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Re: [Pythagorean-L] Chasidism/Kabbala/Tulmud-Torah/Good-Evil

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  • Sawmi
    Hey Larry, Your dissertation below deserves a serious reply, but I m just not up to it at the moment....
    Message 1 of 32 , May 1, 2005
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      Hey Larry,
      Your dissertation below deserves a serious reply, but I'm just not up to it at the moment....<(:oP  
       
      It puts me in mind of William Henry's famous comment to Gibbon. 
       
      "Another damned, thick, square, book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble!
      Eh! Mr. Gibbon (Dr. Rafey)?"
      - William Henry, Duke of Gloucester, upon receiving the second volume of
      Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from the author, 1781

      I did give it a serious read though, and it contains much food for thought.  I must confess that I most usually experience a sort of mental numbness (EVEN MORE THAN USUAL) when exposed to the intricacies of Jewish theology.  My antidote for this is usually a dose of good old Sabbatai Zevi....
       
      I think Zevi's (reputed) solution to the problem of reassembling the "lost sparks of light" that are so central to the case (I've copied your description below) was truly masterful.    
       
      "The doctrine and practice of prayer was/is the esoteric part of Lurianic
      Kabbalism as devised by Isaac Luria who, in a similar fashion to Jung,
      defined the task of man as the restoration of his primordial spiritual
      structure (his 'Gestalt,' as Jung would have it). He believed this to be the
      task of every one of us because every soul contains the potentialities of
      this spiritual appearance, outraged and degraded by the fall of Adam, whose
      soul contained all souls. From this 'soul of all souls,' sparks have
      scattered in all directions and become diffused into matter. The problem,
      then, is to reassemble them, to lift them to their proper place and to
      restore the spiritual."
       
      (Zevi, after becoming very widely recognized by the Jews of his age as the true Jewish Messiah, converted to Islam!!!!!!!)
       
      Of course, as noted below, there are at least two possible explanations for his rather shocking behavior....
       
      1.  A noble descent into the klippotic realm in order to reclaim the lost sparks of light.
      2.  To save his own ass....
       
      Hmmm.  Lets see now, using Occam's Razor....
       
       
       
        "Sabbatai Zevi then formally revealed himself, named 1666 as the millennium, and soon gained fervent support in Palestine and the Diaspora.  It is important to realize that the entire Jewish world of 1665-66 believed that Sabbatai was no mere "prophet" or "teacher" but the Promised Messiah and a living incarnation of God.  It was the only messianic movement to engult the whole of Jewry; from England to Persia, from Germany to Morocco, from Poland to the Yemen.

      "Sabbatai attempted to land in Constantinople in 1666, but was captured and imprisoned by the Turkish authorities in 1666.  He converted to Islam, supposedly to escape execution, although Nathan and his other followers put a different interpretation on this.  Sabbatai's apostasy actually represented the descent into the klippotic realm in order to reclaim the lost sparks of light.  Many of his followers converted likewise.  Sabbatai - who, like Meher Baba and Max Theon was called "The Beloved" by his followers - may have had close relations with the Sufis. He died in exile in Ulcinj (in what is now Montenegro, part of the federation of Serbia and Montenegro).  The Sabbatean movement was revived in the 18th century by Jacob Frank."

      (Personally, I recommend the theology of The Church of the Subgenius as an antidote when all this theological and other conflict between the Christian-Jewish-Moslems,  Moslem-Jewish-Christians, and Christian-Moslem-Jews becomes a bit too scary. (;o)

      My all time favorite Subgenius site is

       
      I'm particularly fond of the fifth picture down (the one featuring Jesus and the Great Whore) which may deserve more serious contemplation than it usually gets....
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 4:09 PM
      Subject: [Pythagorean-L] Chasidism/Kabbala/Tulmud-Torah/Good-Evil

