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The Cabala, by Bernhard Pick, [1913], at

p. 66



God and Creation.--After having become acquainted in previous chapters with the principal actors in the cabalistic drama we are now prepared to examine the tenets of the Cabala.

Different from the system as exhibited in the Book of Creation or Jezirah is that of the Zohar, because the more difficult, since it embraces not merely the origin of the world, but likewise speculates on the essence of God and the properties of man; in other words it treats of theology, cosmology and anthropology.

Starting from the idea of the Supreme Being as boundless in his nature--which necessarily implies that he is an absolute unity and inscrutable, and that there is nothing without him--God is called En Soph, i.e., "endless," "boundless." In this boundlessness God cannot be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words; for there is nothing which can grasp him and depict him

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to us, 1 and as such he is in a certain sense not existent (ayin); since, as far as our mind is concerned, that which is incomprehensible does not exist.

The En Soph, not being an object of cognition, made his existence known in the creation of the world by means of attributes or mediums, the ten Sephiroth, or intelligences, radiations, emanations, emanating from the En Soph, and which in their totality represent and are called the Adam Kadmon, the "Primordial or Archetypal Man."

The first Sephirah is called Kether, "Crown"; the second Chochma, "Wisdom"; the third Bina, "Intelligence"; the fourth Chesed, "Mercy"; the fifth Dîn, "Judgment"; the sixth Tiphereth, "Beauty"; the seventh Nezach, "Splendor"; the eighth Hôd, "Majesty"; the ninth Jesôd, "Foundation"; the tenth Malchûth, "Kingdom."

Now the first Sephirah, which is called the Crown, the Aged, 2 the Primordial or the Smooth Point, 3 the White Head, the Long Face, Macroprosopon,

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the Inscrutable Height, 4 contained the other nine Sephiroth and gave rise to them in the following order: from the first Sephirah proceeded a masculine or active potency designated (2) Chochma, "Wisdom," and an opposite, i.e., a feminine or passive potency, called (3) Bina, "Intelligence." These two opposite potencies are joined together by the first potency, and thus yield the first triad of the Sephiroth. From the junction of the foregoing opposites, which are also called "Father" (abba) and "Mother" (imma) emanated again the masculine or active potency called (4) Chesed, "Mercy or Love," also Gedulah, "Greatness," and from this again emanated the feminine or passive potency called (5) Din, "Judgment," also Geburah, "Judical Power." From this again emanated the uniting potency (6) Tiphereth, "Beauty." We have thus the second trinity of the Sephiroth. Now Beauty beamed forth the masculine or active potency (7) Nezach, "Splendor," and this again gave rise to (8) the feminine or passive potency Hod, "Majesty"; from it again emanated (9) Jesôd, "Foundation,"

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which yields the third trinity. From Jesôd, finally emanated (10) Malchûth, "Kingdom," also called Schechinah.

The Cabalists delight in representing the ten Sephiroth under different forms; now as Adam Kadmon, "Primordial or Archetypal Man," now as the cabalistic tree or the Ilân, in which the crown is represented by the first Sephirah and the root by the last.

The Divine Man.--As to the Adam Kadmon which is shown in the following figure, the Crown represents the head; Wisdom, the brains; Intelligence which unites the two and produces the first triad, the heart or the understanding. The fourth and fifth Sephiroth, i.e., Love and Justice are the two arms, the former the right arm and the latter the left; one distributing life and the other death. The sixth Sephirah, Beauty, uniting these two opposites and producing the second triad, is the chest. Firmness and Splendor of the third triad represent the two legs, whereas Foundation, the ninth Sephirah, represents the genital organs, since it denotes the basis and source of all things. Finally Kingdom, the tenth Sephirah, represents the harmony of the whole Archetypal Man.

