Yeshua vs. Paul and other Messianic Controversies. Yovel Hatalmid and Dr. Moshe discuss.
What follows is a discussion that took place via email between myself, Yovel Hatalmid, a former Yeshiva student and eternal follower of Melech HaMashiach Yeshua and Moshe, the founder of this Messianic Kabbalah blog. Moshe begins the discussion by referencing what he has gleaned from my yet to be published book titled “Christians Repent.”
Moshe’s writings will be highlighted with a light pink background.
My words will be highlighted with a light purple background.
Hi Yovel, I am really getting a lot out of your book. It’s actually a great book. I do of course see the edginess and feel the angry emotion toward Christians in it, but it’s not detracting from the information you’re sharing, which is great. I’m only about 25% in. The central theme is clear and it’s making me think a lot. Yeshua = keep Torah and the mitzvas. Paul = don’t. This is actually a huge revelation. I didn’t realize that.
I still don’t believe that’s what Yeshua really meant, or wanted, and I not 100% sure why or how to back that up with any written evidence (except the Essene Gospel of Peace). It’s just an internal guidance based on my own studies / experience / grasp. Your approach is very historic and very ‘written word.’ It’s hard to argue with what you’re presenting here. That’s powerful. I am coming up with theories to explain why this may be the way it is, but they’re just theories in an attempt to support my hunches. Reading your words, I can imagine that would be quite distasteful to your sensibilities. I’ve really tried to see if I am resisting because I just don’t *want* it to be true. I am trying to be really honest with myself and it’s not that. It’s not an aversion to it, but rather, just a sense that the Law of Moshe cannot be why Yeshua came… to further support, or to elevate it. It’s definitely for me not about supporting Paul’s ideas, but the way I experience Yeshua and Truth within myself. It’s about how I personally perceive the Law of Moshe…Why would the Messiah come to the Jews and continue to support Torah? What was his purpose then as Moshiach? Do you get to that in the book? Can you tell me now, what you perceive being the answer to that?
Right now, I am thinking that Matthew and anywhere else that depicts Yeshua as teaching to keep Torah, depicted Yeshua as teaching to keep Torah so that Jews would not reject him outwardly due to the very clear and strong antipathy to any prophet suggesting to abandon or even change one letter of the Law. Matthew was smart. He knew the Jews would never ever accept Yeshua if they thought he taught that, so he altered his teachings to they might accept him. I also believe that the first original Matthew in Hebrew was not written until quite a while after his death. Hundreds of years? You mentioned something about this and probably know more than me regarding this. But imagine – Yeshua comes. And then the Pharisees outwardly reject Yeshua because of Paul’s shenaningans. So Matthew, or whoever actually wrote Matthew, makes it very clear that they have to portray Yeshua as being supportive of the Law of Moshe, as a desperate attempt to get the Moshiach accepted into the body of the Jewish people. That’s what i am toying around with now.
Happy to hear back from you about this and to chat further.
Moshe, Thanks so much about the kind words about the book! I have not shared it with anyone, so that is very heartening to hear.
As to the origin of Matthew, I believe that it was written very early (we have good reason to think that the timing of the story about Rabban Gamaliel’s children trolling the Christian philosopher in the Babylonian Talmud places a Hebrew language copy of Matthew in circulation some time before the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash). I don’t think that it was rewritten as a response to Paul, particularly because Paul wrote to a Greek audience, so his impact on the Jewish community in Eretz Israel was delayed. The Shliachim in Yerushalayim didn’t know what Paul was teaching people because they didn’t have access to his letters, which were spread out all over western Turkey and Greece. The only non-Paul book in the New Testament which I believe shows definite knowledge of all of his writings is Revelation, which clearly commends the Ephesians for rejecting Paul. Early on, the Shliachim “won” the debate, and Paul was only resuscitated by later Christians like Marcion and then Constantine, who just wanted to abolish Shabbat so he could have the worship day moved to the day that honored his favorite Sun “god” Sol Invictus, aka: Sun-day. Paul didn’t really become dominant for a while, so there was no immediate counter reaction to him, certainly not early enough to affect Matthew.
I do not really get into why Yeshua came and what his mission was, and all of that in the book. I take a very conventional Chassidic view toward Moshiach. I believe that he came to begin the process of Tikkun HaOlam and lead to the final Geulah (redemption). Unfortunately, that process has been very long and very, very painful for the Jewish people (in particular) and the world (in general). In my opinion, he didn’t come to take away or abrogate the law of Moshe in any way: he simply came to add the inner, most important dimension to it. It is like a guf (body) which had been without a soul, and he came to blow the ruach into the body to give it the soul. He came to bring the Shkinnah into the world and open up access to it to all of us, which is a gift that we have been taking advantage of without realizing when and where it started for some time now. I believe that Yeshua came to teach his people about the Shkinnah, about their ability (and obligation) to relate to God personally and directly, and their amazing potential (“greater things than these will you do”).
The process of Tikkun HaOlam is a real and serious thing, and I believe that we are very, very close to the final stage, and the Geulah is right around the corner. We each have a divine calling to impact a certain number of things, people, places, and events through the course of our lives, and we can elevate them or we can miss that opportunity, and every day we have new opportunities to elevate the things and people around us, and that is truly powerful when you think about it. (In the language of the Tanya, they say: “Everyone has his share of [holy] sparks that he has to extricate and disencumber… and when all the sparks shall have been disencumbered, the Shkinnah is altogether freed from it’s exile and Israel is redeemed: the messianic era is ushered in.”
To me, the mission of Moshiach ben Yosef is to suffer and bear the iniquities of Israel and open up the door of the way of redemption. The mission of the Moshiach ben David (Yeshua at the head of the Host of God) is to rectify everything that needs to be rectified on earth. The gap between Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David is almost a mercy; to give as many people a chance to take the road to redemption as possible (which really means following the Shkinnah). Obviously, this is an extremely deep subject with a heck of a lot to it and I do not pretend to know everything about it.
In my mind, the whole question of abiding by “the law” is not some scary debate (Paul made it sound scary but he was writing to a bunch of Greeks who had no real idea what was in the Torah anyway). The question that we should be asking ourselves is what Halachah means to us, what we do and do not agree with about conventional interpretations of it, and how we, knowing what we do about Melech HaMoshiach Yeshua and the Shkinnah, interpret halachah. It is something that has always been debated, always had different opinions about, and to this day remains defined by the majority opinion of a bunch of rabbis involved in a lot of argument. It has been allowed to become pedantic because we have not been part of the debate, but as part of Am Israel, we have every right to a seat at that table, and we ought to get one.
I do think that there is an element to it that I do not yet understand. The new covenant ushered in by Melech Moshiach means that the Torah is etched into our hearts, so as Yeshua said: “my burden is light and my yoke is easy”. I do not believe that just because Yeshua said that the Parushim (Pharisees) sit in the seat of Moshe, that flipping on a light switch on Shabbat is wrong, but I also do not come at the Orthodox tradition with the arrogance of the “Hebrew Roots” folks who brush away the entire Rabbinical tradition as invalid and claim to have a more “pure” and “original” interpretation. You can’t just ignore the actual (living) chain of authority of which Yeshua and the Shliachim were part of. Like I said: you are either part of the Kingdom of Moshiach or not, and if you are, you are under the laws of that Kingdom.
Anyway, it is a long subject that I have also not worked through fully, but I think it is worth the effort. I look forward to more discussions with you.
I am not sure if you’ve ever heard of the very rare and rarely spoken of book “The Only Planet of Choice.“? Probably not. It’s an interesting book for a few reasons in the context of this very discussion. First of all, it is “transceived.” this means, it was channeled, but by a pure channel. Her name is Phyllis Schlemmer. Apparently, there are not many pure channels, as often, when someone goes into the state to channel, their ego clumps up the transmission and you get a mishmash of gunk from the other side and from the ego of the channeler. So this book is interesting for a few reasons. The message from books allegedly comes from the “Council Nine” / aka the Elohim, from the Hebrew tradition. Their statements are very supportive of Melech haMashiach and also, for the importance of the Jews for the healing of the planet. There are many many poignant messages from this book. Why the Jews didn’t accept Yeshua. One of the messages is “The Jews are the saviors of the planet. they must fulfill their choosing.”
Reason why I am telling you this is two fold. 1 – The Rebbe Schneerson read the book and told Phyllis that it brought certain things to light for them, the Lubavitch. They also accepted her as a pure channel because she had had a hysterectomy, so she wasn’t a “real woman.” Now if that isn’t fucked up, I don’t know what is. But they accepted it. I was close for a few years to Phyllis and went down to Florida where she lives a couple of times. I wanted to verify this and attempted on a few occasions to contact the Rebbe’s personal assistant all those years, but was unable to to do.
