Joining "the Lynn White debate", we argue that the ecological crisis was not conditioned by the victory of Christianity over paganism but by the divorce of Christianity from Judaism following the fall of Jerusalem, and because of the original sin of the Pauline doctrine. Those events constituted a real enactment of the Biblical story of the fall of Adam-mankind and exile of the feminine divine presence, and exile from the Tree of Life, which is the Torah that commands ecological response-ability. Noting current attempts to revive Gaia paganism for the earth's sake, we propose a cybernetic understanding of the Hebrew text that sees the living earth, the Adamah, as the mate of a unified future humanity, Adam, in a true dialogical relationship. The Garden of Eden story is then shown as prophetic text applying to the ecological, epistemological and ethical choices facing us right now.
key words: Biblical ecology; Environmental Ethics; Spiritual Ecology; Judaism.
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It is becoming popular nowadays to blame the global ecological crisis on "the Judeo-Christian Tradition". Such claims as appeared at first in specialized scientific literature (e.g. Bateson, 1972 and White, 1967, which has stirred much scientific debate, Wright, 1971; Barbour, 1973; Passmore, 1974; and Hargrove, 1989) are now moving into the mass media including prestigious newspapers, articles and books by such popular writers as Tom Robbins and Gore Vidal (1989, who regarded monotheism as "the greatest disaster to befall the human race" and the Jewish God as responsible to the ecological disaster) ecologists Wendel Berry (1975, seeing the Biblical religion as the greatest disaster of human history") and Martin Palmer, and even royalty (Prince Charles' preface to Porritt (1991). This kind of allegation is thus becoming so widely insinuated as to be elevated to a type of self-evident truth1. Because it is not so nice to blame the global ecological disaster on Christ, these claims really boil down to the accusation that it is the Jews and their "Old Testament jehovah" who are responsible for the cutting of the rain forests and for other modern global maladies. Since environmental concerns and ecologism are fast becoming a major new religion of mankind, there is a danger that it will breed a new form of anti semitism, say "Eco-Antisemitism". This worry may seem only self-concerned, but we caution that a modern form of rejection of the Jewish tradition poses a serious threat to the integrity and very utility of the ecological movement. We shall show below that the specifically Jewish Biblical tradition, so long rejected by Western civilization, contains the very seeds needed to save all mankind - the true Adam - and nurture the living planet - the Adamah, and that the divorce of Christianity from Judaism, rather than its victory over paganism, is at the root of the ecological crisis.
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- 1. "NEW AGE" SKINS FOR OLD-TIME ANTI SEMITIC SPIRITS:
The attacks on "the Judeo-Christian tradition" are characteristic of the movements of "Deep Ecology" and "Eco-Feminism", as well of "Creation Theology". Thus a leader of the latter movement, Mathew Fox, writes that "the OT God is a vengeful, sadistic deity.... (the OT) God should be replaced.." These trends are nursed by "The New Age Movement" whose initiator, Alice Baily, called for "..the dissolution of the orthodox Jewish faith with its obsolete teachings". The author found how his partners to the organization of a New Age congress in Israel shied away from any association between their New Age concerns and their Jewish concerns. A pamphlet from a Theosophic organization concerned with "Global synthesis" (Schneider, ?) and proposing to train "world teachers" to redress current world problems found their only focus for "facing mankind's' problems" in "the Jewish Problem". They collect the old anti semitic remarks of Helena Blavatski and the anti-Zionist sentiments of Alice Baily as the foundation of their training for service to mankind. The connection between the New Age and Antisemitism is researched academically elsewhere2. Serious research is also beginning to show that what these occultists were trying to stem was of the very essence of the underground currents in Christianity3 that were perhaps the true, but secret, Judeo-Christian tradition, trying, in various ways, to redress the original sin of orthodox Christian doctrine.