Now in looking at the Sephiroth which constitute the first triad, it will be seen that they

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represent the intellect; hence this triad is called by Azariel the "intellectual world" (olam muskal or olam ha-sechel). The second triad which represents

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moral qualities, is called the "moral" or "sensuous world" (olam murgash, also olam ha-nephesh); and the third, representing power and stability, is called the "material world" (olam 

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mutba or olam ha-teba).

As concerns the cabalistic tree (the ilân ha-cabala), the Sephiroth are so arranged that the first triad is placed above, the second and third are

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placed below, in such a manner that the three masculine Sephiroth are on the right, the three feminine on the left, whilst the four uniting Sephiroth occupy the center, as shown in Fig 2.

According to another arrangement the Sephiroth are so ordered that they form three pillars, a right one (sitra dimina, also amuda de-chesed, i.e., the pillar of mercy); a left one (sitra dismola, also amuda de-dina, i.e., the pillar of judgment), and a middle one (amuda de-emzaïta). In the right pillar to which belong the Sephiroth Wisdom, Love and Firmness, is life; in the left with the Sephiroth Intelligence, Judgment, Splendor, is Death. The middle pillar comprises Crown, Beauty, Foundation. The basis of all three pillars is the Kingdom. Fig. 3 illustrates this.

So far as the Sephiroth represent the first manifestation of God they form a world for themselves, an ideal world which has nothing to do with the real, material world. As such it is now called the primordial, the Archetypal Man (Adam Kadmon), now the Heavenly Man (Adam Ilaî). As for the Adam Kadmon, different views exist in the cabalistic writings. He is sometimes taken as the totality of the Sephiroth, and he appears as a pre-Sephirotic first emanation and superior to them, by which God manifested himself as creator and ruler of the

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world, as it were a prototype (macrocosm) of the entire creation. In this case it would seem as if the Adam Kadmon were a first manifestation, inserted between God and the world, so to say a second God 5 or the divine Word. 6

According to a later theorem four worlds proceed by an emanation in different gradations. This is expressed by Ibn Latif thus: As the point extends and thickens into a line, the line into the plane, the plane into the expanded body, thus God's self-manifestation unfolds itself in the different worlds.

In each of these four worlds the ten Sephiroth recur. The first Sephirah gave birth to the Olam azîla or "world of emanation," containing the powers of the divine plan of the world. Its beings have the same nature as that belonging to the world of the Sephiroth or to the Adam Kadmon. This world which is also called the olam ha-sephiroth, i.e., "the world of the Sephiroth," is the seat of the Shechinah. From the olam azîla proceeded the olam beria or "world of creation," in which according to Rabbi Isaac Nasir 7 are the souls of the saints, all the blessings, the

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throne of the Deity, and the palaces of all spiritual and moral perfection. The olam beria gave birth to the olam jezîrah or "world of formation," in which dwell the holy angels, whose prince is Metatron. 8 But there are also the demons, which on account of their grossly sensual nature are called Keliphoth, "shells," and inhabit the planets and other heavenly bodies or the realm of the ether.

The fourth world is called olam assiya, the "world of action." Its substances consist of matter limited by space and perceptible to the senses in a multiplicity of forms. It is subject to constant changes, generations, arid corruptions, and is the abode of the Evil Spirit.

Like the Talmud and the Midrash, the Zohar represents the optimistic view, that the present world is the best. Thus we read (Zohar, III, 292b: "There were old worlds, which perished as soon as they came into existence; they were formless, and were called sparks. Thus the smith

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when hammering the iron, lets the sparks fly in all directions. These sparks are the primordial worlds, which could not continue, because the Sacred Aged had not as yet assumed his form (of opposite sexes--the King and Queen), and the Master was not yet at his work." And again we read (III, 61b): "The Holy One, blessed be he, created and destroyed several worlds before o the present one was made, and when this last work was nigh completed, all the things of this world, all the creatures of the universe, in whatever age they were to exist, before they entered into this world, were present before God in their true form. Thus are the words of Ecclesiastes to be understood. 'The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done.'"