          I was unable to participate in your recent discussion concerning the
      above topics. Time was limited and I really have little interest in the
      so-called codification of the Bible, etc. However, now that I have a bit of
      time on my hands, I thought I might convey some of the following thoughts on
      the subject of Jewish Mysticism in general which might shed some light on
      the subject and you might note its relevancy to Pythagorean doctrine as
      well.
         The doctrine and practice of prayer was/is the esoteric part of Lurianic
      Kabbalism as devised by Isaac Luria who, in a similar fashion to Jung,
      defined the task of man as the restoration of his primordial spiritual
      structure (his 'Gestalt,' as Jung would have it). He believed this to be the
      task of every one of us because every soul contains the potentialities of
      this spiritual appearance, outraged and degraded by the fall of Adam, whose
      soul contained all souls. From this 'soul of all souls,' sparks have
      scattered in all directions and become diffused into matter. The problem,
      then, is to reassemble them, to lift them to their proper place and to
      restore the spiritual nature of man in its original splendor as God
      conceived it.
         This process of restitution of man's spiritual nature is that as
      prescribed by the Torah via its 613 commandments and limited by its
      prohibitions. Thus Luria advances the idea that the original spiritual
      structure of the soul, which represents the original ideation of man prior
      to its exile into the body, may be restored.
         Once again, we encounter the seemingly perennial idea (in fact Aldous
      Huxley termed it the "Perennial Philosophy") of a concept central to all
      these self-similar philosophies; that is the *interrelationship of all men.*
      In this case, it is through Adam's soul. To quote Moses Cordovero: "In
      everyone there is something of his fellow man, therefore, whoever sins,
      injures not only himself but also that part of himself which belongs to
      another." The Torah, itself also contains the similar prescription:  "Love
      thy neighbor as thyself" for the 'other' is really he himself.
         Referring to your "code" idea, it is important to remember that the Torah
      was composed in Hebrew. If one studies the Old Testament in its original
      text, one will discover that 'Adam' is Adam Ha-Rishon, which corresponds to
      Adam Kadmon or the *ontological primary man.* The Hebrew word, Adam is a
      collective term meaning all mankind as a single unit ! One does not have to
      resort to code to get the intended picture. You need only understand Hebrew
      ! Nu?
         In this way, man was conceived as a Cosmic being which contains the whole
      world in itself and, according to the Torah, its station is superior even to
      that of Tetatron, the first of the angels. What we refer to as the Human Man
      is interpreted as the clothing and the veil of the more significant Mystical
      Man.
         As in Shakespeare's MacBeth, Adam's Fall really shakes up the Universe;
      all of Nature is dragged down with the unethical act and so man becomes
      eternally embroiled in re-establishing the Cosmic equilibrium via
      re-combining morality and physics, the immaterial with the material. Pretty
      tough stuff, I should think !
          In fact Luria, like St. Anthony, emphasized the Ascetic ideal of
      achieving this purification of the soul and this became the way or the path
      for a good many years.
         Then, along comes one Israel ben Eliezer, better known as Baal Shem Tov
      (a Hebrew derivation from "Master of the Divine Name" and meaning Master of
      the Good Name). He is commonly referred to by the Chassidim as 'Besht' (an
      acronym for his pseudonym).
         The foundation-stone of Chassidism as laid by Besht is a strongly marked
      pantheistic conception of God. He declared the whole universe, mind and
      matter, to be a manifestation of the Divine Being; that this
      manifestation is not an emanation from God, as is the conception of the
      Kabbalah, for nothing can be separated from God: all things are rather forms
      in which God reveals Himself. "When man speaks," said Besht, "he should
      remember that his speech is an element of life, and that life itself is a
      manifestation of God."
          Even evil exists in God. This seeming
      contradiction is explained on the ground that evil is not bad in itself, but
      only in its relation to man. It is wrong to look with desire upon a
      woman; but it is divine to admire her beauty: it is wrong only in so far as
      man does not regard beauty as a manifestation of God, but misconceives it,
      and thinks of it in reference to himself. Nevertheless, sin is nothing
      positive, but is identical with the imperfections of
      human deeds and thought. Whoever does not believe that God resides in all
      things, but separates God and them in his thoughts, has not the right
      conception of God. It is equally fallacious to think of a creation in time:
      creation, that is, God's activity, has no end. God is ever active in the
      changes of nature: in fact, **it is in these changes that God's continuous
      creativeness consists.**
         The doctrine or belief that God is the universe and its phenomena (taken
      or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that regards the universe as a
      manifestation of God, would have shared the fate of many other speculative
      systems which have passed over the masses without affecting them, had it not
      been for the fact that Besht was a man of the people, who knew how to give
      his meta-physical conception of God an eminently practical significance!
         The first result of his principles was a remarkable optimism. Since God
      is immanent in all things, all things must possess something good in which
      God manifests Himself as the source of good. For this reason, Besht taught,
      every man must be considered good, and his sins must be explained, not
      condemned. One of his favorite sayings was that "no man
      has sunk too low to be able to raise himself to God." Naturally, then, it
      was his chief endeavor to convince sinners that God stood as near to them as
      to the righteous, and that their misdeeds were chiefly the consequences of
      their folly.