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- 2. THE ORIGINAL SIN (of Christianity) AND THE FALL (of Jerusalem):
Orthodox Christianity, as was promulgated by Paul, John and the gentile Church Fathers and officially adopted and dogmatized by the Roman Emperor bases its rationale on "the Original Sin", the Pauline interpretation of the Biblical story of Adam and his exile from the Garden of Eden which equates the Good with the spiritual, and the Evil with the material. According to this doctrine, every man is, a-priory, a sinner who lusts for Evil, namely material pursuits. Paul claimed that the only use of the Law of Moses (the Torah), which is made mainly of practical and material commandments (what Paul called "works"), is to ensnare man and demonstrate our innate sinful-ness. From a Jewish point of view, the original sin of Western Civilization happened then, with their "cutting of the shoots" of the Trees of Knowledge and of Life, forsaking the Torah (which is "The Tree of Life" according to Jewish tradition) and rejecting Jewish knowledge of the Bible to mask it in Gnostic and dualistic, ascetic Greek notions that severe spirit from matter. In this process, the earth became regarded as dead matter and the greatest veneration was diverted to "The Tree of Golgotha" - the cross, the instrument of death. The divorce of Christianity from Judaism and the Judaic knowledge of the O.T. was much effected by the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 C.E., the suppression of the later Bar Kokhva rebellion by Rome and the ban on Jewish residence in Jerusalem. The original Judeo-Christian Jerusalem Church declined and the "gentile churches", especially Rome, came to prominence by severing any allegiance to Jerusalem and to the ways of the Jewish enemies of Rome and they incorporated ascetic philosophies and pagan practices4. Christianity soon became synonymous with the Pauline NT scriptures and with Rome, the antithesis to Jerusalem (Rome is the real "Babylon" in the Talmud as in the Book of Revelation). From Judaic point of view, the Fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple were the real Fall and exile from paradise. The majority of the commandments of the Torah, which deal with the relation to the land and the Temple worship, could no longer be fulfilled and the great Name of God could now no longer be uttered. Since this Fall, the feminine aspect of God, the Shekhina, became exiled and the Holy Land, and in fact the whole earth, became cursed. THE EXILE OF THE FEMININE DEITY Tied to "matter" is the issue of "mother", and the rejection of one affected the other. The above-mentioned objections to "The Judeo-Christian Tradition" claim that it deposed the Great Mother cult, replacing it by a strictly male, and uncaring, "jehovah". But this claim is based on ignorance of the Judaic tradition. The more penetrating thinker of the environmental movement, the anthropologist/cybernetician Gregory Bateson (1972) claimed that the root of the malaise of Western civilization is the synthesis of Judaic religion and Greek science, which took the male aspects of both cultures and deposed their complementary feminine aspects. The Christian God may be an all-male Trinity, but Jewish Rabbinic and mystical understandings of the divine, even already before the Fall (of Jerusalem), recognized a fine balance between the male and female aspects of the divinity, the Shekhina. This balance, as noted, was disturbed with the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. and the exile and humiliation of Israel. Particularly the most feminine symbols in Judaic cult, the Torah, the Land, the Shabbat, the Judaic entity (Knesset Yisrael) and Jerusalem were rejected and despised by the world. As for "Jehovah" (a name that no Jew ever used), this is a crass translation of the complex and subtle tetragramaton formula, the ineffable four-letter name YHVH, where the Hebrew letter marked as H is specifically the feminine element, grammatically and theologically.
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- 3. LONGING FOR THE RESTORATION OF THE QUEEN AND ECO-PAGANISM.:
The rise of the cult of the Virgin was the popular attempt in Medieval Europe to redress the imbalance which eventually forced the Catholic Church to adopt the doctrine of The Assumption of the Virgin. But this was hardly a solution. The fertility of the virgin, actual or conceptual, is highly problematic and clearly not of this world. The modern search for the return of the goddess which often looks for pagan femininity has too many manifestations to enumerate here (Gadon, 1989). Perhaps its most striking appearance in ecological circles is in James Lovelock's "Gaia hypothesis" (1979) - that the earth is a living being. Lovelock's scientific arguments are cybernetic and, to my mind, valid. But the cultural excess baggage brought in with the pagan name, Gaia, seems to determine the implications and applications of the theory. Thus Gaia as the living earth (and really the Great Mother); is seen as the dominant entity in the ecological equation. She was there billions of years before mankind appeared and she will right most environmental wrongs in Her stride, and if we, puny humans, transgress Her, She will just eliminate us without undue regret and carry on Her ways. Certainly no real dialogue between Her and us is considered (as the Beatles said: "Her Majesty is a pretty nice girl, but she has not got a lot to say"). The cybernetic epistemology associated with Gaia has been charted in Gregory Bateson's (1972, 1979) essays on "Ecology of Mind" and "Mind and Nature". Bateson's initiation to scientific fame came in his studies in pagan societies where he experienced holistic relations of humans and environment. Bateson even claimed that the ancient debate whether mind was immanent or transcendent has at last been settled, by cybernetics, and that mind is immanent, or embedded, in nature. It did not occur to this great analyst of culture and human communications that there may also be a related "Ecology of Spirit" and/or of belief-systems which is transcendent to matter and can determine human behavior for good and for evil. Thus another ecological thinker and philosopher of ideas (Berman, 1984) who seeks a new epistemology adequate for "re-enchanting the world", at first advocates the epistemology of Bateson, but then finds it insufficient for inculcating moral principles and moderation in use of power. We are concerned here with the ecology of ideas about the environment in which Bateson's theories are a typical species, vying for survival, symbiosis and development, alongside with other ideas-species, be they materialistic or rationalistic, pagan or Biblical. There are also cybernetic epistemologies (Hayutman, 1991) other than Bateson's. The most famous by now is that of "Autopoesis" (Zeleny, 1981) which is consistent with dialectical materialism and whose authors deny the cultural or transcendental applications to their theory which many others are offering.
