Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blavatsky on Kabbalists vs. Neoplatonists

The most substantial difference consisted in the location of the immortal or divine spirit of man. While the ancient Neoplatonists held that the Augoeides never descends hypostatically into the living man, but only more or less sheds its radiance on the inner man – the astral soul – the Kabalists of the Middle Ages maintained that the spirit, detaching itself from the ocean of light and spirit, entered into man's soul, where it remained through life imprisoned in the astral capsule. This difference was the result of the belief of Christian Kabalists, more or less, in the dead letter of the allegory of the fall of man.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ministering Angels in a Hekalot text

Rabbi Ishmael said: How beloved is Israel before the Holy, Blessed One! Even more than the ministering angels! For [when] the angels want to recite songs first, before making, for instance, mountains of fire or hills of flame, the Holy, Blessed One says to them, 'Be silent, until I have listened to the songs and praises, prayers and pleasant melodies of Israel' as it is written, 'When the morning stars sang together' (Job 38:7)--this [refers to Israel--'and all the sons of God shouted for joy' (Job 38:7)--this refers to the ministering angels. When all the ministering angels and all the angels of the firmament hear the sound of the songs and praises that Israel sings below, they immediately open [their mouths and] in a loud voice say 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of His glory' (Isaiah 6:3).
from Seder Rabbah diVraishit (The Great Order of Creation) 47, ms. published by S.A.Wertheim in Batei Midrashot (Jerusalem: Mossad HaRav Kook), 1952, v.I, pp.45-47.