Since the Cabalists viewed all things from the anthropological point of view, they also transformed to the world of the Sephiroth the difference of sex. The male principle, called Abba, is white and of an active nature, appearing especially in the Sephirah Love, but also at the bottom of the three Sephiroth on the right side. The female principle, on the other hand, which owes its origin to the male principle, is red and of a receptive nature. It is mainly visible in the Sephira Justice, but is also at the bottom of the three Sephiroth on the left. The sign of the male

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principle is the "Y," that of the female the "H" in the divine name YHVH. What we learn is this: the Sephiroth teach that everything which exists is imperishable and like God. As nothing perishes in the world or is fully annihilated, thus the stamp and seal of divinity is stamped on all beings. God as the Invisible and Endless (En Soph) became visible and intelligible by the Sephiroth; the human mind can come to him, can know and conceive him.

The Realm of Evil.--Besides the heavenly realm of the Sephiroth of light or of the good, there is also a realm of the Sephiroth of darkness or of evil. Over against the supreme emanation of light, the Adam Kadmon, stands as opponent the Adam Belial. The same is the case with every light-sephirah, it is opposed by a Sephirah of darkness. Thus both are related to one another as the right side to the left; the light-Sephiroth form the right side, the darkness-Sephiroth the left side (sitra achra). The realm of darkness is figuratively called also the kingdom of Cain, Esau and Pharaoh (Zohar, I, 55a). Like the kingdom of light that of darkness has ten degrees. As the kingdom of light is inhabited by good spirits, so the kingdom of darkness is inhabited by evil spirits (demons, shells). Their prince is called Samaël (angel of poison or of

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death); his wife is called the Harlot or the' Woman of Whoredom. Both are thought of as having intercourse with each other just as in the realm of light God as king has intercourse with Malchuth as queen. Through the influence of the evil powers the creation is continually disturbed. Men are seduced to apostasy from God, and thus the kingdom of the evil grows and the Keliphoth or shells increase. In the figurative language of the Zohar this disturbance of the creation is described as if the king and queen kept aloof from each other and could not work together for the welfare of the world. But this discord is finally harmonized by repentance, self-mortification, prayer and strict observance of the prescribed ceremonies, and the original harmony of things is again restored. It must be observed however that the teaching about the opposition of the two kingdoms belongs to the later doctrines of the Cabala and its development belongs to the thirteenth century.

Closely connected with the doctrine about evil is that of the Messiah. His coming takes place when the kingdom of the Keliphoth is overcome through the pious and virtuous life of men here on earth; then also takes place the restoration of the original state of affairs (tikkun). Since under his rule everything turns to the divine light, all idolatry ceases, because the Keliphoth no

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longer seduce men to apostasy. Cabala as mistress, rules then over the slave philosophy. In the upper world, too, great changes take place at the coming of the Messiah. The king again has intercourse with the queen. Through their copulation the divinity regains the destroyed unity. But Wünsche says that cabalistic literature, especially the Zohar, often describes this union of the king and the queen in terms bordering on shamelessness and shocking to decency and morals.

The whole universe, however, was not complete, and did not receive its finishing stroke till man was formed, who is the acme of creation, and the microcosm uniting in himself the totality of beings. 9 The lower man is a type of the heavenly Adam Kadmon. 10 Man consists of body and soul. Though the body is only the raimant or the covering of the soul, yet it represents the Merkaba (the heavenly throne-chariot). All members have their symbolic meaning. Greater than the body is the soul, because it emanates from the En Soph and has the power to influence the intelligible world by means of channels (zinnoroth) and to bring blessings upon the nether world. The soul is called nephesh, "life," ruach, "soul," and neshâmâ, "spirit." As neshama,

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which is the highest degree of being, it has the power to come into connection with God and the realm of light; as ruach it is the seat of good and evil; as nephesh it is immediately connected with the body and is the direct cause of its lower functions, instincts, and animal life.