          Another important result of his doctrines, which was of great practical
      importance, was his denial that asceticism is pleasing to God. "Whoever
      maintains that this life is worthless is in error: it is worth a great deal;
      only one must know how to use it properly." From the very beginning Besht
      fought against that contempt for the world which, through the influence of
      Isaac Luria's Kabbalah, had almost become a dogma among the Jews. Besht
      considered care of the body as necessary as care of the soul; since matter
      is also a manifestation of God, and must not be considered as hostile or
      opposed to Him.
          In connection with his struggle against asceticism, it is natural that
      he should have fought also against the strictness and the
      sanctimoniousness that had gradually developed from the strict Talmudic
      stand point. Not that Besht required the abrogation of any religious
      ceremonies or of a single observance. His target was the great
      importance which the Talmudic view attached to the fulfillment of a law,
      while almost entirely disregarding sentiment or the growth of man's
      inner life. While the rabbis of his day considered the study of the Talmud
      as the most important religious activity, Besht laid all the stress on
      prayer. "All that I have achieved," he once remarked, "I have achieved not
      through study, but through prayer." Prayer, however, is not petitioning God
      to grant a request, though that is one end of
      prayer, but (dvekut or "cleaving") the feeling of oneness with God, the
      state of the soul when man gives up the consciousness of his
      separate existence,and joins himself to the eternal being of God. Such a
      state produces a species of indescribable joy , which is a necessary
      ingredient of the true worship of God. Again, this unification represents
      the true object of all mysticism.
         Essentially Besht released man from the bondage of ascetics and
      re-directed the object through a more practical Kabbalism to God and the
      unity of God ("Adonoi Echad" ...God is One!..the essential Law).
         In time, everything becomes a story. The Chassidic movement has been no
      exception. The close connect between mysticism and magic throughout the
      history of Chassidism was confused by the mythologizing of Baal Shem Tov's
      concepts whose mysticism was supposed to have been the purification of the
      unbroken confidence in the power of the Divine Name and it has repeatedly
      become confused with magical practices. The "code" idea is yet another form
      of the same and, in my belief, represents the revival of a new mythology.
          And yet, it is this mythologizing that represents the most potent
      creative expression of Chassidism and so much is conveyed by the Chassidic
      tales spun around the lives of the great Zaddikim, the bearers of that
      irrational something that permeates the whole enterprise. This overwhelming
      wealth of tales developed over the centuries has become more valuable in
      conveying tradition than the sum total of the historical truths and facts.
      To tell a story of the deeds of these 'saints,' their extraordinary
      abilities to work miracles with their amulets, has taken on a new religious
      value and has transformed into something of a religious rite. The Torah
      itself took the form of an inexhaustible fount of story-telling. Nothing
      remains of the abundant truths' everything has become story.
         And so here is a brief story of the essential history of contemporary
      Chassidism that I recall hearing from a neighbor when I was growing up (but,
      of course, I was never a child!).
          AS I recall, when the Baal Shem had a difficult task before him, he
      would go to a designated location in the woods whereupon he would light a
      fire and meditate in prayer; and what he had set out to perform was done.
           When, a generation later, the "Maggid" of Meseriz (I think that is
      correct) was faced with the same task, he would go to the same place in the
      woods and proclaim: "We can no longer light the fire, but we can still speak
      the prayers;" and what he desired became reality.
            Again, a generation later, Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov had to perform
      this task and he too went into the woods and said: "We can no longer light a
      fire, nor do we know the secret meditations belonging to the prayer, but we
      do know the place in the woods to which it all belongs and that must be
      sufficient;" and sufficient it was!
            But when another generation had passed and Rabbi Israel of Rishin was
      called upon to perform the task, he sat down on his golden chair in his
      castle and said; "We cannot light the fire, we cannot speak the prayers, we
      do not know the place, but we can tell the story of how it was done"...and
      the story had the same effect as the actions of the other three!
         You might interpret this as signifying the decay of the movement but I
      suggest that it represents a profound transformation of its sacred values
      into story so that all that remains of the mystery ... is the tale.
         Of course the story is without end, it seems. The secret life it holds
      can erupt once again and surface in yet another form. There is a great
      cataclysm now stirring the Jewish people once again and more deeply, I
      think, than in the entire history of the Exile and destiny may yet have
      something unfathomable in store. But that is the task of the prophets, not
      mine ! YO !
      LD Rafey
    • Wayne
      ... you menat Dio, not Deo (?) ... ancient Hebrews were followers of Akhenatona ) meaning Aton (Sun God) is satisfied. He was the first to inspire a
      Message 32 of 32 , Feb 28, 2006
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        --- In Pythagorean-L@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Rafey" <rafey@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > ACB......
        > God may appeal to you but not so much to me ! (although I think
        you menat Dio, not Deo (?)
        > Actually, mysticism goes back well into ancient Egypt. The
        ancient Hebrews were followers of Akhenatona ) meaning 'Aton (Sun
        God) is satisfied.' He was the first to inspire a Monotheistic
        perspective, igniting some major hatred among the high priests.








