The edgy, the radical, the mystical

This weekend I went back and slowly reread the first chapter of Paul Philip Levertoff’s Love in the Messianic Age. Thoughts like a flood of many streams came to me. I also spent a little time in a stack of books that I always want to delve into, but never get to. They’re introductions to kabbalah and the Zohar and Jewish folklore about golems, dybukks, and Lilith.

But all that could give you the wrong idea. I’m not writing about sorcery or the occult. The folklore is just an example of extreme ideas that the esoteric road can lead you down. My interest in those matters is more general.

What I find is a more intense desire for me is talk about God that carries me on a swift current nearer the great ranges in the ever-distant West.

I’m by nature more comfortable with the conventional, a repentant rationalist to be exact. Admitting the existence of God was a battle for me, stepping my foot into a door of the supernatural I didn’t want to enter at all. For years I kept any further metaphysical and romantic notions at bay. I sought to believe in God as a rationalist.

But the conventional doesn’t carry me in that westerly flow. And I’m drawn as if by an irresistible current always to the edgy, the radical, the mystical.

A parable included in Levertoff’s first chapter set me back on the river:

A king lost a costly pearl. He sent out his three sons to find it. The first set out, glad to be free from the restraint of his father’s presence. He cared neither for the pearl, nor for his father. He never returned, but spent his life in following his own pleasure. The second set forth, made a hasty search, and quickly returned to his father’s house, not because he so greatly loved his father but because he was loath to be away so long from the comforts of his home. Now, the third set out, full of sorrow at leaving his home and his beloved father, but determined, notwithstanding all his own suffering and separation, to stay away and make diligent search until he should find the pearl, because he knew what great joy the finding of it would give his father.

Here you have the culmination of many classic themes of mysticism but also an edginess and irony that draws me with irresistible power.

My favorite Christian mystics, Augustine and Bernard actually have been far better to me than many who are mentioned more often as mystics, speak on the classic theme of loving God for his own sake. Rabbinic literature and more mystical midrashim (though at the moment I can’t quote a reference) speak of loving Hashem without reward.

But beyond the mystical element of this parable there is an ironically delightful edge. It had me at the words “full or sorrow.” It finished me with words like “separation” and when the object of the third son’s life was the father’s pleasure.

This parable deconstructs most religion in terms of organizations, churches, and synagogues. It reminds me very much of the Christian philosopher Peter Rollins (see here for The Orthodox Heretic). His parables are excellent at peeling away the conventional and revealing the ironic (much like Kierkegaard, another light whose edgy ideas draw me westward).

So, I use the word edgy to describe the iconoclastic style, drawing us away from comfort and into hard love.

But there are other kinds of talk about God that pull me as well. Anything radical and at the same time intelligent draws me. Bonhoeffer is popular for a reason. His Cost of Discipleship is a coming of age book for people of faith. His philosophical work on community and his Creation and Fall have a radical edge that is attractive.

At one time, I was drawn to read daily from a Kempis’s Imitation of Christ for the same reason. I’m currently enjoying Nahmanides’ letter to his son (you can see it here on amazon). I am interested in finding more Jewish ethical works (I’ve had Path of the Just recommended to me).

There’s something about a radical call to self-awakening and self-diminishing that the non-rationalist side of me knows will take me westward and over the foothills into God’s country.

But there is another category, perhaps two merged into one, that draws me. It is a separate category from the edgy and the radical. Lewis called it romanticism (see Surprised by Joy and many of Lewis’s books, especially The Great Divorce). Many others call it mysticism. I suppose I should separate them, but there is a common thread.

It first wooed me to the great river’s deceptively gentle currents through Augustine and Bernard of Clairvaux. The way they address God, as the supreme unknowable lover, neither too familiar like cheap religious talk nor too distant like conventional theology. Bernard’s sermons on Song of Songs (I think I need to read the Song of Songs Rabbah very soon as well) and both he and Augustine’s talk of ascending to God by descending within opened a new world to me.

I’m a novice when it comes to knowledge of kabbalah. An expert might easily shoot me down, but I’ve found some places of accommodated agreement with kabbalah. Some might argue that my understanding is not pure, and perhaps this is true, but three ideas in particular draw me. They are why I love Levertoff’s Love and the Messianic Age so much. I want to see the best of kabbalah appropriated in synthesis with biblical theology (Levertoff seeks common ground between the Fourth Gospel and chasidus).

