Even if I walk in the light, I am not the light.

Even if I am a taut stringed lute, I am not the lute player

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī

Seeing Michael Dowd give a discussion on his work to prevent the catastrophe of global climate change was interesting. He appeared at my local Unitarian Universalism church. Dowd outlined a “new” movement where people of all faiths are coming together with Science and scientists to discuss and hopefully combat climate change.

Religious naturalism is an approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism. The focus is on the religious attributes of the universe/nature, the understanding of it and our response to it (interpretive, spiritual and moral). These provide for the development of an eco-morality. Although it has an ancient heritage in many philosophical cultures, this modern movement is currently not well defined. Theistic or nontheistic religious naturalism is a basic theological perspective of liberal religion and religious humanism, according to some sources.

Religious naturalism is concerned about the meaning of life, but it is equally interested in living daily life in a rational, happy way. An alternative, more anthropocentric approach, is to look at it as answering the question: “What is the meaning of one’s life and does it have a purpose?” It is an approach to understanding the natural world in a religious way and does not offer a detailed system of beliefs or rituals. Religious naturalism also attempts to amalgamate the scientific examination of reality with the subjective sensory experiences of spirituality and aesthetics. As such, it is a combination of objectivity with religious emotional feelings and the aesthetic insights supplied by art, music and literature. It is a promising form of contemporary religious ethics and pluralism responding to the challenges of late modern religious transformations and ecological peril. In so doing, it is emerging as an increasingly plausible and potentially rewarding form of religious moral life consistent with the insights of the natural sciences.



This is a very adimarable goal. I enjoyed Dowd’s talk, until he started discussing Humanism. Dowd himself and his wife, Connie Barlow, are partners and Co authors. Both have spent more than a decade on the road discussing their views, books and the problem of the scientific community in our modern lives.

Dowd himself admits he is a preacher, an ordained minister. Connie is described as an author of “popular science” books. Popular science books, the term doesn’t bode well.

Dowd outlined the need to view reality with reverence and the physical as sacred.


The outer world of earthly existence corresponds in all its details to the inner world of man’s soul, and there is a similar correspondence between the Garden of the Heart and the Garden of the Soul, but these are only two particular  instances of the general truth that all the different domains in the Universe correspond to each other in that each is an image of the Universe itself. 

–Martin Lings, THE SYMBOL


(“The top is like the below”)



Now, this is great. Of course reality is sacred as is the very ground beneath my feet. Dowd admirably preaches and teaches a philosophy of reality as sacred. Hardly news to me or anyone with an ounce of sanity, in my opinion.

For Dowd, reality, or God as he interchangeably calls or labels things, is sacred and must be treated as such. Reverence for all, in order to prevent climate change… Dowd outlines this by dismissing God, destroying any notion of the supernatural and proposes that observation is our savior and will enable the unification of science and religion. Of course this is overly simplistic and not something I could get behind.

Not that scientific and aesthetic understanding is not necessary –but it should do its work faithfully and immerse itself and disappear in the truth of the relation which surpasses understanding and embraces what is understandable.

–Martin Buber (I And Thou)

By discarding the divine for:

“reality” is divine, but only that which is
” observable” we are being dishonest. By dishonest that is, to me it is dishonest.

Observation only works due to assumptions.

Assumptions include a shared language, for example if we are discussing chickens it is assumed we are discussing chickens that all have two legs and two wings, in reality what if the chicken is deformed? In a real sense this means we are assuming like and like. We are assuming that 1 (chicken) plus 1 (chicken) is 2 (chickens)…. Assuming that both chickens are equal. Which in the real world they would not be.

Observation only works due to an agreed upon yardstick. To quote Dowd

“You don’t have to believe in the sea, it’s just there.”
No, you are wrong Mr Dowd. The sea is only the sea because we agree it is the sea. If we measured using an electromagnetic measuring device, for example, we may have problems separating the sea from nearby rivers. In turn, if we change our yard stick a drop of rainwater is the sea. Benoit Mandelbrot demonstrates this in his essay on the coastline of Britain, demonstrating it is of infinite length, measuring from rocks, stones, sand… atoms etc.