        The Sun is the light unto the World, the World of Reality, Reality
        as seen in the Light of Day, the Singularity of Light.

        Yes there is a Duality of Light, the Second Great, Light, Source of
        Enlightenment, Knowledge, The Dark Light of Reality, the Second
        Light of the Sun, Twice Light, the Twilight where thinly
        veiled=kshadowy figures lurk in the Darkest Corners of the Mind.

        By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

        The Stubbornness of the Imagination has caused Mankind he and she,
        to do Evil from their very youth.

        Ye, Ra, Amen!







        > After his death, his followers, later to be called Hebrews (or
        Jews) were forced to go underground by the resurgence of the high
        priests.
        > The Greeks merely borrowed from the ancient Egyptians and mixed
        them with other borrowings and then blended them with furhter their
        own ideals.
        > Basically, though, mysticism is not that difficult, it simply
        represents ways of knowledge of that which is beyond ordinary
        knowing, that is, the direct unification with the power behind the
        creation, the Cosmos or whatever. Some prefer to call it God, but I
        do not select to personify it.
        >
        > il dio non รจ per tutto!
        >
        > LD Rafey
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: A.C.B.
        > To: Pythagorean-L@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Wednesday, May 04, 2005 8:14 AM
        > Subject: Re: [Pythagorean-L] Chasidism/Kabbala/Tulmud-Torah/Good-
        Evil
        >
        >
        > Hello:
        >
        > I recall reading that Cabbalah is Pythagorian mysticism
        made...cabbalah. Mysticism is a Greek concept unknown to ancient
        Hebrews. The reason one does not understand it maybe due to the
        fact that there is nothing to understand. Some of these 'mystical"
        ideas are made so mystical so that nobody can understand them. That
        makes us feel inferior and controllable. We are taught that only
        the high priest is capable of understanding. As the voice of the
        High Priest in the bush said, "there are some things you cannot
        know." I am now suffering because poor Adam committed the
        unpardonable sin to take a bite from the fruit of knowledge. Am I
        supposed to do cabbalah now to purify myself ?
        >
        > I will say no more. I do not understand.
        >
        > Tu appello Deo.
        >
        >
        >
        > John OConnor <joc4612@...> wrote:
        > Wow! There is so much here, I don't know how to
        > respond. I know the names of Luria and Zevi, but not
        > much more (browsed Gerson Scholem on Zevi;
        > fascinating). When I say I do not understand
        > kabbalah, it is not false modesty on my part; I
        > genuinely don't get it. Either it is "garden variety"
        > Judaism, or so deep and impenetrable that there is not
        > much point pursuing it.
        >
        > You have said a mouthful, however, and I am simply
        > trying to digest it, pardon the mixed metaphor.
        >
        > joc
        >
        >
        > --- Larry Rafey <rafey@...> wrote:
        >
        > > I was unable to participate in your recent
        > > discussion concerning the
        > > above topics. Time was limited and I really have
        > > little interest in the
        > > so-called codification of the Bible, etc. However,
        > > now that I have a bit of
        > > time on my hands, I thought I might convey some of
        > > the following thoughts on
        > > the subject of Jewish Mysticism in general which
        > > might shed some light on
        > > the subject and you might note its relevancy to
        > > Pythagorean doctrine as
        > > well.
        > > The doctrine and practice of prayer was/is the
        > > esoteric part of Lurianic
        > > Kabbalism as devised by Isaac Luria who, in a
        > > similar fashion to Jung,
        > > defined the task of man as the restoration of his
        > > primordial spiritual
        > > structure (his 'Gestalt,' as Jung would have it). He
        > > believed this to be the
        > > task of every one of us because every soul contains
        > > the potentialities of
        > > this spiritual appearance, outraged and degraded by
        > > the fall of Adam, whose
        > > soul contained all souls. From this 'soul of all
        > > souls,' sparks have
        > > scattered in all directions and become diffused into
        > > matter. The problem,
        > > then, is to reassemble them, to lift them to their
        > > proper place and to
