The Great Deception: Karaite Perspectives
Over the past few years many have approached me in regards to my attitude towards Kabbalah. Amongst Karaites it was more often than not to congratulate me on taking a firm stand against this esoteric and evil practice and from those on the other side of the equation it was to condemn me to the living hell of the Sitra Achra. So be it; if I don’t believe in it I don’t think it will have any sway over me. I think my third great grandfather Jakob Goldenthal summed it up best when he commented on Rabbi Akiva. When told that this early Kabbalist, the only one of four great rabbinic sages that survived either death or madness when shown the secrets of the Kabbalah was actually the descendant of a great Persian aristocrat that converted to Judaism, my ancestor affirmed that he knew exactly which one; none other than Haman, the viceroy of King Artaxerxes who tried to eradicate and exterminate all the Jews in Persia for as Jakob saw it, Rabbi Akiva was successfully completing the job. Half a million dead in a war against Rome due to a false messiah that Akiva personally selected and then the major percentage of the remainder lost to Judaism because of false teaching such as the Kabbalah. Yes, it would appear that Akiva did well in emulating his ancestor.
But my concern regarding the promulgation and dissemination of the Kabbalah is even made more worrisome by the number of members within my family that I know are adherents to this warped philosophy. I shouldn’t even call it philosophy as it falls more into the realm of mysticism. Since I know numerous family members read my articles then I am hoping that you will pay attention to what I am about to say, remember your roots and abandon the deception that you have fallen prey to.
What Is Kabbalah
Kabbalah קַבָּלָה basically means "receiving" which is the rabbis attempt to suggest that is a gift. But a gift from whom? Clearly it is a school of thought concerned with the mystical aspect of Rabbinic Judaism but as I have demonstrated that particular sect of Judaism has made a major attempt to replace the Torah as the source of Judaic thought throughout its two thousand years of existence. In essence, the Kabbalah is a set of esoteric instructions meant to explain the relationship between a mysterious creator and this mortal coil we call life. Why they have to think of God as mysterious is their first failure. The essence of God is well described in the Torah. Just because they refuse to accept God as He is presented does not make him mysterious or incomprehensible. I think our early ancestors understood Him very well. He inspired awe, fear and devotion in all of them and they dealt with that odd admixture of emotions in their personal relationship with Him. The simple fact is, there was no Kabbalah in ancient times. There was no part of Judaism that even suggested a Kabbalah existed. It could only exist once the Rabbis persuaded the people to believe that there was a set of unwritten laws and unrecorded documents handed down by God to them. But once you believe the first lie, the rest come easy. So let’s be correct in our description in that the Kabbalah is a set of writings that exist outside the traditional Jewish scriptures. Kabbalah seeks to define the nature of the universe and where the human being is placed in that universe, the nature and purpose of existence, and various other ‘meaning of life’ questions. Let’s also understand that every religion has its mystical counterpart only because some human beings think it’s necessary for every ‘yin’ to have its ‘yang’. Let me say this once and for all that Kaballah is NOT a religion, nor is it a part of Judaism. It just happens to be a system of esoteric, other-worldly concepts scripted in Hebrew, and uses many of the same Hebraic names for describing things spiritual. But that is its entire extent of being part of Judaism; it shares a common language. Let me point out that the Sanhedrin leaders were so concerned about the practice of Kabbalah by Jews deported on conquest to other countries after the Greek and Roman-Jewish wars fearing that it might lead them into wrong practice and forbidden ‘evil’ ways that they forbid it’s teaching. As a result, the Kabbalah became secretive, a forbidden underground cultic Judaism (“Torat Ha’Sod ” תורת הסוד) for almost two and a half millennia. Perhaps we should extend some credit to the Sanhedrin that these sages of Judaism actually knew what they were talking about and they were genuinely fearful for the survival of Judaism if Kabbalah was to spread.