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- 4. THE ECOLOGY OF SPIRIT, HAYUT AND SEPHIROT:
An alternative, or complementary, cybernetic epistemology has been developed by Gordon Pask to handle not the "taciturn systems" of nature but also the language-oriented systems of human culture. Using Bateson's very important findings of the distinct levels of communications and meta communications, Pask built a dialogical epistemology called "Conversation Theory". On one occasion (Pask, 1975) he used a progression of complex, paradigmatic "icons" (thus echoing the Christian symbology), starting from a simple cruciform marking two cognitive systems and two levels of communications and carrying the equipment for observation and communications, and all the way to complex three-level constructs encompassing most current social-science paradigms. This scheme has been used by the author (Hayutman 1981, 1992) and expanded in the form of the Kabbalistic "Tree of Life". Perhaps the central concept of natural ecology is that of energy transformations throughout the biosphere. If we seek to define an ecology of spirit, or any system of belief relevant also for the inter-relations of human culture and nature, we need to regard kinds of energy relevant for both material and spiritual concerns (Williams, 1978). Such a comprehensive system can be found in the inner Judaic teachings, Kabbalah and Hassidut, under the name of "Hayut" (intelligent divine "vitality"). Hayut flows "downwards" from the infinite to our world of limitations, going through many changes and transductions as it passes by many "Sephirot"6, giving sustenance for anything that is, from the inspiration of the genius to the food of the worm to the elementary forces. The system of the Sephirot which modifies the Hayut is known in a characteristic pattern called "The Tree of Life", as well as "Adam", and this pattern is self-similar, repeated at any level. Since Hayut is symbolic as well as physical energy, the Kabbalah also describes the transformations of Hayut as the combinations, permutations and translations of the letters of the divine utterances that reverberate to reproduce the world at each instant. The English word "earth" is derived from the Hebrew word "Eretz", and the Hebrew scriptures have also a special word for the living earth - Adamah. Adamah is the female form of Adam and, in light of the above, Adamah is sustained by Adam with the feminine divine presence.
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- 5. "MANN" AND THE CONSTITUTION OF ADAM:
The world, the creation, is a receptor of Hayut, but the Judaic teaching is that there can be a two-way flow - through the agency of humankind. That is specifically what humankind, Adam, was made for. Unlike the Pauline doctrine that sees Man as hapless sinner and, at best, the passive recipient of grace, even Rabbinic mainstream Judaism and certainly the Kabbalah sees Man as an active agent who helps the world to become perfected - or cursed. The Kabbalah supplies the technical details of the process, through the perhaps paradoxical concept of "Mann" (è"é). While the Hayut flows downwards, "Mann" is raised upwards, from the earth to heaven and beyond, by the virtuous works of Adam. The fulfillment of each commandment of the Torah, when done with conviction, is supposed to raise "Mann" from the earth to heaven. The concept of Adam has many meanings in the Hebrew understandings of the scriptures. Adam is both male and female (Gen. 1:27), both individual and collective (in fact all humankind, past and future), both concrete and conceptual pattern of Sephirot and/or commandments and members, even both created being and creator and even the measure of all things divine. We may say that any Ben-Adam ("child of Adam", a person) is male as an individual, and a female as a community, or part thereof. In relation to God, Adam is female, in relation to the whole earth, Adam is male. Moreover, "Adam" is also an acronym that encompasses the Messianic program of redemption - Abraham, David and Messiah. It is because Adam is both created and creator, or rather the agent of the Creator in perfecting the world, that Adam was commanded "to work and guard her", the living earth, the Adamah, both in Eden (Gen. 2:15) and in exile (Gen. 3:23). Adam, and then Noah, was commanded to preserve the whole spectrum of species of the earth. Tradition says that the sons of Noah