        > > restore the spiritual nature of man in its original
        > > splendor as God
        > > conceived it.
        > > This process of restitution of man's spiritual
        > > nature is that as
        > > prescribed by the Torah via its 613 commandments and
        > > limited by its
        > > prohibitions. Thus Luria advances the idea that the
        > > original spiritual
        > > structure of the soul, which represents the original
        > > ideation of man prior
        > > to its exile into the body, may be restored.
        > > Once again, we encounter the seemingly perennial
        > > idea (in fact Aldous
        > > Huxley termed it the "Perennial Philosophy") of a
        > > concept central to all
        > > these self-similar philosophies; that is the
        > > *interrelationship of all men.*
        > > In this case, it is through Adam's soul. To quote
        > > Moses Cordovero: "In
        > > everyone there is something of his fellow man,
        > > therefore, whoever sins,
        > > injures not only himself but also that part of
        > > himself which belongs to
        > > another." The Torah, itself also contains the
        > > similar prescription: "Love
        > > thy neighbor as thyself" for the 'other' is really
        > > he himself.
        > > Referring to your "code" idea, it is important to
        > > remember that the Torah
        > > was composed in Hebrew. If one studies the Old
        > > Testament in its original
        > > text, one will discover that 'Adam' is Adam
        > > Ha-Rishon, which corresponds to
        > > Adam Kadmon or the *ontological primary man.* The
        > > Hebrew word, Adam is a
        > > collective term meaning all mankind as a single unit
        > > ! One does not have to
        > > resort to code to get the intended picture. You need
        > > only understand Hebrew
        > > ! Nu?
        > > In this way, man was conceived as a Cosmic being
        > > which contains the whole
        > > world in itself and, according to the Torah, its
        > > station is superior even to
        > > that of Tetatron, the first of the angels. What we
        > > refer to as the Human Man
        > > is interpreted as the clothing and the veil of the
        > > more significant Mystical
        > > Man.
        > > As in Shakespeare's MacBeth, Adam's Fall really
        > > shakes up the Universe;
        > > all of Nature is dragged down with the unethical act
        > > and so man becomes
        > > eternally embroiled in re-establishing the Cosmic
        > > equilibrium via
        > > re-combining morality and physics, the immaterial
        > > with the material. Pretty
        > > tough stuff, I should think !
        > > In fact Luria, like St. Anthony, emphasized the
        > > Ascetic ideal of
        > > achieving this purification of the soul and this
        > > became the way or the path
        > > for a good many years.
        > > Then, along comes one Israel ben Eliezer, better
        > > known as Baal Shem Tov
        > > (a Hebrew derivation from "Master of the Divine
        > > Name" and meaning Master of
        > > the Good Name). He is commonly referred to by the
        > > Chassidim as 'Besht' (an
        > > acronym for his pseudonym).
        > > The foundation-stone of Chassidism as laid by
        > > Besht is a strongly marked
        > > pantheistic conception of God. He declared the whole
        > > universe, mind and
        > > matter, to be a manifestation of the Divine Being;
        > > that this
        > > manifestation is not an emanation from God, as is
        > > the conception of the
        > > Kabbalah, for nothing can be separated from God: all
        > > things are rather forms
        > > in which God reveals Himself. "When man speaks,"
        > > said Besht, "he should
        > > remember that his speech is an element of life, and
        > > that life itself is a
        > > manifestation of God."
        > > Even evil exists in God. This seeming
        > > contradiction is explained on the ground that evil
        > > is not bad in itself, but
        > > only in its relation to man. It is wrong to look
        > > with desire upon a
        > > woman; but it is divine to admire her beauty: it is
        > > wrong only in so far as
        > > man does not regard beauty as a manifestation of
        > > God, but misconceives it,
        > > and thinks of it in reference to himself.
        > > Nevertheless, sin is nothing
        > > positive, but is identical with the imperfections of
        > > human deeds and thought. Whoever does not believe
        > > that God resides in all
        > > things, but separates God and them in his thoughts,