First, I used to reject the idea of tzim-tzum, contraction, the idea in Lurianic kabbalah that in order to make room for creation, God had to contract part of himself. As Spinoza would say, since God is the ultimate of everything, there is no room for beauty that is not his beauty or intelligence that is not his intelligence and so on. This led Spinoza to be a monist (everything is God because there is no room for anything but God). In Christian theology, I long ago rejected determinism and have to believe in some type of self-limitation of God to make way for our being and our will to be and do. As I understand tzim-tzum, and perhaps there is great variation among kabbalists, the contraction of God to make way for us is the greatest triumph and the greatest tragedy of the universe. Everything good and evil that we know results from this self-limitation of God which allowed us to be created and have room to exist. The tragedy of broken vessels, as the kabbalists speak of it, is evident every day in this broken universe.

Second, I am drawn to the kabbalistic idea of Tikkun Olam. I’m not keen on the mythology of sparks of the shekhina being returned per se, but something very close to that mythology may in fact be true. It is a mystery why God leaves us a major role in repairing the world. Yet the evidence of biblical history and theology reveals it to be so. It is not enough to God that he should simply make Tikkun Olam (repair of the world), but that he should take joy in our repairing work too.

Third, I am drawn to the notion of supra-rational ways of knowing the inner being of God, with an understanding that God is present among us in lower forms of glory. The idea of God as ultimately Ein Sof (the unknowable) has truth to it. The idea of emanations or lower forms of his glory being present with us and among us is also true. I don’t enjoy the specific charts and the tree of life list of the sefirot (emanations) of God. I find it tedious and unfounded to start naming the levels and specifying them. But the idea itself I think is true and concords with biblical imagery of various levels of the glory of God and his indwelling Israel and the church as well as humanity at various levels. And the idea that through being and doing we can know, that all is not rational or deductive, but that living the mitzvot (commandments, deeds) brings us knowledge theology never could intuitively calls to me as a true voice from the West.

That third son, his way haunts me. Am I searching for the Father’s pearl? Am I willing to be sorrowful for his pleasure? I can’t think of anyone who better exemplifies that third son than Yeshua himself.

About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Love, messianic, Messianic Jewish, Messianic Judaism, Spirituality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to The edgy, the radical, the mystical

  1. Great stuff, Derek. Couple of quick thoughts… In regard to a rabbinic text in which speaks of loving Hashem without reward, the words of Antiginos of Soho are the quintessential depiction of this:

    Do not be as slaves, who serve their master for the sake of reward. Rather, be as slaves who serve their master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of Heaven should be upon you. –Avot 1:3

    The Master has a similar teaching:

    Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty. –Luke 17:7-10

    It seems it is ingrained within us to want some kind of payoff for merely doing what is expected of us.
    I also have to admit that I need to take time and read people like Augustine, Bernard and Kempis. Just as you have had a previous aversion to kabbalistic works, I’ve been on the opposite side of the camp with a disdain for such works of church fathers and theologians. I think I’m finally coming into the balanced swing where I can appreciate their insights and understanding. And blog posts such as yours are some breaking down some of the obstacles that have kept me from them.
    Thanks for sharing. Keep up the great work.

  2. Joseph says:

    Nicely written Derek, lots of things to think about!

  3. Carl says:

    First, I too can embrace the concept of tzim-tzum as it concerns creation. It stands to reason that the God of Infinite Power had to restrain that power in some way in order for anything else to exist. If you track the ideas of good and evil through kabbalah, you find that evil is ultimately an illusion because only God can exist. So, God’s contraction created the illusion of evil. Hmmm.

    Second, the kabbalistic usage of tikkun olam does not involve direct action to repair the world. The world is repaired simply by the doing of mitzvot (when we wave the lulav, avoid eating trief, etc.), the world AND GOD (!) are repaired. The contemporary Jewish usage involves direct action, which is very different. I like it.