were given seven commandments, one of which is not to sever a limb from a living being. But if the Adamah (Gaia) is a living being, then the commandment not to consume a limb off a living thing encompasses most of what is nowadays considered as ecological responsibility. With the failure of Noahide humankind, a Messianic program started with Abraham and was specified in Sinai as the Torah for Israel. Israel were given a code of 613 commandments (corresponding to the 248 bones and 365 ligaments of the human stature, both physical and spiritual), the majority of which have to do with social conduct (Ben Adam le'Adam) and between persons and the Adamah. Just as the divine cycle of creation is commemorated by keeping the Sabbath, so does the Torah command give a Sabbath of rest to the earth on each seventh year - Shmita. The concept of "redemption" is, in fact, first mentioned in the Bible in relation with the redemption of the land at the Jubilee, after seven Shemitas. For most people nowadays, secular and even religious, the Temple worship and especially the sacrifices may look passe' and irrelevant. But at the core of the Temple rituals and the sacrifices was a certain technology of elevating "Mann" and overcoming human selfishness. We still need this way or alternative ways to achieve it 8 . The sacrifices at the Temple were raised from the mineral, the plant and the animal kingdom, accompanied by sacred song. We might benefit from integrative rituals like this, concerned with the relations of Adam and Adamah.
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- 6. RE-ENCHANTMENT AND HETERO-POETIC RESTITUTION OF THE TEMPLE:
According to Jewish legend (Midrash), Adam was formed at the site of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, from soil gathered from all places upon the Adamah. This site is regarded in Jewish tradition as the most sacred place on earth and the very focus of the interchange between earth and heaven. The Temple rituals were geared to ensure fertility to the land and blessings to all humankind (Patai, 1947). This place was also regarded by medieval cartographers as the center of the world, and in fact it is at the very center of all the earth's land masses. It is also central to Jewish, Christian and Moslem beliefs about the epitome of human history, the site that will make or break humankind. The claim that the fall of Jerusalem brought desolation to the whole world can be amplified in relation to the 613 commandments. Of these, 343 commandments deal with relationship with the Adamah and with the worship at the Temple. 343 correspond 9 to the Hebrew word "Geshem" (çôÇ) meaning both "rain" and "corporeality". With the exile and the destruction of the Temple, "The Geshem has gone" (Canticles 2:11) from Adam's work and only 270 commandments are left. 270 correspond with the word "Ra" (íò) meaning "evil" - and Adam can do "only Ra all day long" (Gen. 6:5). We mentioned Berman's call for restitution of our cursed world via "re-enchantment". Scholars of "Earth mysteries" (Michell and Rhone, 1991) claim to have uncovered the ancient science for enchanting the landscape. It calls for the restitution of twelve -tribe federations, a pattern best known in the Biblical program for the Tribes of Israel around the Tabernacle (Numbers 2) and for settling the land (Joshua 13-21) and for restoring it at each Jubilee. Significantly, Michell's study concludes with the building of Jerusalem and the Temple and the Temple pattern which may underlay Jerusalem's plan. A key element in the program for enchantment is chanting, sacred song which is performed in the Temple and recreates the divine creative process. The greatest Jewish authority of recent times, Rav Kuk, in heralding the restitution of Israel and of the Temple speaks of "the fourfold song" of the whole creation: the mineral, plant, animal and human (verbal) kingdoms in concert. This is what the reconstituted worship at the future Temple should accomplish. Let us call such an endeavor "hetero-poetic" (contrasted to the autistic auto-poesis of closed systems, be they biological or mental). This may mean several things: a) dialogical (or rather "multilogical") orientation for communications between disciplines, cultures and even levels of being; b) the "Tree of Life" framework for these communications; which implies also c) broader spectrum of the communications, not just prose but also poetry.
