Progressive Jewish Spirituality
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Moshiach and Joy
Yismach To rejoice 358 = Moshiach 358 Machshava thought 355 = Simcha 355
From this gematria the numerical value of these words can be seen that Moshiach and the redemption Geula have a great connection to joy and thought.
Am Yisrael received the Torah from Moshe Rabbeinu and said they will do the mitzvos with blind faith. They entered into Eretz Yisrael under the leadership of Joshua. They conquered the land and established the Kingship of Israel the first king Saul. Then King David the son in law of Saul took the kingship for himself and his children forever. King Solomon built the Beit Hamikdash. The nation was faced with problems even from the beginning. There was a civil war at the end of reign of Solomon which split the nation in two. There was an underlying problem which caused the people to rebel and to make another State. This problem was a lack of joy in the performance of the commandments. There was nullification obediance to the divine law but simcha was lacking. Eventually the nation was conquered by the Goim but throughout the period of the Kingship which lasted for 900 years, the people were not happy even though they had a Torah and a Beit Hamikdash. They did the will of Hashem according to the Law of Moses out of fear and not out of joy.
Rambam says in the Laws of Kings that the only difference that there will be from the time of the exile to the redemption is that the nation will gain independence. The Jewish people will return to their homeland, the judicial system will be reestablished, Jerusalem will be rebuilt, the Kingship will be reestablished with the King Moshiach, the divine presence will return to Zion. The Zohar questions the concept of return to the days of old; it says that to return to the days of old is not a solution because it means to return to the problems of old which caused the exile. To return to the days of old without solving or correcting these problems is no answer. There is something missing in this description given in the Talmud and by Rambam about the change which will be when Moshiach comes.
In another place in Talmud it says that when the Jewish people are in exile, the service of Hashem is with fear. When they will be redeemed the service will be with joy. The question is if during the time that the nation flourished were the people happy. If they were happy, why did the nation split into two. There were many Tzaddikim in those days, who kept the mitzvos with selflessness complete nullification but not all people were Tzaddikim. The Tzaddikim had great fear of HaShem which was their motivation. They didn't look for a reward for their service of HaShem. Even today there are tzaddikim that are not messianic Jews. They don't need Moshiach to motivate them in the service of HaShem. They recognize the need for the Geula for the nation to gain independence and for the sake of the divine presence but not on an emotional level to serve HaShem with joy. They serve HaShem with fear like did the righteous men in the times of the temple and the Tannoim and Amoroim. The need for joy in the service of Hashem is more for the simple people.
The learning of the Kabballa is considered very important today. Many people say that without the study of the Kabballa called Pardes, the souls have to return again in another reincarnation to complete their obligation in learning Torah. Rashi, Rambam, and other Rishonim were great Tzaddikim even though they didn't have the kabbala the Zohar or Sifrei Arizal. They served Hashem with complete selflessness. Very little was known about the Kabballa before the Zohar. Only in Talmud Mesechta Chagiga it mentions about two types of learning called the kabbala of Maaser Berishit who many people call the approach to the kabbala taught by the Arizal, and the Kabballa of Mercava Divine Chariot which was considered very dangerous. Four great Tanoim Torah Scholars elevated into higher realms called Pardes and only Rabbi Akiva returned without harm. This was a warning about the learning of Pardes also called Kabballa. Even today most Jews are afraid to study Kabballa. The sages teach that a person should wait to study kabbala until he is 40 years old. Others say only after he has completed the learning of the Gemora and Shulcan Aruch. The Arizal in the introduction to the Book of Life Eitz Chaim even gives permission to people to study almost the whole day kabbala and says that learning Halacha is secondary to learning Kabballa. He attacks those scholars that only learn Talmud and Halacha, that they are not doing what Hashem wants. The Zohar also reinforces these ideas. For sure, the Kabballa is essential for bringing the Moshiach.
The Baal Shem Tov the founder of Chassidism had a dream and went up into heaven Gan Eden and asked the Moshaich When will you come? The Moshiach answered, when will be spread the teaching of Kabballa and Chassidut. The Luvavitcher Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach insisted on every Jew to learn Chassidut Pnimiut HaTorah the inner teaching of the Torah. Seven generations of Chabad leaders taught Chassidut and published books on Kabballa and Chassidut. Do we need Moshiach? How can we benefit in the service of HaShem through learning Chassidut, pnimiut HaTorah the inner teaching of the Torah.
In the times of the Beit Hamikdash, it is a question if the people learned Pnimiut haTorah, the inner teachings of the Torah. The story of the four Tannoim that went into Pardes, gives a word of caution to step into Kabballa. Even the written Torah instructs that "the hidden teachings of the Torah and life are for Hashem, the revealed teachings are for us and our children." This is certainly a commandment not to study kabbala and certainly not to teach the kabbala openly. However, the people were not happy. Only the exceptionally righteous maintained their complete faith in the Torah and Hashem. During the second temple there was a conflict between Sadducees who rejected the Oral Torah and the Parishees those that continued the ancient tradition of the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu, the Oral Torah. Something was causing these conflicts. The people were not happy with Torah service. They had to continue to keep the mitzvos out of fear of punishment, prosecution and execution. Torah was still the law of the nation.
Rambam does not consider the emotional aspect of redemption but only the cold national aspect of redemption. In other places is mentioned the difference of before and after the exile that when Moshiach will come we will serve Hashem with joy. Rambam himself is a Tzaddik and he doesn't need other types of motivation, except to return the divine presence to Zion. He doesn't need spirituality.
Spirituality was suppressed in the times of the temple. All worship was regimented according to Torah law. In the beginning there were prophets retaining a heritage of prophecy from the generation of the wilderness who had been presence at the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. The generation slowly diminished and prophecy disappeared. Prophecy was given over from one prophet to the next. Joshua was a prophet. Samuel was a prophet. The last prophets were at time of the Men of the Great Assembly. Rambam mentioned that prophecy will return to Israel at the time of the redemption but does not know the way it will happen.
The Zohar was discovered in Spain which brought new ideas into Am Yisrael. The Zohar spoke about spiritual redemption as well as the redemption of the nation. In the Zohar there is already spiritual redemption and Jubillee. There are two Moshiach and Moses has returned to life. The Zohar was first considered dangerous by the Rabbonim the Rabbi of their age because it was revealing too much light. It was considered a fantasy. Others considered parts of the Zohar idolatry. The Arizal in Sefat codified the Zohar and applied its teaching in actual service of HaShem giving the mitzvos more meaning by revealing their secret inner meaning. The learning of the teachings of the Arizal and practicing his customs gave added life to Torah observance which was very dry lacking joy. Before the Arizal the Jew only had the Shulcan Aruch, the four Amot of Halacha. Now he had also the inner meaning pnimiut of the Torah and its Mitzvos. The Arizal didn't comment much about Moshiach like the Zohar. Moshiach has always been a touchy topic for Jews after Christianity came into the world. Jews had suffered the inquisition pressures on Jews to convert. Rambam called Mohammed and Yashu false prophets. They preached that the Torah had been changed. Yashu was arrested, convicted, and executed for speaking these words and being a false Messiah. Moshiach was considered a sensitive topic. The Rambam in his writing says honestly that the subject of Moshiach is not completely clear.
Shabtei Tzvi who was a kabbalist many people believed he was Moshiach. Only a few Rabbonim opposed him like Rabbi Yacov Emden Z'L. The people made a mistake and Yacov Emden was right when in the end he converted to Islam. The fear of another false Moshiach did not stop the Baal Shem Tov and his chassidim. They were intent on bringing the redeemer. After Shabtei Tzvi, the spirit of Am Yisrael in the Moshiach was almost lost. Without the hope of Moshiach, it was difficult to continue to practice the religion. There have always been in Am Yisrael righteous souls that serve HaShem selflessly who do not need the motivation of Moshiach. They also don't need the Kabballa even though they no longer reject the Kabballa as codified by the Arizal. The Zohar was respected but considered difficult to understand. The Arizal interpreted Zohar on a more intellectual level than emotional. The emotional topics of the Moshiach were left on the sidelines.
The Baal Shem Tov, a Torah Scholar, took upon himself to reveal the emotional aspects of the Zohar which were not revealed by the Arizal. The learning of the Kabballa of the Arizal is very dry while Chassidism combines Niggun or song, dance, group celebration called Fabrengen, learning of pnimiut HaTorah in groups, and meditation. Besides traditional prayer, they would go into the fields and pray to Hashem in their own words. Their Torah schedules were less rigid and they would pray at different times during the day according to their emotions. The joy of keeping the commandments was stressed rather than the fear and punishment. Moshiach promised to the Baal Shem Tov that in this way he would be revealed.