Psychology.--Like Plato, Origen, etc., the Cabala teaches a pre-existence of the soul. 11 All souls destined to enter into human bodies existed from the beginning. Clad in a spiritual garb they dwell in their heavenly abode and enjoy the view of the divine splendor of the Shechinah. With great reluctance the soul enters into the body, for as Zohar, II, 96b, tells us, the soul, before assuming a human body, addresses God: "Lord of the Universe! Happy am I in this world, and do not wish to go into another where I shall be a bondmaid, and be exposed to all kinds of pollutions." Here, too, we notice again the influence of Platonic and Philonian doctrines. In its original state each soul is androgynous, and is separated into male and female when it descends on earth to be born in a human body. At the time of marriage both parts are united again as they were before, and again constitute one soul

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[paragraph continues] (Zohar, I, 91b). This doctrine reminds us of Plato and Philo no less than that other (viz. of ἀνάμνησις) that the soul carries her knowledge with her to the earth, so that "every thing which she learns here below she knew already, before she entered into this world" (Zohar, III, 61b). Of great interest is the metempsychosis of the Cabala. How this doctrine, already espoused by the Egyptians, Pythagoreans and Plato, came into Jewish mysticism, is not yet fully explained. 12 But it is interesting to learn of the destiny of man and the universe according to the Cabalists.

It is an absolute condition of the soul to return to the Infinite Source from which it emanated, after developing on earth the perfections, the germs of which are implanted in it. If the soul, after assuming a human body, fails during its first sojourn on earth to acquire that experience for which it descends from heaven, and becomes contaminated by sin, it must re-inhabit a body again and again, till it is able to ascend in a purified state. This transmigration or gilgul, however, is restricted to three times. "And if two souls in their third residence in human bodies are still too weak to resist all earthly trammels and to

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acquire the necessary experience, they are both united and sent into one body, so that they may be able conjointly to learn that which they were too feeble to do separately. It sometimes happens, however, that it is the singleness and isolation of the soul which is the source of the weakness, and it requires help to pass through its probation. In that case it chooses for a companion a soul which has more strength and better fortune. The stronger of the two then becomes as it were the mother; she carries the sickly one in her bosom, and nurses her from her own substance, just as a woman nurses her child. Such an association is therefore called pregnancy (ibbur), because the stronger soul gives as it were life and substance to the weaker companion."

This doctrine of the Superfoetatio was especially taught by Isaac Loria or Luria. It is obvious that this doctrine of the Ibbur naturally led to wild superstition and fraudulent thaumaturgy. Loria himself claimed to have the soul of the Messiah ben Joseph. Connected with Loria's system is the doctrine of the Kawânâ, by which is meant the absorbed state of the soul in its direction towards God when performing the ceremonies, in prayer, self-mortification, in the pronunciation of the divine name and reading of the Zohar, whereby the bounds are broken and the fulness of blessing from the upper world is

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brought down upon the lower.

The world, being an expansion of the Deity's own substance, must also share ultimately that blessedness which it enjoyed in its first evolution, Even Satan himself, the archangel of wickedness, will be restored to his angelic nature, since he, too, proceeded from the Infinite Source of all things. When the last human soul has passed through probation, then the Messiah will appear and the great jubilee year will commence, when the whole pleroma of souls (otzar ha-neshamoth), cleansed and purified shall return to the bosom of the Infinite Source and rest in the "Palace of Love" (Zohar, II, 97a).

