The Four Who Entered Pardes

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The Four Who Entered Pardes

#1 Postby Anna » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:05 am

Greetings and Blessings in the Light of Messiah!

There is a wonderful story told in the Talmud and also taken up in Zoharic literature, about four rabbis who enter Pardes, the Orchard. It seems they set out to perform tikkune for the sin of Adam as a team effort, for they were all respected sages of their time. Here is part of the account of their adventure from the Talmud:

The Rabbis taught: Four entered the Pardes. They were Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Acher and Rabbi Akiva. Rabbi Akiva said to them, "When you come to the place of pure marble stones, do not say, 'Water! Water!' for it is said, 'He who speaks untruths shall not stand before My eyes' (Psalms 101:7)". Ben Azzai gazed and died. Regarding him the verse states, 'Precious in the eyes of G-d is the death of His pious ones' (Psalms 116:15). Ben Zoma gazed and was harmed. Regarding him the verse states, 'Did you find honey? Eat as only much as you need, lest you be overfilled and vomit it' (Proverbs 25:16). Acher cut down the plantings. Rabbi Akiva entered in peace and left in peace.[3]

In the Tikunei Zohar the story is extended:

The ancient Saba (an old man) stood up and said (to Shimon bar Yochai), "Rabbi, Rabbi! What is the meaning of what Rabbi Akiva said to his students, “When you come to the place of pure marble stones, do not say 'Water! Water!' lest you place yourselves in danger, for it is said, 'He who speaks untruths shall not stand before My eyes.'” But it is written, 'There shall be a firmament between the waters and it shall separate between water (above the firmament) and water (below the firmament)' (Genesis 1:6). Since the Torah describes the division of the waters into upper and lower, why should it be problematic to mention this division? Furthermore, since there are upper and lower waters why did Rabbi Akiva warn them, “do not say, 'Water! Water!'”"

The Holy Lamp (a title for Shimon bar Yochai) replied, "Saba, it is proper that you reveal this secret that the chevraya (Rabbi Shimon's circle of disciples) have not grasped clearly."

The ancient Saba answered, "Rabbi, Rabbi, Holy Lamp. Surely the pure marble stones are the letter yud - one the upper yud of the letter aleph, and one the lower yud of the letter aleph. Here there is no spiritual impurity, only pure marble stones, so there is no separation between one water and the other; they form a single unity from the aspect of the Tree of Life, which is the vav in the midst of the letter aleph. In this regard it states, 'and if he take of the Tree of Life (and eat and live forever)' (Genesis 3:22)..."[6]

Things did not turn out well for three of these adventurers. It seems that Ben Azai, who “gazed and died,” desired union with God so much that he refused to stay in the world of apparent duality, thus, he left his body and physical reality for the world of Spirit, unable to anchor the Light for others, not willing to wait for God’s will to be revealed in and through material creation over time.

Ben Zoma relied very heavily on his own mental prowess, so when he tried to reconcile the paradox of what he was seeing in vision, he went insane. Acher, (the Other), Elisha Ben Avuya, also relied on his own mental understanding. It is recounted that he saw the angel, Metatron, seated in God’s Presence. Acher decided that there must be “two authorities in Heaven” and therefore, became a heretic, “cutting the plantings” in the Orchard by cutting apart that which was not meant to be separate, deserting the truth of God’s oneness.

Rabbi Akiva was the only sage that entered and departed the Orchard in peace. He was the only one who did not demand to understand the mysteries he witnessed, who did not rely on his own mental powers to try to understand the Divine. He walked in faith, believing in the inseparability of God and Creation despite appearances. He had the humility to wait upon the Spirit of Adonai for continuing illumination all according to God’s will, according to what God had for him in that incarnation. As the psalmist states in Psalm 131:

1 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.

This story brings many intriguing contemplations to mind but what stands out at this time for me is the idea that these four rabbis, all devoted to God, seem to represent stages in the path of spiritual evolution. Some may recognize the stage of the mystic who just wants to stay in the “spiritual” realms, enjoying those lovely blissful encounters that can become obstructions to one who grasps at them. Without integrating these experiences and anchoring the Light and Truth of our experiences, these can degrade into nothing more than spiritual entertainments, inflating the ego but doing little to grow toward illumination. There are many saints described in Christian orthodox tradition who desired God so much that they found the world distasteful, not recognizing that we are meant to walk in the world embodying the Christ Spirit for others.

Attempting to understand the Mysteries of God with the finite mind could certainly lead to madness. It is not uncommon for spiritual aspirants to go only so far as their mind can take them, not realizing that there are much greater realizations available through grace, unable to move beyond mental being and constructs of the human mind. Demanding explanations of the Mysteries only keeps one in self-grasping, spinning strange projections of truth, even bizarre doctrines, in a vain effort to resolve apparent contradictions.

Rabbi Akiva demonstrates both spiritual humility and spiritual pride. He walks in faith, and in pure devotion to the Holy One of Being as a Light Bearer, yet makes no demand of the Most High, El Elyon. This sage is one who is ready and willing to evolve in realization of higher and higher gradations of illumination, serving as teacher and guide along the way.

Perhaps all of these stages are necessary for the evolution of the Holy Soul of Light, and may even be experienced in one incarnation to some extent. This is our sacred journey of tikkune, tikkune of our soul and the tikkune of the soul of all the world. One message I also find in this story is that the tikkune of the sin of Adam is something that must be accomplished as a whole in each of us, not performed piecemeal as the rabbis intended, (according to Rabbi Yitzchak Luria’s teachings), at the outset of their journey. Yet the idea of each of us accomplishing our portion of the tikkune in community also comes to mind, and this would likely require a body of one heart and one mind, abiding in the Sanctuary of Grace, not the divided hearts and minds of the three unsuccessful rabbis in the story. So, there are many messages and many layers of wisdom to be drawn out in this story, and I look forward to the teachings Mother may have for us here, for Christian Gnostics who are called as Light Bearers in the Messiah.