2 – In this book, Plato is given as another example of a pure channel. Others are Nostradamus, and Edgar Cayce, to name two more. There may have been more mentioned, but I don’t recall them.
The dualistic Platonist system was required because Greek philosophers held the material world to be utterly worthless, degraded, and meaningless. It was nothing but a “shadow” of the true (spiritual) realms. Physical forms and matter themselves were nothing but a shadow of the “true forms” which exist only in the spiritual universe. Paul adopted all of these concepts wholesale from the middle Platonism of his day.
This needs to be understood properly. I have gained a lot of insight from studying and practicing Yoga, to have an understanding of what this may be referring to. I wouldn’t put it the way you did here strictly as, ‘worthless, degraded, and meaningless’ and neither would my Yogic teachers, but, there’s something to the message / idea that the physical world is an illusion, an empty reflection of the higher worlds. It’s called Maya. This is, to me, a Universal truth. It is not limited to any one teaching, or any one cosmology, but rather can be seen across the board in Yoga, Buddhism, Zen, Taoism, and I guess, Platonic philosophy as well. I am much more of a Universal Jew. I am interested in the Truth that is beyond all defined qualities / beliefs.
“”Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. “” 1 Corinthians 13:8 (yes, yes, i know. another Pauline text)
I am not saying that the world needn’t be dealt with, which is the way for some of the Eastern paths. Like Advaita (non dualism) Vedanta, is a major path of Yoga, and it would preach a sort of “the world doesn’t matter.” I consider myself to be more balanced with the physical and have always prescribed to the idea that we have to bring heaven to earth. This is much in keeping with the teachings of Rabbi Schneerson. I also consider it of utmost importance and an aspect of “Tikkun Olam” (healing the world) to make the world in the image of the Divine – so a dwelling place for God in all things – politics, medicine, energy, living, eating, is all aligned with the truest nature of God and evil is removed from the world. Some of the Eastern philosophy would say, there is no good or evil. God is beyond that. This world is just a dance within the illusion of life.
So here you have Paul saying, no law of Torah, and sharing Plato’s philosophies which are harmonious with the notions of the physical dimension being an illusion and that the Only Planet of Choice stated that Plato was a rare and pure channel.
And you have the writings of Matthew claiming that Yeshua’s message was, “Keep the Law of Moses.” I have some strong ideas about the Law. I have written about them in my blogs (here). I have shared these with you already. The idea being in essence, “If you believe you need the Law to tell you how to keep covenant with God, then you are aligning with the idea that you are not, in essence, God.” Another way of saying is that, if you believe you need to consult the Torah as God’s will, you lose the ability to recognize God’s will (and the Law) in your heart. Whereas, the Kingdom of Heaven lives in you, Yeshua’s message and the Law is written in your hearts means, you have it in you. You don’t NEED the Law as it is defined and mandated in Torah. You are that very thing which sent Yeshua. And ultimately, there is one Law. It is the Law of Love, and equally expresses as the Law of One. We are all One, therefore, don’t kill, steal, covet, etc.
But yes, we need to LIVE by this One Law. Perhaps this is where we might agree? You need to keep the covenant with God and live by the Love of Yeshua which is written in your heart! Not keep the 613 Mitzvot… I can see, as you mentioned, that the debate of what Halacha is continues here as well. But I wanted to mention these things as they are very relevant for the discussion at hand.
Over to you.
Moshe… So, first of all; very interesting email. I had to sit and think on it a while.
I am familiar with what you call channeling. I have written things that way in the past. In fact, there are several small sections in the book that I shared with you that came about that way. To me, the means is less interesting than the usage. It’s like saying “but this came via email!”. I would reply “awesome! Someone knows how to use modern technology. More important though is WHO sent it?” Channeling, to me, does not add any particular legitimacy unless the source that is being channeled has legitimacy. I do not believe in an “all good” universe. I have lived too much life on this messed up rock to think that.
The point is; congratulations on channeling something, maybe you want to be a little bit picky about who you are channeling. I would recommend the book of Enoch to you. It was considered “canonical” (the term only loosely applies) by Jews during the 1st century or so. It was dropped later on, but it is an exploration into some of the more peculiar references in Bereshit and an exposition on Jewish tradition regarding the sitra-achra. What is fascinating to me about the book of Enoch, is that if you read it and look at the very earliest germination of the Hellenic culture, you see very clearly where the Greek culture came from and who all their “demigods” were. In my opinion, you have to be very careful with things like channeling (or with using an “Ibbur” from Lurianic Kabbalah for example) because you have to know what you are plugging yourself into. Not every spirit out there is a good one. Plenty of them are not honest. I have experienced several different levels of communication and contact along these lines, and I have some very strong opinions about it based on personal observation. The Chaim Vital also taught that with an Ibbur, there is always a degree of falsehood present.
Apart from that, you seem to be very reductive with your statement about Phyllis Schlemmer and the Chabadniks: “…they also accepted her as a pure channel…” Ok, great, but that is like saying that “the Eskimo said there was snow here.” I have to stop you right there and ask what kind of snow the Eskimo said he saw? So, just because the Rebbe said that she had some kind of useful and interesting spiritual knowledge does not mean that they considered her to be authoritative in some way. (Also, the hysterectomy thing is actually a great example of Rabbinical leniency. They had a rule that a woman cannot be a prophet, the rabbi saw that this woman brought something that was very useful, and so he looked for a loophole that would allow her to be given more status than she otherwise would have with them. That’s not “fucked up”. That’s what a good rabbi does: make Halachah fit the lives of his people, not the other way around.)
Judaism has always had many different levels of what is considered authoritative and even multiple levels of what is considered “inspired”. Starting with the Torah itself, there are multiple levels of authority within Torah, with the decalogue being most authoritative, and the rest being considered slightly less so. Within the Tanakh, the Torah is preeminent, the Neviim are next (and there is a hierarchy AMONG the Neviim as well), and the Ketuvim are last. After the Tanakh, Halachah can be derived from multiple sources with Mishnah being most authoritative among the purely halachic works, the Talmud Babli usually coming next (although the Talmud Yerushalmi is actually a little older and comes from Eretz Israel, so there is a good case for considering it more authoritative and some rulings are derived from Yerushalmi). Then you get to the later halachic works, the most important of which is obviously Shulchan Aruch, but there are many of them, and they do not always agree. Generally; you follow the oldest ruling on a particular issue. In addition to the Halachic works are midrashic works, which are considered to have useful and sometimes inspired truth in them, but which are not to be taken literally (as opposed to Tanakh, which is taken both literally and allegorically). There are many Midrashim, some of which actually contradict the plain meaning of Tanakh, but which are meant to be taken as an allegory, to make a point. Among inspired works which lie outside of these categories (primarily Kabbalah), we go by the same basic rules as apply to the Halachic works: the older are considered more authoritative, although there are some which are attributed in ways that are generally taken to be metaphorical, and most rabbanim are extremely cautious about deriving Halachic rulings from Kabbalah… anyway, it isn’t just cut and dried.)
Christians have this totally reductive view of inspiration which just doesn’t hold up. Something is either “inspired” in which case it is absolutely, completely, literally, and perfectly true and authoritative, or it is “not inspired” in which case it is exactly the same as any random writing on the back of a bubblegum wrapper, with no value whatsoever. This seems to be more stringent than the Judaic way of looking at things (because Christians love to talk about what perfect literalists they are whereas the Rabbinical tradition is “corrupted with the writings of mere men” -they love hating on the Talmud) but in reality, it trains them to be uncritical about what they accept. All they need is one, single, tiny element of untruth in their “canon” and the entire thing breaks, requiring the existence of a stand-in between them and God who can arbitrate the inherent contradictions for them. In other words: Plato’s “Philosopher King” -a semi-divine leader who orchestrates every aspect of their lives. Islam has exactly the same problem with reductive ideas of inspiration. It leaves them permanently at the mercy of a series of tyrannical Pope-like stand-ins for God. The big fight between Sunnis and Shiites derives from a fight over who that stand-in should be and how they should select him.
Judaism does not need to fear knowledge from the spiritual universe the way Christianity and Islam do because of the fact that having many gradations in what we consider “inspired” forces us to be extremely careful in how and why we accept what we accept. We can learn from literally any part of the sea of human knowledge, and don’t become a tiny little intellectual desert out of fear of new ideas.
So to get back to Schlemmer: I have heard of that book before. I haven’t read it, but because it was recommended by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I will probably do so when I get a chance. I’m sure that there is something in there which is interesting. I have no doubt whatsoever that she is right in that Plato was another channel like herself, and may even have channeled from the same source. Isn’t it interesting that this particular source is where our civilization got the idea of a “Philosopher King” from, which led to the deified Roman Ceasars, then to the Popes, then to the various smaller “God stand-ins” like Jim Jones? Plato was the one who created this reductionist idea of inspiration in the first place. Why would he do that? I will get to my thoughts on that question in a moment.
