Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Authenticity of Kabbalah pt vi

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) The author just said he has an additional defense to the kabbalistic belief in the sealing of the din on Hoshanah Rabbah, based on Ramban, based on the Rokeiach, and based on a Mishna in Rosh haShana. When the guest gives a different explanation of the Mishna from Ran, and denies the truth of what Ramban says, he must then defend himself from the accusation that he is accusing Ramban of deception. The text of the Vikuach follows:

The guest: And what could you have answered? Speak, for I desire your righteousness.

The author: I could have answered that the Ramban z"l who never saw the sefer haZohar already mentioned on the verse {Bemidbar 14:9}
ט אַךְ בַּה', אַל-תִּמְרֹדוּ, וְאַתֶּם אַל-תִּירְאוּ אֶת-עַם הָאָרֶץ, כִּי לַחְמֵנוּ הֵם; סָר צִלָּם מֵעֲלֵיהֶם וַה' אִתָּנוּ, אַל-תִּירָאֻם. 9 Only rebel not against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us; their defence is removed from over them, and the LORD is with us; fear them not.'
the concept of the signing, and the matter of the defense {/shade} which informs on this night about life and death which are decreed for a person; and afterwards also the author of the Rokeach, who also never saw the sefer haZohar, mentions the matter of this tzel {shade, defense}.

And furthermore, behold we explicitly learn {in a Mishnah in Rosh haShana 16a}, "and on Succot we are judged on water." Thus, even though the day of Rosh haShana is the Great Day of Judgment, still this does not restrict there being also a judgment on the Festival of Succot as well.

The guest: Rabbenu Nissim already stood (as mentioned by the author of Tosfot Yom Tov) on this doubt, and answered that on Pesach, Shavuot and Succot there is, Above, a judgment on the needs of the public, and upon the grain, upon the fruits of the tree and on the water in general, but the specific judgment for each and person, how much will reach each and every individual in particular, this is only on Rosh haShana.

And behold you see that the opinion of the Zohar and the opinion of the masters of kabbalah do not have anything upon which to lean upon, but rather it is against, and contradicts, the opinion of our teachers {rabbotenu} z"l, the masters of kabbalah in truth.

The author: Speak, O blasphemer. And the Ramban z"l was not a true master of kabbalah? Do you also suspect him to be a man of deception?

{The guest:} "All his words were received by him from his teachers."

The author: And how do you swell your heart to deny the words of his kabbalah? This is only evilness of heart.

The guest: This is not evilness of heart, but rather of the obligation of an Israelite man to delve into and investigate as to the nature of the words which are said in kabbalah.

For there is yet kabbalah and kabbalah {tradition and tradition}, and the prophet {Amos} cries out and says {in Amos 2:4}:
ד כֹּה, אָמַר ה, עַל-שְׁלֹשָׁה פִּשְׁעֵי יְהוּדָה, וְעַל-אַרְבָּעָה לֹא אֲשִׁיבֶנּוּ: עַל-מָאֳסָם אֶת-תּוֹרַת ה, וְחֻקָּיו לֹא שָׁמָרוּ, וַיַּתְעוּם כִּזְבֵיהֶם, אֲשֶׁר-הָלְכוּ אֲבוֹתָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם. 4 Thus saith the LORD: For three transgressions of Judah, yea, for four, I will not reverse it: because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept His statutes, and their lies have caused them to err, after which their fathers did walk.
{thus they walked in the false ways of their fathers.}

Behold you see that it is an obligation upon us to investigate well every kabbalah {tradition}, to see if it was accepted by consensus with the general early kabbala from which we do not divert right or left.

If not for the fact that I see that my words weigh heavy upon you, and had I not known about you by rumor {/report}, I would have read upon you the verse {Mishlei 18:2}:
ב לֹא-יַחְפֹּץ כְּסִיל, בִּתְבוּנָה: כִּי, אִם-בְּהִתְגַּלּוֹת לִבּוֹ 2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but only that his heart may lay itself bare.
However, I trust in your wisdom and in the quality of your ability to reason, that if you bring me into your house and hear my claimed person to person, you will no longer call me a denier {/heretic} and missing of faith, but rather you will call me a Jewish person complete {/simple} with his God, trustworthy in His covenant and keeping His faith.

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