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The Evil That Men Do: Karaite Perspectives

Updated on May 30, 2010

There is far more that I wish to say about the Kabbalah and those that pursue its mysteries thinking that it will unlock unworldly rewards and unlimited pleasures.  Such  is the pursuit of fools and magi, which by most other historical societies were classified as alchemists and esoterics, although during various periods of history the references were far worse and punishments far more severe.  Those that choose to ignore my warnings may do so at their own peril, but let me provide you with a better perspective of those that you herald as great Kabbalists and loved by God.  For not all the righteousness in the universe will mask the one great evil performed by a man and the evil I speak of is no less than a man portraying himself as a god.  I’ve already pointed out how it is that the Kabbalah tries to teach its followers to learn the language and key words to command both angels and other divine creatures but it is guilty of far worse.  A crime committed by someone no less prestigious in their own eyes than Rabbi Judah ben Loew, who they consider one of their great masters and teachers.

The Maharal

Who was Rabbi Loew, referred to by many as the Maharal and what did he have to do with the Kabbalah?  He certainly is not the man that has been currently portrayed and recently celebrated back in the Prague festivities of September 2009 celebrating the 400th anniversary of his death.    And contrary to the publicized claim that Loew was the chief rabbi of Prague after he had served for 20 years as a chief rabbi of Moravia which is now a region of the Czech Republic he never actually held that distinction.  Twice turned down for the position of Chief Rabbi of Prague the community actually feared the power grabbing attitude and mystical bent of the man therefore denying him the honour which is now falsely claimed for him.   Just so his supporters and false biographers can’t pretend any longer that this was true, I’ll provide you with the two men that the community deemed worthier than Rabbi Loew for the position.  The first time the position became available the community and council elected Rabbi Isaac Melling and the second time when he put his name up for election in 1604 with the hope that he’d come out of exile in Poland and return to Prague, the community unanimously selected Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim.  The Jews of Prague didn’t want the Maharal anywhere near their city.  “Exile?” you ask.  Exactly what happened to him as he packed his bags and left the city just weeks after his private meeting with the Emperor Rudolf II in February 1592.   After all, if he was as great as his followers claimed, he would hardly have left the city after being praised as they claimed by the Emperor and asked to tutor this monarch in the ways of the Kabbalah.

 The truth is that he was a man constantly in conflict with his own community and who committed specific forbidden acts under the guise of religious mysticism or the Kabbalah as these Rabbis wish to call their esoteric and forbidden arts.  What exactly was this black art that he performed to cause his expulsion from Bohemia and earn the antagonism of his own community?  Like Dr. Frankenstein in Mary Shelly’s book, he allegedly created a monster that terrorized the city and caused the death of a dozen people.  Commonly referred to as the Golem, as much as we’d like to discuss this creation of animate matter as utter nonsense we as Karaites cannot because this ‘nonsense’ infests our Rabbanite brethren to the point of blackening Judaism with its heresy and affront to the Almighty.  To ignore it is to watch the demise of Judaism as the spread of these Kabbalistic teachings which are in vogue in today’s society, take both heart and mind of the confused, desperate and dissatisfied that are constantly searching for God but don’t know where to find Him

The Golem

Both Singer and Rosenberg based their books on the original legend of the Golem of Prague and Rabbi Loew as it was passed down by Katz who just happened to be the Maharal's son-in-law.  Obvious distortions occurred as a result of their reliance on a relative that owed his position and income to the Maharal but the flatteries and claims of greatness were more so out of necessity to cover up the truth than by an intention of bias. Yes, just as both their versions testify, there was a banker involved, as was the mayor and several other prominent people from the Prague Jewish community just as these mythological tales reveal but what they overlooked to tell their readership was that the Emperor did have very good reasons to lay charges and as historical documents point out, to not only take possession of the mayor of Josefov’s fortune as well as his property, but even to have his two nephews arrested.  Points of law which Emperor Rudolf did do after Meisel's death but for which the authors accuse one of the most benign and tolerant monarchs of his time as being both criminal and anti-Semitic.  The latter accusation which is entirely incongruous with Katz’s claim that Rudolf was enthralled by the Maharal and couldn’t praise him enough with the hope that he would become his teacher in the Kabbalah. The story as presented by Singer, although quaint and enchanting, does not provide the history behind the actual events. The crimes committed by the banker, the printing house and the Golem were more than legend but reality evident in historical facts but buried in fables.  And since the art of fables is well mastered by the rabbis as proven in their Talmud it should not be to anyone’s surprise that they have created something of such magnitude that it defies the imagination though concealing the perpetration of the crime quite effectively. 