    Third, you wrote that you are “drawn to the notion of supra-rational ways of knowing the inner being of God. . .” I doubt there have been many, if any, sages (including kabbalists) who claim that the “inner being of God” can be known in any way. Something was lost, or added, in translation!?

    “If you want to appreciate the greatness of the One who spoke and the world came into being, study the aggadah, for through it you will get to know Him and cling to His ways” (Sifrei, Eikev 49)

  4. Carl:

    Thanks. Looking forward to spending an intensive week under your tutelage again at the MJTI summer course in L.A. Eichah Rabbah, here we come!

    By knowing the inner being of God supra-rationally, what I mean is that we can know something of him by doing mitzvot, through devekut, etc., but not that we can know him rationally. It’s an intuitive-relational knowledge. This, I feel confident, is an idea in Christian mysticism and I think also in Jewish.

    Derek

  5. Carl :
    Second, the kabbalistic usage of tikkun olam does not involve direct action to repair the world. The world is repaired simply by the doing of mitzvot (when we wave the lulav, avoid eating trief, etc.), the world AND GOD (!) are repaired. The contemporary Jewish usage involves direct action, which is very different. I like it.

    Great point–I too have noticed this usage difference and appreciate the contemporary Jewish usage. However, in Hasidic sources I’ve heard, the word tikkun, instead of being translated “to repair” or “to restore,” is translated using a more technical phrase: “to make a rectification.” The idea that the faithfulness of a truly righteous person, particularly through suffering, can make a rectification of a cosmic breach, resonates with our Messianic theology, IMO.

    Yahnatan

  6. Carl says:

    Yahnatan: Now there’s a nice little topic for discussion!

    On the surface, many Chassidic ideas are similar to ours. In my experience, when I dig a little deeper, I often find unpleasant surprises. For example, when I was checking out a few references in about God’s love in Chassidic sources, I discovered that the passages refer to God’s love only for Jews, not for humanity. Non-Jews are said to have animal souls. (I’m not sure if I retained those references, but anyone can duplicate the research.) This sort of discovery has made me very cautious about Chassidism.

    • Joseph says:

      Oh okay fair enough Carl, you differentiate, which answers my concern in the above comment about reincarnation.

      Still, aren’t we picking and choosing from Hasidism what we already believe according to Yeshua’s teaching?

      • “Still, aren’t we picking and choosing from Hasidism what we already believe according to Yeshua’s teaching?”

        Sure, just like everything else we pick and choose from – pick from Martin Luther’s emphasis on unmerited grace, rejected his anti-Jewish teaching.

      • Joseph says:

        Yeah but I don’t like it either when Calvinists quote from Calvin and Luther and Spurgeon more than they quote from Yeshua and Paul. I don’t think any theologian from any Christian or Jewish tradition has expressed God’s Word any more clearly than God’s Word itself.

      • Joseph says:

        (Calvinists being one example, Protestants in general though)

    • “Non-Jews are said to have animal souls. ”

      Carl, could this simply be a reference to their sinful / idolatrous state (from Jewish point of view), the evil (animalistic) inclination that rules idolators, than a racial statement (obviously, converts to Judaism were not considered to have “animal souls”?

      For example, even in Brit Hadasha we have the following:

      “Yet these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand; and what things they do understand by INSTINCT, like UNREASONING ANIMALS — these are the very things that destroy them.” (Jude 1-10)

      • Joseph says:

        But isn’t this all true of Jews too? Why would Gentiles have animal souls and not Jews?

      • Carl says:

        Gene,

        I wish I had the time to find my original source, but the first chapter of the Tanya [the founding text of Chabad] expresses similar thoughts: the souls of Gentiles arise only from “unclean kelipot” and are capable only of self-interest, while Jews have souls arising from “shining kelipot, capable of both good and evil. The Hebrew and Chabad’s official translation of the entire passage can be found here:
        http://bit.ly/dCKAet.

        I’m not claiming that this is racist.

        I want to add that I am not anti-Chassidic. I am personally drawn to certain aspects of Chassidic spirituality. But I have read too much Tanya and other sources to be anything but cautious about adopting Chassidic notions uncritically.

      • Thanks, Carl… I’ll have to take a closer look at Tanya.