Principles of Kabbalah
The first principle of Kabbalist’s deals with the essence and nature of God. They fail to appreciate that God’s essence is without human definition. Precisely why we ask ‘me camochah’ or who is like you God. It was never intended to be an open question but instead a self answering one so that all could appreciate that there is nothing or no one in this world or any other world we could dream of that would describe God. So why do these Kabbalists bother. The answer is simple: if you can define something, then you can give it limitations and if it has limits then you can control it. So in their vain attempts to define the divine nature of God the Kabbalists envisioned that there were two aspects of God: (a) the unknowable, and (b) the revealed . The latter being the material form that created the universe, preserves the universe, and interacts with mankind. Kabbalists speak of the first aspect of God as Ein Sof (אין סוף) "the infinite” and the second aspect is Yahweh. The former is impersonal, unreachable, unfathomable and without emotion. The latter aspect is accessible to human thought and interaction. And this latter aspect has further been characterized in various ways which give Him form and substance; Sefirot (Divine attributes), Partzufim (Divine "faces"),Four Worlds of Creation from the Seder histhalshelus being Azilut, Beriyah, Yitzirah and Asyiay and the Biblical vision by Ezekiel known as the Merkabah (Divine angelic "Chariot"). These various forms of recognition believe it or not are harmonized by the Kabbalists but in reality it is essentially paganism, seeing God in various manifestations and giving recognition to these individual identities. I am amazed that these same rabbis can condemn Hinduism as paganism giving recognition to the various and individual forms of Vishnu but here these ‘mystical Jews’ are doing that exact same thing. Kabbalists will insist that they have never abandoned the ‘one God’ concept but their opponents have always pointed to the dualistic belief promulgated by Kabbalists that there is a supernatural counterpart to God . Adding an evil dimension to Judaism is not acceptable and is nowhere mentioned in the Torah as part of our religion. Furthermore, according to Kabbalistic cosmology, the Ten Sefirot correspond to ten levels of creation. They insist that these levels of creation must not be interpreted as ten different "gods" but instead as ten different ways of revealing God but as soon as they assigned one entity per level they have effectively divided God into parts and depending which level you examine you will see a different God at each. God is whole, God is indivisible and this nonsense that they preach is an abomination. Who do they think they are that they can define, separate and individualize the essence of God? What sheer arrogance they display in their attempts to compartmentalize the Almighty.
For those Kabbalistic students that wish to berate me for even suggesting they are paganistic in their practices let me remind them that the Zohar even more strongly affirms the two godlike beings as ascribes all evil to an individual supernatural force known as the Sitra Achra("the other side"). The "left side" of divine emanation is a negative mirror image of the "right side of holiness" and both sides are locked into eternal combat. One might actually presume the Zohar was written by George Lucas and they’re talking about the two sides of the Force. How interesting that to the last few generations we view this as merely the creative imaginings of a science fiction writer, yet to these Kabbalists, this is their version of Judaism and even worse, their concept of God.
The Four Worlds: Looking For A Greater Meaning
Probably even more profane in my estimation is that the Kabbalah teaches
that every letter, word, number, and even the accents in the Torah contains a
hidden sign or meaning; and then it teaches the methods of ascertaining these esoteric
meanings. Since the letters of the Hebrew alphabet also represent numbers, it
did not take long for Kabbalists to convert the entire bible into nothing more
than a numeric code and then make predictions and interpretations for the numbers
that they arrived at. What perversion
is this? Do they really believe that God
would speak in code? That when He
instructs us as follows, “thou shall not kill”, that he actually intended some
secondary and hidden meaning. How is it
that the word of God needs to be second guessed, transliterated, and
transformed into something other than the word of God! This second guessing of the words of God leads to other transgressions and from different meanings the ultimate result is different gods or spiritual beings, each with their own language an teachings. If you don't believe me, then let's look at what the Kabbalah has to say about this. It is definitely not a pretty picture.
The Four Worlds of Creation
As if the Kabbalah hasn’t done enough damage and affronted God to the point of condemnation, the Kabbalists will teach you that not only is there a different characteristic or essence of God in each of the Four Worlds but the worlds themselves are as different as night and day which only serves to make their entire mythological universe even more confusing. Let me take you on a guided tour of these worlds.
1) Atziluth: the World Of Origins
They claim this is the Inner World and also the highest of the Four Worlds. In it the Kabbalist will find that it is inhabited and governed by some form of 'God' but this is not the God we know. In this world is the Tree Of Life having ten 'Branches' but these branches extend through all Four Worlds. Now as if this Tree of Life doesn’t remind you enough of the World Tree of Norse mythology then let me add to this the Kabbalist belief that on each branch of the tree you will find God in a different form. These are called "God-aspects" and each form will be interpreted and received differently be each individual Kabbalist. This is not a case of God creating man but of Kabbalist creating God in an image of his own choosing!