You compare Plato to the Yogic philosophical streams, and while I am not an expert in the various Eastern philosophies (I do know the basic ideas of many though), I would say that equating Platonism to an Eastern stream of mysticism is a big mistake. This is because Platonism (primarily in it’s NeoPlatonist form) became the compilation and summation of Western philosophy during it’s time and a structure that stitched together Greek thought. It literally defined what “Western thought” meant. To this day, we recognize a distinction between “Eastern” and “Western” thought because of the Greeks. I would highly recommend “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” to you if you haven’t read it. This book really comes at the “East” versus “West” divide from the Western perspective and examines that boundary. Pirsig lays the blame for a reductionist, scientific, antiseptic, soulless, anti-natural, alienated modern life in Western Civilization squarely at the feet of the ancient Greek philosophers (of which Plato was really the most important). The attempt to perfectly define, describe, and rationally control literally everything is inherent to this Western way of thinking. The Greeks, unlike most “Eastern” philosophies of which I am aware, were absolutists and did not have a sense of what you would call “balance”. They sought Ultimate Truth and then literally imposed their philosophy on everyone around them at the point of the sword (a tradition which Western Civilization carried on with gusto leading up the high point in Western conquest of the world right around WWI, when virtually the entire planet had come under the dominion of the ultra-scientific West).
If you think about the world before the rise of the Greeks, you had basically the Jews and everyone else. Everyone else were various kinds of pantheists (ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Assyria, Babylon, China, the Indus valley, several different pre-literary or nomadic civilizations that didn’t leave written records, etc). To our modern sensibilities, basically any of these civilizations would fit pretty comfortably in our “Eastern” category. They would each have interesting spiritual insights based on their particular take on the spiritual universe, and there would probably be some interesting piece of wisdom that we could glean from their traditions (and a lot of stuff that wasn’t so good too, like human sacrifice, self-mutilation, burying wives alive in their husbands’ tomb, etc). Judaism was unique in not holding to a pantheon of spirits which they followed, but believing in a singular, unique God who had chosen Israel for his own bigger purpose. Sure, some of these peoples found Israel annoying and even dangerous, and went to war with them (usually for territory, not ideology), but in general, if you look at Judaism through the ages, it is the only religion that has lived peacefully beside almost every other human belief system in history -all around the world. Judaism did not seek to become a universal belief and dominate everything, neither did the various “Eastern” style, pantheistic systems (generally). Then the Greeks happened and totally changed the paradigm.
The earliest proto-Greek civilization claimed that it was the result of “gods” which had conferred upon humanity certain gifts and knowledge and even intermarried with them in accounts which are curiously parallel with some of those in the book of Enoch. Now, I have some knowledge from personal experience of the “other side” -the Sitra Achra. I can tell you without any doubt whatsoever that not everything out there that wants to engage with a “channel” is friendly.
The unseen side of our world has a lot of wandering, restless spirits that are cut off from the source of life and live in the perpetual darkness of a wilderness as dry and dusty as a tomb. They are hemmed in by the boundaries that we create on this side and move around endlessly in a particular territory decade after endless decade. They lust for the life that we have (we are all linked to the source of life and have a divine spark animating our Ruach) and they will attach themselves to us to get a few sips of life like a heroin addict. Some of them are stupid and brutal, and some of them are scary smart, but they all see us as nothing but pawns and playthings. Despite this, our wills are supreme. This world was given to us, and they are mere guests (or prisoners). They require humans to work with them (or in some cases submit to their control) willingly. If we stand up to them with our divine spark, they can’t do anything against us, though they will do just about anything to maintain the illusion of power and control and keep us in a state of fear and submission. They often do have esoteric knowledge that we don’t because some of them are ancient, and they have access to some kinds of knowledge in their world that we don’t. This means that knowledge is the coin of the realm, and the smarter ones work out exchanges with willing humans. We let them leech some of the life out of us and they provide us with secrets from their side. The thing is, they have an agenda. They need us and we don’t actually need them. They also play a very, very long game (centuries), and will set up a lie that will develop into an entire religion that will provide them with thousands and thousands of willing humans bending at the knee to give them access to our divine spark of life like the batteries in the Matrix. With any of these sorts of exchanges, you certainly can gain knowledge which is valuable, but you have to understand the context and agenda of the beings that provided it. Oh, and yes, the smarter, better, more strategic ones love to “dress up” and play “pure, beautiful angel of light, enlightenment, and feeling good”. Remember, they are liars.
So Plato set up this idea of a semi-divine intermediary between us plebes and the divine: an inspired, perfect leader called the Philosopher King, which is the archetype of the Popes, cult leaders, and a lot of evil that has played out across the centuries. The Platonists believed that this world was literally worthless. Not like your Eastern traditions, which have a recognition of the “divine archetypes” of things (as does Judaism), but utterly and totally base and nothing. They called this physical world nothing but “shadows and dust” and because of that, they had no reason to do or not do any particular thing in this world if it struck their fancy. The Greeks were utterly amoral people who would just as soon cook and entire family in a gigantic iron skillet in front of their neighbors as live peacefully with them. They did things that are objectively evil, and they didn’t care, because this world and the people they did things to were nothing to them but “shadows and dust” -it was like creating a whole civilization of sociopaths.
When Paul saw a vision of “Jesus” in the wilderness (which Yeshua had warned his talmidim not to believe because when he came again, everyone would see him like lightning across the sky), he felt that he didn’t need to go to Yerushalayim to ask about what the Shliachim knew (the men who had been living and working with Yeshua for years). He had seen what he considered the “divine archetype” while they had only seen a shadowy (flesh) photocopy. Paul felt that he was the superior “apostle” because his Christ trumped their Yeshua by virtue of not being physical, visible to anybody else, etc. Basically, Paul took the way that God had always worked with anyone through the entire Tanakh and just turned it totally upside down because he held to the philosophy of the Greeks, who had learned it from the Shedim -the Dybbuks -the ones they called “gods”. That is why the Oracle of Python walked before Paul proclaiming him to everyone, because he was supporting their system. Valentinius took Paul’s tradition and taught that his followers should receive an “indwelling spirit” which should attach itself to them… Hmm.
I personally consider the Tanakh to be divinely inspired and divinely preserved. I do not think that this is an unreasonable belief, considering that the majority of the Earth’s population also believes this (about 1.8 billion Muslims, about 2.3 billion Christians, obviously religious Jews, and a few others, totaling more than 55% of the human species). Of anything written down at any time in our existence, the Tanakh has the unique position of being considered inspired by most people through most of history. I think that this is because it is, and people can intuitively sense that. So, it’s pretty simple for me to point to a particular thing as the basis upon which I have built my conclusions. Everything, to me, goes back to the giving of the Torah on Har Sinai. So I base my way of looking at the world on the assumption that the Tanakh is true.
So if you look at Devarim 4:40 there is something interesting.
Conjunctive waw | Verb – Qal – Conjunctive perfect – second person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 8104: To hedge about, guard, to protect, attend to
am giving you today,
Verb – Piel – Participle – masculine singular construct | second person masculine singular
Strong’s Hebrew 6680: To lay charge (upon), give charge (to), command, order
In Devarim 4:40, Am Israel is not just given a bunch of ordinances to follow. They are entrusted with a charge, to guard, care for, and keep a Word which was given by the Divine. This charge means that Am Israel is specifically given a special quality for keeping inspired Word (in general), and preserving it. Am Israel have the collective, divinely inspired ability to define what should be and should not be considered “inspired” and “authoritative” because the Shkinnah makes it known to them (us). What this means is that I place a higher value and authority on things preserved by Israel than those which are not. That is why I hold to the Shem Tov Matthew text: because it is the only independent tradition of Yeshua preserved by Am Israel.
I feel very much that you and I have different understandings of “law”. To you, it seems as if “the law” itself is a Kelipah -a thing which gets between people and the divine emanation of the Shkinnah. If you were to restrict your definition to “laws” created by Philosopher King style tyrants who try to be living “gods” to their followers (of which there have been many over the years) -I would heartily agree with you. The system of tyranny and control invented by the Shedim, enacted by the Greeks, and perfected by the Catholic Church is absolutely a corpus of “law” which creates a barrier between our spirits and our source of life. This is nothing at all like Halachah. Halachah is, ultimately, inscribed on our hearts, as signatories to the “new covenant” -it is more like the “instruction manual” for being human that comes from the factory if you will.
