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208 EXODUS XXXIV. 27.

by Manasseh Ben Israel
208 EXODUS XXXIV. 27. 2nd. The secret knowledge called, distinctively,  Cabala. Those who devote themselves to the Mishna, are like apothecaries, who compound medi-cines and draughts without knowing the virtues and properties of the drugs they use, but follow the recipe in the prescription before them ; but those who study the  Cabala are like physicians, who know and understand the value and effects of the drugs they prescribe. This simile is illustrated by the fol-lowing example:— The law directs phylacteries to be placed between the eyes and tied on the hand, but it does not explain what phylacteries are, nor the meaning of the word טוטפות , ( which we translate  frontlet); and as it would be impossible for every one to agree upon any single point respecting them, it follows, that we must refer to the Mishna, or Oral Law, that God revealed to Moses, and which teaches the precise form of their make, and the manner of being worn: nevertheless, although this may satisfy the mind as to the mode of obeying the precept, it is not yet thoroughly convinced of the necessity for this ordinance, and seeks to investigate the reason for giving it, and what these phylacteries represent, such as why the colour of the leather should only be black ? what mystery is involved in the two ש ^ put on the sides of the frontlet, one having three points thus, ש , the other four, thus,^ ¿ / ? what meaning is hidden in the four divisions of that for the head? and what is meant by the hole through which the leather passes ? Now, as the Cabala does this, and gives a reason for the whole of such questions, it is termed the soul of the soul. And here it is proper to remark, that as Moses was 120 days in the Mount, on three different occasions of 40 days each, it is highly probable he learned them all during these three studies, dedicating 40 days to each, and as all beginnings are the most difficult, he was gradually prepared and rendered capable of attaining the highest contemplation of the Cabala, in the same period of 40 days, as he had employed in mastering the lesser ones, from having been thus gradually instructed. Hence, it may be understood what  Cabala is, and how it is divided into two parts, the  Mishna being the literal explanation of the precepts ; and the secret and mysterious exposition is specially denominated  Cabala. A demonstration will now be attempted for the information of the curious, as to the means employed by the  Cabalists to discover the highest mysteries of the Law, which, similar to the Talmudical mode of elucidating the precepts in civil and criminal cases by the thirteen dialectic and argumentative rules and propositions received by R. Ishmael, as laid down in  Siphré, and learnedly explained by R. Aaron aben Haim, in his work,  Midot Aaron. So the Cabalists have thirteen methods of discovering the mystery they attri-bute to the whole Law, in a logical sense, and the secret meaning of its words. Brief examples of these rules will clearly explain their nature. Taking, then, בראשית ( Bereshit), the commencing word of the Law, we shall immediately discover a difficulty of no small magnitude, for, according to correct grammatical rule, it should have been בראשונה , for בראשית is in the possessive case, and it is not correct to say here,  In the beginning of, but,  In the beginning absolutely. Now, as faults cannot be attributed to the Holy Scripture, the Hebrew theologists say that the word  Bereshit con-tains many mysteries, and it was therefore necessary that this and no other word should be used, for logically בראשית is חכמה Wisdom, one of the ten sovereign splendours, from which they infer that with consummate wisdom God created the universe : which is what Solomon says,— The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth, 2;  and thus wisdom was the instrumental cause of 2 Prov. 3: 19. Chapter Home  | TOC  | Index t

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208 EXODUS XXXIV. 27. 2nd. The secret knowledge called, distinctively, \\" Cabala.\\" Those who devote themselves to the Mishna, are like apothecaries, who compound medi-cines and draughts without knowing the virtues and properties of the drugs they use, but follow the recipe in the prescription before them ; but those who study the \\" Cabala\\" are like physicians, who know and understand the value and effects of the drugs they prescribe. This simile is illustrated by the fol-lowing example:— The law directs phylacteries to be placed between the eyes and tied on the hand, but it does not explain what phylacteries are, nor the meaning of the word טוטפות , ( which we translate \\" frontlet\\"); and as it would be impossible for every one to agree upon any single point respecting them, it follows, that we must refer to the Mishna, or Oral Law, that God revealed to Moses, and which teaches the precise form of their make, and the manner of being worn: nevertheless, although this may satisfy the mind as to the mode of obeying the precept, it is not yet thoroughly convinced of the necessity for this ordinance, and seeks to investigate the reason for giving it, and what these phylacteries represent, such as why the colour of the leather should only be black ? what mystery is involved in the two ש ^ put on the sides of the frontlet, one having three points thus, ש , the other four, thus,^ ¿ / ? what meaning is hidden in the four divisions of that for the head? and what is meant by the hole through which the leather passes ? Now, as the Cabala does this, and gives a reason for the whole of such questions, it is termed the soul of the soul. And here it is proper to remark, that as Moses was 120 days in the Mount, on three different occasions of 40 days each, it is highly probable he learned them all during these three studies, dedicating 40 days to each, and as all beginnings are the most difficult, he was gradually prepared and rendered capable of attaining the highest contemplation of the Cabala, in the same period of 40 days, as he had employed in mastering the lesser ones, from having been thus gradually instructed. Hence, it may be understood what \\" Cabala\\" is, and how it is divided into two parts, the \\" Mishna\\" being the literal explanation of the precepts ; and the secret and mysterious exposition is specially denominated \\" Cabala.\\" A demonstration will now be attempted for the information of the curious, as to the means employed by the \\" Cabalists\\" to discover the highest mysteries of the Law, which, similar to the Talmudical mode of elucidating the precepts in civil and criminal cases by the thirteen dialectic and argumentative rules and propositions received by R. Ishmael, as laid down in \\" Siphré,\\" and learnedly explained by R. Aaron aben Haim, in his work, \\" Midot Aaron.\\" So the Cabalists have thirteen methods of discovering the mystery they attri-bute to the whole Law, in a logical sense, and the secret meaning of its words. Brief examples of these rules will clearly explain their nature. Taking, then, בראשית ( Bereshit), the commencing word of the Law, we shall immediately discover a difficulty of no small magnitude, for, according to correct grammatical rule, it should have been בראשונה , for בראשית is in the possessive case, and it is not correct to say here, \\" In the beginning of,\\" but, \\" In the beginning\\" absolutely. Now, as faults cannot be attributed to the Holy Scripture, the Hebrew theologists say that the word \\" Bereshit\\" con-tains many mysteries, and it was therefore necessary that this and no other word should be used, for logically בראשית is חכמה Wisdom, one of the ten sovereign splendours, from which they infer that with consummate wisdom God created the universe : which is what Solomon says,—\\" The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth,\\" 2; and thus wisdom was the instrumental cause of 2 Prov. 3: 19. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t
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