The work of Werner Karl Heisenberg famously explored the problem of light being a particle and a wave, though I understand to some modern physicists the solution is that it’s a wave. At the subatomic level we can only measure where something is or its velocity, not both. To summarize Heisenberg we can simply say the
“observed and observer are inseparable ”

This means any observation is a compromise as it is fully changed by being observed. People may counter this by saying this is only at the subatomic level. Again though, it depends on our yard stick. There are numerous ways and means that demonstrate this phenomenon of the inseparable nature of observation. In the end, it is just a complex way if stating observation is dependent upon perspective and perception. For example if we only studied the sky at night we could learn many things, during the day, yet other things, at both times we observe the sky.

Every experiment destroys some of the knowledge of the system

which was obtained by previous experiments.

“Critique of the Physical Concepts of the Corpuscular Theory” in The Physical Principles of the Quantum Theory (1930) as translated by Carl Eckhart and Frank C. Hoyt, p. 20; also in “The Uncertainty Principle” in The World of Mathematics : A Small Library of the Literature of Mathematics (1956) by James Roy Newman, p. 105

This isnt to mention other things like Godel’s incompleteness theorem, that demonstrates that the only logical conclusion of logic is that logic doesn’t work.

A statement sometimes known as Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem states that if number theory is consistent, then a proof of this fact does not exist using the methods of first-order predicate calculus. Stated more colloquially, any formal system that is interesting enough to formulate its own consistency can prove its own consistency iff it is inconsistent.


At a basic level, if we started to discuss Star Wars with a dog, the dog would not understand who Darth Vader is…. sadly humanists are assuming that through observation we can understand reality, just as a dog can one day discuss Luke Skywalker. Uh, no….

But the cult of the intellect knows no bounds.

The point where we seperate from our origins…or the divine/God.

It is this type of world along with its overriding orientation and pursuits which we have destroyed. Our society is man-made, not a divine order. It is one in fact which represents a projection of the human mind that has cut its links with the divine and with the earth; and in so far that it has any ideals these are purely temporal and finite and concern only the terrestrial welfare of its members.


To a humanist mindset and many other similar groups (notably modern scientific pantheists for example) throwing out the divine makes perfect sense. If logic, observation, bar charts and other intellectual tools won’t cover reality then anything else is garbage, to the humanist (collectively humanists but each and every group with this mindset).

I am reminded by the recent book/TV show where Stephen Hawkins disproves God. All these groups seem to have one thing in common, an overly simplified verging on puerile understanding or concept of God. The science may or may not be remarkable, advanced and inspiring, but the understanding of the sacred is childlike at best. Hawkins demonstrated this very adequately in his television appearance, in his defense I have not, nor do I intend to read his book.

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up til he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.

–William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell)

Dowd, like Hawkins touches upon God, largely only in a puerile simplistic manner, the sky daddy playing chess. This overly simplistic image betrays a lack of perspective or genuine lack of investigation into the nature of God. As such, there is no place beyond the observable, the logical or even beyond the physical. As such we, to this modernist mindset, are merely dogs learning about Star Wars, one day able through language and concept to discuss the finer points of Star Wars.

Of course the talk was only an hour or so long, and I have not actually read his books, so my understanding may be limited.

Language of course fails us every time. Modernists use mathematics to overcome this.

The problem with secular liberals, as distinct from traditionalist liberals and traditionalist conservatives, is that they insist on inventing reality by denying any higher truth than themselves. They deny the natural law of holistic education, including the metalaw of holistic haqq, which is to be sought heuristic ally and holistically not created by human fiat.

By claiming the source of truth they deny the essence of anything and anything, because without essence everything is relative and truth cannot exist. If everything is relavistic, there is no purpose, then the practice of human responsibilities and the corresponding and resulting human rights has no logical basis.

The denial of any reality beyond the power of personal preference is the source of all totalitarian ideologies, beginning with the liberal logic of the French Revolution, which produced Communism, Fascism, and both Zionist and Muslim Statism today, where the sovereign state or global caliphate claims divinity based on top-down political process of might makes right.