Mystic Interpretation.--The exegetical ingenuity of the Cabala is interesting to the theologian. The principle of the mystic interpretation is universal and not peculiar to one or another school, as every one will perceive in ecclesiastical history, and even in the history of Greek literature. We find it in Philo, in the New Testament, in the writings of the fathers, in the Talmud, and in the Zohar; and the more such an interpretation departed from the spirit of the sacred text, the more necessary was it to bring the scriptures to its support by distortions of their meanings. 13

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Passing over all manner of subtleties of the pre-Zoharic times, we will consider the masterly performances of the Cabalists. According to them the letters, words and names of the scriptures contain divine mysteries of wondrous, mystical thoughts and ideas, of significant symbols and riddles, on which depends the continuance of the world. (Zohar, II, 99a). "Is it conceivable," the Zohar makes one of Simon ben Jochaï's circle exclaim, "that God had no holier matters to communicate than these common things about Esau and Hagar, Laban and Jacob, Balaam's ass, Balak's jealousy of Israel, and Zimri's lewdness? Does a collection of such tales, taken in their ordinary sense, deserve the name of Torah? And can it be said of such a revelation that it utters the pure truth? If that is all the Torah contains, we can produce in our time a book as good as this, aye, perhaps better. No, no! the higher, mystical sense of the Torah is its true sense. The biblical narratives resemble a beautiful dress which enraptures fools so that they do not look beneath it. This robe, however, covers a body, i.e., the precepts of the Law, and this again a soul, the higher soul. Woe to the guilty, who assert that the Torah contains only simple stories, and therefore look only upon the dress. Blessed are the righteous, who seek the real sense of the

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[paragraph continues] Law. The jar is not the wine, so stories do not make up the Torah" (ibid., III, 152a) . Thus the Cabalists attached little importance to the literal sense; yet not a single iota was to be taken from it and nothing was to be added to it (ibid., II, 99).

In order to elicit the mysteries from the scriptures, the Cabalists employed certain hermeneutical canons, 14 viz.:

1. Gematria15 i.e., the art of discovering the hidden sense of the text by means of the numerical equivalents of the letters. Thus from the Hebrew words ‏והנה שלשה‎ (vehineh sheloshah) translated "lo! three (men stood by him)" in Gen. xviii, 2, it is deduced that these three were the angels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, because the letters yield the numerical value of 701, viz.

‏ו‎ = 6 + ‏ה‎ = 5 + ‏נ‎ = 50 + ‏ה‎ = 5 + ‏ש‎ = 300 + ‏ל‎ = 30 + ‏ש‎ = 300 + ‏ה‎ = 5 = 701; and the same number yields the words ‏אלו מיכאל גכריאל ורפאל‎, viz. = ‏א‎ = 1 + ‏ל‎ = 30 + ‏ו‎ = 6 + ‏מ‎ = 40 + ‏י‎ = 10 + ‏כ‎ = 20 + ‏א‎ = 1 + ‏ל‎ = 30 + ‏ג‎ = 3 + ‏כ‎ = 2 + ‏ר‎ = 200 + ‏י‎ = 10 + ‏א‎ = 1 + ‏ל‎ = 30 + ‏ו‎ = 6 + ‏ר‎ = 200 + ‏פ‎ = 80 + ‏א‎ = 1 + ‏ל‎ = 30 =701.

A like figuring we find in the Epistle of Barnabas, ch, ix, with reference to the 318 servants

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of Abraham, mentioned in Gen. xiv. 14. The author lays stress upon the fact that in the Hebrew the "eighteen" are mentioned first, and the "three hundred" afterwards. In the eighteen expressed by the Greek letters Ι = 10 and Η = 8 he sees Jesus (ΙΗΣΟΥΣ), and in the three hundred he sees by the letter Τ = 300, the cross.