May we be blessed with wisdom, understanding and knowledge of the mysteries, abiding and rejoicing in our portion given us by the Holy One of Being!



#2 Postby JeffK » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:40 am

Thank you Anna for sharing the wisdom in this story. It is very timely, as I am one who has an issue of always trying to understand. Always curious...

Light & Love,


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#3 Postby Anna » Fri Nov 02, 2012 9:20 am

Blessings in the Light!

A desire for binah/understanding of the mysteries is part of our make-up as intelligent beings. But, as I am learning in my own journey, hokmah/wisdom must go hand in hand with this movement into da'at/realization of these mysteries. To Hokmah is attributed beginnings of cycles. It is called "Depth of Beginning" also, as we are recently reminded in the ongoing thread "Heaven: Peace Between Opposites." So wisdom has everything to do with timing. Understanding comes in God's time, as is good for beings. Sometimes we just seem to have a little trouble waiting on the Holy One! Certainly the three rabbis who did not leave Pardes in peace also experienced this, grasping at understanding before the proper time. Only Rabbi Akiva desired to move in God's timing, knowing that the Source of all wisdom and understanding would give these blessings when it would be helpful and good to receive them.

Something else is standing out to me about the four. Rabbi Akiva lives and moves in the present moment, conscious of God's Presence in all things no matter what the appearance. He lives within the Sanctuary of the Heart, moving in conscious response, receiving all as blessing from God. It seems that the other rabbis are living and moving from somewhere outside the mystery, grasping at the appearance of the illusion of separation and reacting to it. How often we miss the mark when we move in reaction to our own projections, giving in to the delusion of lack, insecurities. Here in this story we are given much to contemplate about our own view of Enlightenment, how we are living, whether we are reacting or responding in situations that arise. Most of all, we are reminded here of the need to cleave to Holy One with all our heart, soul, mind and life, no matter what is happening in the moment, no matter what arises. We see in Rabi Akiva the great beauty and holiness of one who walks in love, walks in faith, trusting in God the True Light. May we be blessed to walk in this way as well!



#4 Postby JeffK » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:06 am

Sister Anna wrote:Something else is standing out to me about the four. Rabbi Akiva lives and moves in the present moment, conscious of God's Presence in all things no matter what the appearance. He lives within the Sanctuary of the Heart, moving in conscious response, receiving all as blessing from God.

I think you have definitely described the heart of this issue. Being present in the moment.

Peace & Love,

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Faith and Love joined with Knowledge (Da'at)

#5 Postby Tau Malachi » Fri Nov 02, 2012 12:20 pm

Greetings and blessings in the light of the Messiah!

That is a lovely post Sister Anna. I enjoyed reading your contemplation.

In general I’ve never contemplated the experience of these four rabbis as stages of the journey exactly, but rather as relating to the principle klippot that must be overcome and the dangers of the mystical journey to self-realization or enlightenment. In that all sojourners must overcome these klippot or barriers though, I can see how it could be interpreted as stages in the journey, for to some degree everyone will become caught up in these klippot and experience something of these pitfalls; there is a great need for self-purification or self-negation, the release of self-cherishing, desire and fear as we embark upon the mystical journey.

It is striking that these are four rabbis, which is to say four spiritual teachers who have a teacher and guide, and community, and are well educated and experienced in the spiritual life and practice, and Word of God. Quite clearly it is teaching us the need for spiritual maturity and a spiritual education before embarking on the mystical journey, and the need for a true living tzaddik, as represented by Rabbi Akiva. In these modern times many enter into mystical spirituality on their own in a state of spiritual immaturity, and apart from a teacher and guide, and community, and many fancy themselves as spiritual teachers before having been a student or disciple; naturally the danger of these pitfalls is far greater when the spiritual labor of preparation has not been done and we have not “gone to school” to receive our spiritual education. Even with preparation and maturation, however, these klippot pose a great danger and some souls may fall into them, just as this story about these four rabbis relates. Thus, on the surface this story teaches the need for spiritual preparation before we venture too far into a mystical spirituality; hence, the need for the development of our spiritual life and practice, and the importance of self-purification and spiritual humility.

In this regard we might recall the teaching in Jewish orthodoxy that a person ought to be “forty years old” before they study the Holy Kabbalah, which, rather than a literal statement, indicates the need for a spiritual education and spiritual maturity. We know this was not meant literally because many of the great mekubalim studied and taught the Kabbalah long before they were forty, and some of them did not live to be forty.

On one hand, the rabbi who dies can represent spiritual narcissism and a focus upon one’s own bliss, or it can represent the spiritual death of one who believes that they have “arrived” and are “awake,” and who therefore does not know to let go of their present realization or wisdom to seek a higher grade of knowledge, understanding and wisdom, or greater spiritual realization. This is very common when individuals experience an expansion of consciousness and powerful mystical experiences. Many get caught up in their early experiences and go no further; hence they undergo a “spiritual death” and progress no further in the path. It is also true that a great power is activated in our soul and body – a manifesting power, the “serpent power,” and if awakened prematurely, and not uplifted and integrated, it can cause ill-fortune and physical illness. In extreme cases there have been reports of death. The story of the rabbi who died hints at this danger of a premature awakening of the serpent power, or “kundalini energy.”

The rabbi who goes insane essentially ventures into mysteries that are too great for him, going beyond his portion, and specifically he is overcome by fear. In general, the one who dies represents a soul who is overcome by desire or attachment, and the one who goes insane represents a soul who is overcome by fear or aversion. A state of madness, though, can occur through impure desire or fear, and essentially is a shattering on a psychic, or mental-emotional level, and severe illness or death can also occur through impure desire and fear, and essentially is a shattering on a physical level.

