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Jesus the Kabbalist

Popular Attraction

The Kabbalah, that body of mystical Jewish literature, has always attracted popular interest and it isn't only Jews that are interested in its power. Such members of the glitterati as Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Roseanne Barr, and Madonna are entranced by the quasi-Kabbalah amulets and study groups as produced by the Kabbalah Center, a profitable organization run by Philip and Karen Berg. But according to the Talmud, those who delve into mystical practice in order to reach a higher spiritual plane are in danger of separating themselves from this world.

The story as it is told in Hagigah 14b, goes that four sages, Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher, and Rabbi Akiva entered a garden. The Hebrew word for garden, "Pardes" connotes Kabbalah learning. Of the group of four sages, only Akiva emerged alive and unhurt. Ben Azzai caught a glimpse of divine meaning and died, Ben Zoma caught a glimpse and became insane, and Acher (whose name means 'other' or 'different') cut off his roots and became lost to Judaism. Some Jewish sages believe that Acher is Jesus.

A Solid Foundation

In order to protect others from the dangers relating to mystical study and practice, the rabbis of the Talmud decreed that to study Kabbalah one must be as mature as a 40 year old, married, and employed. The rabbis hoped that a solid foundation would protect those who desired to learn the Kabbalah.

It is interesting to note that Orthodox Jewish academics do not deny that Jesus walked on water; rather they believe that Jesus was a practitioner of Kabbalah and that walking on water is a deed that is well within the parameters of Kabbalistic practice. Rather than repudiate the deed, Jewish thought denies that the deed is miraculous in nature. Instead, this line of thinking holds that Jesus misused the Kabbalah to persuade others that he was a miracle-worker, a clear misuse of the mystical literature, which is meant only to bring its adherents close to the Jewish God.

Toledoth Yeshu is the Jewish polemical response to Jesus and Christianity and is thought to have been written in the 6th century. In this strange and little known book, there is an account of how Jesus came into possession of his Kabbalistic powers. The Ineffable name of God was engraved on the corner stone of the Temple. It was known that whoever learned the secret of this name and its use might do anything he wished with this knowledge. Therefore, the sages at that time tried to protect the name and its use.

Brass lions were bound to twin pillars made of iron that lined the gate of the area of the Temple where burnt offerings were sacrificed. If anyone managed to enter and learn the Name, the lions would roar at him as he left and the secret of the Name would be forgotten.

The story continues that Jesus learned the letters of the Name, wrote them on a scrap of parchment, placed it inside a cut in his thigh, and stitched the flesh to cover the parchment. As he left, the lions roared at him and he forgot the Name, but when he arrived home, he opened the cut and lifted out the parchment with his knife. In this manner, he remembered the Name and was able to use its powers.


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