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3. Primary Written Sources of the Mystical Qabalah

B. Seferim HaTorah (Books of the Law)

The five component books of the Torah are conventionally known outside of Judaism as Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. However, these are not traditional titles by which Jews refer to the five books. In the Jewish tradition, the first book is called Torah B'reshith (In the Beginning or By the First). The second book is called Torah Shmoth (Names). The third, fourth, and fifth books are respectively titled Torah Vayiqra (And He Called), Torah B'midbar (In the Wilderness), and Torah Doverim (Words).

Most religious Jews regard the present version of the written Hebrew Torah to be a faithful copy of an original penned by Master Mosheh. They therefore regard every one of the 304,805 letters and their crownlets, and every word in the order that it appears in the scrolls to be the manifestation in the Lower Worlds of the unmanifest supernal Torah (Torah Qadmah)The unquestionable authority of every letter, crownlet, and word of the Torah comes from Rabbi Aqiba, a pivotal figure in the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism who was born 10-20 years after Master Yeshuvah. He supported the three and half year revolt against the Romans initiated by the messianic pretender Shimeon Bar Kochba, for which Aqiva was martyred.. By contrast, few biblical scholars and specialists in ancient languages share this assessment. In their view, linguistic analyses and other factors support the argument that the version that we have is a patchwork quilt containing words and phrases from a variety of languages from different periods, with threads dating back into deepest antiquity. Most non-orthodox biblical experts regard the present version of the Hebrew Torah to be a compilation of writings by several Jewish writers working in successive periods starting circa 1000 BCE. Those holding this opinion think that the writings appear to have been combined and assembled in a final redaction in the fifth century BCE (though no scrolls from that time have yet to be found).

Whether the present version is the cumulative work of multiple writers or not, tradition ascribes the final redaction to Ezra the Scribe. The compilation required the writer(s) to collect, record, and assemble a large corpus of material from disparate sources. It is impossible to know how much of the text was passed down over the many centuries in written form, but it still would have been susceptible to errors of transcription, omission, etc. It is likely that a substantial amount, if not the majority, of the information was handed down as an oral tradition of teaching stories that skillfully mingled historical facts with miraculous acts. Such a rendition would have been even more vulnerable to corruption, embellishments and outright fictionalization. While it is highly unlikely that the current version of the Torah is an accurate version of the Ezra compilation, the living tradition of the Mystical Qabalah provides us with keys by which we can mine for the original treasures still embedded within it. Ultimately, the divinely infused life of Master Mosheh was a vehicle for the renewal and enlivenment of the underlying mystical spirituality regarding the absolute unity of existence and the primacy of unconditional devotion and love for the Divine that had faded in the hearts of Israel.

Despite arguments from religious Jews, there is extensive archeological evidence of a much older Hebrew alphabet, called Gezer or Sinatic (after Mt. Sinai), as the original and most ancient Hebrew (see "Hebrew-English Transliteration"). Sinatic Hebrew is in fact the oldest known alphabet, suddenly appearing about the time of Abraham (circa 1850 BCE). The original Sinatic Hebrew became virtually extinct after the decimation of Lachish circa 701 BCE. The Sinatic alphabet could have evolved as an alphabetic representation of the twenty-six Sumerian cuneiform ciphersIn 1975, Dr. Paolo Matthiae discovered 20,000 clay cuneiform tablets at Tell Mardikh in northwestern Syria. Extensive evidence led to the conclusion that the site was the ruins of the ancient city of Ebla. The tablets, dating back to the middle of the third millennium BCE, were the city’s royal archives. In deciphering the tablets, Professor Pettisate (also of the University of Rome) concluded that the language was Old Canaanite, even though written in Sumerian cuneiform. He found the language to be closer in vocabulary and grammar to Biblical Hebrew than any other Canaanite dialect, including Ugaritic. Ebla was destroyed by the Akkadians circa 1600BCE. The reader is referred to David Rohl’s controversial book A Test of Time: The Bible From Myth to History, Century, London, 1995. More recently, archeologists uncovered the ancient city of Nabada along the same trade route as Ebla in nothwest Syria. Clay cuneiform tablets were also found there, and like those found at Ebla, the language bears great resemblance to Biblical Hebrew., the world's oldest known non-alphabetic language.

Palmyrene and Nabataen dialects of Aramaic By the time the current Torah was redacted, the original Sinatic Hebrew alphabet had long been extinct. After hundreds of years of religious and cultural repression under the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Romans, the original biblical Hebrew had faded from the memories of the Jews. As a solution, the final redactor (i.e. Ezra) chose to record the Torah in a new alphabet that would be more recognizable to the generations of Jews who had long forgotten the original. It was derived by using the twenty-two letter format of the old Hebrew alphabet, with letter forms synthesized from the familiar alphabets of the Palmyrene and Nabataen dialects of Aramaic extant in Palestine at that time . Since Ezra is credited with the final redaction of the reconstructed Torah, this alphabet shall henceforth be referred to as "Ezra Hebrew."