        From your studies, how is this Chassidic view of Gentile compare in harshness to the Jewish religious attitudes towards Gentiles in the first century and just prior? It seems that, just by analyzing various statements in NT, Gentiles were generalized as inherently sinful by nature, with harsh language often employed to describe them in comparison to Jews, for example:

        “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners'” (Galatians 2:15)

        And then there are whole paragraphs in NT generalizing Gentiles as sinful, such as Eph.4:17- 19.

        It seems that Chassidism is being consistent with pre-Yeshua Jewish attitude toward non-Jews and even some post-Yeshua attitude of Jewish believers (like Paul) toward “unconverted” heathensl, saying things that would sound scandalous today if published by, say, Chabad. Of course, I am sure that a good chunk of their view of Gentiles was colored by pogroms.

      • Gene – I’m in total agreement with you. Just think about Peter’s words to Cornelius in Acts 10:

        You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection.

        It’s evident that pre-Yeshua Jewish attitudes toward non-Jews was very disfavorable. And this is due to many things.

        I believe there were the normal factors, such as anti-Semitism, which they had felt strongly throughout the ages. But then they had to factor in the purity laws, since they were a people living in a Temple context.

        I believe Peter’s concerns here are purity-based, as we can infer from his words. If a Jew were to visit a non-Jew in his home it was almost improbable that he would come into contact with something tamei (unclean) that would ritually defile him.

        I believe the Mishna also records that the spittle of a non-Jew would render one unclean, which is a big problem for close conversation or even personal contact. Lots of factors to weigh in on this general attitude towards non-Jews that would have been unconsciously ingrained into a people.

      • Carl says:

        Gene,

        You make some very valid points. The Chassic and Messianic perspectives, whatever their similarities, differ in several significant ways. E.g.,

        1. The Tanya,ch. 1 represents the ultimate theological stance toward Jew and Gentile. The passages you mention do not represent the ultimate theological framework of the Brit Hadashah. In other words. . .

        2. (Based on passages such as Romans 1 &2 with Tanya, Ch. 1, it seems that, in admittedly simplistic terms,) for the Brit Hadashah the main distinction in humanity is between the righteous and the unrighteous, for Chassidut the main distinction is between Jew and Gentile. (Jews are then broken down into righteous, in-betweeen, and unrighteous; but even the unrighteous are better off than Gentiles).

        3. In the Brit Hadashaha, the solution to unrighteousness is t’shuva. In Chassidut, the solution for Jewish unrighteousness is t’shuva; the solution to being a Gentile is to become a Jew.

        I use that phrase “BEING a Gentile” very intentionally — the Gentile is has an ontological problem (that is, his very being is irreparably defective; he needs to obtain a Jewish soul to escape being a Gentile), while the Jew does not.

  7. Carl – while I can’t say I necessarily agree with the chasidic concept of the soul of a Jew vs the soul of a non-Jew, the statement that non-Jews have “animal souls” is probably not the best translation, as it is a more literal one. The Tanya speaks to this, and their is some good audio out there explaining what is meant by it.

    Joseph – I don’t know that it’s the “copying” of chasidus that we’re after, as much as looking at the teachings of Yeshua & his talmidim through a new filter we’ve never really seen before and exploring them from a new perspective in order to gain new insights.

    • Joseph says:

      I am interested, Darren, I’m thinking aloud though :)

      I find the idea of tikkun gets in the way of understanding Yeshua’s teachings.

      It’s one thing to explain to a Hasidic Jew that the forgiveness and atonement which Messianic Jews experience through Yeshua is similar to the Hasidic concept of tikkun and the tzaddiq.

      It’s another thing altogether to say that these Hasidic concepts have any theological merit for believers in Yeshua, or that they express spiritual and cosmological ideas in a clearer way than Paul or the prophets do.

      • I understand. But for me, personally, it really helps to begin to understand some concepts regarding salvation, etc. which have always been elusive to me, and in fact actually not made any sense. Studying the concepts of chasidus has actually brought illumination to the underpinnings of our faith in the Master and the nuts and bolts (per se) of how it all fits together. To me it’s only increased my faith and made me fall in love with our Master in a time where my love was waning due to my questions which would continually be unanswered, and therefore unreconciled. I really see tikkun (both concepts) as a major component of Yeshua’s kingdom message of repentance.