The Baal Shem Tov wrote an interesting letter to his chief student the Magid of Mezerich before he came to study in Mezibitz. The Magid was knowledgeable in all of Torah and Kabballa. He invited the Magid to come to study with him and eat from the tree of knowledge. The eating from the tree of knowledge was considered a sin. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge and were banished from the Garden of Eden. The Magid had the knowledge of the Tree of Life. He studied the Torah day and night. What was he missing? There are teaching from the tree of knowledge which can be applied in the service of Hashem and in bringing other Jews to love and serve Hashem. The Jewish religion contains many secrets but the religion encourages to perform the commandments out of simple faith. There is very little spirituality in Jewish religion. Spirituality is considered to be from the tree of knowledge like meditation which is similar to hypnosis, spiritual healing, and the knowledge of Mercava supernal chariot elevation of the soul. The Arizal taught the Kabballa of Maaser Bereishit; the Baal Shem taught the Magid the Kabballa of Mercava. On the tombstone of the Magid in Naditz is written "A Man of Miracles." Even today many Torah Scholars look down on miracle doers, and some consider it idolatry. Torah Scholars even some Kabbalists who study and practice Arizal do not close their eyes in meditation. The closing of the eyes is considered neglect of Torah learning. The eyes must be open and the mouth moving all day and night saying words of Torah. In Mercava, the eyes are closed as if the person is in a trance. This practice is done privately and not in front of people. However, there are some tsaddikim Chassidic Rebbes that close their eyes in meditation at their Shabbat table in front of their students. The Baal Shem Tov had a hypnotic effect on his students to elevate them spiritually which helped them overcome their evil inclinations and attach themselves to HaShem and the divine service. This power he gave over to his main students who became great Rebbes the leaders of their Chassidim. An opponent came to the Magid and complained that his students were not sitting in the Beit Medrash and learning but standing outside not involved in learning. The Magid explained to them that they were intensely involved in meditation on the inner aspects of the soul. This aspect of kabbala which the Baal Shem taught that was not taught by the Arizal is part of the Zohar connected to Moshiach Ben Yosef and Moshiach Ben David. The Baal Shem Tov taught the Kabballa of the heart connected to song and inner seeing.
The Arizal did not talk about the level of the soul called Atik but concentrated more on the lower aspect of the crown Keter called Arich. Arich is Mesirat Nefesh self sacrifice which is the principle part of Judaism. The Baal Shem Tov added the aspect of Taanug or delight which is in the heart of each and every Jew, the holy temple within each and every Jew called the delight of the soul. Delight of the soul is spirituality, and is called the good of the tree of knowledge. Moshiach will reveal the delight of the soul, the joy of the soul and the mitzvah. Moshiach is gematria Yismch or to rejoice. Simcha is the gematria Machshava or thought which is not just intellectual thought but transcendental thought the level of the mind concsciousness called Atik. Atik and Arich are called the two Moshiach which the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach has finally revealed to bring joy and happiness to the Jewish people in exile through the spiritual experience of the supernal knowledge. The Baal Shem Tov revealed the level of knowledge revealed on Purim at the Purim meal which is above intellect. On Purim it is revealed through drinking, but the Baal Shem reveals this knowledge through learning Pnimiut HaTorah. About this level of knowledge it says in the prophets, "the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of Hashem, like the waters cover the sea." The Zohar and Tanya bring that there are two levels of knowledge the supernal knowledge of Shma Yisrael and the lower knowledge of Baruch Shem Kevod. In the times of the Beit HaMikdash it was not necessary to reveal both the higher and lower knowledge. The Jews have gone into exile for the purpose of revealing the higher knowledge and uniting the higher and lower knowledge in the times of the Moshaich. The purpose of the exile was for the sake of the redemption a higher level of unity. Am Yisrael survived 1900 years without the upper knowledge on simple faith alone. The Rebbe said the time of the redemption has arrived, the time of joy has arrived with the coming of the Moshiach, Our Rebbe and King.
The Rebbe has made the final correction. He has added the aspect of the Kabballa called Atik already mentioned in the Zohar which is also called redemption. Atik is above intellect blind faith. Even after the 3rd of Tamuz, the Chassidim of the Rebbe reject that he has died, like the Zohar attributes to King David. The rest of the Geula will come through following the way of service of the Arizal and Chassidut.
Long Live the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach forever
Music, Spirituality and Judaism
King David was punished for calling the Torah songs. King David wrote the Psalms which many of the Psalms are called songs. The Levites sang using various instruments in the Beit HaMikdash while the sacrifices were being offered by the priests on the altar. In Judaism there was always song until came the destruction of the holy temple.
Song is connected to the Psalms which are prayers. The songs of the Levites were prayers which accompanied the giving of the sacrifices. The service of God in the temple combined sacrifice with prayer. King David called Torah song and was punished. Torah is sacrifice and not prayer. The sages teach three things are acquired through suffering. They are Torah, the land of Israel and the reward in the next world. From Torah and the keeping of the commandments is acquired the share in the next world. The keeping of Torah and its commandments requires sacrifice which implies suffering. It says in the chapter of the Torah regarding sacrifices VaYikra, "Speak to the children of Israel and says to them, A man who offers from themselves a sacrifice to God from the animal, the calve, and the lamb they should give as a their sacrifice." The sacrifice should come from them not only should it be a sacrifice from their property but also from their hearts. Sacrifice is principal to Judaism. To be a Jew means to sacrifice the whole secular world for the sake of Judaism. This makes it difficult to understand the meaning of secular Jew. Secular Jew has become more common today since the founding of the State of Israel. In the past when a Jew became secular he was already on the way to assimilating with the gentiles because Jews were living amongst the gentiles in the diaspora. Secular Jewry which became reformed and conservative Jewry are congregations of Jews that are already beginning to assimilate or have already assimilated. Jews living in Israel today because the nation is primarily Jewish, a minority of gentiles, there is less assimilation of secular than when Jews lived together with the gentiles. Also the fact that marriage and divorce are under the control of the Rabbinate makes it more difficult for a Jew to intermarry in Israel.
Jews that lived in Europe could find an excuse not to be Jewish and a way to assimilate with the gentiles. The law of the nations in Europe would not interfere with Jews marrying gentiles. Jews living in the middle eastern nations did not have as much of an incentive to secularize into an Arab society. The men could not marry Arab women for Sharia Arab law would not allow their woman to intermarry with Jews. In the Middle East there was a more status quo than in Europe. Amongst the Sephardic there is almost no Reformed and Conservative Jewry like amongst Ashkenazi. The desire of a Jew to assimilate is always a problem for their religious leaders. The Sephardim living amongst Arabs could not easily assimilate but when they came to Israel in a free state there was mass assimilation. Judaism is a religion of sacrifice from the animal, the calf, and the lamb which is from the evil inclination in the heart of the Jew and all mankind. When the Jews had their own state in the times of the Beit HaMikdash under Torah law, the Jewish people were forced to observe the commandments even if they had no feeling for their religion. There was no free choice. Desecration of the Sabbath was punishable by death. There was free choice to accept the Torah and commandments with willingness and even add to its performance through doing the commandments above the law. There was almost no assimilation. The Sanhedrin consisting of scholars controlled the country and judged the people.
There is always a desire an evil inclination in the heart of the Jew to seek an easier way in life without the sacrifice demanded by Judaism. In this way Jerbeon Ben Navat was able to trick the people to separate into two nations. He offered to the people a free state with less religious responsibilities. The people believed that they could live in a Conservative or Reformed Jewish State and survive just like living in an Orthodox environment under the Kingship of David. This was the beginning of the assimilation of ten of the tribes of Israel which were eventually lost forever. The only Jews which remain today are from the Jews who were part of the kingship of David where was the holy temple.
There was assimilation in Europe which many religious historians blame for the holocaust. However, Jews living in Europe were hated by the gentiles and even sometimes persecuted. Jews were not accepted as Jews even as secular Jews. Becoming secular was not always a way to escape the life of sacrifice which was Judaism. There was no freedom in Europe for Jews even if they would assimilate. There was no sure way of escape from the Yoke of heaven of the Torah. Jews were proud to be Jews, but their lives were often very bitter. A Jew did not want to convert to Christianity which would not be answer since Christian religion also requires sacrifice. Socialist Jewry developed in Europe which was almost Atheist which later became Communism. Torah is acquired through suffering, the next world is acquired through suffering, but who wants to suffer. People want easy life.
