Thursday, May 03, 2007
RABBI ADIN STEINSALTZ - THE THIRTEEN PETALLED ROSE
I have saved the first chapter for last because I believe it deserves individual treatment. The first chapter of the book is entitled "Worlds". It opens with this passage:
The physical world in which we live, the objectively observed universe around us, is only a part of an inconceivably vast system of worlds. Most of these worlds are spiritual in their essence; they are of a different order from our known world. Which does not necessarily mean that they exist somewhere else, but means rather that they exist in different dimensions of being. What is more, the various worlds interpenetrate and interact in such a way that they can be considered counterparts of one another, each reflecting or projecting itself on the one below or above it, with all the modifications, changes, and even distortions that are the result of such interaction. It is the sum of this infinitely complex exchange of influence back and forth among different domains that comprises the specific world of reality we experience in our everyday life.
In speaking of higher or lower worlds, I do not mean to describe an actual physical relation; for in the realm of the spiritual there is no such division, and the words "high" and "low" refer only to the place of any particular world on the ladder of causality. To call a world higher signifies that it is more primary, more basic in terms of being close to a primal source of influence; while a lower world would be a secondary world--in a sense, a copy. Yet the copy is not just an imitation but rather a whole system, with a more or less independent life of its own, its own variety of experience, characteristics, and properties. (p. 1-2)
Rabbi Steinsaltz tells us that "The world of action"
is only one world in a general system of four fundamental dimensions of being, or four different worlds, each with its own cosmos of varying essences. These four worlds have been called, in order from the highest to the lowest, "emanation," "creation," "formation," and "action." Thus, the world directly above ours is the world of formation. To understand the difference, one must first understand certain factors common to all four worlds. These factors were traditionally known as "world," "year," and "soul"; nowadays we would call them "space," "time," and "self"... (p. 3)
The concept is so different from anything a Roman Catholic believes in that one needs to read everything he has written to understand it. I hesitate to reproduce all of it here, but I would highly recommend reading the book. It is not that long nor that expensive, and it opens a door into Judaism that every Roman Catholic should open if we are going to pray about "parallel paths" in our churches.
Steinsalts says that in the world of formation the living creatures are called "angels", a "spiritual reality with its own unique contents, qualities, and character, and distinguished one from another not by "physical quality of spatial apartness" but by "difference of level--one being above or below another". Groupings of angels may be referred to as "a camp of angels." (p. 5)
An Angel, he tells us
...is not merely a fragment of existence doing nothing more than just manifesting an emotion; it is a whole and integral being, conscious of itself and its surroundings and able to act and create and do things within the framework of the world of formation. The nature of the angel is to be, to a degree, as its name in Hebrew signifies, a messenger to constitute a permanent contact between our world of action and the higher worlds. (p. 6)
In addition to angels that have existed from the very beginning of time, angels are also continually being created we are told:
But there are also angels that are continuously being created anew, in all the worlds, and especially in the world of action where thoughts, deeds, and experiences give rise to angels of different kinds. Every mitzvah [a good act intended to help save the world - ct] that a man does is not only an act of transformation in the material world; it is also a spiritual act, sacred in itself. And this aspect of concentrated spirituality and holiness in the mitzvah is the chief component of that which becomes an angel. In other words, the emotion, the intention, the essential holiness of the act combine to become the essence of the mitzvah as an existence in itself, as something that has objective reality. And this separate existence of the mitzvah, by being unique and holy, creates the angel, a new spiritual reality that belongs to the world of formation. ...
More precisely, the person who performs a mitzvah, who prays or directs his mind toward the Divine, in so doing creates an angel, which is a sort of reaching out on the part of man to the higher worlds. Such an angel, however, connected in its essence to the man who created it, still lives, on the whole, in a different dimension of being, namely in the world of formation. And it is in this world of formation that the mitzvah acquires substance. This is the process by which the specific message or offering to God that is intrinsic in the mitzvah rises upward and introduces changes in the system of the higher worlds--foremost in the world of formation. From here, in turn, they influence the worlds above them. So we see that a supreme act is performed when what is done below becomes detached from particular physical place, time, and person and becomes an angel. ...