The rabbi who cuts his plantings, his original faith, and becomes a “heretic,” a false teacher or false prophet, represents a soul bound up in self-grasping, or pride and arrogance; this is why when he beholds the Prince of the Face he believes there are two “great gods,” God forbid. In powerful mystical experiences it is very easy for misinterpretations and misunderstanding of the experiences to occur, especially visionary experiences, and likewise, if and when very lofty mystical experiences happen, it is very easy to get puffed up and become too full of oneself. Many very strange teachings and doctrines have been generated because of this, as we see in some New Age and popular occult teachings in modern times. This one who cuts his plantings represents a soul who becomes shattered on a spiritual level. Thus, in the various outcomes of these three rabbis we hear of the possibility of a shattering on physical, psychic or spiritual levels in the experience of an influx of great spiritual knowledge and power; hence souls that fracture and shatter in the mystical journey.

It is possible that an individual could enter into these pitfalls and to some extent be overcome, but then purify themselves, repent and be healed; but if and when a full shattering occurs on any of these levels it could be that a soul might not be able to recover in this lifetime, but rather their healing and progress might have to wait until another life in the future.

That being said, however well prepared and well educated, every sojourner of the mystical path, or path to enlightenment, will encounter the four principle klippot or barriers, and experience something of their dangers; some will become bound up in them, and others will overcome them through God’s mercy and grace. The key to overcoming them, as we hear with Rabbi Akiva, is faith and love, and knowledge (da’at). Faith alone is not enough, for faith without knowledge is weak, and with faith alone a person is likely to fall; but joined with faith and knowledge, there must also be love, for knowledge apart from love is nothing. We may understand this in spiritual friendship, discipleship, with a tzaddik. If a person has faith in a tzaddik, but they do not have knowledge of the tzaddik as a tzaddik, not having knowledge, da’at, of the tzaddik it is very easy for them to fall and be led astray. Likewise, if there is faith and knowledge, but there is not love, so at a critical time a companion or disciple may be overcome by a klippah and turn away. In this regard, we may recall the discussion of Yeshua Messiah with St. Peter concerning Peter’s love of him, when he asks Peter three times if he has unconditional love for him, and three times Peter answers that he loves him as a friend, and we may consider Yeshua’s foreknowledge of Peter’s denial of him three times on the night of the Passion. Peter was a man of faith, but his knowledge was impaired, and so also his love, and so at a critical time he fell away from the Perfect Tzaddik, the Messiah. In this we know that faith and love, joined with knowledge, are essential in the mystical journey, or path to enlightenment.

The story of St. Peter is a perfect example, because as we know, although he falls, through God’s mercy and grace he is uplifted and restored, and he receives greater knowledge and love, the perfection of his faith. Thus, if we abide in faith and love, and we seek knowledge, da’at, although our faith and love may be imperfect, and we may fall along the way, so the Spirit of God can and will uplift us, and will accomplish this Great Work with, in and through us.

Here, perhaps, we might recall that virtually all of the men who were disciples fell away as St. Peter did, and then were restored and uplifted through the power of God; such is the mercy and grace of God in Hayyah Yeshua.

If we consider Rabbi Akiva, very clearly he had great faith and love, and knowledge (da’at), and he relied on God’s power, God’s mercy and grace, to give him understanding and wisdom, and all of the blessings that God has to give, material and spiritual; in various ways it seems the other three were lacking in love and knowledge, and relied on their own power, rather than the Spirit of God. Rabbi Akiva engaged in a complete surrender or self-offering, but apparently the surrender of the three others was partial and incomplete – a partial love and knowledge, an imperfect faith.

Perhaps we may say something more concerning Rabbi Akiva. Although a very intelligent and learned man, a great scholar and teacher of the Torah, and well known for his depth of prayer, and his fasting and charity, and was considered a great tzaddik and mekubalim by many, he is also said to have been a very humble man – joined with proper spiritual self-worth, he had deep spiritual humility. This spiritual humility allowed him to understand the enlightenment experience, Mochin Gadlut, and to recognize infinite gradations of greater spiritual realization in it; hence, that in truth, there is no end to Mochin Gadlut, “Big Mind,” and therefore he did not make more, or less, of the enlightenment experience than what it was, and he glorified God, not himself.

Here we may say that spiritual self-worth corresponds with knowledge and spiritual humility corresponds with love; as we have said, without love, knowledge is nothing, and so it is that without humility, self-worth is nothing good. In this, perhaps, we may recall that the four principle klippot are called “gradations of arrogance” by masters of the tradition; hence, four grades of self-cherishing.

These were a few thoughts that arose as I considered the insights you have shared dear sister.

O Adonai we pray, let us be rightly gathered into You (Atoh). Amen.

Peace be with you, and God bless you!
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#6 Postby Anna » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:37 am

Blessings of Grace and Peace this day!

Ah, thank you for these insights, dear Tau! Interesting that mem is forty, perhaps referring to maturity in consciousness for spiritual aspirants?

A question is forming in mind concerning the waters separated by the firmament. Rabbi Akiva warned his friends not to see these waters as separate, for in truth they are not. Yet there is this apparent separation of the waters by the firmament stated in Genesis, as pointed out by the old man, the ancient Saba. This disciple goes on to say that the pure marble stones are the yuds of the letter alef, so are united by the vau between them. The vau, as we know from the teachings is six and also Tifaret. In perusal of the literature about this story one finds further interpretations, which may be helpful. Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, (The Ramak), said that these stones are called marble because marble tends to be white and white is associated with compassion, rachamim. It seems that rachamim is also considered “waters of kindness,” so the association of the marble stones and two waters is brought out in this light.

In considering two waters the teaching in discourse a few months ago come to mind, the idea of masculine waters, “mayin dechurin,” and feminine waters, “mayin nukvin." My understanding of these waters is that both are pure, that mayin dechurin is the Light from Above and that mayin nukvin is the Light that returns from below. The Ramaka says this occurs through reception of the Light from above and the “performance of the commandments.” In this I see full reception of the Light from Above in the giving back in embodiment below. Is this also what is described as “Malkut reaching until there is reaching?”