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- 7. UNION OF ADAM AND ADAMAH BY THE TREE OF LIFE:
We have made several allusions to the Biblical story of Genesis, and this text can lead us further. The Hebrew text is far more insightful than the simple-minded translations and Christian interpretations allow. Not only is there no original sin, but the whole scenario is written in an inverted future tense. In fact, it is valid to regard each "day" as a millennium 10. According to Jewish tradition we are now in the sixth millennium from the Creation, really the onset of conscious human history, of our ecology of spirit. This present time, which corresponds to the sixth day with the formation of Adam and the encounter with the Trees, that is the integration of humankind into the new Adam and of the choice that we face: a paradise on earth or a fall and the cursing of Adamah because of Adam. In other words, according to the Hebrew calendar, the "sixth day" of Genesis is occurring in the period 1740-2240 C.E. In other words, this is the period from the onset of the industrial revolution and its demographic explosion to the likely time of global zero population growth and complete global ecosystemic stability. There are many Jewish interpretations, Midrashim, about the events of the sixth day, including two hourly accounts. By such accounts and the above consideration, the encounter with the Tree of Knowledge is just about to happen. What could that mean? There are further clues in the Midrash and the Kabbalah on discussions of what was Adam's "missed mark". According to one source, Adam should have tasted of the tree itself, rather than its fruit. According to the Kabbalists, Adam should have waited to the end of the next day, the Sabbath, and then he could have enjoyed the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. These two are much the same, the Tree of Knowledge has the same structure (is self-similar) as the Tree of Life, the structure of the Sephirot, and the Tree of Knowledge would become the Tree of Life if used not for self-interest but when immersed in wholeness. (much the same as the commandment in the Indian Bhagavad- Gita to act dutifully without regard to the fruit of action). By making our science holistic, indeed holy, geared not to exploitation but to the enhancement of life, we can avert our exile from paradise and the cursing of the Adamah and enter a global Sabbath of ecological stability and no strife.
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Baigent, M. Leigh, R. and Lincoln, H. (1986).
- The Messianic Legacy. Jonathan Cape. As well as the other books of these authors.
Barbour, I.G. (Ed) (1973).
- Western Man and Environmental Ethics. Addison Wesley.
Bateson, Gregory (1972).
- Steps to an ecology of mind. NY Ballantine.
Bateson, Gregory (1979).
- Mind and Nature: a necessary unity. Dutton.
Berman, Morris (1984).
- The reenchantment of the world. Bantam books.
Berry, W. (1975).
- Continuous Harmony. Harvest Books.
Eco, Umberto (1989).
- Foucault's Pendulum. London, Secker & Warburg.
Eder, Asher (1992).
- Environmental Education Inspired by the Hebrew Scriptures. Paper for this conference.
Gadon, E. 1989.
- The Once and Future Goddess: A Symbol for Our Time. Harper Row.
Hargrove, E. C. (1989).
- Religion and the Environmental Crisis. U. of Georgia.
Hayutman, Yitzhak (1988).
- World, Adam and Adamah. Mudaut 29, June 1988 (in Hebrew). English version planned by the Academy of Jerusalem.
Hayutman, Yitzhak (1992).
- Kabbalah as Model for Healing and Holistic Science. Paper for the 1st Dead Sea Conference for Interaction between Western and Eastern Medicine. Published by the Academy of Jerusalem.
Khayutman (Hayutman), Yitzhak (Isaac) (1981).
- The Cybernetic Basis for Human Reconstruction. Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, Brunel U.
Khayutman (Hayutman), Y. (1991)
- Extending the Scope of Environmental Education by Reinstating System Theory. in S. Keiny and U. Zoller (eds.): Conceptual Issues in Environmental Education. Peter Lang.
Lovelock, James E. 1979.
- Gaia - a new look at life on earth. Oxford Univ. Press.
Michell, John and Rhone, Christine 1991.
- Twelve-Tribe Nations and the Science of Enchanting the Landscape. Thames and Hudson.
Passmore, J. (1974).
- Man's Responsibility for Nature. N.Y. Charles Scribner.
Patai, Raphael (1947).
- Man and Temple. Edinburgh, Nelson.
Porritt, J. (1991).
- Saving the Earth. London.
- Facing Mankind's Problems: The Jewish Question. Institute for Planetary Synthesis, World Teacher Trust. P.O.Box 128 CH-1211 Geneva 20.
Thompson, William Erwin (ed) 1987.
- Gaia - a way of knowing. Lindisfarne Press.
White, Lynn (1967).
- The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis. Science 155 (10 March 1967).
Williams, Paul (1978).
- Das Energy. N.Y. Warner Books. Hebrew translation - "Energyat haHayut" by Laor Publishing, Haifa.
Wright, R.T. (1971).
- Responsibility for the Ecological Crisis", in Leisner, R.S. & Kormandy E.J., Ecology. William Brown.
Yates, Frances (1983).
- The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age. Ark.
Zeleny, Milan (1981).
- Autopoiesis - a Theory of Living Organization. Elsevier.