The Jews that came from Europe to America in the 1900s found America which offered freedom a nation under God an easy excuse to become Americans. To be an American meant also to believe in God in a modern way. America a modern society produced modern Jewry in different directions Reformed modern, conservative modern, and modern orthodox. Modern Orthodox maintained many Torah values but put their children in danger of assimilation. Many modern orthodox or traditional orthodox sent their children to America Day Schools which offered free education. In the afternoons, these children would learn in Talmud Torah until Bar Mitzva. After Bar Mitzva most of these children didn't continue their Jewish education. They grew up amongst other assimilated Jews living in America going to university becoming reformed and conservative Jews. The Modern Orthodox families which were usually parents who were Yiddish speakers sent their children to Yeshiva Day Schools not of the highest quality. The children under the pressures of their peer groups found a way to assimilate into the American society. After World War II in which many Jews fought against Hitler, their remained a Jewish conscience amongst these Jewish soldiers and most of them married Jews. They made families of modern traditional Jews without Sabbath observance. The children went to Public Schools and then to college and assimilated in the American society to be reformed Jews intermarried with other Americans.
The block of Ultra-Orthodox survived to continue authentic Judaism after the war in America and Europe. The most important factors in their survival was observance of the Sabbath and giving the children authentic Torah education. Mass assimilation occurred in America after the war. Only the Ultra-Orthodox survived and began to be fruitful and multiply in America until today that remains large populations of Orthodox Jews in many cities especially in New York. Judaism is beginning again to flourish in America like it did in Europe. There is still orthodox youth that are having difficulties sacrificing their own personal desires for Judaism. As always the main way to maintain Jewish survival is through the Shidduch which means marrying off your children orthodox. Jewish orthodox marriage protects the Jewish nation.
Most assimilation occurs while the children are single. While they are single they go away from their orthodox tradition. Then unless they return at a young age they will marry other Jews that have already assimilated. They are now either traditional or reformed. Their children grow up in traditional or reformed family life. Children without the proper guidance can very easily marry a gentile in a modern free society. The best solution is to find them a partner who is orthodox to begin to build a Jewish religious family.
The main goal of organizations which work to bring Jewish people back to their faith is to prepare them for marriage. Only through marriage can they be assured of being able to continue living in the Orthodox Jewish tradition. Jewish survival has always been of utmost importance in Judaism. Spirituality has always been of secondary importance in Judaism if not completely ignored.
Jews and all of mankind need spirituality. Each human being has an emotional need for God and the Messiah. Spirituality is music. Music brings joy and happiness to those that listen to music. Music has a calming effect and a healing effect. Chassidism has added Nigun or spiritual melodies to Judaism. Today there are many Jewish entertainers singing spiritual melodies with spiritual lyrics. With music canbe elevated the soul to the highest levels even higher than levels of intellect. The source of all music is in the Garden of Eden.
King David was reprimanded for calling Torah music. Torah is principally sacrifice. Torah is acquired through sacrifice through suffering. It is also written in Psalms, The Torah of God is perfect, it calms the soul. When King David called Torah songs he was referring to the Torah of the Garden of Eden which is also music. The study of the law which is most emphasized in Judaism is dry intellect requiring self sacrifice to acquire Torah knowledge to become a judge in the Rabbinical courts. Becoming a Talmud Chochom or Torah scholar is a goal for Jewish education. This requires many nights and days of toil in Torah study. It is hard work with a great reward.
There are schools within Judaism which are more spiritual where the goal of Torah study and devotion to God is for the sake of acquiring Love and Fear of God. Becoming a scholar is secondary. In this approach it becomes important also to study Chassidut which are the inner teaching of the Torah. In this approach is also stressed prayer even more than Torah study. Meditation is also important; to reach deep into the mind and heart to understand the deep meanings hidden within the Torah. Some Chassidim even suggest prayer in one's own language called Hitbodidut simple communication with God becoming closer to God through prayer. Amongst Chassidim music called nigun is used in prayer and at the table of their master their teacher.
Spirituality has been added to Judaism to make it more acceptable to Jews on the emotional level. Jews and all mankind need spirituality. They need the Messiah. However the mainstream in Judaism remains the way of sacrifice, toil in Torah especially the study of Torah law. Judaism has survived through the study of the Oral Torah the four steps Amot of halacha. The main joy in Jewish life is in family life. Family life in the Orthodox tradition has been the vehicle for Jewish National survival. The need for spirituality in Judaism is when there is a break in the family unit through many ways including divorce, difficulties in raising children, health problems, financial difficulties, political problems even war, etc. The Torah tries to give a straight path for Jewish life but it is not always possible. Spirituality comes to compliment Judaism but it is not Judaism. Spirituality is universal faith. Judaism is for Jews and for no one else. Therefore many Rabbinical leaders have always considered spirituality and music a threat to Jewish survival.
The world has become a small place through technology. The whole world is threatened by mass destruction like never before. Jews cannot hide from the world like in the past. They cannot claim to be separate from the world like before by turning off their radios, television and internet. Everyone are together today whether Judaism likes it or not. Judaism cannot hide from spirituality like before since the Jewish people need spirituality like the rest of the world.
The Jewish people have survived two thousand years in the diaspora through the wisdom of God which was given to Moses and the Jewish people which is the Torah. The Jewish people are a nation with a religion. Religion is not everything in life. People need livelihood, marriage and having children, self defense marital arts, sports, law and order police and army, doctors, hospitals, education and establishment of courts of justice. These are all parts of the religion of life. Religion is an important part of life as we see the Jewish people as an example. God has given religion to all of mankind in many ways through many prophets, Christianity, Muslim, Hinduism, Bhuddism. All these religions came into the world through prophets of God to give mankind religion. There are many religions to reveal the deepest secret of God; that even though God is revealed in many ways through his prophets and religions God can never be known. You can know that there is God; but God himself you cannot know.
In spirituality there is music. As many musical tunes have been created by musicians which are until infinity; so is God infinite. Music is an important part of truth especially the music called Nigun which were wr
itten by men of God to reveal spirituality. Just like God has an unlimited number of names which are his attributes; there are an unlimited number of musical tunes which open the soul. Song and music are an important part of spirituality and the religion of life. They were part of Judaism in the times of the temple; the psalms of David are also called songs. Essentially Judaism consists of laws and commandments today called the Shulcan Aruch which was essential for the survival of the Jewish people in the diaspora, but the essence of life is revealed through spirituality and through music. Spirituality and music are part of the inner essence of God. The law is his external essence.
Survival is not everything in life and in Judaism. There is also joy and happiness which is the melody that emanates from within, the song of God as it says in Psalms, "Sing for me a new song." There is always a new song to sing to add to all the other songs of life, which means there is always a new beginning. Judaism becomes older each year as the Jewish people continue to survive as a nation. There is also a universal light in the religion of life which is spirituality and music which Judaism cannot deny. Moses recognized this truth and added to the Torah in the book of Deuteronomy a Song. The Jews and a song when the Red Sea was split. King David sang many songs which are his psalms. However, there is a difference between spirituality and religion which is the law. The law is for the sake of survival; song is for joy and happiness. These are two parts of life but first comes survival. This is the law of life.
If Judaism claims to be the only way of life and that Moses is the only prophet, it is for the sake of Jewish Survival in the diaspora but it contradicts music and spirituality which spreads out to no end. Prophecy may have died out in Judaism after the destruction of the first holy temple, but not completely and it will never die out completely.
Spirituality and Religion in Judaism
I n the beginning of Chassidism immediately the Baal Shem Tov received opposition from the established religious authorities of his generation. The opposition to the Baal Shem Tov and Chassidism was opposition to the coming of Moshiach of spirituality. The Baal Shem Tov and Chassidism came to reveal the Moshiach of spirituality. The misnagdim or opponents of the Baal Shem saw that the revelation and the coming of the Moshiach would be against the fundamental teachings in Judaism and against the concept of the coming of Moshiach of the Oral Torah as described by Rambam in the Laws of Kings. Baal Shem had a dream in which he went up into heaven. He found the Moshiach in heaven and asked him "When will you come?" The Moshiach answered him, "When the wellsprings of Torah will be spread outward and each person will be able to know to make the unity of God on earth like you." The Baal Shem Tov knew the secret of the coming of the Moshiach and went out on a mission to reveal it to the whole world.
Chassidism is a new movement in Judaism. The founder of Chassidism was Rabbi Yisrael Shem Tov who lived from the year 1700 - 1760 in the Ukraine. The Baal Shem Tov had children and students. From his children mostly his daughter Adel and his best students came Chassidic dynasties.
Each Chassidic Dynasty has a leader who is called Admor to mean our master, our teacher, our leader. Within the Chassidic group there are the Chassidim the followers and the Admor. The Admor of a Chassidic group is considered by his followers to be like a King. The Chassidic group is a Kingship.
In effect as Chassidism developed also developed various kingships within the Jewish religious nation. The Admor is chosen from the family members of his descendents. The followers his Chassidim have the choice to appoint the oldest son as their leader or it may be another child with exceptional learning and talents. In this way the Chassidic dynasty can branch out into two or more groups when there is a controversy who should be the next leader. It is preferred to appoint one successor but this has not always been possible.