With this in mind, then the three who did not leave the Orchard in peace, Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, and Acher, were not able to receive the Light Transmission through their Tzaddik, due to the obstructions delineated above. Rabbi Akiva was right there with them, advising them of how to approach this spiritual experience. It seems that he was there to serve as the vau, Tifaret, Firmament, that joins the waters, yet his disciples did not seem to have knowledge of their tzaddik in this capacity, and that they lacked the faith and love to cleave to him and follow his advice so they might move with him rather than separate from him. Did this Firmament then appear as their own judgment in Pardes, which caused them to experience fractures in consciousness? Also, these obstructions are couched in terms that remind of body, death for Ben Azzai, speech, Acher becoming a heretical teacher (speaker), and mind, Ben Zoma going mad. Are these impurities related to the veils between the worlds?

This is story is opening deepening contemplations that perhaps Mother Spirit may elucidate according to her good pleasure.

May we abide in faith hope and love, trusting in God the True Light, cleaving to Holy Tzaddik!

Shabbat Shalom!

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Four principle klippot cleansing and repentance

#7 Postby Joyce » Sun Nov 04, 2012 11:32 am

Thank you Sister Anna for this well timed post and Tau Malachi for this helpful response. It is well that we receive these understandings so that we do not fall into deeper error. Truly, these posts come at a very important time for all beginners who seek to understand deeper, more profound meanings to apply to their lives. One can come to understand that they truly know nothing!

I would like to know more about self purification, negation, and understand what self cherishing means.

Our beloved Tau said: "It is also true that a great power is activated in our soul and body – a manifesting power, the “serpent power,” and if awakened prematurely, and not uplifted and integrated, it can cause ill-fortune and physical illness. In extreme cases there have been reports of death. The story of the rabbi who died hints at this danger of a premature awakening of the serpent power, or “kundalini energy.”

On the other hand I have heard that if if nothing negative happens, that it can be a sign of being "stuck". That this energy reveals what needs to be worked on. Therefore one is troubled. Is this similar to the Shadow referred to in Jungian philosphy?

In deepest gratitude,

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Infinities within Infinities

#8 Postby Elder Gideon » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:25 pm

Shabbat Shalom!

I went down to the nut orchard,
to look at the blossoms of the valley,
to see whether the vines had budded,
whether the pomegranates were in bloom.
(Song of Solomon 6:11)

May She who reveals bless our going in and coming out of the chariot!

Rabbinics regard the teaching of Pardes as occurring on an inferior level than the prophecy of Moses or Ezekiel, though the outcome, says Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, “is a direct parallel” of the transitional barriers of Vacated Space souls must endure to enter deeper degrees of nearness to the One Without End.

Delightful that we’re drawing out Pardes in our forum for the mystery of it acronym PaRDeS contributes many other layers—literally! Layers of interpretation are the letters of this acronym, forming an acrostic, again taken from Kaplan’s Inner Space:

Peshat (simple meaning)
Remez (allusion)
D'rash (exposition, hermeneutics)
Sod (mystery, secret teaching)

Rabbi Kaplan speaks of a fifth layer, Razin Sethimin (hidden mysteries), which when “is added, these parallel the five levels of the soul and the five universes.” (185) I am intrigued to hear how Tau Malachi might have already distinguished Sod from Razin Sethimin in his most recent writing in “Teaching Realms” in the Gnostic Path Forum:

If and when we enter into complete unification, perfect devekut, however, through God’s mercy and grace we may glimpse and know something of the concealed, secret mysteries that cannot be spoken, but that can only be known in the experience of Mochin Gadlut and riding the Chariot into unification; hence, the knowledge of the Messiah and El Elyon that Adonai Yeshua said he could not speak to his disciples, but that only Ruach Elohim could reveal to them after his ascension, opening the Way.

Remember, Or and Raz, “light” and “mystery” are numerically equivalent, and so we know there is a need for the generation of merit in order to attain knowledge of the mysteries; likewise, we know that knowledge of the mysteries is, itself, light, and that through it the body of light is generated for the soul, and so the Works of the Chariot can be done.

I’m reminded in this teaching from Talmud of the consciousness attributed to the path-netivah in our Christian Tree of Life spanning Tiferet and Yesod: Samekh. In Sefer Yetzirah, Samekh is called Testing Consciousness: “It is called this because it is the original temptation through which God tests all of [the] saints.” Samekh is an ideal letter of contemplation of Pardes in regards to its shape. If it leans too far into desire, it will fall by way of Ayin; if it leans too far into fear, it will fall by way of Nun. Many new initiates approaching a ceremony of greater energy will lean to either side in early response, either of which degrades the transmission. To recoil is as much a block or barrier as to bliss out.

Some greater degree of this duality is present in the account of the three rabbis, as Tau Malachi has already explained, “The rabbi who goes insane essentially ventures into mysteries that are too great for him, going beyond his portion, and specifically he is overcome by fear. In general, the one who dies represents a soul who is overcome by desire or attachment, and the one who goes insane represents a soul who is overcome by fear or aversion.”

I can’t help but parallel the rabbis’ response in Pardes with three other Christian teachings: Adonai Yeshua’s response to Satan’s three temptations, Adonai Yeshua’s teaching of the 'Parable of the Sower', and the Self-Willed Triple-Power stalking Pistis Sophia.

Above all else, may we seek your embrace, Beloved, and there find our heart.

Elder Gideon+

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Razin Sethimin: Mysteries of the Messiah

#9 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Nov 06, 2012 1:06 pm

Greetings and blessings in the Holy Light of the Messiah!

The teachings on the firmaments in the vision of Pardes and vision of the Merkavah must be understood as distinct from the teachings on the masculine and feminine waters.