      • Joseph says:

        That makes sense, thanks.

  8. Joseph :
    I don’t think any theologian from any Christian or Jewish tradition has expressed God’s Word any more clearly than God’s Word itself.

    Joseph, we ALL filter G-d’s Word through what we picked up from our teachers. Our interpretation of the Bible is influenced by our upbringing, the culture we are part of and our identity. Besides all that – what need would there be for teachers (which are everywhere in the Bible) if anyone could just picked up the Bible and get a complete understanding just from reading? Even Yeshua as a lad went to listen to Torah teachers in Jerusalem as he grew in wisdom and he conversed with them.

    • Joseph says:

      Fair point actually.

    • Joseph says:

      Using teachers to lead us to Yeshua, fine. But when we read theologians and teachers more than we read the Word of God itself – I think that can lead to problems. I like keeping things simple, cleave to God’s word and you can’t go wrong!

      • I really wish I could agree with you on this. However, sola scriptura doesn’t work that well with translations of Scripture, and even when we may understand the original Hebrew or Greek, we have to have a context. And while the Jewish people are not the final authority on Scripture (as many have debated), they are definitely the context that help us to understand it.

      • “I like keeping things simple, cleave to God’s word and you can’t go wrong!”

        I wish it were that simple, Joseph. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:15 it says: “But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”

        Say what, Paul?

        That is to say, some things in the Bible are not so clear-cut to understand and are very easy to misinterpret to mean what we want them to mean. You and I, we hold different positions on many subjects – how did we arrive at our convictions reading the same Word of G-d? I can tell you one thing – I read the Bible more than I read the teachers.

      • Joseph says:

        They can be, but the post-Sabbatean anti-Litvish spiritual movement within Judaism as discussed by 18th century Polish rabbis is hardly “context”.

      • Joseph says:

        I can tell you one thing – I read the Bible more than I read the teachers.

        Well there you go, we agree then :)

  9. Joseph :
    But isn’t this all true of Jews too? Why would Gentiles have animal souls and not Jews?

    Why is it that Jews are born into a covenant, and non-Jews are not?

    • Joseph says:

      Why is it that Jews are born into a covenant, and non-Jews are not?

      This is why (Deuteronomy 7:7-9):
      http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+7:7-9&version=NASB

      7The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples,

      8but because the LORD loved you and kept the (B)oath which He swore to your forefathers, (C)the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

      9″Know therefore that the LORD your God, (D)He is God, (E)the faithful God, (F)who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who (G)love Him and keep His commandments;

      In any case, Gentiles DO NOT have animal souls!

  10. you guys are going to have to continue without me. i’ve spent more time on this today than i’ve spent on any kind of blogging or responses in the last 6 months. Gotta make the donuts… ;-)

  11. Joseph:

    Here is a big point I want to make. You say it is a problem when people quote too much Calvin or Baal Shem Tov and not enough scripture. We should just read scripture.

    Problem: scripture is not a complete book about how to live and what to believe. It requires interpreting. Interpreting works best when we build on what others have done instead all inventing the wheel.

    I know many people think they are scripture purists. If they examine their beliefs carefully, they derive many ideas from other sources. By they I mean all of us, including you.

    Sola scriptura was always an exaggeration. The Reformers were no more sola scriptura than the Roman Church of their day. None of us can be sola scriptura.

    It’s a little like admitting that all our knowledge is tentative and subject to missing the mark.

    Scripture itself speaks of tradition, community, teachers, etc.

    Derek

    • Joseph says:

      I’m listening. I do agree in a broad sense, and I wouldn’t describe myself as a fundamentalist.

      I know many people think they are scripture purists. If they examine their beliefs carefully, they derive many ideas from other sources. By they I mean all of us, including you.

      Could you give a specific example which we could discuss perhaps?

      Scripture itself speaks of tradition, community, teachers, etc.

      Okay but how then do we choose which teachers we should and shouldn’t listen to?

  12. Joseph:

    Any theological/Biblical topic at all is colored in our understanding by cultural factors, personal history, teachers, etc.