The oldest existing scrolls of the Hebrew Torah were written many centuries after the time of Ezra, so we can not be certain that the ones we have now are completely faithful to the original ascribed to him. Historically, there are three parallel textual traditions that have contributed substantially to the way the Torah is composed and translated. Most Jews now read the Masoretic version of the Torah. The Masoretic Hebrew text dates from the fourth century CE and the earliest surviving copyThe oldest and fullest surviving manuscript is the Codex Petropolitanus dating to 916 CE. is from the tenth century CE. The Greek translation of the Tanakh, called the SeptuagintThe Septuagint is so-named because it was said to have been the result of identical translations into Greek by seventy-two different translators working apart in Alexandria, where there resided the largest colony of Jews outside of Palestine., was made under Ptolemy in the third century BCE, and the oldest copy is centuries older than the oldest full Masoretic text. The Septuagint became the authoritative text for Christianity as it became estranged from its Jewish roots. The Samaritan Torah evolved during the period after the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, and forcibly resettled many different peoples there. The three source versions vary in a number of details.

The Masoretes created the first system of vowels placed below the Hebrew consonants in the sixth or seventh century CE, thereby moving to standardize the pronunciation of the words and formalizing the structure of the grammar. Until then, even though the pronunciations and meanings had been passed down orally for centuries, the way Hebrew verb roots are parsed left considerable room for ambiguities. As early as the first century BCE, scribes began employing conventions to reduce such ambiguities. The conventionsMinkoff, Harvey. "Searching for the Better Text," Bible Review, Volume XV, Number 4, August, 1999. generally involved inserting consonants as vowels to aid reading. Then, between the sixth and twelfth centuries CE, the Masoretes and Tiberians edited the definitions of many of the Hebrew words found in the Torah.

The letterforms of the Sinatic and Ezra Hebrew alphabets bear little physical resemblance to one another, though they share the same twenty-two-letter format and have the same names for the letters. Hence, the Sinatic Hebrew letter Alef transliterates with the Ezra Alef, the Sinatic Beyt with the Ezra Beyt, and so forth. Sinatic letterforms are basically built from the letters Alef and Ayin . Ezra Hebrew letter forms are built upon variations of the letter Yod. Both alphabets have letters which overtly or covertly contain other letters, such as the Tav contained in the Sinatic Alef or the Beyt contained in the Ezra Alef (as described in the Sefer Bahir)The Sefer Bahir is an important secondary text of the mystical Qabalah, first published in 1651 in Amsterdam by an anonymous Christian scholar. The most recent edition was edited by Reuven Margaliot and published in Jerusalem in 1951.. Unlike the Ezra alphabet, Sinatic does not have final letters, which were developed much later as a means of showing separation between words in crowded scrolls. The final letters became significant in the Ezra alphabet when given extended numerical value in gematria or qabalistic numerologyAll Hebrew letters also have a numerical value e.g. Beyt b (2), Yod y (10), and Resh r (200). Hence, every Hebrew word i.e. formula of letters has a numerological value that is the sum of the values of its constituent letters. In Gematria, connections are made among words that have the same composite numerical values. For example, Ahavah (hbha lit. Love, composed of the letters Aleph (1), Heh (5), Beyt (2), Heh (5) adding up to 13) has the same numerical value as Echad (dxa lit. One, composed of Aleph (1), Chet (8), Dalet (4)). The addition of Ahavah (13) and Echad (13) has the numerical sum of 26, same as the Name hvhy (Yod (10), Heh (5), Vav (6), Heh (5))..

Palmyrene and Nabataen dialects of Aramaic The sudden appearance of the original Hebrew was paralleled several hundred years later by the sudden appearance of Brahmi Sanskrit in the Indus Valley. Sinatic and Brahmi have many similar letterforms, and both were replaced by later alphabets claimed in present times to be the originals (i.e. Sinatic replaced by Ezra and Brahmi replaced by Deva Negari). Some Qabalists and Tantrikas maintain that there is a parent alphabet, called the "Gan Aden Alphabet" (Garden of Eden), from which both Hebrew and Sanskrit are derived. The Work of the Chariot translation of the Sefer Yetzirah included a speculative representation of the Gan Eden Alphabet composed of twenty-two families of letters with an aggregate of seventy members. There is also said to be a Gan Aden Torah, an unbroken sequence of letters that may be broken into words and sentences in innumerable ways. Hence, the written Torah is one such "translation"Hence, the first sentence of the extant Hebrew Torah, written as a sequence of letters not broken down into words, would be: oratavmymshtammyhlaarbtysarb. If the reader is sufficiently versed in biblical Hebrew, he/she may wish to see how many ways they can break the sequence into strings of words. Keep in mind that meanings are no longer known for all 462 permutations and combinations of pairs of Hebrew letters (see Sefer Yetzirah, "The Wall"). of the unbroken letter sequence, minus the letters and anusvara that were not included in the Hebrew alphabet. A book called the Tiqunim HaZoharThe oldest editions of the Tiqunim HaZohar are the Mantua (1558) and the Orta Kaj (1719). The most recent version, under the title Tiqqunei ha Zohar, was edited by Reuven Margaliot and published in Jerusalem in 1978. For example, ‘Buh-Reshith’ (lit. "By the First", tysar_b referring to the first "Head of Messiah"), ‘Bara Shith’ (tys arb "IT created Six," referring to the Chayot and the six Directional Sefiroth), ‘Bar Esheth’ (tysa rb "Son of Fire", referring to the third Head of Messiah, Master Yeshuvah hvshy), ‘BaRosh Yitav RA Elohai’ (yhla ar bty sarb "In the Head dwells RA ELOHY"). (Perfections of Splendor) discusses seventy ways of translating the first six letters of the Torah. The Torah contains many power names, mantra, and visual imagery suitable for use in yogic meditation. Examples of these mantra and imagery will be discussed in the pages that focus on the meditation practices of the Mystical Qabalah.

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