In any case, I am not going to get into a long discussion of Halacha because I know that to a Jew of your particular background, it is a very scary word. I would just put this out there: you and I live by our ability to use our Neshama to follow the Shkinnah. We follow our inner spirit and try to cleave to the source of all life. We have become practiced in doing that over many years. It’s why I am still alive, and I can tell that you are the same way. Yeshua told us how to discern where a spirit is coming from. He said “by their fruits you shall know them”. It is a very simple, but very powerful test. Things that grow out of a particular spirit; a particular tradition, will bear certain “fruit” in the real world. The tradition of Paul bore the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Pogroms. The tradition of Plato bore the “divine” Ceasars like Caligula and the Popes. The tradition of Yeshua (I believe and have a lot of circumstantial historical information to corroborate) bore the Baal Shem Tov and some of the most humble and caring leaders in history. Clearly, these are different spirits with different outcomes.
I don’t know what particular spirit (or 9 spirits) that Phyllis Schlemmer followed, but I know that what Am Israel has followed (by and large) comes from the Shkinnah of God. I am very picky in what spirits I listen to nowadays, and I recommend that you should be as well.
Anyway, I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but I would say that if we don’t actually have any agreed upon “authoritative” documents, it becomes incredibly hard to have any kind of discussion. It’s like trying to talk to someone who insists on deconstructing the rules of the English language. You really can’t get very far because even the rules of grammar are out the window. The exchange of actual ideas is a higher order activity that relies on the mutual agreement upon certain rules which remain fixed.
Sorry this rambled on so long. I was trying to do justice to the different points that you brought up, and I had to really sit and think about some of them.
I also found your response very thought provoking and I needed to sit with it over the last day or so to let it rest a little, before responding. my answers below.
Yovel: <<I am familiar with what you call channeling../ Channeling, to me, does not add any particular legitimacy unless the source that is being channeled has legitimacy.>>
Yes, of course. That’s what I referring to when I said, “Pure channel.” I never actually thought that Phyllis might be channeling ‘something’ other than the Elohim. I always maintained that:
בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. “Bereishit Barah Elohim et ha shamayim Ve’et Ha’aretz”
that this was ‘who’ or ‘what’ Phyllis was channeling, in a purely true and wholesome fashion. They referred to themselves also as the Council of Nine. They are made up of Nine principles. they said they exist in the Zone of cold, I interpret this as being in the Causal World, also known as the world of Briyah. They are not the Absolute Form of the Divine, but are Creators at that level. I believe their message to be true. I have for a long time, although, I have thoroughly questioned it and at times, doubted it.
Yovel wrote: <<I do not believe in an “all good” universe. I have lived too much life on this messed up rock to think that… maybe you want to be a little bit picky about who you are channeling.>>
I agree 100%. In fact, I’ve been very cautious and very picky about whether or not I will consider something true or not. The majority of things I’ve encountered channeling or mediumship with the other side have been partly or largely inauthentic and impure. I can attest to that. I’ve also witnessed a number of possessions in people and patients I’ve worked with, and studied deliverance and exorcism for a while. While I was studying deliverance, because of a number of experiences that happened back to back in front of me in 2010-2011, I was reading a lot of Christian books, anything I could get my hands on from the demonologists of Protestantism. Catholics have a very rigid sort of Rite they do, but also some valid knowledge from their demonologists and lots of experience. I liked the Protestant ‘deliverance’ way better. It was then that I read some passages / lines of Yeshua’s teachings and my love and respect and admiration from him went from thinking he was a great master to seeing him as the Messiah. It was something in the texts that just made that ‘click.’ Then, I was looking a lot at the prophecies Yeshua fulfilled in the Torah and I’ve believed him to be the Melech haMoshiach ever since. So I am well aware and in total agreement with you that we need to be very very discerning.
I have always maintained, however, that this book was indeed a true book – ie, not channeled except from a pure and true source. I also maintained that in regards to Plato. He expressed the truth in his own way. But the Truth is the Truth. It can take many forms. If you had a shaman, a sufi, a messianic kabbalist, a christian mystic, buddhist, all masters, all sitting around a fire, they would all have very different ways of expressing the Truth, but in essence, each could recognize in the other, the Truth, regardless of its packaging. What I have always struggled with, with religious Jews, is this idea that ‘we’ have the truth and no one else does. That’s an egoic blindness I’ve encountered in far too many observant Jews to think it s mere idle individual’s view. Other religious paths seem to have the same thing; Our way is the right way, the true way, and often, the only way. So it’s definitely not just Jews, but more, religious thinking.
I have a deep insight into the thinking of the religious Jewish mind. It’s like I am carrying it inside of me. I believe I have transcended my own personal karma and I am now working through or with the Jewish karma / issues / woundedness from our history and unfulfilled purpose, and so I understand it very well. And I know that feeling – ‘We know best.’ Or this is the truth, and others have it not. I feel strongly this is a mixture of not being recognized and identifying ourselves as not a part of, but separate from the rest of humanity. So the truth we do know is not acknowledged or understood. In part that’s WHY we separate ourselves from others. Love is really only begotten / shared / does its healing wonders in connection with, not separation from. So in our separation from the Goyim, we have all this knowledge. It is not recognized. This combination leads us to hold onto the old and very unfortunate story that we, alone, posses the Truth. That God, alone, spoke to us through Mt Sinai and Moshe was the Navi (even more than a Navi) – Eved Ne’eman,humble servant, meaning totally surrendered his will to God’s will, so God, like Yeshua, acted through Moshe, AS Moshe, rather than just a prophet receives and conveys a message.
Yovel wrote: <<I would recommend the book of Enoch to you. ../ you see very clearly where the Greek culture came from and who all their “demigods” were.>>
Thank you. I’ll check it out. I would caution you though, not to lump everyone together. for eg, Plato. He may be also a pure being in the midst of the ancient Greek culture, or at least, he was, for that time. The same, I believe, can be said for the form in which we have the Torah in. I’ll get more into that a bit lower down in this response.
Yovel wrote: <<Apart from that, you seem to be very reductive with your statement about Phyllis Schlemmer and the Chabadniks:
“…they also accepted her as a pure channel…” Ok, great, but that is like saying that “the Eskimo said there was snow here.” I have to stop you right there and ask what kind of snow the Eskimo said he saw?>>
Let me rephrase that. They accepted her work as being important. They acknowledged the work itself to be containing valuable insights that they themselves benefited from, were appreciative in knowing, and actually got something out of. This is impressive considering the breadth and depth of the Rebbe’s knowledge. I heard an amazing story about the Rebbe (Schneerson) which you may have heard. He had a very old book that had the names of thousands of angels… thousands. One night, he had been up all night communicating or seeing or having visions and in the morning, he inscribed a few more names into the book. That is cool. Very cool. He would have had to have known which names were not there to add more names. That means, he would have known all the thousands of angelic names. Very amazing.
Yovel wrote: <<So, just because the Rebbe said that she had some kind of useful and interesting spiritual knowledge does not mean that they considered her to be authoritative in some way.>>
Yovel wrote: <<Also, the hysterectomy thing is actually a great example of Rabbinical leniency. They had a rule that a woman cannot be a prophet>>
That’s not true. There are examples of women being prophets in the Tanach. Women can be prophets. Coincidentally, I was just watching Y.Y. Jacobson going on about this (not the whole time, but he does cover that women can be prophets, later on)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJoowYDDEC4&t=4794s It comes later on in. This is a very very interesting Dvar Torah, as he speaks at great length about Yeshua. Not supportive of him being the Moshiach, but how the Torah does point to him in the section on Nevi’im (prophets).
He evens shows how there’s a special Gematria code for Yeshua “the child and the woman” in the portion of the Torah about Nevi’im. Did I share this with you already?
Yovel wrote: <<Also, the hysterectomy thing is actually a great example of Rabbinical leniency.) The rabbi saw that this woman brought something that was very useful, and so he looked for a loophole that would allow her to be given more status than she otherwise would have with them. That’s not “fucked up”. That’s what a good rabbi does: make Halachah fit the lives of his people, not the other way around.)>>
I appreciate your view on this but I am surprised by how legalistic you still are and what you support. This is exactly the sort of legalistic thinking that Yeshua would have come to soften. They are being lenient by saying to a woman, ohh because you don’t have a uterus, then you’re not really a woman, so we can accept what you’re sharing. You don’t think that’s fucked up? Man, are we ever on different pages. That’d be like some white supremacists telling a black person they can talk in the group because they were badly burnt in a fire, so they’re not really black anymore. But in a way, the point is moot, because women can be prophets, so I am still not sure what the whole uterus thing is about.
