselves correspondingly to them, for the will of the Chayot was in the Ofanim.
When they [the Chayot] would go, they [the wheels] would go, and when they would stand, they would stand, and when they [the Chayot] would lift themselves up from the ground, the Ofanim would lift themselves correspondingly to them, for the will of the Chayot was in the Ofanim."

(07-26-2014, 08:06 PM)Demockrat Wrote: 3. You mentioned that righteous persons ascended to angelic levels. Has the opposite situation ever occurred, when angels were sent "down" to mankind in the post-Tanakh era?

There is one angel who is sent down eventually to almost every person since the times of the Biblical prophets, and that is the angel of death.

The fact is that the expressions of "up" and "down" in the spiritual realms are only euphemisms. Each spiritual world is enclothed within the next "lower" spiritual world, so everything in all the worlds is happening all together, but the "lower" level is insensitive to the higher level. An analogy for this is the side-by-side existence for four different "kingdoms" within the physical world, with a lower kingdom being unable to perceive, or at least comprehend, the higher kingdoms. These are the mineral, vegetable, animal and human kingdoms. Similarly, there are angels all around us that we are unaware of, except for some people who are granted a temporary "vision" of higher levels in waking, sleeping or prophetic states, or the tzaddikim (completely righteous) who have more or less of a higher vision constantly.
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08-31-2019, 03:54 PM,
#19
RE: Reading Kabbalah
Sh'lom Mr. Schulman.

This is me, Demockrat renamed.
I've made a lesson from your answers:
The realm of angels is structurally similar to the ABYA worlds abstract and both are similar to the Sephirot like fractals. Is it so?
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