Greetings and blessings in the Holy Light of the Messiah!
If we look into the assembly of navim, prophets, in ancient Israel, generally speaking it was composed of a multiplicity is prophetic assemblies, or small mystical circles, lead by a tzaddik who was recognized as one anointed as a navi, prophet, who knew the ways of the prophets, the mystical spirituality of the Judaic tradition, which has come to be called the Kabbalah. Wherever a prophet appeared, or wherever they lived, people would come seeking them out for prophecy, for prayers and blessings, and for spiritual teachings, and among those who would come to them were those who wished to become their disciples or followers, who sought to learn the ways of the prophets and sought initiation. Those who received initiation became disciples were known as “sons” and “daughters” of the prophets; hence, the spiritual family of the tzaddik, or navi, who taught and initiated them.
In much the same way that we speak of greater and lesser tzaddikim, or tzaddikim of various gradations of spiritual realization, so it was among the navim, or prophets, and those who were recognized as great navim had a larger voice and influence in the greater assembly of prophets, and were teachers of the teachers, as it were, teaching, blessing and initiating those leading other assemblies. Among the greater prophets in each generation was one who was recognized as the Baal Shem, the “Master of the Name,” such as Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha, and Yohanan the Baptist in his time; hence, one who was the “Holy Lamp” of their generation, bearing the highest spiritual realization in the collective assembly of prophets, and who was noted for their knowledge and wonderworking power, and their nearness to God.
Adonai Yeshua teaches that one who is reborn from above, from heaven, is like the wind, no one knows where it comes from or where it is going; hence, one who receives the Spirit, is moved by the Spirit of God, and they come and go as the Spirit of God inspires and moves them. So it was with those who arose as the Baal Shem, and with many of the great navim, or prophets. They might choose to reside in a place for some time, but so also they might wander from place to place, from one assembly to another, and likewise they would often wander in the wilderness and engage in spiritual retreats in various places that were considered sacred and holy. They were vary mysterious figures, for at times it was easy to find them, but at others they would vanish, and unless a person was led by the Spirit of God they would not be able to find them; likewise, they had a tendency of just “showing up” when and where there was a call, or a need, all as they were guided to do by the Spirit of God, or Ruach Ha-Kodesh. Thus, their closest disciples, or apprentices, would travel with them from place to place; hence, what we see with Elijah and Elisha, Elisha being the protégé or destined successor of Elijah.
Perhaps we may speak of a symbolic and mythical place representing the assembly of the Baal Shem, and perhaps in some generations there was a place they would often go that aspirants would gather at to receive teachings and blessings when the Baal Shem was present, but generally speaking, they were wanderers, or travelers, and from one to another it is unlikely they would choose the same place. As an example, according to the Holy Scriptures, and the tradition, Yohanan the Baptist was noted for remaining out in the wilderness at the Sacred Jordan; if anyone wished to see him, or hear his teachings, or preaching, that is were they would go. If he went on a vision quest, or spiritual retreat, he would go out into the wilderness, and not necessarily to the same place, so he would be isolate and alone, and not be able to be found. At times he might have taken a few close disciples on retreat with him, but his assembly was on the shores of the Sacred Jordan, for at the very heart of his teaching and way was the rite of baptism for purification and sanctification. Given the nature of Yohanan and his mission, most likely his assembly would not have remained at the same place, but would have moved from place to place along the shores of the Sacred Jordan, all as the Holy Spirit inspired Yohanan.
If we consider the one who arises after him, Adonai Yeshua, we see something similar – his assembly wanders through the Holy Land from place to place, and Yeshua has no residence; the difference, though, is that Yohanan remained out in the wilderness and the people had to come out to see him, whereas Yeshua went from town to town, and even into Jerusalem, venturing into the wilderness only for spiritual retreat.
There were sacred and holy places, though, that were well known, and there is no doubt that at times a number of the living prophets and their close disciples might be called to travel to one of those places at the same time, and therefore something of an assembly or gathering might transpire from time to time. Mount Horeb, or Mount Carmel, was likely one of these places.
The truth is though, that assemblies of navim, prophets, would appear and disappear, just as the tzaddikim or navim who lead them, and in a similar fashion, from one time to another, different places would become centers of the activity of these holy men and women. There were, indeed, various lineages that kept a continuum of prophecy and spiritual realization, but from one time to another, one generation to another, they were like the wind, and were moved by the Spirit of God.
Yohanan was the Baal Shem of his time, of this there is no doubt, but just from what we read in the Holy Scriptures, our oral tradition aside, he is a very wild prophet enacting a play of Crazy Wisdom; it does not seem to me that we can pin him down, or pin his assembly down, to one place, “Mount Carmel.” We may say the same of Samuel, Nathan, Elijah and Elisha generations before him, they also were quite wild, engaging in the play of Crazy Wisdom; Elijah and Yohanan stand out, however, as the most wild and otherworldly of all the navim, hence the term “maggid” often being applied to Yohanan, a title indicating a holy tzaddik who has little to do with this world, or the unenlightened society in it.
The knowledge and power such great tzaddikim or navim hold is truly uncanny, and they tend to be “wild,” having little, or nothing to do with religious or worldly ways, or the trappings of orthodoxy, but rather, they are pioneers in the Spirit, or openers of the way, restoring a spirituality of direct experience, and bringing new teachings and new revelations of God, and of angels and the heavens. They are called “maggid,” or “angel,” because of their “other than” quality, and generally speak we may say that they are agitators, calling souls out of religious orthodoxy, or manmade traditions, into a worship of God in spirit and truth, and into the experience of an ongoing revelation of God – the experience of a Living God, and the Living Presence and Power of God. This is a cause of agitation to religious authorities, and to those who cleave to the ignorance, darkness, of this world and its “wisdom.”
It must be said, though, that there were many navim, prophets, who lived among the people, and who raised families and such, so that while men and women of God and heaven, they could also be very grounded in this world. The Baal Shem, though, tended to be very otherworldly and not so rooted in this world, which allowed them to serve as the head of the collective assembly of prophets.
If we look into the circle, or assembly, of Yohanan, and Adonai Yeshua, we can gain deep insight into the assemblies of the ancient prophets, for they restored the way of the prophets, as well as bringing in a greater revelation of the Spirit of God and Light Transmission, the Messiah – the Supernal Anointing.
In this light we might inquire: Where is the “College of the Holy Spirit” centered on earth? First, it is centered wherever a person is anointed and filled with the Holy Spirit, and so inspired and illuminated by the Holy Spirit. Second, it is centered wherever an anointed tzaddik dwells who embodies the Spirit of the Messiah, the Supernal Truth and Light; wherever a person goes who embodies the Holy Light and Holy Spirit, that place is holy, for there, in that place, is the good company of the Shekinah of the Messiah, or the “College of the Holy Spirit.”
Perhaps the “College of Mount Carmel” might have a more symbolic and mystical meaning, similar to the College of the Holy Spirit, rather than a literal meaning; if that is the case, then, indeed, all of the Baal Shem were the leaders, or heads, of this “college,” the “teachers” of which are the Spirit of God and the angels of God.
May all who seek true Knowledge of God be blessed to attend the College of the Holy Spirit, and through the reception of the Spirit of God may they be uplifted to their proper grade and attain true Understanding and Wisdom of God – enlightenment! Amen.
Peace be with you!
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