Yovel wrote: <<Judaism has always had many different levels of what is considered authoritative and even multiple levels of what is considered “inspired”. Starting with the Torah itself, there are multiple levels of authority within Torah…/: the older are considered more authoritative, although there are some which are attributed in ways that are generally taken to be metaphorical, and most rabbanim are extremely cautious about deriving Halachic rulings from Kabbalah… anyway, it isn’t just cut and dried.)>>
Thank you for laying this all out. It’s very useful to know. What I’d like to say in response, is that this is all a system that keeps supporting itself. Sure the body of knowledge grows, but it is still held within the framework of not changing a word, not a letter of the Law. In Kabbalah, there (Sparks of the hidden Light by Rabbi Moshe Schatz) is a concept of ‘everything that is, can be something greater and then, when it gets to that greater state, it can continue to grow greater yet.” This even includes G-d Him/Herself. As great a holy book as the Torah is, it’s over 3000 years old. You don’t think that the path that is laid out for the Jews might be ready for an upgrade? Something a little different?That the collective Oneness of which we are a part has grown / evolved since then?
Yovel wrote: <<Christians have this totally reductive view of inspiration which just doesn’t hold up. Something is either “inspired” in which case it is absolutely, completely, literally, and perfectly true and authoritative, or it is “not inspired” in which case it is exactly the same as any random writing on the back of a bubblegum wrapper, with no value whatsoever. This seems to be more stringent than the Judaic way of looking at things (because Christians love to talk about what perfect literalists they are whereas the Rabbinical tradition is “corrupted with the writings of mere men” -they love hating on the Talmud) but in reality, it trains them to be uncritical about what they accept. All they need is one, single, tiny element of untruth in their “canon” and the entire thing breaks, requiring the existence of a stand-in between them and God who can arbitrate the inherent contradictions for them. In other words: Plato’s “Philosopher King” -a semi-divine leader who orchestrates every aspect of their lives. Islam has exactly the same problem with reductive ideas of inspiration. It leaves them permanently at the mercy of a series of tyrannical Pope-like stand-ins for God. The big fight between Sunnis and Shiites derives from a fight over who that stand-in should be and how they should select him.>>
Whereas, I do not always feel aligned with Islam as a group movement, I have connected well with many Muslim individuals. I also do see a lot of good elements in Plato’s Philosopher King. A King who rules with the highest values / aspects of Philosophy. The Philosophy being a means to attain to goodness, to ethics, values, truth, not any random way of thinking. I have always thought the very best form of government is a benevolent King. Like if Yeshua sat on a throne and was ruler of Israel, say. It’s a good king sitting on the throne which is the best form of government. At least until today. The Philosopher King is Plato’s version of this. I have no problem with that.
Yovel wrote: <<Judaism does not need to fear knowledge from the spiritual universe the way Christianity and Islam do because of the fact that having many gradations in what we consider “inspired” forces us to be extremely careful in how and why we accept what we accept. We can learn from literally any part of the sea of human knowledge, and don’t become a tiny little intellectual desert out of fear of new ideas.>>
Oh but we do very much become a tiny little intellectual desert and we have and we are. There is a fear of new ideas, across the board. I don’t know what religious Jewish people you know, but the people I know are exactly as you said we are not.
There is a bit of a miracle happening that may or may not be happening at a larger scale. I saw my dear cousin, who is a frum Rabbi living in Neveh Ya’acov Misrach (formerly lived in Me’ah Asharim). He and his wife have 7 kids. Very ultra orthodox. I saw him and his wife are now studying and learning from Osho. Osho has a large influence in Israel, which has mostly been among non religious. so i think it does represent him and his wife having an open mind, and being open to new ideas, but this is not so in the rest of the community. It’s an anomaly. And it’s unfortunate, although this is another matter, that they follow Osho, since he’s always struck me as a kind of serpent-like dark wizard. And I think that he derives his knowledge and ‘wisdom’ from unholy places. So there you have it. Kind of complex I find, but interesting nevertheless.
Yovel wrote: <<So to get back to Schlemmer: I have heard of that book before. I haven’t read it, but because it was recommended by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I will probably do so when I get a chance. I’m sure that there is something in there which is interesting.>>
I hope you can find it. it’s very rare these days. publisher shut down.
Yovel wrote: <<I have no doubt whatsoever that she is right in that Plato was another channel like herself, and may even have channeled from the same source. Isn’t it interesting that this particular source is where our civilization got the idea of a “Philosopher King” from, which led to the deified Roman Ceasars, then to the Popes, then to the various smaller “God stand-ins” like Jim Jones? Plato was the one who created this reductionist idea of inspiration in the first place. Why would he do that? I will get to my thoughts on that question in a moment.>>
If we hold a leader accountable for the actions of their followers, then Yeshua must be condemned for the actions of the Christians. And this is what Jews actually do do when you bring up Yeshua. They blame him for all the things done in his name. It’s not his fault, is it? It’s not Plato’s fault either.
Yovel wrote: <<You compare Plato to the Yogic philosophical streams, and while I am not an expert in the various Eastern philosophies (I do know the basic ideas of many though), I would say that equating Platonism to an Eastern stream of mysticism is a big mistake.>>
In essence, the truth is the truth. If it is universal at all, we should be able to see similarities across the board. I see some of those in Plato as well as in Yoga. It’s universal because, in my opinion, it emanates from the One.
Yovel wrote: <<This is because Platonism (primarily in it’s NeoPlatonist form) became the compilation and summation of Western philosophy during it’s time and a structure that stitched together Greek thought. I would highly recommend “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” to you if you haven’t read it.>>
I have read it. but it was a while ago.
Yovel wrote: <<Pirsig lays the blame for a reductionist, scientific, antiseptic, soulless, anti-natural, alienated modern life in Western Civilization squarely at the feet of the ancient Greek philosophers (of which Plato was really the most important). The attempt to perfectly define, describe, and rationally control literally everything is inherent to this Western way of thinking.>>
I was not aware that Plato called for the rational control of everything. If so, I would not agree with that whatsoever, as I have seen the squashing of the feminine in that approach across the board in philosophy, religious thinking, science, etc.
Yovel wrote: <<The Greeks, unlike most “Eastern” philosophies of which I am aware, were absolutists and did not have a sense of what you would call “balance”…/ Judaism did not seek to become a universal belief and dominate everything, neither did the various “Eastern” style, pantheistic systems (generally). Then the Greeks happened and totally changed the paradigm.>>
I agree about Judaism. We’re non proselytizing, even dissuasive toward someone interested becoming a Jew. I respect that a lot. The Torah does however reveal how we swept through many different nations on our way out of Egypt (3 million strong?? that’s a huge huge number for those days) and basically steamrollered many kinds and civilizations out of existence. Call it murder. Call it land acquisition. Whatever. We did that too. Sure, we were like beaten downtrodden dogs after hundreds of years of slavery, still, we did it, and with Moshe at the helm.
Yovel wrote: <<The earliest proto-Greek civilization claimed that it was the result of “gods” which had conferred upon humanity certain gifts and knowledge and even intermarried with them in accounts which are curiously parallel with some of those in the book of Enoch. Now, I have some knowledge from personal experience of the “other side” -the Sitra Achra…/ Remember, they are liars.>>
Yes, I am on the same page as you about all of this.
Yovel wrote: <<So Plato set up this idea of a semi-divine intermediary between us plebes and the divine: an inspired, perfect leader called the Philosopher King, which is the archetype of the Popes, cult leaders, and a lot of evil that has played out across the centuries.>>
That’s because of the people who stepped into those roles were not divinely inspired. Not the fault of Plato’s idea, which is inherently noble. It’s like with some of Marx’s communist ideals. Collective work. Level playing field. Some of these are good. The problem is with human nature, and then needing to force these ideals onto the people. So, OK, perhaps it makes both Plato and Marx naïve, but the idea itself is good. You just have to make sure that the Pope or the Caesar is actually a true Philosopher King and not a power hungry despot.
Yovel wrote: <<The Platonists believed that this world was literally worthless…/and the people they did things to were nothing to them but “shadows and dust” -it was like creating a whole civilization of sociopaths.>>
This is again a fault of the people, not the philosophy. When you understand this world to be “shadows and dust” from the yogic perspective, say, then you can appreciate what they were getting at. There are, however, even Yogic practitioners / yogis who take this too far and reject everything of the world. This is a mistake of perception or the application of the philosophy. Like many who have mistaken the parabolic words of Yeshua to mean something they are not. It’s an error of the individual.
Yovel wrote: <<When Paul saw a vision of “Jesus” in the wilderness (which Yeshua had warned his talmidim not to believe because when he came again, everyone would see him like lightning across the sky), he felt that he didn’t need to go to Yerushalayim to ask about what the Shliachim knew (the men who had been living and working with Yeshua for years). He had seen what he considered the “divine archetype” while they had only seen a shadowy (flesh) photocopy. Paul felt that he was the superior “apostle” because his Christ trumped their Yeshua by virtue of not being physical, visible to anybody else, etc.>>
Are you sure about this? This has a little bit of the flare of your anger toward Christians and Paul written all over it. Is it perhaps somewhat interpretive on your part? I am curious how you know this?