 The Metalaw of Holistic Haqq: Toward a Just Third Way beyond Capitalism and Socialism in the Holy Land
by Robert Dickson Crane


In conclusion, Dowd and other humanists make giant compromises. Dowd does however stress the urgency of climate change. His concepts work for the ignorant i.e. those expecting the rapture, denying evolution, biblical aging of the planet and other ridiculous literalisms that demonstrate once again observer and observed change things; as literalisms as found in modern times, never existed in the ancient world. However, Dowd is educating the small of understanding, the ones that arguably need to be spoon fed understanding. His goals are also good ones. However, I don’t agree with all his political leanings. Sadly, I think Dowd’s allusions fit well at my church amongst the right people (which may or may not be a good thing depending on your perspective). I enjoyed his conclusions i.e. live in harmony with the earth or die, it is not all doom and gloom, we may do better in regards to combating climate change.


Just in case there are those who refuse to be caught forever by ugliness and seek some alternative, the evil of cruelty makes its claims. Cruelty is something we recognize so easily as a physical activity, yet find so hard to identify in its finer but no less dangerous forms. It is essentially an intentional misuse of power by a strong entity toward a weaker one on the same plant’ of action. For instance, a helpless cripple could scarcely be physically cruel to a strong and healthy person, yet could very well be diabolically cruel mentally to the same person if he were intellectually vulnerable. Cruelty is only possible as a calculated discharge of destructive energy directed at feebler creature unlikely to retaliate effectively. Thus cruelty automatically implies cowardice as well.The motivation of cruelty is commonly again the artificial ego-enlargement resultant from its practice. It makes the little boy feel bigger when he kicks his baby brother. If we can make others frightened of us we seem larger by comparison to their shrinking. That is the secret of cruelty. A false sense of boost because of aggressive action which appears to avoid injurious reprisals. To hurt and kill some helpless and defenseless creature makes cruel people feel enormously powerful by contrast. They may even delude themselves for an instant that they are acting like gods. Taking their pathetic little share of life energy, they are willing to expend this on damaging the lives of weaker beings for the sake of supposing themselves more powerful than they truly are. None cry louder than such cowardly criminals when justified retribution rebounds on them. Nobody hates being hurt more than those who hurt with hate.

We need not always look for evident violence in order to recognize cruelty. It is possible to be extremely cruel in the “nicest and sweetest” ways. Staging little scenes deliberately to humiliate and hurt someone’s feelings while remaining righteously on the side of conventional virtue meanwhile. With the aid of a little intelligence people can contrive all sorts of cruelties yet themselves keep in the clear so far as rule books apply. Attendants in mental hospitals, for instance, have ample opportunity on these lines. So has anyone in charge of children or animals, or whoever is unable to hit back where it hurts most. Let those who think they could not be cruel examine what conscience they have within their own life-frameworks If we are still in human bodies then we are yet capable of cruelty in some degree or another. It is well to see this and convert our energies otherwise as we can.

–William G. Gray (Exorcizing the Tree of Evil)


If only this did not relate to numerous people in my life at the moment… lol oh well, can’t change them, when it is their own internal battle, their own lack. A baby will eventually soil it’s diapers, a hateful, spiteful, ungrateful, manipulative personage will soil their diaper too…although as they are so oblivious they’ll probably sit in their own feces and not notice the difference…..

Sometimes kitty’s are so honest… at least their malice is only over kibble, belly rubs and how much wool you dangle in front of their face….

We and God are not two separate existences; therefore the will of God is also our own will. If we want to change, then God will not stop us from changing. The poet Nguyen Du put it like this:
“When necessary, the heavens will not stand in the way of humans.
The result of past actions can be lifted,
future causes and conditions can be created.”
The real question is, do we want to change or not?

Do we want to hold on to the lure of suffering and let our minds wander around in dreams? If in your heart you want to change, then whatever spiritual being you believe in will also be happy for you to change.

Families work the same way; no person is completely separate. If the son or daughter changes, then the father and mother will also change. If the energy arises from the son or daughter and effects a change in them first, then it will also produce a change in the heart of the father and mother some time later. Families are not made up of completely separate entities. Even if God has predisposed things to be a certain way, we can still change because, as the Bible says, “we are children of God” (I John 3:2).