The masculine waters correspond with Tiferet and represent the influx of light or spiritual power invoked from above through study and contemplation, prayer and meditation, and the worship of the Holy One; the feminine waters correspond with Malkut and represent the light-power or spiritual energy we generation through study and contemplation, prayer and meditation, and worship, which invokes the influxes corresponding with the “masculine waters.” These merge and mingle in Yesod, and when they are joined together, this represents the experiences of nearness and unification that can arise in these spiritual activities, and when joined together there can be a greater influx from beyond, from Habad (Hokmah-Binah-Da’at). It is not be our own efforts alone that this greater influx happens, but it is our effort joined with the power of God; hence, the “mingling of the feminine and masculine waters,” as established.

This corresponds with what is said in the Zohar, “A stirring below creates a stirring above”; hence, a “stirring of these waters.”

Tiferet is ruled by Hesed and Malkut of ruled by Gevurah, and therefore these waters are also attributed to Hesed and Gevurah, masculine waters to Hesed and feminine waters to Gevurah, and with the feminine and masculine waters we may also remember the red mother seed and white father seed in us, and the descending and ascending force associated with the serpent power.

Teachings on the firmaments occur in the Works of Creation and the Works of the Chariot, and in the Works of Creation the two firmaments above and below correspond with the Upper and Lower Worlds, or the spiritual and material world, respectively; in the Works of the Chariot, though, they are most often viewed as the lower, exterior heavens, and upper, interior heavens, or the heavens of the astral dimension and heavens of the spiritual dimension. In either case, in the visionary experience, or in prophetic and apocalyptic experience, in order to correctly interpret and understand what is seen and heard, regardless of the appearance of separation that was established for the sake of creation and the process of individuation, one must remember and be aware of the innate unity underlying all that appears; lest, as the three rabbis who fall from their entrance into the “Orchard,” there will be misperceptions and misunderstandings that can lead an initiate astray, and so they will become bound up in one of the great klippot or veils.

There is something you will notice in the writings of the prophets when they recount their visions, and something taught in the law when reporting certain matters to the priests of the temple; instead of saying something observed “was this” or “that,” what is written or said is, “it was like this” or “ like that,” or “something like,” and in so doing they avoid a misunderstanding and misstatement, and avoid wrong attachment or self-grasping. In other words, there is humility regarding ones perceptions, and ones knowledge and understanding, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to give deeper insight and illumination. This is wisdom!

Three who entered into Pardes were so certain of what they saw and heard, or what they thought they knew, each suffering from a different kind of arrogance, or self-cherishing, and each unable to a complete self-negation, or self-offering; as such they fell into error and obstructed, or distorted, the insight and illuminations of the Holy Spirit.

As we know and understand, self-cherishing is the desire to receive for self-alone, or the desire to receive more than one desires to give; and it is all of the poisons that arise from this selfishness: pride and arrogance, envy and jealousy, lust and greed, gluttony, laziness, dull stupidity, fear, anger, hatred, depression, doubt, and the like. In general, everyone knows exactly what self-cherishing is who is born into this world, for everyone gets bound up in these klippot, and most remain in this bondage throughout their lives, most making little, if any, effort to overcome these klippot. If, however, we are actually touched by the Spirit of God, if we are among the faithful and spiritual elect, and we are called to the mystical journey, then naturally we will labor for self-purification, striving to overcome this ignorance, this darkness, seeking to cultivate and enact what is good and true, and seeking to return to God, or seek to reintegrate our soul, and our person and life, with Holy Light.

Basically speaking, we must learn to bring the desire to receive into submission to the desire to give, cultivating the desire in us for a full and true self-offering, or a full surrender to Divine Grace, and in so doing we will cultivate compassion and love, or charity, for this is what is godly, enlightened, and leads to the ascension of the soul or consciousness, and true self-realization in the Messiah.

Naturally, if there is compassion and love, there is a desire to be of greater service or benefit to others; a true mystic, a true prophet and wonderworker, does not seek to be a prophet or wonderworker for themselves, but rather they love God and love the people, and they wish to draw nearer to God and be of greater benefit to the people – they desire a full self-offering. Their motive is compassion and love, and the desire for the salvation, or enlightenment and liberation, of all; hence, the fulfillment of Ratzon Elyon, the Will of the Most High.

If we wish to know and understand the perfection of this we can study and contemplate the Gospel, and consider the life and liberation of the Perfect Tzaddik, Yeshua Messiah. Then, acquiring some understanding, we can labor to progress in the Gospel, laboring to live as the Messiah, the Holy Tzaddik; not as some great claim, but as a way of life. As we do this, we will open to the Holy Light from above, and we will pray that the indwelling Messiah and Holy Spirit takes up our person and life, and accomplishes this Great Work in us, perfecting us in love and compassion, or charity.

Rabbi Akiva has this love and compassion, and he enters into Pardes, the “Orchard,” for its own sake, for the love of God and love of his people, desiring greater knowledge of God, and knowledge of the Works of Creation and Works of the Chariot (Kabbalah), not just for his own enlightenment, but so that he might be of greater benefit to others, and serve to facilitate the enlightenment of others. In love and compassion, his concern is the entire Community of Israel, and therefore he is a truly great tzaddik.

Now, as I wrote in the discussion about the “Teaching Realm” in the “Gnostic Path” forum yesterday, the first part of the First Commandment, “I am the Lord your God,” is a commandment for us to seek knowledge of God, and specifically knowledge of the Holy Kabbalah, the Works of Creation (Ma’aseh Bereshit) and Works of the Chariot (Ma’aseh Merkavah); hence, full knowledge and understanding of Pardes.