This next few paragraphs, I think, gets to the heart of the matter. The heart of what i am very happy and eager and grateful to discuss with you. I am happy for how you have taken the time to express yourself. I hope I can express myself in the clearest fashion, so at the very least, you can have a full understanding of where I am coming from.
Yovel wrote: <<I personally consider the Tanakh to be divinely inspired and divinely preserved…/In Devarim 4:40, Am Israel is not just given a bunch of ordinances to follow. They are entrusted with a charge, to guard, care for, and keep a Word which was given by the Divine.
I feel very much that you and I have different understandings of “law”. To you, it seems as if “the law” itself is a Kelipah -a thing which gets between people and the divine emanation of the Shkinnah…/ This is nothing at all like Halachah. Halachah is, ultimately, inscribed on our hearts, as signatories to the “new covenant” -it is more like the “instruction manual” for being human that comes from the factory if you will.>>
The idea of Halacha having been written in our hearts is the very reason I believe that the Law went from Torah to an internal Shekinah driven guidance, when one is heeding it, following it, aligning with it. I believe the Law to be a law of Love, inspired by Yeshua as he demonstrated to us that the Kingdom of Heaven lives inside of us. The Law is a living Law. It means it shows you in every moment ‘how to be.’ You don’t need Torah for that. If you turn to Torah and the Rabbi’s (ordained to guide the people as they are studied in Torah) then you give up that internal ability to know God, know Truth… for the very reason that you are THAT just as Yeshua WAS / IS THAT very same thing. It’s like when you use crutches, your leg muscles atrophy, or when a man injects testosterone, his testicles shrivel up. It’s also why most religious Jews are largely unable to think for themselves outside of Torah, as they’ve been raised to think a certain way, dress, pray, talk, have sex, go to the bathroom. It’s all externalized. Yeshua came to end that. To make the Law a living Law. Have you read the Essene Gospel of Peace?
This rings to true of Yeshua’s words. This is one of the reasons I question the book of Matthew that Yeshua ever said those things about keeping the law as if it meant the Law of Torah. check this out.
Essene Gospel of Peace, Book 1 http://www.essene.com/GospelOfPeace/
“And though the sun was now set, they departed not to their homes. They sat round about Jesus and asked him: “Master, which are these laws of life? Rest with us awhile longer and teach us. We would listen to your teaching that we may be healed and become righteous.”
And Jesus himself sat down in their midst and said: “I tell you truly, none can be happy, except he do the Law.”
And the others answered: “We all do the laws of Moses, our lawgiver, even as they are written in the holy scriptures.”
And Jesus answered: “Seek not the law in your scriptures, for the law is life, whereas the scripture is dead. I tell you truly, Moses received not his laws from God in writing, but through the living word. The law is living word of living God to living prophets for living men. In everything that is life is the law written. You find it in the grass, in the tree, in the river, in the mountain, in the birds of heaven, in the fishes of the sea; but seek it chiefly in yourselves. For I tell you truly, all living things are nearer to God than the scripture which is without life. God so made life and all living things that they might by the everlasting word teach the laws of the true God to man. God wrote not the laws in the pages of books, but in your heart and in your spirit. They are in your breath, your blood, your bone; in your flesh, your bowels, your eyes, your ears, and in every little part of your body. They are present in the air, in the water, in the earth, in the plants, in th e sunbeams, in the depths and in the heights. They all speak to you that you may understand the tongue and the will of the living God. But you shut your eyes that you may not see, and you shut your ears that you may not hear. I tell you truly, that the scripture is the work of man, but life and all its hosts are the work of our God. Wherefore do you not listen to the words of God which are written in His works? And wherefore do you study the dead scriptures which are the work of the hands of men?”
These words very much summarize the Yeshua I resonate with. These are a perfect account for me of what the Law is.
Yovel wrote: <<In any case, I am not going to get into a long discussion of Halacha because I know that to a Jew of your particular background, it is a very scary word.>>
It’s not. I’ve done a lot in my life. Have worked very hard, have overcome a lot. I am not afraid of hard work, nor Halacha. It just feels dead to me as I align with a more living Law as Yeshua describes in the Essene Gospel of Peace.
Yovel wrote: <<I would just put this out there: you and I live by our ability to use our Neshama to follow the Shkinnah. We follow our inner spirit and try to cleave to the source of all life.>>
Yes, that is the Living Law.
Yovel wrote: <<We have become practiced in doing that over many years. It’s why I am still alive, and I can tell that you are the same way. Yeshua told us how to discern where a spirit is coming from. He said “by their fruits you shall know them”. It is a very simple, but very powerful test. Things that grow out of a particular spirit; a particular tradition, will bear certain “fruit” in the real world. The tradition of Paul bore the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the Pogroms. The tradition of Plato bore the “divine” Ceasars like Caligula and the Popes. The tradition of Yeshua (I believe and have a lot of circumstantial historical information to corroborate) bore the Baal Shem Tov and some of the most humble and caring leaders in history. Clearly, these are different spirits with different outcomes.>>
I hate to point this out, but not all the fruits of the Baal Shem Tov’s lineage are ripe and juicy. Some are rotten and foul. The amount of wife abuse, alcoholism, adultery, and other less than lovely qualities that plague the Lubavitch people, for example, is surprising. It’s easy to cast the first stone, but what boulders do we have in our eyes? And again, those people that follow a teacher or a leader… is the leader to blame for the actions of his / her descendants?
Yovel wrote: <<I don’t know what particular spirit (or 9 spirits) that Phyllis Schlemmer followed, but I know that what Am Israel has followed (by and large) comes from the Shkinnah of God. I am very picky in what spirits I listen to nowadays, and I recommend that you should be as well.>>
Read the book with your discerning eye, and let me know where you feel it may be coming from.
Yovel wrote: <<Anyway, I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but I would say that if we don’t actually have any agreed upon “authoritative” documents, it becomes incredibly hard to have any kind of discussion. It’s like trying to talk to someone who insists on deconstructing the rules of the English language. You really can’t get very far because even the rules of grammar are out the window. The exchange of actual ideas is a higher order activity that relies on the mutual agreement upon certain rules which remain fixed.>>
I disagree. I think we are both sharpening ourselves off each other. If we were to take a blood brother pact about following a certain way, then we’d have to decide. For now, this discussion is great. If you want to stop, I honour and respect that. I’d like this discussion to be the very thing we do together and share with the world.
Lots of love in Yeshua,
Moshe, I do apologize for my assumption behind what I said about needing “authoritative documents”. Having been born just outside Berkeley California, I have a lot of exposure to, well, hippies, and I am allergic to the intermingling of postmodernist philosophy and ancient mysticism. I read what you said about multiple paths leading to the same conclusion as basically an endorsement of the idea that “your truth” and “my truth” and everybody’s truth is all equivalent and (ultimately) interchangeable. (Which leads to the outcome that there is no truth). I see that you are actually very discerning and you do have a clear and particular path and you do not consider all (for example) spirits to be equally valid. There is a need for us all to be very wise about where we get insight from and that is based on the idea that there actually is objective truth, so you and I are a lot closer than it sometimes seems from our respective backgrounds and politics.
Speaking of politics… LOL … how about you keep your Marx and I keep my Ayn Rand to myself and we just put that one aside? I think we should just stay on spiritual matters…
You made me smile when you called me “legalistic” -it’s only an insult inside the community of Pauline Christians, and in almost every case, the people who use it the most are the same people trying to micromanage the lives of those they are “in fellowship” with so that these others do not become “backslidden” and remain in compliance with “leadership”. In other words, 99% of the time, if you hear someone call someone else “legalistic” the guy saying it is the most legalistic mother***er you have ever met. I just chuckled at your having picked up the term. It’s a fear-word meant to enforce obedience. It doesn’t fit you. I am not in any way ashamed of the study or interpretation of Halacha, even when it gets very twisty and convoluted. It’s actually a lot of fun if you do it right. When I said “they had a rule…” I was being imprecise and making an assumption about the particulars, because I saw the general idea as an example of using a loophole to show leniency in a specific case. I don’t know in particular what specific ordinance they were trying to get around in that particular instance. I am perfectly aware of the fact that there have been and can be women prophets. That’s why I said “they” not “there is a rule” or some other usage. Anyway, you are comparing Chassidic rabbanim to a bunch of white supremacists now? Seriously??? With hoods and burning crosses and such too perhaps? Maybe your bias against Orthodox Judaism is at least as pronounced as my bias against Christianity. Just a thought. I am very deeply saddened that you just cannot seem to see the beauty in Judaism itself, even when you can see it in all kinds of other traditions. Are Chassidim wife beating alcoholics? Well, there certainly are bad ones, sure. Are you going to find such people in literally ANY other religious tradition on the planet throughout all of history? YES! Are there bad Hindus who rape women (at statistical rates way above the norm by the way)? Yep. Are there a LOT of cases (way outside of the statistical norm again) of child sexual abuse among many different Christian communities? Oh yeah. How about Islam? …I’m not even going to get into that one actually, they make everybody else look like a bunch of angels. My point is, you have a double standard. On the one hand, you want to say that the person who originated a tradition (like the Besht or Yeshua, or Plato, or even [oy vey] Marx) is NOT responsible for bad things done by people following in his traditions and claiming to be his followers. Ok, fine, so how can you then turn around and say that Chasidism is bad because some Chasidim are alcoholics or spouse abusers? That doesn’t hold up logically. You can’t have it both ways. Either there is no connection whatsoever between the originator of a tradition and the tradition or there is, and we can trace back those ideas and see an effect on real behavior by real people in the real world (judge them by their fruits).