With this canon may be compared the "number-oracle," by means of which one can tell from the number of the letters of the name and the dates of the birth important years and days in the life of a man. Thus, for instance, Emperor William I, was born March 22, 1797; 3 + 22 + 1797 + 7 (number of the letters of the name = 1829, the year of marriage; 1829 + 1 + 8 + 2 + 9 = 1849, campaign to Baden; 1849 + 1 + 8 + 4 + 9 = 1871, coronation as emperor; 1871 + 1 + 8 + 7 + 1 = 1888, year of death. Napoleon III, born 4, 20, 1808; 4 + 20 + 1808 + 8 (number of the letters of the name) = 1840, the coup at Boulogne; 1840 + 1 + 8 + 4 + 0 = 1853, first year as emperor; 1853 + 1 + 8 + 5 + 3 = 1870; end of his rule. 16

2. Notarikon (from the Latin notarius, a short-hand writer, one who among the Romans belonged to that class of writers who abbreviated and used single letters to signify whole words),

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is employed when every letter of a word is taken as an initial or abbreviation of a word. Thus, for instance, every letter of the Hebrew first word in Genesis, 17 is made the initial of a word, and from "in the beginning" we obtain "in the beginning God saw that Israel should accept the law"; or the word "Adam" (ADM) is made "Adam, David, Messiah." Sometimes very curious and ingenious combinations are derived from this system. For instance the word passim 18 used in the passage "And he made a coat of (passim) many colors" (Gen. xxxvii. 3) is made to indicate the misfortunes which Joseph experienced in being sold by his brethren to Potiphar, Merchants, Ishmaelites, Midianites. 19

It appears that the Christian fathers sometimes made use of the same rule; as for instance Christ has been called by them ΙΧΘΥΣ, "fish," because these letters are the initials of the Greek words "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour." 20 Thus St. Augustine tells us (De civ. Dei, XVIII, 23) that when they were speaking about Christ, Flaccianus, a very famous man, of most ready eloquence, and much learning, produced a Greek manuscript, saying that it was the prophecies of

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the Erythrian sibyl. In this he pointed out a certain passage that had the initial letters of the lines so arranged that those words could be read in them. Then he went on and gave these verses, of which the initial letters yield that meaning, and says, "But if you join the initial letters of these five Greek words, they will make the word ichthus21 that is 'fish,' in which word Christ is mystically understood, because he was able to live, that is, to exist, without sin in the abyss of this mortality as in the depth of waters." It is worthy of notice that Augustine only gives twenty-seven lines 22 of the thirty-four, as contained in the Oracula Sibyllina, VIII, 217 ff., where the acrostic reads: Jesus Christ, Son of God (the) Saviour, (the) Cross. 23 In its full form it is also given by Eusebius in the Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine. For the benefit of the reader we subjoin Neale's translation of the acrostic as given in the Christian Remembrancer, October, 1861, p. 287:

"Judgment at hand, the earth shall sweat with fear.
Eternal king, the Judge shall come on high;
Shall doom all flesh; shall bid the world appear p. 89
Unveiled before his Throne. Him every eye
Shall, just or unjust, see in majesty.

"Consummate time shall view the Saints assemble
His own assessors, and the souls of men
Round the great judgment seat shall wait and tremble
In fear of sentence, and the green earth then
Shall turn to desert. They that see that day
To moles and bats their gods shall cast away.

"Sea, earth, and heaven, and hell's dread gates shall burn;
Obedient to their call, the dead return;
Nor shall the judge unfitting doom discern.

"Of chains and darkness to each wicked soul:
For them that have been good, the starry pole.

"Gnashing of teeth, and woe, and fierce despair
Of such as hear the righteous Judge declare
Deeds long forgot, which that last day shall bare.

"Then when each darkened breast He brings to sight,
Heaven's stars shall fall, and day be changed to night;
Effaced the sun-ray, and the moon's pale light. p. 90

"Surely the valleys He on high shall raise;
All hills shall cease, all mountains turn to plain;
Vessels shall no more pass the watery ways;
In the dread lightning parching earth shall blaze,
Ogygian rivers seek to flow in vain.
Unutterable woe the trumpet blast,
Re-echoing through the ether, shall forecast.

"Then Tartarus shall wrap the world in gloom,
High chiefs and princes shall receive their doom,
Eternal fire and brimstone for their tomb.

