Rebirth/Reincarnation in Judaism

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Vajradhara, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    The spiritual man and the carnal man

    Well, I guess we are back to the incapacity of the carnal man to discern spiritual things.

    In this regard, there is a danger of circularity in spiritual understanding. You have got to be spiritual to understand spiritual things, and spiritual things are understood by spiritual men.

    Good chap, Vaj. Your Internet forum character is commendable in your patience and calm, withal.

    In the present concern, I guess Buddha and Lao Tzu might have said something similar like: "Throwing pearls before swine". An ad hominem.

    Just the same, Vaj, I would like to see people given to esoteric writings do more street sweeping, specially on a voluntary act. For me that's the purist spirituality.



    Susma Rio Sep

    *From Susma's Fables
     
  2. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Slippery

    Now, we have revealed knowledge and we have secret knowledge. That's very slippery, Banana. Hehehehe.

    Are there still Kabbalists these days, possessed of revealed knowledge and secret knowledge. The Israelis and the Palestinians are killing each other, and they both descended from Abraham. Are they concerned that we have a problem here, namely, the Israelis and the Palestinians. Maybe they do have the solution, the Kabbalists, that is; but they are not doing anything about it, because either the solution is revealed only to them, or it's secret and can't be understood.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  3. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Su,

    hmm.. .and how would one discern this from an outward appearance?

    further, most if not all, of the writers of said material are dead. what sort of "street sweeping" would that be? one pictures something like the Dawn of the Dead movies... or, perhaps, the Army of Darkness :)

    are you, perhaps, referring to those that receive esoteric teachings from a qualified instructor?
     
  4. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    that's how we understand the two types of knowledge. there is that which can be worked out from the text according to the accepted rules of exegesis, in a more-or-less straightforward (albeit complicated) manner. but there is also that which relies upon texts and traditions regarding texts which have been passed down alongside the exegetical frameworks. this includes the provision of "red herrings" to point the unqualified away from inappropriate lines of questioning.

    yes. traditionally, a mastery of the revealed knowledge is a prerequisite for understanding the secret traditions - as well as having a guide to help you do so.

    unfortunately, most of the leading kabbalists - being amongst the most pious - are associated with the national-religious and ultra-religious camps, which means they're rather right wing, in favour of settlements and don't like arabs very much, or anyone that disagrees with them. the problem is that the more you know, the more certain of your opinions you tend to be, which exacerbate a tendency to see things in terms of good and evil. in other words, they think they *are* doing something about it and they know perfectly well that their arguments are not acceptable to a lot of people, which they put down to it not being understood by those who don't have their level of knowledge, which is by definition almost everyone. which is why they aren't very concerned about what anyone else thinks - they're blinded by their sense of mission. however, there are other kabbalists who do not share this point of view, but they're a) less numerous b) less vocal and c) less influential. the mystical tradition has been made to look foolish several times in history for various reasons, usually because an influential subgroup have made a miscall about the Messiah or the Redemption which has been taken up by a mass movement. i personally believe that this is currently the case about the israeli-palestinian conflict and it may, sadly, take a terrible catastrophe before they are convinced that they've called it wrong again.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  5. achnai

    achnai New Member

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    Shalom

    Sorry for my late reply.




    Bananabrain wrote:
    The word "occult", is certainly not a good translation. I think we would agree on the word "esoteric", as a more appropriate one.
    regarding the issue of incaranation: I consider the relation between the practical observance of the Mitzvoth, to the study and meditation on their spiritual meaning as an essential one, and perhaps even crucial to Hassidism. It is written that Talmud Torah (study of the Torah) is above all; it is a Mitzvah that gives meaining to all the we are ordered to do (or supposedly ordered: I personally do not observe the Mitzvoth, that is not the right place to say why). If there was not the Study of the issues to which what we do corresponds spiritually, I assume there was'nt the motivation for doing it. The same is valid, regarding every religious issue, including reincarnation. That is to say that when you have reincarnation as a a Torahic issue that must be studied in detail, and has practical implications on the way you observe the Mitzvoth, it is thereby impreganted with significance which is so vital for life of an orthodox jew.
    It is well known that Rabbi Sa'adya Gaon, disputed with the conclusions of the Ari H'kadosh on many subjects, and the attitude of Maimonidas (Rambam) to the irrational is one of disapproval. However, If there weren't certain Great rebbes who supported this concept of reincaranation, who also bothered to compose thier works on the basis of the Ari H'kadosh wrote, we may assume that this part of the Torah was alltogether neglected. Moreover, the Talmud does say that there is a foundation supporting incaranation directly from the Torah, and since, as I have pointed out, there is a mature and dedicated reference to the subject from certain Rebbes, we must assume that it comprises a vital part in jewish religion. the bottom line is the the imprtance of the topic stand in relation to it's part in the religious scripture valid and perscribed for study.
    I must say this is rather unfortunate on my part.
    regarding the Sefardic community which in Israel tends to form one group together with the Edoth Mizrah, the realtion towards the mystical part in judaism has grown more favourable. The Sefaradic Grand Rabbi Ovadia Yoseph has got a strong tendency to approve of both reincaranation and Gilgul, we may observe that in his constant if somewhat dogmatic reference to them in an idiomatic manner.
    It is true though that one does not study the writings of the Ari H'kadish in Sefaradic yeshivot. But this is only because they are considered too sacred for the immature.
     