You say that if we hold the originator of a tradition responsible for the outcome of their tradition, then we have to hold Yeshua responsible for everything done in the name of “Christ” –and that is the point of my WHOLE book! “Christ” is a Hellenistic construct created by Paul. Yeshua is a completely different person who had a totally different outcome! Christ led to the Inquisition, expulsions, Jew hatred, Pogroms, the insane bloodletting of the Reformation era, and ultimately laid the groundwork in the popular consciousness for the Shoah to occur. Yeshua created the secret tradition that we now call Kabbalah, and it transformed, renewed, and brought life to Judaism from the inside out for the last 2000 years, slowly transforming it into a renewed form. Literally life from lifelessness, in addition to now spilling over and transforming all kinds of other things outside of the Jewish tradition now that we have reached the point of “overflowing”. I’ll put my drunkard Chabadniks up against your Inquisitors ANY DAY in a contest of which tradition is more good vs evil. Sorry, no contest!
I take the position that we have to accept responsibility for the bad that has come out of any tradition, and we have to acknowledge it, and we have to do what we can to correct it (Tikkun HaOlam). Ultimately, these traditions reflect the spirit that was their point of origin.
I was very heartened when you talked about Osho. “And it’s unfortunate, although this is another matter, that they follow Osho, since he’s always struck me as a kind of serpent-like dark wizard. And I think that he derives his knowledge and ‘wisdom’ from unholy places. so there you have it.” -I don’t know much of anything about him, so I can’t comment one way or another on that, but you are demonstrating here precisely what I am talking about: looking at the whole outcome of a spiritual tradition and using your spiritual “sniffer” to sense the spiritual origin of that tradition. I am just applying this same kind of methodology on a big picture, historical scale. In this vein, I will have to disagree with you about Plato. My spiritual sniffer threw up a ton of red flags for me as soon as I started reading Plato and it has been consistent every time I encounter his stuff. I trust my divine spark to point back to the source of life; the Shkinnah like a compass pointing north, and, while I can do more study into it, I will bet my life that I am not wrong about him.
You and I both know a lot of the same things about the “sitra achra” -the bad part of the spiritual universe. We know that bad stuff tends to come and try to collect around sparks of life because they don’t have it and they want it. Think about that on a macro level. Every true and good thing that comes up and starts to change what is going on in this world attracts badness. In addition to that; any movement or living tradition must, by definition have SOME (possibly tiny) spark of life and truth in it or it would not be a living tradition. The power of a lie is the percentage of truth embedded in it. The more sparks of holiness carried along in a particular tradition, the more powerful it is. This explains why over all, Christianity has been the most powerful and successful mystical tradition in history (still the largest religion by the numbers) which drove the most powerful civilization to dominance. It had the most captive sparks of holiness. Ironically, having more captive sparks of holiness gives the tradition more power, which allows for the opportunity to do greater evil. The point is that the sparks themselves are just being carried along in most of these traditions. They are used to “fuel” it, but they are not the core, not the guiding force. The guiding force is a spirit; what Paul called “principalities and powers” -because I am sure he knew a lot about that side of things. Judaism does not follow a “principality” -it follows the one source of all: Ein Sof. Once again, bad stuff senses sparks of life and are attracted to it, but if you look at it from a macro scale, our evil pales in comparison to any other mystical tradition out there.
As to saying that we did some bad thing when we came out of Sinai and killed a lot of (bad) people. I’m just going to lay this out there because I know you will probably disagree (once again, we are bordering on politics). I am a former IDF paratrooper who fought terrorists in places like Ramallah and Hebron during a very tough period of recent history. I saw friends die, I saw innocents die, I saw the results of what our enemies were trying to do when they blew up restaurants and buses full of people. I saw the outcome of what we did. I can tell you firsthand (to quote Chris Kyle) “Violence solves problems”. As Shlomo HaMelech said: “for every thing there is a time and a purpose under heaven” -there IS a time to go in and f**ing eradicate a group of people. If the people you are eradicating are (for example) Nazis, let’s say, then YES. Obviously, what we did in combat was nothing like that -we were if anything so obsessed with any possibility of collateral damage that we sacrificed our own guys all the time to avoid doing more damage than absolutely necessary- but I know that there can be people who are so degenerate and evil that their continued existence is a standing argument against the concept of a just creator in this world. We don’t know much about the peoples that the Israelites wiped out, but my assumption is that this is exactly the case. Anyway, no, the Exodus story in no way “proves” that Judaism is equivalent in imperialistic conquest and subjugation to Christianity. Not at all. Unfortunately, we don’t know more about that time period because the archaeology is kind of sparse.
As to what sorts of Orthodox Jews I know and whether Judaism is a little, insular, intellectual cul-de-sac; I have close friends who are academics who pick up their rifle to go to reserve duty once a year, come home and write in some of the top academic journals in their fields or publish unique pieces of outstanding (secular) scholarship, don their kippa every morning, and go out to davven 3 times a day without fail. People that will debate literally ANY subject you care to bring up with you (except perhaps Yeshua, which I admit remains kind of a blind spot to most of Am Israel as you pointed out on your blog), and still hold to their Halacha. I have never met more open minded people (again, with the exception of “he who shall not be named”) as a whole, than the modern orthodox and Zionist orthodox who I hung out with in Yerushalayim and to a great extent in the Shtachim as well (it kind of depends on where you go in Yehuda and Shomron as to how open minded people tend to be). Honestly, probably the most closed-minded people over all in all of Israel were the hard-left helonim living near Kikar Rabin in Tel Aviv. There are so many “no go” subjects with those guys and some of the Kibbutznikim that you can barely talk to them at all. There is a tremendous diversity within Orthodox Judaism itself, which right there points to the fact that it isn’t an intellectual desert island. The most well traveled people in history could hardly be ignorant even if they wanted to be.
I’ll respond to your question about what I said about Paul real quick:
<<When Paul saw a vision of “Jesus” in the wilderness… Paul felt that he was the superior “apostle” because his Christ trumped their Yeshua by virtue of not being physical, visible to anybody else, etc
.>>Are you sure about this? -About as serious as cancer, yes.
This has a little bit of the flare of your anger toward Christians and Paul written all over it. -Yep. Anger does not mean a point is less legitimate.
It seems somewhat interpretive. I’d be curious how you know this? -Read my book “Christians Repent.” I will also summarize: He SAID that he didn’t need to go to Yerushalayim to learn anything from the Shliachim. He claimed to have gone off to Arabia, then traveled all over the place declaring his own message, and only years later to have gone up to Yerushalayim. That is all based on his words. My interpretation is that based on Platonist philosophy, that actually makes sense (it makes no sense whatsoever without Platonist philosophy). Because of their rejection of the physical world itself, if Paul was a Platonist, he would have viewed his version of Yeshua as superior to that of the Shliachim. The fact that he didn’t go to Yerushalayim to learn anything at any time (and included no new quotes from or knowledge of Yeshua in ANY of his writings) indicates that he actually knew that his “Christ” was different from the Shliachim’s Yeshua. When he finally did go to Yerushalayim, it was to basically argue with them, then go up to the Beit Hamikdash to try to prove that he really was abiding by Halachah (which contradicts what he actually taught people in his letters -but nobody in Yerushalayim could have known that since the letters were in Greek and not available to them) -ironically, his attempt to prove himself Halachah compliant backfired spectacularly when he brought a gentile into a location which he was forbidden to enter, and for this Paul was arrested (if you are trying to claim that you don’t teach people to break the law, don’t make a big show of breaking the law. If you are honest about saying that law no longer applies, don’t make a big show of trying to prove yourself law abiding!) Anyway, it is all there in the New Testament if you break down the timeline. That site I shared earlier jesuswordsonly.com really does a good job of laying out the details. Paul convicts himself with his own words. No help from me required.