In this way after the death of the Baal Shem Tov was formed two major dynasties from his first born grandson Rebbe Baruch of Mezibush and his chief Talmud the Magid of Meziruch. As the family tree developed through marriage the Tree of Chassidic dynasties grew wider even until today.
A new development in Chassidism came when two major dynasties did not appoint followers but maintained their previous Admor as their leader forever. These two groups are Breslov and Chabad Chassidism.
The appointing of a successor to become the leader of a Chassidic dynasty follows the guidance of the Torah which advises to choose the new Rebbe from the closest relatives preferably a son or son-in-law. However if one of the younger children are considered to be more worthy sometimes is chosen the younger son over the older son. If the Rebbe has a brother which is worthy, the brother is often chosen by the Chassidim. The choice of the new Rebbe is left to the Chassidim. There are cases when there is a split within the Chassidim who should be chosen. In these cases very often the dynasty is split in two parts. In this way the dynasty continues and grows from one generation to the other.
A special soul can also become a Chassidic Rebbe if Hashem chooses. This special soul through his unique abilities and Torah learning attracts many students until he already has begun a dynasty. Every Jew is a descendant of Abraham, Yitchok and Jacob and has lineage. All the Chasssidic Rebbes are part of the eternal soul of Moshe Rabbeinu. In effect in Chassidism Moshe Rabbeinu is the general soul of all Chassidic dynasties. All Chassidic dynasties have a connection to the Baal Shem and to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai and the Zohar.
Chassidism places a greater emphasis on the Zohar before Sifrei Arizal. The Zohar teaches that Moshe Rabbeinu is the general soul of all Jews. Every Jew has a part in the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu especially the Tzaddikim. The Arizal places less of an emphasis on the connection to Moshe Rabbeinu and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. Therefore Sefardic Kabballa does not give the same reverence to their leader or Rosh Yeshiva like the Chassidim give reverence to their Rebbe. They do not call their leader Admor but call him Chochom, wise man. The same is true of Litvish Bnei Torah. Their leader is called Rosh Yeshiva.
Opponents to Chassidism objected to the way the Chassidim make their leader like a Godhead. They consider their leader to be the representative of Moshe Rabbeinu in the generation. In this way the soul of Moshe Rabbeinu spreads out throughout Chassidism. The objection is not only that the Chassidim make their Rebbe like a Godhead Admor but also they have made Moshe Rabbeinu a living figure in Judaism which was not done in previous generations. Not only Moshe Rabbeinu has become in Chassidism a living figure but reverence in Chassidism is given to the Tzaddikim after their death. Their graves have become places of worship. This reverence to the graves of the Tzaddikim was only given in the past to the graves of the Patriarchs in Chevron.
Chassidism has taken many of its new customs from the Zohar. There are parts of the Zohar which contradict the way of learning which Judaism has received from the Rishonim who are the authorities in Judaism on Halacha. Chassidism conflicts with the Halacha of Rambam in the concept of intermediates. Rambam is very strict about not making any intermediate between God and the Jewish people except for the Torah. Chassidism and the members of Chassidic dynasties revere their teacher the Rebbe and connect their prayers and service of God to their Rebbe like Jews connect their prayers to the Torah, the Kotel and the graves of the patriarchs. The problem with this approach is that it makes the Tzaddik an intermediate between the Chassidim and God which means his spiritual aura or radiance becomes crucial in service of God. In Chassidism is emphasized that man is created in the image of God. The image of God is especially revered by Tzaddikim. Opponents to Chassidism object to giving reverence to the image of God which is revealed by Tzaddikim. The way of Judaism is to pray to God without an intermediate and without any form or image.
The Zohar introduced the concept of ten sepherot which are spiritual emanations in the form of man. In Tikunei Zohar Elijah the prophet reveals the ten sephirot in three lines right, left and middle which are two arms two legs right and left, and in the middle the body, head, heart and foundation. Man was created in the image of God which is revealed by God's holy name YHVH. The ten sephirot are related to God's holy name of four letters which are the Yud - Wisdom, first letter Hai - Understanding, Vav - Six sephirot called Zeir Anpin, final Hai - Malcut or kingship. Fundamental Judaism does not relate to the name of God of four letters YHVH but relates to the name of God as spoken ADNY Adonoi which is translated as Lord. The Rambam does not make a distinction between these two names ADNY and YHVH. There is opposition to calling Chassidic leader Admor which gives them the reverence of the divine name of God ADNY which means Lord. Fundamental Judaism looks to God as one and undivided. The Zohar and Chassidism recognizes different levels of spirituality beginning with the highest level which is God himself that is unknowable corresponding to the crown on the name of God called Kether. God has many different names each name is another intermediate between God and the Jew. Each word of Torah and each mitzva is an intermediate between God and the Jew. The Rebbe is also a connection between the Chassidim and God.
Fundamentally Judaism is against an intermediate. The Zohar opened up concepts within Judaism which were against the known and established Halacha. In effect Chassidism was changing the Torah which can never to changed. One of the thirteen attributes of faith of Rambam is that the Torah can never be changed. The Chochomim could not reject the authenticity of the Zohar. There were in the Zohar interwoven contradictions with practical Judaism. The Arizal found a way to make the Zohar acceptable that it would not contradict with Halacha and Hashkafa. He separated God from his name as if to teach that God has no name. In the Torah of the Arizal God is separated from his creation by a Chalal an empty space. According to the Arizal the name of God and the ten sephirot are revealed in creation but were not existent before creation. In this way the new Torah of the Zohar was accepted without contradiction to Judaism of the past when interpreting the Zohar according to the Arizal. Sephardim have a strict tradition to learn only according to the teachings of the Arizal and not from the Zohar directly. The Vilna Gaon opponents to Chassidism accepted and learned the Zohar in this way according to the interpretation of the Arizal. Chassidim could not reject the learning of the Zohar in its pure form including the Zohar concept of Moshiach. Chassidism could not accept that God and his name are separate as if to say that the name of God was created which contradicts the prayer recited every morning "You God was here before the creation, and after the creation forever. Sanctify your name in the world." The name of God is emphasized throughout Psalms and even in the blessings recited before Torah learning "we all know your name and learn your Torah for the sake of your name." In this way the name of God is also used as an intermediate in Judaism from the time of the Beit HaMikdash. The Zohar comes from the Idra where Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai announces before his chosen students a passage from Psalms 119: "Make time for God and his name, take a break from Torah." The study of God and his name becomes a separate Torah from the Torah of the study of the law. According to the Zohar, God created the world to reveal his name on earth which is the ten sepherot and the Torah. The Torah existed before creation and God's name is eternal like him.
The Oral Torah and the written Torah conflict in their approach toward worship to God. The written Torah contains the name of God of four letters YHVH including other names. The Zohar comments on the meaning of these names in reference to creation. In the written Torah there is the Garden of Eden, the home of Adam and Eve. The Oral Torah makes no distinction between name of God; they are all called in the name ADNY. In the Oral Torah there is no concept of returning to the Garden of Eden after correcting the sin of eating from the tree of knowledge. The Zohar speaks about returning to the Garden of Eden as a part of redemption. Redemption in the Oral Torah is returning the Shechina to Zion and the independence of the nation of Israel. There is no spiritual revelation in the Oral Torah.
The written Torah brings a conflict between Joseph and his brothers which was so severe that the brothers of Joseph wanted to kill him. The Zohar speaks about two Moshiach the Moshiach the son of David and the Moshiach the son of Joseph. It says that they are two kings. The Misnagdim opposed a concept of two kings, two Moshiach. The Oral Torah does not include any other nation other than the nation of Israel ruled according to the Oral law. Changing the law was punishable by death. Any other philosophy or spiritual movement was considered treason. The written law was considered of secondary importance to the Oral law even though its secrets were revered like it says, "the secrets are for the Lord our God, the revealed law the Oral law is for us and our children." A person who revealed secrets of Torah was considered like a peddler like it says, "A peddler reveals secrets."
During the times of the second temple there was a movement called Tzodokim which considered the Written law of more importance than the Oral law. The Tzodokim gained power in the nation for a short period. The Sanhedrin called the Perushim continued to rule the nation until its destruction. Jewish law continues according to the Men of the General Assembly and the Sanhedrin. However, the importance of the Written law cannot be ignored. The truth of the Zohar cannot be ignored. Prophecy ended during the period of the second temple. Study of the law was praised above prophecy like it says, "Talmud Chochim is greater than a prophet."