As Pardes indicates, first I must acquire knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and knowledge of the basics of the Holy Kabbalah, and then I may seek knowledge of the deeper mysteries, and eventually probe the esoteric or secret mysteries, those great and supreme mysteries that are only revealed by the Holy Spirit through direct experience, or through a mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart transmission. We are called by the Spirit of God to seek knowledge of God (Da’at of Yahweh), but we must build upon a firm and good foundation, beginning with the basics, and then delving deeper and deeper into the mysteries, seeking to plumb their inner and secret depths through the mercy and grace of God. As we see in the story of four rabbis who enter into Pardes, building upon a good and strong foundation is very important, for if there is an error in the foundation of knowledge (Yesod ha-Da’at), so venturing into the depths of the mysteries there will be an error in understanding and the potential for a great fall.

In this, perhaps, you may understand a deeper level of meaning to the importance Jewish Mekubalim have placed upon guarding the “Brit,” the “sign of the covenant” corresponding with Yesod; on a spiritual level it is not only a mastery of desire, but a mastery of the mind, and implies well founded knowledge, or “right thought.”

The meaning of Pardes has been well laid out, but here it is given by the Spirit of God that we may speak something of Sod, and Razin Sethimin. As we know, there are mysteries that are revealed and mysteries that are concealed, those that can be communicated and those that cannot be communicated, or rather, those that we can speak to one who has knowledge and those that cannot be spoken, but can only be shared through a mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart transmission; these correspond with Sod. There are, however, secret holy mysteries beyond these, and these are mysteries that are know only to God, they are God’s knowledge of God, and God’s knowledge of the Works of Creation and Works of the Chariot, as such, if anything of this knowledge is communicated, it is only the Spirit of God, Ruach Elohim, that reveals and communicates it. This Da’at of Yahweh Elohim is so lofty and holy that even the holiest of the angels cannot enter into it, but only the Messiah can enter into this Holy Da’at. This is the Da’at of Atik Yomin, and yet more, it is the Da’at of Adam Kadmon; this Holy Da’at corresponds with is Razin Sethimin.

This is the Da’at of the Word that was with God, and was God, in the beginning, the Da’at of Messiah.

It is given that we may hint at another truth concerning Raz Sethimin, for the Messiah has spoken it, and it is hidden in plain sight within canonical gospels. There are secret holy mysteries that are known only to the Living Father (Abba Hayyim), or to God Most High (El Elyon), for in speaking about the End-Of-Days, or the Day of Judgment, Yeshua Messiah teaches us that only El Elyon knows the day and hour it will transpire, even Melekh Messiah does not hold this knowledge. In the End-Of-Days, however, this Supreme Da’at will given over to Adonai Messiah, when the Messiah is sent forth to bring all to its fruition and usher in the World-To-Come.

In that the Messiah has come, and through Adonai Yeshua we have received the Spirit of the Messiah (Ruach Elohim), there are greater depths of secret mysteries into which we are able to enter that could not be entered through the old covenant and law, but can only be entered through the manifestation of Supernal Grace, or Abundant Mercy in the Risen Messiah (Hayyah Yeshua). Razin Sethimin corresponds with the secret mysteries of the Holy Gospel (Christian Kabbalah), the revealed and concealed mysteries in the Messiah, and as we know and understand, there are secret mysteries that are yet to be revealed, and inmost secret and holy mysteries that will not be revealed until the End-Of-Days and World-That-Is-Coming.

Thus, Rabbi Akiva entered into the depths of Sod, but Rabbi Yeshua entered into the depths of Razin Sethimin, embodying the Spirit of the Messiah and Habad of the Messiah. Rabbi Akiva, however, could not enter into the inmost depths of Sod as Moses and the great prophets did, for as we know the “head of prophecy was cut off” with Yohanan the Baptist and the coming of the Messiah.

In this we may understand that there are many different levels of Sod (Secret), as well as many different levels of Razin Sethimin (Mysteries of the Messiah).

We can also point out that Razin Sethimin is a plural, and as such Christian Mekubalim have taught that it corresponds with the knowledge of the emanation of the Soul of the Messiah, not only in this world and its heavens, but into countless worlds and their corresponding heavens. In other words, it corresponds with knowledge of the Universal and Primordial Christ, or Universal and Primordial Enlightenment.

Here I must pause, waiting upon the Spirit of Yahweh.

O Adonai we pray, with water and with fire purify and sanctify those who wish to see and hear, giving them eyes to see and ears to hear, and anoint them with Your Spirit, and put Your Word in their hearts and their mouths; so we pray that you fashion true messengers of Your Kingdom in these times that many souls might be drawn up in the Great Ascension. Amen.

Peace be with you, and may Yahweh be with you!
Tau Malachi

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#10 Postby Anna » Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:21 am

Praise Our Mother for such delightful teachings!

The story of the Four Rabbis continues in an interesting fashion. It seems that the “ministering angels” also wished to cast down Rabbi Akiva, but the Holy One said, "Leave this elder alone, for he is worthy of making use of My glory."

This part of the story is very intriguing, for it speaks of angels who do not think even Rabbi Akiva is worthy to leave Pardes in peace. Might these be accusing angels? Rabbi Akiva did, essentially, fail in the particular tikkune he had set out to rectify, and he did lose a few disciples on the way, too. Yet, he walked in humility, in love, accepting all as God’s Will, coming and going in peace.

That the angels do not recognize something about Rabbi Akiva that distinguishes him from the three that did not leave Pardes in peace, leads me to consider that this something must be very important to the story, and perhaps to a deeper understanding of the relationship between humans and angels in the fulfillment of God’s Will. Rabbi Akiva seems to have good potential to evolve into greater embodiment of God, perhaps not just in this incarnation but in a continuum of incarnations. Also, the Rabbi does teach many disciples, among whom is Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of The Book of Zohar. But the heart of the matter is spoken beautifully here:

Rabbi Akiva has this love and compassion, and he enters into Pardes, the “Orchard,” for its own sake, for the love of God and love of his people, desiring greater knowledge of God, and knowledge of the Works of Creation and Works of the Chariot (Kabbalah), not just for his own enlightenment, but so that he might be of greater benefit to others, and serve to facilitate the enlightenment of others. In love and compassion, his concern is the entire Community of Israel, and therefore he is a truly great tzaddik.