Moshe wrote: <<The idea of Halacha having been written in our hearts is the very reason I believe that the Law went from Torah to an internal shekinah driven guidance, when one is heeding it, following it, aligning with it. I believe the Law to be a law of Love, inspired by Yeshua as he demonstrated to us that the Kingdom of Heaven lives inside of us. The Law is a living Law. It means it shows you in every moment ‘how to be.‘>>
Yep, I agree with you.
Moshe wrote: <<you don’t need Torah for that.>>
Nope, that’s like saying because my spirit is more important than my body then I don’t need to eat food. Without the basic, underlying structure of understanding from the Tanach, we would be in a postmodernist wilderness of relativism, with no idea what to listen to or whether there could ever be such a thing as objective truth. It’s fundamental. I have a relative who works as a “sex healer” and tree frog-poison practitioner who basically accepts ANY mystical or spiritual thing as equivalent to any other (with a bias toward feminine-oriented things). I have every sympathy for the horrible way that she grew up, but she is very, very lost and doesn’t understand (despite all the wisdom she claims to have) that she does herself a massive disservice with the way she chooses to live. Without the Tanakh, we would be in that position. The same position as any pantheistic tribe that lives to appease any and every little mean spirit that they allow to bully them.
Moshe wrote: <<If you turn to Torah and the Rabbi’s (ordained to guide the people as they are studied in Torah) then you give up that internal ability to know God, know Truth… for the very reason that you are THAT just as Yeshua WAS / IS THAT very same thing. It’s like when you use crutches, your leg muscles atrophy...>>
No, not at all. I just don’t understand this. If you put some guy as a stand-in between yourself and Adonai, then yes, you stop thinking for yourself and all kinds of bad stuff happens. Rabbis have always been disagreeing with one another and Judaism has preserved contradicting positions on many things because of that. The entire structure of Halachic style learning is intended to teach someone TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES. They don’t and should never occupy a place as a “high priest” -they are just people who are supposed to be experts in legal interpretation. Jews who place a rabbi in that position in their lives are trying to adopt a Muslim or Christian way of operating, which is antithetical to our own tradition. Rabbis who are ok with being a “God stand-in” are BAD rabbis. There is a whole conversation to be had about Tzaddikim, which are basically lesser “reflections” of Melech HaMoshiach, but Tzaddikim are extremely rare and not always rabbis anyway.
I’ll paste a piece from my history of the secret tradition document: “In describing this secret tradition within Judaism, many rabbis have spoken of this two-fold nature of it (oral tradition, and Shkinnah). The Ari explained that the “mysteries of the Torah” are “something that is received”. It is not a knowledge that can be attained through the finite quality of the letters, but a perception that must be “received” from a master who himself received from one before him. The perception of the esoteric tradition is then a merging of spirits with the Divine which, by its very essence, cannot be condensed into letters. In other words, to followers of the secret tradition, there has always been part which is passed down through the generations, and part which comes from divine inspiration.” It has been understood by many rabbanim over many centuries that the literal words of Torah are only part of the equation. The literal words are necessary as a jumping off point, but if inspiration is not present when studying Torah, then you aren’t doing it correctly.
Moshe wrote: <<As great a holy book as the Torah is, it’s over 3000 years old. You don’t think that the path that is laid out for the Jews might be ready for an upgrade? Something a little different?That the collective Oneness of which we are a part has grown / evolved since then?>>
NO! That’s the whole point!! Given the incredible diversity and breadth of experience of the human race over 3000 years, it is NOT POSSIBLE for a human to write words that should be seen as so true to so many over so many centuries and across so many languages, cultures, etc etc etc. To try and write some document and have it be relevant 3000 years later is absolutely absurd. However interesting the Vedas are, or the words of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, or even Confucius (who is more recent anyway), how relevant are they now, really? The degree to which people instinctively feel that the Torah is relevant, immediate, powerful, and important to them even all these years later is not something that is rationally explainable. It’s miraculous. It shows something extraordinary in the giving of that document (very much like the mere fact that the Jewish people continue to exist at all -a historical miracle). As to whether the “collective oneness” has “evolved” in 3000 years, I absolutely believe in the immutability of the Nature of Man. I don’t think that mankind changes on a fundamental level. This is part of what we received by being made in the image of Elohim. We have authority over this world, we have free will, and we have an immutable nature. If you look at the basic underpinnings of why people did what they did and how they thought, their motivations in ancient times were totally understandable now. People, collectively, don’t really change. The most famous summary of the philosophy of Natural Law (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”) is based on the assumption that human nature does not change. Since it led to the most successful collective organization of people in history, I think they were right. -Unfortunately, I’m spiraling back to politics again, so I’ll stop there.
My point about Torah is that the “Yam HaTorah” (Ocean of Torah) is infinite because we can continue to derive new meanings from the same Torah text, essentially, forever. We do this through inspiration. The link between the finite nature of the written Torah and the infinite nature of the Shkinnah that provides the inspiration enhances them both and mirrors our own state as infinite souls in finite bodies. Without a body, just roaming about as an untethered soul, we wouldn’t be fully human, and without the “tether” of the Torah, the Shkinnah does not achieve it’s highest meaning either. If we view the Torah as a dead text, we are looking at it wrong. The beauty of the classical method of interpretation is that new meanings can be derived infinitely without contradicting the literal meaning of the text, which is a paradox. I don’t have any problem with the basic idea of the quote from the Essene Gospel of Peace. Again, to me, the Torah is not a dead text and if it is viewed that way, it is like viewing a living human being as a bag of “mostly water and about $8 of chemicals” to quote a very reductionist academic I read once.
I think it’s not a coincidence that we have so many alternate gospels. It’s peculiar that there would be one, consistent account of the first covenant on Sinai and about a million different fractured and differing accounts of the realization of the new covenant. I think the idea is concealment in multiplicity. Yeshua came, acted, revealed the nature of the new covenant, and his message was immediately totally rewritten by Paul, the accounts of his work were multiplied until it is almost impossible to understand what is original and what isn’t, and, as a Meshichist would say: “Melech Moshiach was nigleh” -“concealed”. That is why it is so important to understand which tradition actually goes back to his talmidim who knew him in life and who carried on the oral traditions around what he taught.
It occurred to me a while ago that the practical impact of Halachah is the enforcement of “otherness” in the same sense as the tree of knowledge. What was really so special about the tree of knowledge anyway? Mostly, just the fact that it had been declared assur (off limits). As soon as that was the case, it was massively fascinating. The Jewish people were set aside as a “chosen people” primarily to point back to the existence of God. As long as this peculiar people exist, other people must ask themselves why they are different. It’s really like planting a flag and saying “hey everyone, there is a God”. As long as Halacha is observed, Jews are always going to remain a distinct and unique people (they can’t just disappear into the mass of humanity and hide -aka: salt lose it’s saltiness), and no matter how many people try to eradicate them, they are miraculously preserved. Being a living signpost declaring that God exists is not an easy job, but it is an honorable one. Jews are the lamp, signpost, indicator, for others to find their way to God. That doesn’t make them inherently superior, it’s like the tree of knowledge. Was it a really special tree? No idea: it never really did anything special, it just sat there being off limits. That was the point.
You have said over and over that Judaism (or the Judaism that you know) is exclusivist in it’s conception of truth: that only Judaism has truth. I have studied a huge breadth of much of the Yam HaTorah, the commentaries, the Midrashim, the Kabbalah, the Halachah, and I have not seen support for this. Judaism concerns itself with what the chosen people must do because they are the chosen people. It does not have a very concrete position on everyone else. There is the idea of the Noahide covenant which applies to all of humanity, but Judaism is very quiet about other peoples and their own paths to truth. Again, I feel that this idea of absolutist, universalist judgement is much more Christian than Jewish. In Chassidus, humility is considered to be an incredibly important characteristic. The opposite of humility is this attempt to force literally everything to come under your control (which Marxism is all about by the way) or subsume all other philosophies and religions under one master structure (which is why the Romans loved Platonism). Humility involves things like admitting that there are areas you don’t control or don’t know about. Keeping multiple, differing opinions on Halacha in your important documents is a big sign of humility. Allowing God to say that there is this chosen people over here and not trying to destroy them or force them to fit into your system is a test of humility for the rest of the world. As Yeshua said: “learn to be a servant of all”. The proper way to see being a part of the chosen people should be to see that as being a servant of all, because that really is our job. Once again, Yeshua infuses the existing structure of Torah with the proper Kavana (intention) without which, it is not possible to actually fulfill mitzvot. Jews who see being part of the “chosen people” as a reason to think of themselves as superior to everyone else are obviously wrong, but that doesn’t invalidate the entire concept of a chosen people! Throwing away Halacha because some people are arrogant (or drunks, or whatever) is VERY much throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
I’ll leave it there.