Challenging God

But in their efforts to mix myth and alchemy into the true practice of Judaism they have willingly overstepped the bounds of mortal men until they have proclaimed themselves as superior and in their own minds as being gods themselves. For they have said as much in the Talmud and made no effort to hide their perfidy though the size of their egos would have made that virtually impossible. For it is written in their Talmud that Rava said, “If the righteous wished, they could create a world, as it is written [Isaiah 59:2]: "it is your iniquities that have separated you from your God" (i.e., made a distinction between you and God). Rava created a man and sent him to Rabbi Zera. Rabbi Zera spoke to him but he [the man] did not answer. Then he [Rabbi Zera] said to him: You are from the companions (i.e., a creature created by the rabbis). Return to your dust.” Here we have proof of their efforts to practice the black arts, to create living beings that they could command, and in so doing openly declaring that they have the right to play God because it was their dues for being righteous as promised in Isaiah. For any man to see himself as a god is the establishment of a false image, a graven statue to one owns glory, and in thinking themselves lofty and having the power of gods, they have condemned themselves to the greatest heresy possible. Their fate is no different from that of Nimrod as he built his tower into the heavens in order to challenge God. When men who are thought of us the spiritual leaders of Judaism have chosen a path into darkness then it can be no wonder that the world has come to see the Children of Israel as being abandoned by the Lord. Let us look no further than the Babylonian Talmud, in Sanhedrin 65B where it states, “Rabbi Hanina and Rabbi Oshaia spent every Sabbath eve studying the Book of Creation (Sefer Yezirah); a third-grown calf was created for them, and they ate it.” Remember carefully what I said in my article http://hubpages.com/hub/39-Lashes-Karaite-Sabbath in regards to what is banned and not banned on the Sabbath and that which is referred to as melakha. If it has to do with creation then it certainly is banned work and by God’s own words ‘the creation’ is punishable by death. When we examine that ruling we realize that God was not talking about people doing simple tasks but instead exactly what these two fools were doing. Using the Sabbath to create a living creature, practicing black arts on the Sabbath and then sacrificing the animal not to God as would have been the Sabbath sacrificial right but eating it themselves as if they themselves were accepting the burnt offering. Not only was the entire act sacrilegious, it is obviously praised by their rabbinic colleagues that have incorporated it into the Talmud. This one act alone renders the Talmud a thing of evil, the antithesis of Judasim, and a blasphemy before God.

Telling It Like It is

But returning to the matter at hand, the reality was that in the year of 1588, the city of Prague was held in the grip of terror, victim to the murderous rampage of an inhuman monster created from the seeds of hatred and sown through religious intolerance and mortal greed. Not 1580 as the legend presented by Singer and Roseberg would have you believe based on Katz’s notes. Rabbi Loew was still in Morovia in that year and didn't travel to Prague until 1586, the same time the Roman Catholic priest Taddeush was leading the mobs against the Jewish community. Therefore the legend of the Golem must be viewed from this perspective to appreciate it fully.  Persecutions and murders of Jewish citizenry were taking place and in defence a creature or something even more sinister was let loose on the city but in so doing, not only those guilty of the murder of Jews were in turn killed but innocents as well.  And therein lies the dilemma, for at what point do we as God’s light to the world end up as corrupt and evil as the rest of the world?  When have we become no different from them?  I’m not saying I have the answer but it certainly wasn’t the one these Kabbalists including Rabbi Judah Loew arrived at. According to Prague’s Chabad rabbi, Manis Barash, he claims the Maharal was one of the first rabbis to popularize Kabbalah,  If this is what the Kabbalah was intended to achieve, then a curse upon all of them.  Sherwin, the director of doctoral studies at Chicago's Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies, says Rabbi Loew achieved fame as the  golem’s creator because of his greatness but there were many other rabbis of his era who are also well documented as trying to animate golems.  Greatness?  Since when is evil and the practice of black arts deemed greatness?  How misguided have these Kabbalists and their Jewish followers have become to see what they are doing as greatness and no longer view it as the great sin it truly is.

There is another story about the events in Prague, a more accurate and definitive story that portrays what occurred in the light in which it should be properly viewed.  Yes, it is a Karaite perspective but it is my ancestor’s perspective and he more than anyone had a right to say what really happened.  To read his story and understand the dark path that the Kabbalah will lead you down then I recommend reading Shadows of Trinity released by Eloquent Books http://www.eloquentbooks.com/ShadowsOfTrinity.html  (Also available from Amazon Books at  http://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Trinity-Allen-Goldenthal/dp/1606933337/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275204896&sr=1-1) and Barnes and Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Shadows-Of-Trinity/Allen-Goldenthal/e/9781606933336/?itm=1&USRI=Shadows+of+Trinity )in order to compare the legend against the historical documentation.  I will not state that I did not take some creative leniency in telling of the story but only doing so to make the story flow more easily as historical facts are reeled off one after the other for all to see.  For the most part the story preserves each historical fact as it was recorded in the Austrian Royal Archives, familial traditions passed down orally, and details recorded in the legends by both Singer and Rosenberg, revealing a series of strange and shattering events that occurred during the years 1588 and 1589 in Prague as supposedly good men turned evil.

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