"Crown of the world, sweet wood, salvation's horn,
Rearing its beauty, shall for man be born,
O wood, that Saints adore, and sinners scorn!
So from twelve fountains shall its light be poured;
Staff of the Shepherd, and victorious sword."

We may also state that words of those verses which are regarded as containing a peculiar recondite meaning are ranged in squares in such a manner as to be read either vertically or boustrophedonally beginning at the right or left hand. Again the words of several verses are placed over each other, and the letters which stand under each other are formed into new words. This is especially seen in the treatment of three verses in

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[paragraph continues] Exod. xiv. 19-21 (each containing 72 letters), which are believed to contain the three Pillars of the Sephiroth and the Divine Name of seventy-two words. Now, if these three verses be written out one above the other, the first from right to left, the second from left to right, and the third from right to left, they will give 72 columns of three letters each. Then each column will be a word of three letters, and as there are 72 columns, there will be 72 words of three letters, each of which will be the 72 names of the Deity. By writing the verses all from right to left, instead of boustrophedonally, there will be other sets of 72 names obtainable. The reader who is interested in these niceties will find ample information in Bartolocci, Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinicia, IV, pp. 230 ff.

3. Temurah or permutation.--According to certain rules, one letter is substituted for another letter preceding or following it in the alphabet, and thus from one word another word of totally different orthography may be formed. Thus the alphabet is bent exactly in the middle, and one half is put over the other; and then by changing alternately the first letter or the first two letters at the beginning of the second line, twenty-two permutations are produced. These are called the "Table of the Combinations of Tziruph."

For example's sake we give the method called Albath, thus:

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The method abgath is thus exemplified:























The names of the twenty-two permutations are: Albath, Abgath, Agdath, Adbag, Ahbad, Avba, Azbav, Achbaz, Atbach, Aibat, Achbi, Albach, Ambal, Anbam, Asban, Aaybas, Afba, Azbaf, Akbaz, Arbak, Ashbar, Athbash. To these must be added as (23) Abgad; (24) Albam.

I will only remark that by the system called Athbash, it is found that the word Sheshhach in Jer. xxv. 26 is the same as Babel, and that Jerome is said to have confidently applied this system. 24

Besides these canons the Cabala also sees a recondite sense in the form of the letters, as well as in the ornaments which adorn them. The more multifarious these trifles, the easier it is to arrive in every given case at a result, and the less wit or thought is required.

Although the canons mentioned above are already applied in the Talmud and Midrash, the Cabalists made a more copious use of them. The names of God became a special object of their fancy. With them they imagined they could accomplish everything and perform miracles, heal

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the sick, extinguish the fire, etc. The most miraculous effects were ascribed to the Tetragrammaton. Whoever was in possession of the true pronunciation of that name could enter in relation with the upper world and receive revelations. Each letter of the sacred name was considered as something mysterious. The letter Y (of YHVH) referred to the father as creator (abba) and H to the mother (imma). Because the letter H occurred twice, they distinguished an upper and a lower mother. The permutation of the letters of the Tetragrammaton brought about a multitude of new divine names which, either spoken or written, influenced the course and laws of nature. As was the case with the name of God consisting of four letters, so it was with that consisting of twelve, twenty-two, forty-two and seventy-two letters. All were believed to contain great mysteries. 25 The names of angels were treated in like manner. Thus the Cabalists greatly misused the Old Testament, especially the Thora. And, as says Professor Wünsche, by making the Bible a text-book to elicit deeper ideas, the greatest nonsense and rubbish came to light. The so-called hidden mysteries and revelations were nothing but fancies whirling in the heads of the Cabalists. The exegetical

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literature of the Cabala clearly proves that its representatives had completely lost the sense for a suitable understanding of the words of scripture. 26


67:1 Rabbi Azariel in his commentary on the ten Sephiroth tells us that "the En Soph can neither be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words; for there is no letter or word which can grasp him." With this compare what Proclus, the neo-Platonist, says in his Theology of Plato, II, 6: "Although the Divinity is generally called the unity (τὸ ἕν) or the first, it would he better if no name were given him; for there is no word which can depict his nature--he is the inexpressible (ἅῤῥητος), the unknown (ἀγνωστός). Isaac ibn Latif (1220-1290) even says "God is in all, and everything is in God."