2) Briah: the World Of Creation
The next World a step down from Atziluth is the "lower Heaven" of Briah. Now this world is inhabited and governed by spiritual entities of a lower order than 'God' but still of awesome power that they amaze the Kabbalists that encounter them. These entities are often referred to as Archangel but who and what they are, since Kabbalists believe they govern themselves is even a bigger mystery and like everything else in Kabbalic folklore there are ten such beings and each of which rules over his very own Branch of the Tree Of Life. What is probably the most paganistic and diabolical aspect of Kabbalah which places it in direct contradiction with Judaism is that it teaches its followers how to make contact with these ‘Archangels’ in order to make personal relationships with them and use them in order to gain favour from God. In other words, a secondary standard of worship for these lesser beings and praying for their favour and good graces in substitution of God. At no point in the Torah do I find God’s instructions to worship angels and pray to them for favours. Kabbalah has instituted a system of idols and false images.
3) Yetzirah: the World Of Formation
In this third world of the Kabbalah we find your average angels. Apparently these beings walk amongst us at all times and they are encountered by countless people regularly. What is most alarming is that the Kabbalah compares these entities to the mythological creatures found from folklore around the world. They are your Djinns, Elves, Fairies and Leprechauns, They obey the commands given to them by their respective Archangel and any Kaballist that has acquired their language or permission to command them. Therefore it should be no surprise that a great deal of Kaballah is taken-up in the study of Angel language, which in order to avoid ridicule and the obvious sarcasm I clearly exhibit, is described in terms of sacred symbolism. Those Kaballists that have learned the language to command the angels are called 'Magicians' and anyone that has watched the television series Supernatural is actually witnessing the beliefs ascribed within the Kabbalah. Men controlling angels! If this is not cultic paganism I cannot think of how else to describe it.
4) Assiah: the World Of Expression.
And below the world of angels is the world of matter, which is still yet another inner world that the Kabbalist can reach. I struggle with this concept because this world is filled with cosmic entities that obey the commands of the upper beings and it is where the Tree of Life has its roots. But at the base of the tree are the planets and the Kabbalist even ascribes the planets as being alive. They claim that the planet and these cosmic entities can teach us wisdom. As absurd as this sounds and as both Karaite Jew and scientist I have to laugh at these assertions, I cannot escape the fact that these people actually believe in this mythology they have created.
This is the great deception that I fear the Rabbanites have foisted upon our people. As I said, it started with one lie and now has spread its tentacles into this evil thing which they claim is spiritual and mystical Judaism but as I pointed out is nothing more than disguised paganism and mythology. There are those in recent times that claim that God has abandoned us. That he no longer hears the prayers of the Children of Israel. It is no surprise if this is what the majority of us have become. Why should he feel any affinity for us if so many Jews have abandoned Him for this 'new religion' they call Kabbalah? It is a time for choosing sides; a time of reckoning! We must cleanse our house of this evil, eliminate this wicked perfidy that plagues our nation, and remove this cancerous growth that will herald our doom. So to all those that claim I have misjudged Kabbalah and have spread unfounded rumour and innuendo about its teachings, then let your own words and your own teachings as listed above condemn you. Let those how are seduced by its promise of power recognise it for the evil cult it truly is. And to those of my relatives that have become misguided by its slick and polished words and its promises of something greater, then let them see the light.
Avrom Aryeh-Zuk Kahana
More by this Author
The fundamental rule to be remembered in the Sabbath observance is from the words of Ezekiel 20:12, “I gave them my Sabbath to be a sign between Me and them that they may know that I, Yahweh, sanctify them.”...
Bet you never thought you’d hear myself as a Karaite use the adjective essential in describing the Talmud. But I don’t do so in praise of the Talmud but only in recognition that even for Karaites it was an...
The fact is that God has already told us through the Torah and the Tanakh what He thinks of Kabbalah and those that profess alternative beliefs or belief structures to those he ordained to Moses and Aaron. Not a single...