Jewish religion is according to the Oral law and not the written law. The Oral law gives the specifics of the written law. The Zohar supports more the written law than the Oral law especially in its concept of redemption returning to the Garden of Eden. The Zohar emphasizes unity of God to include both the Oral and written laws Shma Yisrael and Baruch Shem which are called the upper and lower unities. The written law includes in it spirituality. It includes in it spiritual redemption and spiritual pleasure. The Messianic dream of Unity of God on earth takes secondary importance to Jewish Unity in the Oral Torah. The picture of the world described by Rambam in the times of Moshiach is for the Nation of Israel to regain its independence in the world in a way that the whole world will depend upon the Jews for spirituality. There will be no other religions in the world except for Judaism. The world will return to the way it existed in the time when King Solomon built the Beit Hamikdash. Jewish law will be the law of the world. The Oral law is pure Zionism. In the Oral law there is no other prophecy except for Torat Moshe. The other prophets like Mohammed and Jesus are called false prophets.
Judaism has branched into different schools. There is the old Judaism without spirituality from before the Zohar. There is Chassidism which has accepted the Zohar. There is Sephardic heritage which goes according to the Beit Yosef, the Shulcan Aruch and according to the Arizal. All of these schools support the Oral law, that it cannot be changed. Even Chabad which is the most Messianic of the Chassidic movements, claims that their way is according to the Oral Torah which has not changed it. Chabad accepts the Oral Torah and learns Mishna Torah of the Rambam. No Chassidic group today rejects the Oral Torah and claims that it has been changed. They only claim that it has been interpreted differently. However, the opposition called Misnagdim cannot deny that Chassidism has adopted the worship of God with an intermediate. Chassidism justifies their approach that intermediate is permitted by the Oral Torah in the way it is done in Chassidism. The emphasis on Tzaddikim began with Chassidism. Today it has become an important part of Judaism.
In essence today there is Judaism which uses an intermediate which is connected to the name of God and Judaism which prays to God without his name as the Lord Adonoi. The Arizal in his works supports both ways of worship. He does not God forbid reject the Zohar but supports also the traditional form of worship taught according to the Oral Law using the Kabballa to strengthen the faith of the people in traditional Judaism. He shows intellectually that also in the Oral Law is Kabballa, sephirot, and a revelation of levels of spirituality according to the names of God. Each name is another revelation of spirituality. The difference between these two approaches to worship is whether before creation the name of God was with God and can be used to know God and grow close to God. According to the approach of the Oral law, we cannot know God even partially; God is always unknown. According to the Zohar, the names of God bring light to know God and grow close to God which is the way adopted by the Baal Shem Tov. The Baal Shem Tov emphasized Love of God. The Oral Torah emphasizes fear of God. Our sages teach that "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom." For sure before you can love God and know God first must be learned the fear of God. In this way the Oral law precedes the written law and the Kabballa. However at some point in the Jews life he should begin to learn the secrets of the Torah.
The Baal Shem Tov worked to bring spirituality back to Judaism. There is a difference between religion and spirituality. The Jewish people living in the wilderness after receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai experienced spirituality on the highest levels. Food was given to them from heaven called Manna, their clothing didn't wither all the forty years in the wilderness, a cloud of glory followed along with them in their journeys. They had the experience of spiritual freedom. When they entered into the land of Israel they had to give up the spiritual freedom they experienced in the wilderness, to serve God according to the law of Moses. In the wilderness they experienced spirituality; in Israel they left the life of spiritual freedom to adopt Jewish religious life. Religion is accepted blindly. Spirituality is acquired through experience which is a gift from God. Judaism continued uniting spirituality with religion in the beginning at the time of Judges and during the time of the first temple when there was still prophecy. The Zohar comments on Psalms of David which relate spiritual revelations and unities. King Solomon relates spiritual unities in his book Song of Songs and in Psalms especially Psalms 120- 135. The spirituality was lost with the power of prophecy which comes along with it. In the time of the second temple there was no longer prophecy and the spirituality of the generation of the wilderness was lost and forgotten. There remained religion without spirituality. The Jews depended on blind faith in the Torah alone without knowledge of the secrets of the Torah. There remained only the four Amots called steps of Halacha Jewish law with Medrashim. There was the Tanach, Torah Prophets and other writings called Ketuvin and the faith in the coming of the Moshiach.
The Zohar which was written after the destruction of the second temple contained Judaism with spirituality. The Zohar spoke of the eternal lives of Moses and the prophets. It spoke about two Moshiach, uniting spirituality with religion. The Arizal revealed in his works on Kabballa that Judaism is rich with spirituality even though it is not the main part of Judaism. The main part of Judaism is to observe the commandments of God with blind faith. The Rishonim like Rambam since they did not have the Zohar were not aware of many important aspects of the Torah and spirituality. During the second temple, spirituality was condemned in Judaism and forbidden in the Jewish nation. Spirituality connected to Mercava the holy chariot was considered dangerous to practice. The desires of the nation for spirituality was suppressed by the Sanhedrin. The people practicing or preaching these spiritual values were called heretics. After the destruction of the second temple, Judaism continued without spirituality on learning and practicing Jewish law which was recorded in the Talmud. The situation became so bad, that spirituality was considered to be idolatry, witchcraft, desecration of God and the Torah.
If Baal Shem Tov lived in the time of the second Beit Hamikdash he would be called a heretic. The opponents of Chassidism continued the tradition of the second temple period when the Perushim were fighting the Tzadokim for power over the nation. Chassidism had to modify its approach toward Judaism. It could not maintain the spirituality which was taught by the Baal Shem Tov. It branched out into various dynasities until today when through Chabad Chassidism has been revealed the Moshiach. The Moshiach revealed by Chabad Chassidism is not exactly the Moshiach described by the Rambam in his laws of Kings. The major difference is whether to consider that the Rebbe of Chabad Melech Hamoshiach in the last generation has died or continues to live until is revealed the Beit Hamikdash in the end of times. The two Moshiach of Chassidism, the Moshiach of Chabad and the Moshiach of Breslov Na Nac movement reveal in them the two aspects of Moshiach of spirituality, Moshiach Ben Yosef and the Moshiach Ben David. The difference between them is that Chabad relates to the Rebbe as never having died like Eliyahu the prophet. Breslov relates to Rebbe Nachman in his grave in Uman and through the letter given to his student Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odesssa revealing his resurrection.
The two Moshiach descended from Baal Shem Tov and Chassidism were revealed in the same generation. Most of the religious leaders reject them as the true coming based on the contradiction to the laws of Rambam about the coming of Moshiach. They are not the Moshiach of the Jewish religion without spirituality. They are the coming of the Moshiach of the Jewish religion with spirituality. In spirituality there are two sides to Moshiach justice and mercy. Justice and mercy are separate until they are united. After the two Moshiach have been revealed it is left for each Jew to receive them and unite them with the world until is fulfilled the prophecies, In this day God will be one and his name will be one."
Fundamental Judaism which is taught by Ramban rejects spirituality, spiritual redemption and spiritual freedom. The Rambam considers Judaism the only valid religion in the world. The redemption of the Rambam will have to erase two thousand years of history in which developed Christianity and Islamic faith. According to Rambam Judaism cannot exist peacefully together with Christianity since he calls Christianity idolatry. The Islamic faith will not accept Judaism as the religion of the nation of God. Those that accept the law of the Rambam as authentic Torah law cannot join together in the movement of One World Religion. In the same way the Protestants will not join the movement for One World Religion since they claim to be the only way to God and reject all other religions except for Christianity. ISIS the Islamic State is trying to conquer the world in the name of Allah and Mohammed.
Judaism with the Moshiach of spirituality can unite with the rest of the world in the movement for One God, One World, One Religion, World Unity and Peace. Judaism without the Moshiach is at war with the world, the same type of war that existed between the Misnagdim and Chassidim in the time of the Baal Shem Tov and still exists today as long as they have not yet received the two Moshiach of the previous generation of Chabad and Breslov.
The Lubavicher Rebbe said that the next step toward the redemption is to receive the Moshiach. The Rebbe did not say clearly if he was the Moshiach but his Chassidim accepted his words to mean the Rebbe. On the other side, Breslov supporters of Rabbi Yisrael Ber made the same claim about Rebbe Nachman. In spirituality only God is one, and not the Moshiach, the Torah, or any nation. In Spirituality there can be peace. In religion where each religion claims to be the only true way, there is war and conflict without peace. This is the difference between religion and spirituality.
Religion is important especially in education of children to keep their families separate and united in one way. The fear of God comes before all wisdom. Spirituality is part of adult education in Judaism and in all other religions. From Spirituality comes Love of God and Peace.
Practical Kabballa and Spirituality
In Judaism there are two levels of Kabballa which are Kabballa of the Arizal and the Zohar. The difference between them is in their level of spirituality.
There are different levels of truth. Each level of truth has a foundation of intellect which is in Chabad Wisdom Understanding and Knowledge. Each level of truth has its own purpose in Judaism.