They may be compared with those frequencies of an electromagnetic field that are beyond the limited range ordinarily perceived by our senses....That which is ordinarily invisible is "seen" only through appropriate instruments of transmutation, or interpretation, when, in the language of the Kabbalah, they are dressed in the clothes or vessels that make it possible for us to apprehend them--as, for example, radio or television waves have to be transmitted through appropriate vessels to be revealed to our senses. (p. 7-9)
Every Roman Catholic knows that angels come in two varieties. Judaism also teaches that angels can be good or evil. Rabbi Steinsaltz writes:
It follows, then, that just as there are holy angels, built into and created by the sacred system, there are also destructive angels, called "devils" or "demons," who are the emanations of the connection of man with those aspects of reality which are the opposite of holiness. Here, too, the actions of man and his modes of existence, in all their forms, create angels, but angels of another sort, from another level and a different reality. These are hostile angels that may be part of a lower world or even of a higher, more spiritual world--this last because even though they do not belong to the realm of holiness, as in all worlds and systems of being, there is a mutual interpenetration and influence between the holy and the not-holy. (p. 12)
A bit further along in the book he again speaks of evil angels:
Those beings inhabiting the worlds of evil are also called "angels," but they are rather subversive angels, angels of destruction. And like the angels of the higher worlds, they are also spiritual beings and are limited each to a well-defined essence and each to its own purpose. Just as there is in the domain of holiness the quality (or angel) of love-in-holiness, of awe-in-holiness, and the like, so there are contrasting emanations and impulses in the domain of evil, angels of destruction expressing love-in-wickedness, fear-in-corruption, and the like.
Some of these pernicious angels are self-sufficient beings with clearly defined and specific characters, whose existence is, in a certain sense, eternal--at least until such time as evil will vanish from the face of the earth. In addition, there are the subversive angels created by the actions of men, by the objectification of malevolence: the evil thought, the hate-inspired wish, the wicked deed. For beside its visibly destructive consequences, every act of malice or evil creates an abstract Gnostic being, who is a bad angel, an angel belonging to the plane of evil corresponding to the state of mind that brought it into being. ...Whatever man does in turn creates and gives forth an abundance of life; his whole spiritual being is involved in each act, and the angel formed thereby accompanies him as his handiwork, as a part of the existence encircling him. Like the angels of holiness, the angels of destruction are, to a degree, channels to transfer the plenty that, as it is transmuted from our world, descends the stairs of corruption, level after level, to the lowest depths of the worlds of abomination. (p. 19-20)
He continues in this vein:
In short, the sinner is punished by the closing of the circle, by being brought into contact with the domain of evil he creates. The subversive angels are revealed in a variety of forms, in both material and spiritual ways, and in their revelation they punish man for his sins in this world of ours, making him suffer torment and pain, defeat and anguish, physically as well as spiritually. The subversive angels act in one sense as manifestations and messengers of evil, and yet in another sense they constitute a necessary part of the totality of existence. For although, like the worlds of evil in general, the subversive angels are not ideal beings, they nevertheless have a role in the world, enabling it to function as it does. To be sure, were the world to root out all evil completely, then as a matter of course the subversive angels would disappear, since they exist as permanent parasites living on man. But as long as man chooses evil, he supports and nurtures whole worlds and mansions of evil, all of them drawing upon the same human sickness of soul. (p. 21)
...these angels grow in strength and power, constantly reinforced by the growing evil in the world. ...as the evil flourishes and spreads over the world because of the deeds of men, these destructive angels become increasingly independent existences, making up a whole realm that feeds on and fattens on evil. Whereupon the very reason for this realm is forgotten, and it appears to have become evil for its own sake, an end in itself....
We see that man can liberate himself from the accumulating temptation of evil, by which act he compels the worlds of evil to shrink to their original mold; what is more, he is able to change these worlds completely so that they can be included in the system of the worlds of the holy, which occurs when that part of them which had become corrupt disappears completely, and that part of them which had served as a support and a deterrent assumes an entirely different character. (p. 22)
It is easy to discern the outline for occultism from this chapter in Steinsaltz's book. Was it this material from the Kabbalah that was being taught by Opus Angelorum? O.A. teaches the doctrine of angels, and was said to have gotten their material from the Kabbalah, among other sources. They used many names of angels which Cardinal Ratzinger insisted that they remove. They still cited a source of their ministry as being the seer Gabriele Bitterlich on their website the last time I visited it.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!