  6. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Precis, please.

    May I now request the knowledgeable posters here on Jewish rebirth or reincarnation to give your answers in short paragraphs to my questions, namely:

    1. What for Jews is being rebirthed or reincarnated, the body, the soul, or the consciousness, or what?

    2. When does this event take place and how many times?

    3. Is this a belief that Jews must all accept or is it a matter of optional attachment.

    4. If a Jew does not accept this belief or rebirth or reincarnation, does he stand less worthy of God's aproval, compared to those who do?

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  7. achnai

    achnai New Member

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    Dear Susma Rio Sep
    The idea of reincarnation postulates the reincarnaton of both body and soul and/or conciousness.
    That, according to Jewish belief is supposed to take place when the Messiah comes. this happens only once. when the Messiah comes it will not be nescessary for any other event to happen, it is believed to be so great an event as it is.
    All jews must accept the belief in reincarnation. This is one out of the thirteen pricnciples which comprise the Credo which all jews must accept.
    A jew who chooses not to accept one or all of the 13 principles of belief is considered as having abondoned the faith, and does not have his share in the world to come (Olam H'ba).


    Kindest regards

    Achnai
     
  8. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    About resurrection...

    Thanks, Achnai.

    Would you care to explain to me also the dispute between Jesus and some Jewish leaders of His times about the resurrection of the dead, which Jesus believes in but the Jews don't?

    Is the Christian belief in the resurrection different or the same as regards the Jewish rebirth or reincarnation?

    To me it seems like the same bird in different lingual feathers.

    Please accept my commendations for your clear, concise, and straightforward answers -- without any hint of rancor.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  9. achnai

    achnai New Member

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    Shalom, Susma Rio Sep
    The rejection of reicarnation was peculiar to the Sadducees. The Pharisees of that age, which many believe to be ancestors to the Rabbis of our time, did not held the same view, neither then nor in our time.


    Personally, I can't find any difference whatsoever.
    Thank you. hope I was of assistance.

    Kindest Regards

    Achnai
     
  10. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    I love you both...

    You and Bananabrain are two distinctly different Jews.

    But I love you both.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  11. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Staff Member

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    Susma,

    There is a very old joke about Judaism: if you have ten men, you have a shul and if you have eleven men, you have 2 shuls . :)

    Don't get me started on if you have twelve men. :D

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2008
  12. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    heh. likewise, i hope y'all won't mind me pointing out that these type of answers risk missing out important aspects of the issues concerned. in my experience, there are no straightforward answers!

    although what achnai has written is a clear, substantially correct summary, there are two very different issues to be addressed here. one of these is the *messianic resurrection of the dead*, (tehiyyat ha'meitim in hebrew) and the other is the mystical doctrine of *reincarnation* or gilgul. gilgul is an esoteric concept popular in kabbalistic and hassidic circles. there is no consensus upon whether it is something one is required to believe or not. the belief in THM, by contrast, has been consensus for over 2000 years (its source text is the passage in ezekiel about the "valley of dry bones") and, as achnai says, belief that, when the Messiah comes, the dead will return to life and inhabit the "world to come" is mandatory as part of orthodox theology.
    the precise details of what this actually involves, however, are subject to much debate and discussion. it is, for example, believed by some that the dead will tunnel through the earth and emerge in jerusalem, which is why it's much better to be buried there or at least in israel. it is also subject to debate whether everyone will be resurrected or just the righteous of all nations, or what form this will take, whether we get back the bodies we had when we died or whether we get back younger versions. likewise, it is discussed whether we'd then live forever, or get just one more life. however, it is not permitted to maintain that the THM will not occur in some form, which is what the Talmudic debate with the sadducees and, later, the karaites, was about. it also shows jesus as being in line with rabbinic belief here rather than sadducee or karaite belief. if one chooses not to believe in it, the punishment is not being rewarded by it, which i suppose is pretty much poetic justice.