Moses gave to Am Yisrael two Torah the written Torah the five books of Moses and the Oral Torah. About the written Torah Am Yisrael was instructed to do and to understand. About the Oral Torah Am Yisrael agreed to do without questioning with blind faith. Both the Written and Oral Torah are the Torah of the living God. They are both truth but on different levels.
The highest levels of spirituality and truth are part of the Messianic dream which has still not been revealed. Isaiah the prophet speaks beautifully about the Messianic age when there will be peace between the Lion and the lamb. The whole world will be filled with the glory of God.
Another aspect of the coming of the Messiah which Am Yisrael prays for each day is that the glory of God should return to Israel like in the days of old. These prayers were instituted by the Men of the great Asembly who represented the Nation of Israel. They saw that the nation needed the help of God to return to its previous level of glory at the time of King Solomon. The Men of the Great Assembly were knowledgeable in Torah law. There was also amongst them prophets, the last prophets of Israel.
The Messianic age which Isaiah is speaking about is different then the Messianic age which the Men of the Great Assembly instituted prayers for the coming of the Moshiach "it should sprout forth your servant David soon." Isaiah is talking about a change in the world; the men of the great assembly are speaking about a change and reestablishment of the State of Israel at the end of times and the rebuilding of the holy temple.
In the coming of the Messiah there is the National dream of the coming of the Moshiach, and the coming of Universal enlightenment. Nowhere in the prayers of Am Yisrael is mentioned the coming of a Universal enlightenment World Unity and Peace as prophesized by Isaiah only the rebuilding of the Nation of Israel and Jerusalem.
The Arizal gave a Kabballistic explanation for the coming of the Moshiach which the Jewish people pray for three times each day. The Zohar gives the way of the coming of the Moshiach in the prophesy of Isaiah which stretches out bring peace to the whole world. These two redemptions are the redemption of the Oral Torah and the redemption of the Written Torah.
The Oral Torah is the doctrine of classic Judaism. The Oral Torah separates the Jewish people and their nation from the rest of the world. In the Oral Torah the Jewish people and their nation are the only true representatives of God on earth. In the Oral Torah the center of the world is Jerusalem and the only religion is Judaism. The gentiles are obligated in the Oral Torah to fulfill seven commandments while the Jewish people have been commanded in 613 commandments. The written Torah is much broader; it gives the children of Adam equal importance to the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The written Torah was given to the Jewish people with the Oral Torah. They are two philosophies which complement each other. The Oral Torah is more practical and also more pessimistic. The philosopyof the Oral Torah negates the possibility that mankind can reach the level of perfection in the prophecy of Isaiah. The Written Torah is more idealistic and its messianic dream is supernatural. Rambam claims that the nature of the world will not change. His Messianic dream is for the establishment of the State of Israel as a Torah State as the primary purpose of Moshiach a goal reachable in life.
Judaism has in it two redemptions national and spiritual which are explained in the Kabballa in two different ways. The Arizal gives the explanation of the redemption of the Oral Torah. In this explanation he describes the creation of the world. In the middle of the creation of the world, there was a breaking of spiritual vessels. God wanted to create a perfect world which would be revealed in the end of time. As a result of the breaking of the vessels, the higher level of spirituality could not be revealed which is the level of Abba or father. Moses had to break the first tablets with the Ten Commandments written by the hand of God. Instead he substituted the second set of tablets which were on the lower spiritual level of Imma, mother. These two lights of spirituality Abba and Imma still exist, so there is the possibility of two redemptions a spiritual conflict in the world.
The Arizal actually explained why Judaism is less spiritual than Christianity. Christianity preaches mercy and justice for all of mankind, peace between all people the highest idealistic values. The Arizal was justifying the Jewish approach which is less idealistic because the idealism of Christianity just does not work due to the imperfection in creation of the world caused by the breaking of the vessels. Jews were told by their religious leaders not to accept Christianity and to maintain their way of service according to the Oral Torah even though the prophets spoke about a new covenant and a higher truth. Moses the prophet of truth gave two laws, a practical teaching for the Jewish nation and a more idealistic philosophy in the Written Torah and the prophets. Moses instructed the Jewish people not to change their approach and to continue according to the Oral Torah. Even Moses could not guarantee success and fulfillment of these wonderful miraculous changes in a world full of sin. Therefore the Jewish people have two approaches toward the coming of the Moshiach, the redemption of the nation of Israel and the redemption of the whole world. The approach of Judaism continues without change but the hope in the Messiah of Peace continues to be important which means fulfillment of the prophecies of Isaiah.
When the Zohar was revealed, it gave hope in the redemption according to Isaiah. The redemption of the Zohar is different than the redemption which Jews pray for each day. The redemption of the Zohar is for the sake of World Unity and Peace. The redemption which Jews pray for each day is for rebuilding the nation of the Jewish people in their homeland as an independent nation living by Torah law. The Arizal taught his Kabballa at the time of the inquisition when Christians were forcing Jews to convert to Christianity. The Arizal explained through his Kabballa why Jews should not accept Christianity and continue to live according to the Law of Moses. He also explained the great deepness within Torah law giving Kabbalistic meaning to Torah observance.
The Arizal was actually showing that the Zohar was not a Christian document as it might appear on the surface since it is preaching two Messiahs the Messiah the son of Joseph and the Messiah the son of David. The Zohar showed the way to the higher spiritual values revealed through the prophecies of Issaih, Jerimiah, Ezekiel and other prophets of peace. The way to accomplish these goals is through establishing two approaches to Judaism, according to his Kabballa and according to another Kabballa way which would be later established by the Baal Shem Tov, Chassidism. Both way of Kabballa are part of the Zohar, and part of the Written Torah. They are called the way of Rachel and the way of Leah, the two Jewish mothers.
Even Moses did was not sure if the accomplishment of both redemptions was possible. Through the Oral Torah he gave the solution for the survival of the Jewish people throughout the 6000 years of creation. Through the written Torah he gave the world a goal of World Unity and Peace, the highest ideals of humanity and Godliness. However he advised the Jewish people not to sacrifice their national hopes for these ideals and to continue Judaism forever.
The Jewish people forever have a conflict between spiritual ideologies Jewish Unity and World Unity and Peace. Every Jew would love for there to be peace in the world as described by Isaiah and to be part of the world of peace and unity with God. However Moses and the Arizal have advised the Jewish people not to sacrifice their religion and Jewish unity for these goals of peace and spirituality.
The way of the Arizal is to continue to work for the redemption of the Jewish Nation as established by the Men of the Great Assembly. The Zohar presents another plan with two Messiahs and the resurrection of Moses. However the redemption of Isaiah requires the world to accept the two Messiahs and the resurrection of Moses before the third world war which will be a nuclear war.
Jews have the way of Rachel and the way of Leah. In the way of Rachel which is the way of the Oral law the Jews are all alone in the world. However, the Jewish people in the way of Rachel remain a nation forever. In the way of Leah which is the Written law, there is more hope for the world which includes the Jewish people, but at the same time the strength of the nation is weakened. On one side is tears the side of Rachel because eventually will come destruction and death, on the other side is joy for there is always hope and spiritual redemption. Jews have to sacrifice for their nation to be Jews but not at the sake of their spirituality and the hope of World Unity and Peace.
The Arizal in his interpretation of the Kabballa and Creation of the World has in effect given the Jewish people permission to fight for survival which is Practical Kabballa. At the same time the Arizal gave credit to the mystical philosophical approach of the Zohar as a second spiritual approach for Jews and all of mankind toward preventing a third world war and bringing to the world a new spiritual revolution. The Baal Shem Tov taught that the main obstacle toward World Unity and Peace are the people of the world who have completely have given up faith in the One God. This is the Amalek of today the spiritual void which has struck the world in the twentieth century.
Judaism has failed to accept change especially in the last generation when was revealed the two Messiahs of the Jewish faith descended from Chassidism and Baal Shem Tov who are from the Lubavitch and Breslov Chassidic dynasties. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson the seventh generation of Chabad Chassidism chose to reveal himself as the Messiah the son of David with the help of Chassidim his brave followers. At the same time amongst Breslov Chassidism was revealed Rabbi Nachman to be the Messiah the son of David of the Jewish people. Today the two groups continue into the future generation believing in their leader as the Messiah. Rabbi Nachman lived 200 years before the Lubavitcher Rebbe. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe revealed himself at the end of his life as the Messiah, at the same time Rebbe Nachman was revealed as the Messiah by his main disciple Rabbi Odessa. The two Messiahs of Judaism were prophesized by Moses in the inner meaning of the commandment of wearing fringed garments called Tziztis. There are two colored threads which are interwoven on a four corner garment a three white threads and a blue thread to represent the two Messiahs in Judaism who have brought the Torah to the world.