So, it does lead me to wonder about the view of these ministering angels, who do not seem to recognize what God sees in this man, and why he is worthy of making use of God’s glory, which I am understanding as Ruach Elohim.

From Elder Gideon’s post I am seeing Sod as corresponding to the world of Atzilut and to Hayyah in soul; is this correlation correct? So, would these “ministering angels” arise from the world of Beriyah, corresponding to the interpretive layer of Drush? Does this layer correlate with Torah de-Beriyah, and also the Law?

As you have said, dear Tau, Razin Sethimin corresponds to the Da’at of Atik Yomin and of Adam Kadmon. Does it, then, also correspond to Yechidah in soul and to Primordial Torah, the “Light of the first day”?

May we live and move and have our being in the Christ Spirit!


Tau Malachi
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Glory of God & Ruach Elohim

#11 Postby Tau Malachi » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:43 pm

Grace and peace to you in Hayyah Yeshua!

There are many stories of holy men and women encountering angels that reveal that the view and intention of angels, and their knowledge and power, is often very different, or even at odds, with the intentions of human beings, and likewise that reveal that angels can have thoughts and feelings very different from those of God; hence, that angels have their own existence, and are unique and individual beings, just as every other form of sentient being. Human beings and angels are siblings in the Light Continuum, and navim and tzaddikim and the maggidim, angels, are very similar, and yet they are also very different, for the angels are non-human entities, divine beings of the heavens.

In much the same way as holy men and women, angels are very zealous for Yahweh, and they praise and give thanks to Yahweh, and worship in the presence of Yahweh, and they have great fear and love of Yahweh, having deep knowledge of the heavens and Yahweh, and in much the same way as holy men and women, they pray, sharing their thoughts and feelings with the Holy One, seeking greater knowledge, understanding and wisdom, and illuminations concerning Ratzon Elyon, the Will of the Most High. It is the intention of the angels of God to serve the kingdom of heaven and to facilitate the will of God in creation; when they take action, it is with divine authority, as ordained by God, as God wills. Thus, these ministering angels inquired of the will of God concerning Rabbi Akiva, and it was God’s will that this great tzaddik enter and depart in peace, and make use of the Glory of God to encourage and facilitate the return of souls to God.

I do not know that these are accusing angels, but rather they are ministering angels in the “Court of the Holy King” before the “Throne of Glory” as manifest in the exterior Shekinah, and among them are those that are guardians of the Presence, the Shekinah; as such, if a spirit or soul attempts to draw near, they will seek to discern the will of God concerning that living spirit or soul, and whether or not that spirit or soul is chosen by God, and ordained to draw near. Joined with this, they seek to discern how to minister to those spirits and souls that enter and draw near, and what blessings and knowledge is to be given. In the case of this rabbi, this great tzaddik, knowledge and power of the Glory of God (Kavod Ha-Elohim) is granted, which corresponds with knowledge and power of spiritual light, and inner gradations of higher, expanded mental consciousness and intelligence.

This “Glory of God” corresponds with the exterior presence of God and the lesser mysteries of the Works of Creation; Rabbi Akiva, at this time, is able to reach into the exterior Shekinah, but not the interior Shekinah as Moses and the great navim of previous generations. Thus, a limit is established by the Most High concerning how near the soul of this tzaddik can draw, and what blessings, what knowledge and power, is to be given, all according to the spiritual realization of the tzaddik and the need of his generation, or the need of those he is to teach and initiate.

Here we can share an open secret concerning the limit that was established on this occasion. As we know, three others entered with Rabbi Akiva and they were disciples, companions, of his assembly at the time; none were able to endure or abide in the holiness of the exterior Shekinah, and because of this Rabbi Akiva could ascend no further. If his companions were able to endure and abide in the exterior Shekinah, however, holding that sacred space in consciousness with him, greater blessings, greater knowledge and power, could have been granted, and it is possible a further ascent could have transpired. The running and returning of a tzaddik, and what they are able to share, is dependent upon the retinue that is with them, and at this time Rabbi Akiva had a very limited and inauspicious retinue, one that was not even able to endure and abide in the holiness of outermost fringes of the exterior Shekinah and the outermost manifestation of the Throne of Glory.

In this, perhaps, we might understand the inquiry of the ministering angels, for judging by the fruits, the disciples, they had questions concerning this rabbi who guided these souls in this journey into Pardes, reasonably so; the Holy One, of course, has a greater sight into the future than the angels, and beheld the auspicious assembly of souls of a higher gradation that would eventually gather around this elder, and therefore bid that he depart in peace. The angels, in truth, were correct to be concerned, for there are certain standards of those to whom it is proper to teach and initiate in the Holy Kabbalah, and it is forbidden to teach the wicked, or to teach for one’s own self-glorification; teaching and initiating the wicked violates the Holy Shekinah and gives power to the Other Side. Given what the angels observed with his disciples of the time, what were they to think?

You may recall what St. James says, that the judgment is more severe for a teacher because they are responsible for their students, and likewise, in the case of tzaddikim they take up the karma of their companions.

There is something more to be said about angels of God who might not allow a soul to enter Pardes and leave in peace, such as with the one who “cut his plantings” and went on to give strange teachings. If a person ventures into the mysteries and visionary experiences in an impure state, or with the wrong intentions, or selfish ambitions, so the angels may become fierce, and pursue that soul, causing consternation and great ill-fortune, in this life and the afterlife, and potentially in future lives, until that soul repents, and returns to God. In other words, to receive esoteric teachings and knowledge with the wrong intentions, or the misuse of such knowledge and power, could have severe karmic repercussions, akin to the misuse of the Name of the Lord, or the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.