    Here’s an easy one: salvation. What does it mean? How does the Bible use the term? Who is in and who is out? Your thoughts and mine are bounced off of a thousand influences on this topic. Some we resist, others we naively submit to, and others we hold off as a mystery.

    Derek

    • Joseph says:

      I think people can help make it clearer – even Peter admits Paul’s writing is tricky to understand. I don’t pretend to fully understand all the intricacies of salvation, I am clear that salvation = Yeshua, and if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord, you will be saved. Of course there are unanswered questions, and people who can help us, and I’ll appreciate any teacher who can do so, but I’d still rather discuss the New Testament itself rather than what religious leaders say about it.

  13. Joseph :
    But isn’t this all true of Jews too? Why would Gentiles have animal souls and not Jews?

    Hey, may be Yeshua was a Hassidic Jew, since he expressed a similar view regarding non-Jews?

    “He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” (Matthew 15:26).

    Now, we know whom he meant by “children” and whom he meant by “dogs”. I am sure you’d been all over him had he been a Hassid, no?

    • Joseph says:

      I wouldn’t extrapolate from that that Yeshua literally considered Gentiles as dogs, but Yeshua knew how she’d respond, and asked the appropriate question. On the flip side, there’s the story of the Good Samaritan, and the Roman centurion to whom Yeshua said “truly I have not found such faith in all Israel.”

      Anyway, Gene, you don’t think Gentiles have animal souls do you? Why are you arguing against me on this one?

      • “Anyway, Gene, you don’t think Gentiles have animal souls do you? Why are you arguing against me on this one?”

        This is not an argument to prove that Gentiles are animals (they are not, of course) – but rather, it is to show you that things are not always as bad they may appear, especially when taken out of context, when reading Jewish theological material. Neither are many of these concepts are so foreign to the Bible (at least most of the time).

      • Joseph says:

        I think some Hasidic writings actually do explicitly assert that Gentiles have animal souls – I don’t think the Bible does.

      • Joseph says:

        I guess it’s as much in the person reading and what they want from the text, as much as what the text itself says.

  14. Joseph says:

    To be fair I think the “animal soul” is actually a concept common to Jews and Gentiles alike in mainstream Hasidic literature, and it’s something one can escape:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanya#Subject_matter

  15. rightrudder says:

    Great post Derek,
    I am with you on Kabbalah, people on my side of the fence try to shun it like it is a mystical occult practice, but from what I have seen it is about people trying to dig deeper and deeper. Some people have dug in wrong places, but that is expected.

    First off, Gerals Schroder wrote a book titled “The Science of God.” He references Nahmanides and the Bible in an attempt to repair separation between church and science. Great book if your into nerdy things, like I am. Also there is Kabbalah Toons for children – but good for me too.

    Learning about Tikkun Olam through SOI and my own studies has changed the way I see the bible. I am astonished that the baptist and presbyterian churches I grew up in did not teach this since the NT is littered with this idea. But setting my mark at repairing the world has brought me to understand many passages in Ecclesiastes that I had trouble with IE:… do not be too wise, do not act too righteous, do not be too wicked and do not be a fool…It is good that you should take hold of one without letting go of the other. That is the imagery of grabbing at God and the world to pull them together. We are to repair the world.
    It is funny this argument between people like Bono and the fundamentalist christians. All the fundamentalist want to do is “perish in riotousness” where Bono asks them to get up off your knees and repair the world. The imagery of people on their knees praying to God, meanwhile God is on his knees begging us to do it. Jesus told Peter to keep his flock for a reason. We are to intervene in the name of Yeshua. It is funny how people like the Kabbalist, and even the Hindu Ghandi caught on to this but too many fundamentalist christians don’t have a clue. Religion to me boils down to James 1:26-27.
    Here is a link to the U2 song Please: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zo-9r04_R-Y

    If there are some good books on Tikkun Olam let me know. I am very interested.

  16. There are beautiful thoughts in kabbalah. Didn’t read the comments, but just want to say that issues like more persons in one G-d are familiar in Kabbalah. (Trinity is kabbalistic ;-)

    And you say: “The idea of emanations or lower forms of his [G-ds] glory being present with us and among us is also true.” Yes, and not a lower form, but the full glory of G-d is in Yeshua.

    Blessing,
    Jos

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