        > > has not the right
        > > conception of God. It is equally fallacious to think
        > > of a creation in time:
        > > creation, that is, God's activity, has no end. God
        > > is ever active in the
        > > changes of nature: in fact, **it is in these changes
        > > that God's continuous
        > > creativeness consists.**
        > > The doctrine or belief that God is the universe
        > > and its phenomena (taken
        > > or conceived of as a whole) or the doctrine that
        > > regards the universe as a
        > > manifestation of God, would have shared the fate of
        > > many other speculative
        > > systems which have passed over the masses without
        > > affecting them, had it not
        > > been for the fact that Besht was a man of the
        > > people, who knew how to give
        > > his meta-physical conception of God an eminently
        > > practical significance!
        > > The first result of his principles was a
        > > remarkable optimism. Since God
        > > is immanent in all things, all things must possess
        > > something good in which
        > > God manifests Himself as the source of good. For
        > > this reason, Besht taught,
        > > every man must be considered good, and his sins must
        > > be explained, not
        > > condemned. One of his favorite sayings was that "no
        > > man
        > > has sunk too low to be able to raise himself to
        > > God." Naturally, then, it
        > > was his chief endeavor to convince sinners that God
        > > stood as near to them as
        > > to the righteous, and that their misdeeds were
        > > chiefly the consequences of
        > > their folly.
        > > Another important result of his doctrines, which
        > > was of great practical
        > > importance, was his denial that asceticism is
        > > pleasing to God. "Whoever
        > > maintains that this life is worthless is in error:
        > > it is worth a great deal;
        > > only one must know how to use it properly." From the
        > > very beginning Besht
        > > fought against that contempt for the world which,
        > > through the influence of
        > > Isaac Luria's Kabbalah, had almost become a dogma
        > > among the Jews. Besht
        > > considered care of the body as necessary as care of
        > > the soul; since matter
        > > is also a manifestation of God, and must not be
        > > considered as hostile or
        > > opposed to Him.
        > > In connection with his struggle against
        > > asceticism, it is natural that
        > > he should have fought also against the strictness
        > > and the
        > > sanctimoniousness that had gradually developed from
        > > the strict Talmudic
        > > stand point. Not that Besht required the abrogation
        > > of any religious
        > > ceremonies or of a single observance. His target was
        > > the great
        > > importance which the Talmudic view attached to the
        > > fulfillment of a law,
        > > while almost entirely disregarding sentiment or the
        > > growth of man's
        > > inner life. While the rabbis of his day considered
        > > the study of the Talmud
        > > as the most important religious activity, Besht laid
        > > all the stress on
        > > prayer. "All that I have achieved," he once
        > > remarked, "I have achieved not
        > > through study, but through prayer." Prayer, however,
        > > is not petitioning God
        > > to grant a request, though that is one end of
        > > prayer, but (dvekut or "cleaving") the feeling of
        > > oneness with God, the
        > > state of the soul when man gives up the
        > > consciousness of his
        > > separate existence,and joins himself to the eternal
        > > being of God. Such a
        > > state produces a species of indescribable joy ,
        > > which is a necessary
        > > ingredient of the true worship of God. Again, this
        > > unification represents
        > > the true object of all mysticism.
        > > Essentially Besht released man from the bondage
        > > of ascetics and
        > > re-directed the object through a more practical
        > > Kabbalism to God and the
        > > unity of God ("Adonoi Echad" ...God is One!..the
        > > essential Law).
        > > In time, everything becomes a story. The
        > > Chassidic movement has been no
        > > exception. The close connect between mysticism and
        > > magic throughout the
        > > history of Chassidism was confused by the
        > > mythologizing of Baal Shem Tov's