67:2 p. 68 This must not be confounded with "the Aged of the Aged" as the En Soph is called.

67:3 When the Concealed of the Concealed wished to reveal himself, he first made a single point; the Infinite was entirely unknown, and diffused no light before this luminous point violently broke through into vision." (Zohar, I, 15e.)

68:4 So called by Rabbi Azariel.

74:5 δεύτερος θεὸς.

74:6 λόγος.

74:7 He flourished in the first half of the twelfth century and is the author of a treatise on the Emanations (Massecheth Aziluth) reprinted by Jellinek in his Auswahl Kabbalistischer Mystik, Part I. Leipsic, 1853.

75:8 Graetz, Gnosticismus und Judentum, 1846, p. 44, derives the word from μετὰ θρόνον, because this angel is immediately under the divine throne. Cassel (Ersch and Gruber's Encyklopädie, section II, vol. XXVII, s.v. "Juden," p .40, note 84) derives it from metator, i.e., "messenger, outrider, pathfinder." Wünsche also connects it with μετάτωρ. According to the Zohar, I, 126b, Metatron is the first creature of God; the middle pillar (in the essence of God) or the uniting link in the midst, comprising all grades, from top downwards, and from the bottom upwards (ibid., III, 127a); the visibly manifested Deity (ibid., III, 231a).

79:9 Zohar, III, 48a.

79:10 Zohar, II, 70b.

80:11 Compare Book of Wisdom, VIII, 20; Josephus, Bell. Jud., II, 12, speaks of the Essenes as believing in a pre-existence of the soul. Philo's views are given in his De somniis, I, 642; De gigantibus, I, 263 f.

81:12 According to Josephus (Antiq., XVIII, 13; Bell. Jud., II, 8, 14) it would seem as if the Pharisees held the doctrine of the metempsychosis, but see Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes, vol. II (3d ed., 1898) p. 391; on Philo's view, see ibid., vol. III, p. 561.

83:13 For a strange interpretation of scripture in modern times, the reader is referred to Canon Wordsworth's p. 84 Commentary on Genesis and Exodus, London, 1864, p. 52.

85:14 On the interpretation of the scriptures among the Jews in general, see my article s.v. Scripture, Interpretation of, Jewish," in McClintock and Strong.

85:15 The word is not like γεωμετρία, as Levy, Neuhebr. Wörterbuch, I, 324, thinks, but is derived from γραμματεία or γράμμα.

86:16 For a somewhat different mode compare The Open Court, Feb. 1909, p. 88.

87:17 ‏בראשית‎

87:18 ‏פסים‎

87:19 ‏פ‎ = Potiphar, ‏ס‎ = Sochrim (merchants), ‏י‎ = Ishmaelites, ‏ם‎ = Midianites.

87:20 Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτὴρ.

88:21 ἰχθύς.

88:22 English translation by M. Dodd, City of God, Edinburgh, 1871, where the Greek letters at the beginning of the lines are retained.

88:23 σταυρός.

92:24 Hottinger possessed an entire Pentateuch explained on the principle of Athbash.

93:25 Compare what we stated above in connection with Abulafia.

94:26 A somewhat different view on the cabalistic treatment of scripture is given by the late Jewish scholar Zunz (died 1886) in his Gottesdienstliche Vorträge (Berlin, 1832), p. 403: For the passage in English see my article "Scripture Interpretation" in McClintock and Strong, vol. IX, p. 480.

Next: Chapter VI. The Cabala in Relation to Judaism and Christianity