Judaism and Kabballa have taken two approaches toward worship Messianic and Non-Messianic. Non-Messianic is National Zionist Judaism and Messianic is connected to the prophecy of Isaiah. Both approaches have substantiation in the Kabballa by the Arizal and the Zohar. Jews have to live with this conflict in philosophies. They were given two Torahs by Moshe Rabbeinu which also conflict in their approach in many ways. The main problem is intolerance to the other side. About intolerance the Arizal who took one side as we have discussed, also described the root of the problem is that each way claims to be the only way in his language, "I am king." Only God is king and none else.
Progressive Spiritual Zionism
Judaism cannot be separated from Zionism. Judaism is Zionism and Zionism is Judaism. God gave the land of Israel to the Jewish people. The whole story of Exodus in the Bible tells how the Jewish people were freed from slavery in Egypt and after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness entered into the Land of Israel. Moses brought the Jewish people to the Jordan River. Joshua brought the Jewish people into Israel. The generation of the wilderness Moses, Aaron, Miriam and those that went out of Egypt did not enter into Israel. Their children entered into the land.
Living in the wilderness was described in the Torah as a life of spiritual bliss and euphoria with several disturbances on the way. The people who entered the land had to conquer the land of Israel. There was no longer a place for spiritual bliss and freedom for Jews that entered into Israel. Joshua was the first Zionist leader. His mission was to destroy all idol worship in the land of Israel and establish the Monotheistic State according to the Law of Moses.
The Law of Israel called the Oral law is true Zionist. The Oral law is the interpretation of the written law which is the five books of Moses. The State of Israel according to the Bible law is a Zionist Jewish State. Only Jews and religious Jews are citizens of the country. Non-observant Jews lose their right of citizenship which means to be part of the Congregation of God. Gentiles living in the Biblical State of Israel as slaves or residents did not have equal rights as Jews.
According to Jewish religion based upon the Oral law, the Jewish people are the only true representatives of God on earth. God gave them as his representative the right to conquer the nations living in Israel. God commanded the Jewish people to build the State of Israel including to build the holy temple in Jerusalem. Jewish religion prohibits inter-marriage. Gentiles except for slaves are prohibited to learn and practice the Jewish religion. Judaism is for Jews alone except for converts that make an orthodox conversion which is quite difficult.
Jews have lived for the last two thousand years considering themselves as the only nation of God on earth and the chosen people of God. Even though they have been thrown out of their homeland after the destruction of the holy temple and the conquest of the nation by the Romans, they plan to return to their homeland and to rebuild the nation with the Holy temple. They prayer for the return to Zion three times a day in congregational prayer. Judaism does not consider that there are other religions in the world that have validity. They reject Mohammed and Jesus as true prophets. They are waiting for a Zionist Messiah to be their leader to bring them back to the homeland and reestablish their kingship with the Messiah as their king. Judaism is Zionism and Zionism is Judaism.
Modern Zionism is secular and not religious. Religious Zionism is the movement to build a religious state governed according to the Torah law, the Torah nation which was a Kingship. The Torah gave special rights and power to the King, the Congress was a body of sages that met in the Holy temple. Israel was a police state to enforce the Torah law with a strong army to fight its enemies. In this way it existed for over 800 years. The temple was an essential part of the State. When the first temple was destroyed and the people were exiled to Babylon; it became necessary to rebuild the temple when they returned to their homeland after seventy years of exile. The second temple was built by Ezra the scribe; the first temple was built by King Solomon the son of King David. The secular state of Israel today recognizes other religions that settled in Israel during the exile and gives each person Freedom to be religious or not. The secular state gives the Orthodox Rabbinical leadership control of marriage, divorce and conversion. Sabbath and the Jewish holidays are accepted according to tradition. These days are National holidays.
The Zionist religious state prohibited all types of worship except for Judaism and even prohibited building altars and places of prayer outside Jerusalem. Rambam who wrote a book on Jewish law including the laws at the time of the Holy temple and nation considers Christianity idolatry which means not acceptable to build churches in Israel. Mosques and Muslim worship are not considered idolatry. In a Zionist State Judaism is the only accepted religion but perhaps Mosques can be acceptable. This is a big problem in the twentieth century when one half the world have accepted Christianity.
Fundamental Orthodox Judaism will never accept Christianity. The same laws which existed in the times of the temple are believed by fundamental orthodox to be valid today. According to Rambam, Jesus Christ was sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin. Whatever he preached at that time was against the Jewish law of the nation of Israel. Jewish law of the nation of Israel prohibits all reform religious movements within the State. People that preach reform or progressive Judaism can be sentenced to death according to the law. Rambam the leading authority on Jewish law says that the law has not been changed. According to Rambam it is forbidden to change the law even for a prophet or man of God. Rambam is a classic Zionist in his approach toward Jewish law when the Moshiach will arrive. The Moshiach of Rambam is a Zionist Jew from the house of David who will battle against all changes to Jewish law and against all the nations of the world which prevent the establishment of the Zionist State.
The Israel secular state is not accepted by Ultra Orthodox because it is not governed by Torah law. Even if it was governed by Torah law it would not be sufficient for Ultra Orthodox because they have not accepted the Moshiach. They are still waiting for the Moshiach. However, they do not want Moshiach to bring a State with freedom of religion but to restore the Monarchy which was a dictatorship. Ultra Orthodox do not consider themselves Zionist but they are even more Zionist then the secular. The difference between secular Zionist and Ultra Orthodox Zionism is that the Ultra Orthodox are waiting for Moshiach to build the Zionist State which they believe has not happened. They claim Moshiach has still not come. The Zionist Religious Jews called National Religious Jews accept the nation of Israel even though Moshiach has not yet come. They believe that God has built the State of Israel and that eventually it will be transformed into the Zionist Religious State of the Torah. They believe that the land has to be conquered again like before in the times of Joshua and King David. They accept the Torah law of the Nation to be the Oral Law of Moses like was in the times of the temple. Therefore they also are against freedom of faith and consider Christianity to be idolatry. They believe that the temple should be rebuilt as soon as possible. The Ultra Orthodox are against conquering the land by force and also against building the temple by force. Rambam preaches the importance of rebuilding the temple even for a short period of time. Many prophets were against conquering the land by force like it says in Zercharia, "not by force or soldiers but by Spirituality.
The secular State was conquered by force which the ultra- orthodox condemned at the time. The religious Zionists fought in the war for independence and they continue to fight in the Israel Army. The Ultra-Orthodox do everything to avoid military service. Even Rambam teaches that Jews can live anywhere in the world today and are not obligated to live in Israel. Therefore those Jews which do not want to fight in the army can live outside Israel if they have other citizenships. Many Jews especially Sephardic Jews have only Israel citizenship since they were removed from their homes in land surrounding Israel during the conflict over the State. Sephardic Jewry is divided between Ultra orthodox, modern orthodox and traditional orthodox. Modern orthodox Sephardic and traditional find no problem with military service. Sephardic come from a heritage which has less assimilation than Ashkenazi since they lived amongst Muslims who were less interested in assimilation with Jews.
Freedom has its positives and negatives. Zionism of the Torah is without freedom. Secular Zionism is with freedom. Freedom can be abused to cause desecration of Jewish tradition such as in dress. Ultra Orthodox object to the leniencies in dress given by the Jewish State. They also object to Sabbath desecration even though there are laws allowing Jews to rest of the Sabbath. Secular education often completely ignores Jewish heritage issues in Jewish history, and only teach modern secular Zionist philosophies. The good part of freedom is that Jews from all backgrounds can live together in one State without civil wars. The Old Jewish nation had a history of civil wars beginning before the establishment of the state and during the establishment of the kingship. Later on there were religious wars over religious issues between Tzadoki and Perushi. Ten tribes separated from the State in the end of the reign of Solomon. The strictness of the government of the Old State caused civil war. A secular free state which is a democracy like exists today can unite all people in Israel which want to be part of the state. It even gives rights to Jews living in Israel that are against the State. At the same time it has no problems with Christians living in Israel. The Muslims threaten the existence of the State from within and from without which is a political problem for Jews and not a religious war like they make it.
The Ultra Orthodox have their hands tied to the Torah law which prevents them from admitting that they enjoy freedom. They were commanded by Moses in entering into Israel to surrender their freedom that they had in the wilderness. They can even fight against a free state of Israel if they had the power and might. The secular state is progressive in that it has reformed the laws of the state of Israel at the time of the temple. Secular Jews are Zionist today not because there religion teaches Zionism but because they need a homeland for survival. Survival was always the main issue in Jewish history. Judaism of the past suppressed spirituality because spirituality was a danger to Zionism. The generation of the wilderness including Moses, and Aaron lived on a higher spiritual plain then did Jews entering into the land. Only Jews whose purpose was National survival were permitted to enter the land with Joshua and fight for its independence. Jesus Christ was spiritual and the Sanhedrin felt he was a threat to the survival of the Jewish nation, so they sentenced him to death. They were right from the standpoint of religious nationalists because later on came a new reformed movement which took from the population many Jews and caused assimilation throughout the ages.