ADDITIONAL RELEVANT REFERENCES (courtesy of Prof. Eugene Hargrove):
Bratton, S. (1984).
- Christian Eco-theology in the Old Testament. Environmental Ethics, vol 6, p. 195- 209.
Callicott J.B. and Aimes R. (eds) (1989).
- Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought. State Univ. of N. Y. Press.
Kay, J. (1988).
- Concept of Nature in the Hebrew Bible. Environmental Ethics, vol. 10 p. 29-37.
The Melton Journal # 24, Spring 1991:
- Judaism and Ecology - Our Earth and Our Tradition. The Melton Research Center at the Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway N.Y. 10027.
Schwartzchild, S. (1984).
- The Unnatural Jew. Environmental Ethics. vol 6.
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(1) just as the allegations that Jesus was the founder of Christianity and/or that he was killed by the Jews are, or have long been, regarded as self-evident truths at the foundations of Western civilization, making the Jews an endangered species for almost 2000 years. The spurious connection of Jesus with Christianity has only recently been seriously challenged.
(2) Historian Dr. Margaret Brearley of Birmingham University, UK.
(3) These lady's concern was to clean European esotericism from its Jewish roots, as was Hitler's. Scholarly research (Yates,1983) shows that Jewish esoteric teachings were primary sources for the European Renaissance and its esoteric followings. Combining scholarship and literature we find the claim that the genuine Kabbalah held by the Jews ought to be kept apart from the cabals of the murky tide of occultism (Eco, 1989), while the most popular exposures of the esoteric underground movements in European and American history (Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, 1983, 1986, 1989, 1991) continue to uncover secret "Zionist" streaks running counter to official Christianity all the way from Jesus to the Boston Tea Party.
(4) To cite just two prominent changes: the substitution of the Saturday Sabbath with Sunday, the imperial Roman Sun-day, and the adoption of Christmas, an ancient pagan holiday having absolutely nothing to do with Jesus' birth. Meanwhile, the original Jerusalem Church, of Jesus' family and those who knew him, was declared heretical by the Roman Church.
(5) Bateson, in castigating the Judeo-Christian religion, actually regarded its originators as "Palestinians", a philistine slant.
(6) The Sephirot are the central concept of the classical Kabbalah, (their other name is "Midot" or measures), and most books on Kabbalah treat the subject. There are dozens of meanings to this term which can be found in Kabbalah books. The most literal is "counting" or "account" and, to my mind, "dynamic accounts" is the best understanding.
(7) "Mann" (è"é) is actually the acronym for "Mayim Nukbin" or "Feminine water". The basic concept is quite simple, though perhaps startling for a religious concept. When a woman prepares for sexual union with her desired mate, she gets aroused and becomes wet - she raises her feminine water. In a way, this is true for every aspect of creation. The Bible tells that on the second "day" of Genesis the heaven separated the water above the firmament from the water below it, and the Midrash explains that these waters long for reunion, they are the archetypical male and female aspect in everything. These "waters" are also within us and Adam - humankind - is what can unify what has been separated.
(8) Recall that the source of the Temple site and its ritual was the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham at this site. But the Lord, however, did not command Abraham to slaughter his son but to "Raise him" (leha'alot le'olah) at this site. Moreover, even the daily sacrifices were called "korban", which the Kabbalah associates with "Karebh" or draw near. They served to sacrifice people's selfishness and draw them near to all Being.
(9) Hebrew scriptural insight makes much use of Gematria - attribution of a numerical value to each Hebrew letter and the summary of the letter-values of a word to find correspondences with other words of same value.
(10) Only the first two sentences of Genesis are in regular past tense. All the rest is in an inverted or conditional tense. Seemingly past actions are in fact in future tense but preceded by the connecting letter Vav used as "Vav hahipukh", literally "the hook of transformation" (the same V in the tetragramaton, and related to the "flaming sword which turns either way" which guards the way to the Tree of Life, Gen. 5:24).
The equation of God's day as a thousand years (Ps. 90:4) has been used by both Jews and Christians (Peter 3:8). But while there are dozens of different Christian reconstructions of the date of Genesis (the most known is bishop Usser's, that the creation occurred in 4004 B.C.E), there is an accepted Jewish count (with zero, or the synchronization of the Sephirot, at 3760 B.C.E) by which the Jewish calendar and the official calendar of the State of Israel is set. Accordingly, the "sixth day" of Genesis is occurring in the period 1740-2240 C.E (the Jewish day starts in the evening (Gen. 1:5), but the "day" section is from the morning).
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