Now, concerning the knowledge and power of the Glory, we must remember that there are many different gradations of Ruach Ha-Kodesh, and there are many different gradations of Glory; the inmost gradation of Ruach Ha-Kodesh, which corresponds to Razin Sethimin, is Ruach Elohim, and according to the Kabbalah, this is the Spirit of the Messiah. Until the Messiah comes, and the Spirit of the Messiah (Ruach Elohim) is received, the Spirit of the Messiah is not with a soul; as yet, souls in the Jewish stream are awaiting the coming of the Messiah, and do not receive Adonai Yeshua as the Messiah, and as such, have not received Ruach Elohim. There are many lofty gradations of Ruach Ha-Kodesh and Glory that great tzaddikim in the Jewish stream receive and embody, but Ruach Elohim, as yet, is not given and received in the Jewish stream.

If we wish to consider the reception of Ruach Elohim and Pardes, or Merkavah, this is the gradation of Ruach Ha-Kodesh imparted by Hayyah Yeshua, the Risen Messiah, in the upper room, and with it comes the knowledge and power of Hayyah Yeshua, the power to release and retain sin, and the knowledge of the Works of Creation and Works of the Chariot as they are in the Messiah; with this there is knowledge of the heavens and the earth in the Risen Messiah, or knowledge of the new heaven and earth in the Messiah, and the Supernal Light Transmission. The full reception of Ruach Elohim is the full influx of Supernal Light, and the Habad of Atzilut – Supernal or Messianic Consciousness.

In the experience of Ruach Elohim, not only can a soul draw near to Yahweh Elohim, and enter into the inmost aspects of the interior Shekinah, but also a soul may experience conscious union with the Messiah in Yahweh Elohim; hence, a soul may acquire intimate knowledge of Yahweh Elohim, Shaddai.

If we look into this story of four who entered into Pardes, there is the experience of nearness corresponding with the outermost fringes of the exterior Shekinah, and the illusion of separation or dualism in consciousness remains strongly at play; there is an experience of drawing near to a degree, but not an intimate nearness, let alone an experience of conscious unification. There is no doubt, though, that on other occasions Rabbi Akiva was able to draw nearer to Shaddai, and received greater knowledge and power, a greater spiritual realization.

There is a great difference, however, in the experience of those who enter into Pardes under the law, and those who enter in the Sanctuary of Grace; the experience of the angels and heavens, and Holy Shekinah, is very different for those who have received the Holy Gospel, the heart-essence of the Torah, and so have received the Spirit of the Messiah, the anointing with Supernal Light. Under the law there is a limit to the ascension of souls, but through Divine Grace in Hayyah Yeshua the klippah, the barrier, to unification is dispelled and overcome. Praise God!

As we know, God and Godhead indwells the inmost part of our soul, our yechidah, and the inmost part of our soul is so holy even the greatest among the angels of God cannot enter into it, but only God and Godhead can enter it; and this inmost aspect of our soul, our unique essence or divine spark, is inseparable from the Messiah and Eheieh. In that Razin Sethimin are the mysteries of creation and God as known to the Messiah and El Elyon, corresponding with Atik Yomin, so that supreme knowledge of the mysteries corresponds with yechidah, the inmost essence of our being as we are in the Messiah and El Elyon.

Here, perhaps, we may remind that the method of Pardes and the methods of the Merkavah for entering into vision and prophecy are, in fact, different; as we know, the Rabbis in the Zohar laud study and contemplation of the Holy Torah above prayer, and what they mean by this is the method of Pardes, gazing into inner, metaphysical dimensions through deep meditative contemplation of the Holy Scriptures. As Christian Mekubalim we enjoy something of the method of Pardes too, but also we may enact a method of the Holy Merkavah in the Risen Messiah, and the knowledge and understanding of the Holy Merkavah in the Risen Messiah is greater than that of Ezekiel; hence it is a more essential and direct method, one founded upon a Union of Grace.

Here we may recall St. Paul writing of someone, likely himself, who was taken up by the Spirit of the Messiah into the third heaven, Shehakim, and we may recall something that he writes about the experience, that whether it was in the body, or not in the body, he did not know, but “God knows.” This alludes to the method of the Holy Merkavah in the Risen Messiah, the capacity in deep meditation (hitbodedut) to generate a spiritual body, a body of light, and to shift one’s center of consciousness from the physical body into the body of light, and to ascend through the seven heavens, running and returning in this way. This gives rise to a deeper, more intimate knowledge and understanding of the mysteries than the method of Pardes, naturally so! From the little hint given by St. Paul in passing, we know that along with the method of Pardes with the Torah and Gospel, the original followers of the Way used a method of the Merkavah through a practice of the transference of consciousness into a body of light, or their “angel.”

In the case of St. Paul, as described, it seems that his experience was in a subtle body formed of purified astral light, which would correspond with an ascension into Shehakim, but in the Spirit of the Messiah it is also possible to generate a subtle body of purified spiritual light, which would correspond with an ascension into the inner, spiritual heavens, and yet more, if and when there is a full Supernal Influx a subtle body can be generated of Supernal Light, which would correspond with the experience of the eighth heaven, Malkut of Atzilut.

Here we may say, Razin Sethimin corresponds with knowledge of the mysteries that may be touched upon through the generation of a body of light formed of the Supernal Light and the experience of inner gradations of Supernal or Messianic Consciousness; here, in This World, such knowledge of the mysteries remains makifin, encircling or transcendent, but in the World-To-Come this Habad become p’nimi, internalized, by those holy and enlightened ones who attain it.

These were some thoughts that arose in my prayers and contemplations this morning that seemed good to share.

Through the Spirit of the Messiah may we be made worthy of deep mysteries, and may the light of the mysteries revealed to us in the Messiah ray out to bless and uplift all living spirits and souls. Amen.

May El Elyon bless you this day!
Tau Malachi

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