Today secular Jews are more interested in survival of the nation than its religion. A free state is more is acceptable in today's world which is good for the nation. Zionism has not really changed. Zionism is Jewish National interest. Only the approach toward Zionism has changed. Zionism thinks about what best for the nation and best for Jews living in the country. Zionism was always against spirituality. Today it is also non-religious. However, that fact that there is freedom of religion gives the potential for the nation of Israel and the people of Israel to reach higher spiritual levels than it ever reached in its history from the day Joshua entered into the land. Therefore Progressive Jewish spirituality the spiritual revolution which began in Israel from the time of the discovery of the Zohar about eight hundred years ago until today can live and survive in the State of Israel even though it is secular when it the State of Israel of the past the movement of progressive spiritual was suppressed until remained in Judaism just the four steps of Halacha. The Oral law which was the constitution of the Kingship of Israel was against spirituality even though our forefathers that dwelled in the wilderness forty years lived spiritually with spiritual freedom. Spirituality has spread out in the world to the other nations through other prophets than Moses. Going back to a State which rejects spirituality is no answer for Jews or for the world. Zionism has changed from fundamental Zionism which existed in those days commented upon by Rambam in his books on Jewish law.
The Zionist Messiah which Jews are waiting for according to Rambam has still not arrived. Instead has come two spiritual Messiahs with two spiritual movements Chabad and Breslov. God is giving us a message that the One Messiah that we pray for each day; God never wanted him anyway. Two Messiahs do not conflict with belief in One God. One Messiah can become idolatry like it did in the times of the Romans when they accepted Jesus Christ to be their God. The two Messiahs neutralize Zionism and the idolatry of the Messiah.
The two Messiahs of Judaism were both Zionists. The Lubavitcher Rebbe preached maintaining the borders of Israel and not giving back territories. Rebbe Nachman sent his students to live in Israel and wrote wonderous praise of the honor of the land. A Jew is a Zionist. They were both Zionist who battled for the crown of the Messiah even until today. The leader of the Breslov movement Rabbi Yisrael Ber Odessa corresponded with Shamir the president. He told all his students to live in Israel. He was against Lubavitch and only for Rebbe Nachman. In the end both leaders have founded Messianic movements in Israel today and Israel has two Messiahs. Israel a free state gives each Jew freedom to chose his Messiah whether Chabad or Breslov or even Jesus or maybe all three or four including Mohammed. The free world also has their choice. They can chose the Lubavitcher Rebbe or Rebbe Nachman as their Moshiach.
The Religious Zionists call the State of Israel the beginning of the redemption even though it is not a religious national Torah state. The Ultra Orthodox reject the state altogether as Messianic, the beginning of the redemption as it was called by Rabbi Kook of blessed memory. The State has given permission for the Rabbinic Orthodox to have their own courts of law except in issues of crime and punishment only in money matters, marriage, divorce and conversion. The Zionism of the past will never be. It is only a memory. What is important today is peace which is important to Israel and the whole world. The Messiah will bring peace to the whole world; Israel needs to bring peace to the whole world. The priority today is world unity and peace before Zionist Religious Judaism. Zionist Religious Judaism can only endanger peace through a Messiah of war and not a Messiah of peace as our prophets prayed for and wrote about in their scriptures.
We have the two Messiahs of peace; now comes to pray for peace and Israel and receive our Messiahs the gift from God.
Rabbi Wexelman tells his story
Growing up in a assimilated traditional Jewish home in Brooklyn , I really didn't understand very much about Judaism although our family kept the Pesach and we went to synagogue on Rosh HaShanna and Yom Kippur. Our whole neighborhood was 80% Jewish many Jewish families of war veterans. In college I completely forgot about my Judaism, and even dated girls that were not Jewish.
I was part of the hippie movement in the late 60's. Using drugs opened up my mind to spirituality but didn't give me any answers to my questions. I learned about Lubavitch after finishing college but I didn't understand that Lubavitch was different from the Judaism that I experienced in the Orthodox Shul in our neighborhood. Our friends became connected to a Guru from India who helped us get off drugs and began us in a search for truth. I even went to India to study one summer in his Ashram. I have great respect for this man and his students as well as those other teachers in the East.
Hinduism was not for me. I learned meditation from the Guru and felt a connection to spirituality when I came to Lubavitch. I decided to try the way of Lubavitch which slowly and patiently I learned more about Judaism and Chassidism. Before coming to Lubavitch I read books by Martin Buber on Chassidism which inspired me. Lubavitch and other religious leaders were against the philosophy of Martin Buber. Martin Buber praised the way of Chassidism but at the same time accepted other religions and prophets. He himself intermarried.
I accepted Judaism and did not question their claims that Judaism is the only religion. They taught that Mohammed and Jesus were false prophets. Only the Jewish people are important to God. I had already experienced being by the Guru and saw a man who was completely devoted to truth self realization and God realization. I put my own opinions aside and followed the orthodox Jewish tradition in the way of Lubavitch. I married a girl that I knew from college who had also learned in Lubavitch, and we began to build a family. In 1983 we went on Aliya to Eretz Yisrael with three of our children. In Israel we had four more children. I was interested in Jewish mysticism and we went on Aliya to the city of Safed the center of Kabballa. I studied in the Breslov School which also taught mysticism with Judaism. During the time I lived in Safed, very often I would go to Meron where was buried the author of the Zohar Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. I started learning Zohar in Breslov Nachal Novea and continued studying Zohar regularly until I completed the whole Zohar. Our family moved to Jerusalem where I became a student in the school of Kabballa of Chaim Vital. There I learned the texts of the Arizal with an old Kabballist respected all over Israel.
I was Chabad and the Rebbe did not cease to call for the coming of the Moshiach and the Geula. Finally he allowed his Chassidim to sing to him praise as being the Moshiach. Being inspired by the Rebbe I felt it was my duty to help being the Geula and made my first invention of a Kabballa healing machine. The former chief Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu endorsed this invention that it was a vessel for bringing the redemption. I worked ten years in Kabballa and meditation healing Jews all over the world with my own spiritual strength and with my inventions including healing glasses which I called Mosva Moshe, the mask of Moses after the veil which he used to cover his face which was shining with light. I felt a great connection to the Zohar and to Moshe Rabbeinu who is called the first and last redeemer. Each case I took on of Jews that had fallen into depression to lift them up out of sadness was a test of my belief in the Rebbe and his encouraging words that we all have the job to bring the redemption.
In the end I couldn't continue and had to stop. I saw that in Judaism alone the redemption cannot come, but only through joint effort of all the religions of the world and prophets of today and yesterday Jew and Non-Jew. The world needs resurrection which is the source of spirituality. Resurrection is the light of the fiftieth gate which heals all disease. Resurrection is Christianity and also Zohar. Moses resurrects in the Zohar to teach Torah to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. The Zohar spoke about the Messiah the son of Joseph as a separate Messiah and the Messiah the son of David as a separate Messiah. Two Messiahs which are connected to Moshe Rabbeinu. I saw that there is no Geula, redemption, spiritual healing without the Messiah the son of Joseph who resurrected after his crucification. At the same time I saw that the Messiah the son of David who never dies is the Rebbe. Moshe Rabbeinu has resurrected and is working with Elijah the prophet to bring peace to the world to prevent another World War. Today World Unity and Peace is just as important in Judaism as Jewish National Survival. The Rebbe connects with the World and with the Jewish people together. The Messiah the son of David and the Messiah the son of Joseph are two kings with two kingdoms. One Messiah does not solicit for the other. Moses connects the two Messiahs and we have to make that connection which will bring peace and spiritual healing to the world.
The healing of the two Messiahs is the healing of God the perfect healing. Many Religious Jews feel that Spiritual healing is forbidden by the Torah. They are not only against spiritual healing but also against World Unity and Peace. Shalom is the name of God to those who believe in spirituality; to those that are against spirituality God has no known name and is forever unknown. The Messiah of Judaism is a National Jewish Redeemer to return the Jewish people to Israel and build the holy temple. The Messiah of spirituality is the Messiah of spiritual redemption, happiness, joy and spiritual revelation. Lubavitch has made the connection between the two worlds the Jewish world traditional Judaism and spirituality which is the way of the Baal Shem Tov and the Zohar.
Therefore the Kabballa separates the two aspects of redemption to be called the two holy mothers of Israel, Rachel and Leah. Rachel is the way of National traditional Judaism and Leah is Judaism with spirituality the universal light. You need both in life. Jewish education begins with Rachel and later on Leah is added on to Rachel. The two ways often conflict but the truth of God is forever.
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