        > > concepts whose mysticism was supposed to have been
        > > the purification of the
        > > unbroken confidence in the power of the Divine Name
        > > and it has repeatedly
        > > become confused with magical practices. The "code"
        > > idea is yet another form
        > > of the same and, in my belief, represents the
        > > revival of a new mythology.
        > > And yet, it is this mythologizing that
        > > represents the most potent
        > > creative expression of Chassidism and so much is
        > > conveyed by the Chassidic
        > > tales spun around the lives of the great Zaddikim,
        > > the bearers of that
        > > irrational something that permeates the whole
        > > enterprise. This overwhelming
        > > wealth of tales developed over the centuries has
        > > become more valuable in
        > > conveying tradition than the sum total of the
        > > historical truths and facts.
        > > To tell a story of the deeds of these 'saints,'
        > > their extraordinary
        > > abilities to work miracles with their amulets, has
        > > taken on a new religious
        > > value and has transformed into something of a
        > > religious rite. The Torah
        > > itself took the form of an inexhaustible fount of
        > > story-telling. Nothing
        > > remains of the abundant truths' everything has
        > > become story.
        > > And so here is a brief story of the essential
        > > history of contemporary
        > > Chassidism that I recall hearing from a neighbor
        > > when I was growing up (but,
        > > of course, I was never a child!).
        > > AS I recall, when the Baal Shem had a difficult
        > > task before him, he
        > > would go to a designated location in the woods
        > > whereupon he would light a
        > > fire and meditate in prayer; and what he had set out
        > > to perform was done.
        > > When, a generation later, the "Maggid" of
        > > Meseriz (I think that is
        > > correct) was faced with the same task, he would go
        > > to the same place in the
        > > woods and proclaim: "We can no longer light the
        > > fire, but we can still speak
        > > the prayers;" and what he desired became reality.
        > > Again, a generation later, Rabbi Moshe Leib of
        > > Sassov had to perform
        > > this task and he too went into the woods and said:
        > > "We can no longer light a
        > > fire, nor do we know the secret meditations
        > > belonging to the prayer, but we
        > > do know the place in the woods to which it all
        > > belongs and that must be
        > > sufficient;" and sufficient it was!
        > > But when another generation had passed and
        > > Rabbi Israel of Rishin was
        > > called upon to perform the task, he sat down on his
        > > golden chair in his
        > > castle and said; "We cannot light the fire, we
        > > cannot speak the prayers, we
        > > do not know the place, but we can tell the story of
        > > how it was done"...and
        > > the story had the same effect as the actions of the
        > > other three!
        > > You might interpret this as signifying the decay
        > > of the movement but I
        > > suggest that it represents a profound transformation
        > > of its sacred values
        > > into story so that all that remains of the mystery
        > > ... is the tale.
        > > Of course the story is without end, it seems. The
        > > secret life it holds
        > > can erupt once again and surface in yet another
        > > form. There is a great
        > > cataclysm now stirring the Jewish people once again
        > > and more deeply, I
        > > think, than in the entire history of the Exile and
        > > destiny may yet have
        > > something unfathomable in store. But that is the
        > > task of the prophets, not
        > > mine ! YO !
        > > LD Rafey
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > >
        >
        >
        >
        >
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        terminate. Instructed by them,naught shall then deceive thee: Of
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        principle and end of All.
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        > But before all, thy soul to its faithful duty,Invoke these Gods
        with fervour, that whose aid,Thy work begun, alone can terminate.
        Instructed by them,naught shall then deceive thee: Of diverse beings
        thou shalt sound the essence; And thou shalt know the principle and
        end of All.
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