    in terms of gilgul, the liturgy i am familar with suggests that the various different parts of the soul are all recycled in a fashion more or less reminiscent of the samsaric cycle. i don't believe that they are all considered to stay together, which is probably why you don't remember the past lives of your nefesh, ruah or neshama - human souls are essentially emergent, composite objects just as our bodies are. in fact, this makes quite a lot of sense in terms of the conservation of energy seen as including spiritual components. if our bodies can be recycled why should parts of our souls not be? however, this belief is not shared by all jews and many deny it entirely. it's not "mandated".

    i believe the main difference between the salvationist christian (as opposed to jesus') position is that only the "saved" will be resurrected at the appropriate time, whereas we say that "the righteous of the nations have a share in the world to come".

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  13. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep New Member

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    Micropaedia and macropaedia

    Thanks, Banana.

    I can always depend upon you for the fine tuning and choice morsels of Jewish religious doctrines and observances.

    Tell me, are you doing all the readings in order to give explanations to posters here on your religion, for a career, like being an active fulltime member of the Jewish Anti-defamation League, or something like that?

    I had some exchange with another very learned Jew elsewhere about homosexual sex, and he told me that it is no abomination in Jewish religious ethics.

    Now is my chance to hear from still another also very learned Jewish scholar on this question. What do you say about the religious ethics of homosexual sex, i.e., between two guys, a posteriori?

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  14. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    no, i don't get paid for this. wish i did. [brian? any spare cash?] i'm just doing my bit to create peace and understanding, which is done through increasing knowledge and decreasing ignorance. it's also quite fun as long as people don't make an effort to be unreasonable. this is not the purpose of the ADL, who are mostly reactive and more focused on preventing anti-semitism, whereas i am more focused on promoting philo-semitism as part of tolerance.

    "abomination" is a loaded translation of the word TO'EV which indicates the seriousness of it in the scheme of sin. it's less serious than breaking the laws of Shabbat, for example. furthermore, it is a much *worse* sin to discriminate against someone because of where they choose to put their nadgers. it gets disproportionate attention because of the modern obsession with rights and ignorance of responsibilities. it is possible to be in all respects other than this a fully observant religious jew - in fact, there's a film called "trembling before G!D" about orthodox gays which explores the issue with far more knowledge and sensitivity than i will be capable of. i have learned with the film-makers on several occasions and they really know their stuff. it's quite a complicated area technically but basically, anal sex is not OK, but then neither is any activity involving "waste of sperm", ie no possibility of conception whether there are two men involved, one, or a heterosexual couple. so, yes, one particular act is a sin, but it is a sin between man and G!D, not man and man and is in any case *so* far down the list of issues we should be concerned about it is simply ridiculous to spend as much time as we do obsessing about it instead of worrying about Shabbat and ethics.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  15. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Eden

    Namaste bananabrain,

    i hope that you don't mind if i impose on you just a bit.

    can you tell me if the Jewish perception of the Garden of Eden is of a physical location or is it understood metaphorically?

    gassho.
     
  16. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    vaj,

    it is located physically in "sacred time" and vice-versa. the first chapter of genesis is the most mysterious and symbolic of the whole Torah and should really be studied last, once other areas have been mastered.

    why do you ask?

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  17. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste banana,

    thank you for the response.

    i was curious as i was in a discussion with a Christian about their conception and he asked if i knew how the Jewish folks veiwed it... and i realized that i didn't :) and being that i'm here to learn, i thought that i would ask :)

    so... if i can ask a follow up...

    when you say "vice-versa" are you meaning to indicate that sacred time is the Garden of Eden as well as the Garden of Eden existing only in sacred time?
     
  18. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    yes. shabbat is also eden.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  19. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste all,

    another homage to Dauer and his nefarious plan to bring up old conversations from the past!

    so... continuing as it were...

    sacred time exists temporally within the garden of eden and the garden of eden exists within a sacred time loop or stream, in parallel with secular time, so to speak?

    metta,

    ~v
     
  20. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    that sounds more or less like what i mean.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     

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