What is the relationship between the creator and the creature? One has the ability to create and the other is what is created. If they are connected to each other then we can talk about them as subject and object. If they are not connected to each other, how can we call them subject and object? The subject that creates is God; the object created is the universe in which we live. Between the subject and the object there is a close relationship, just as there is a close relationship between left and right, night and day, satisfaction and hunger; just as, according to the law of reflection, the perceiver and the perceived have a very close link.

When the angle of incidence changes, the angle of reflection will change immediately. What we call the will of God is linked to our own will. That is why the retribution of our past actions can be changed.

— Thich Nhat Hanh (The Energy of Prayer: How to Deepen Your Spiritual Practice)


Golden Rose Cross comparison of The Chemical wedding and the Film Dogville


great article!


On The one hand, the occult type tries to make better the individual conditions of life; on the other hand the ethic human being attempts to make better the collective situation.[4] As a philosopher, Tom organises evening meetings in the mission house (actually, the meetings are therefore serving as church services!), where he encourages everybody to think for himself. And let us point out too that he is a son of a doctor. Philosophy is here to be regarded as the medicine’s daughter, a kind of soul medicine. And Grace works with love for everyone, for the blind old man as well as for the paralysed child. And she really wants anyone lucky.







In the romantic scene on a bank, when Tom tries to declare his love to Grace, he does not succeed because he wants to command his feelings. So he will be the only one who does not abuse Grace, but he will be in the same time horribly frustrated and will commit something that cannot be undone: he calls Mulligan on the rebound and brings about Dogville’s downfall.





“Samsaric pleasures are like salt water, the more we indulge, the more we crave.” 

~ Ngulchu Gyalsey Thogmed Zangpo, Thirty-Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas.


The nature of will and the nature of ego are very close. A person who has labored long that the distinction between with his or her spiritual discipline often has great I illusion-it is all good! All pride. These are the people who have been punc- tilious about the law, observed the fasts, and given much time and energy to meditation and prayer. But this work and devotion have a hidden danger, which is the danger of pride. Pride is not the same as enjoying the labor or even rejoicing in one’s accomplishment. These two feelings rest on the knowledge that life is temporary. Pride, on the other hand, knows of no future other than itself. Filled with itself, it believes that all reality revolves around it.


The following story describes the danger that can bring to our practice: Naftali the tzaddik was sitting at home one evening and heard a  knock at the door. He answered. Standing there was a young man dressed in the robes of a scholar.


“Rebbe,” he said, “I have come to study with you.”


“Really?” said the rebbe. “What have you learned so far in your studies?”


“A tremendous amount,” said the young man. ” I have memorized all of Torah and most of Talmud.”


“I am sorry, young man, I cannot teach you,” the tzaddik said and closed the door.  A little later there was another knock. He.answered it, and a young woman was there. “Ex cuse me, Rebbe,” she said. “I would like to learn with you.”


“And what have you learned of Torah up to now?” he asked sternly.


“To tell you the truth, I know nothing,” she said.


“Come in, come in,” he said, smiling broadly.  Later his wife asked him the meaning of this  strange behavior.  “The first lesson and the important-the one we must always begin with – every year, every day, every moment-is that we know nothing.  If we come from a place of thinking we know, it is very hard to progress.”


–The Klippah of pride (Avram Davis, “The Way of flame”)


“What meaning is there in that kind of happiness? It is like a dream that just stops in the middle when you wake up. Those who, as the result of some slight positive action, seem to be happy and comfortable at the moment, will not be able to hold on to that state for an instant longer once the effect of that action runs out. The  kings of the gods, seated high on their thrones of precious jewels spread with divine silks, enjoy all the pleasures of the five senses. But, once their lifespan is exhausted, in the twinkling of an eye they are plunged into suffering and fall headlong down to the scorching metal ground of hell. Even the gods of the sun and moon, who light up the four continents, can end up being reborn somewhere  between those very continents, in darkness so deep that they cannot see whether their own limbs are stretched out or bent in. So do not put your trust in the apparent joys of samsara.” 

~ Patrul Rinpoche in Words of My Perfect Teacher.


Saṃsāra, the Sanskrit and Pāli term for “continuous movement” or “continuous flowing” refers in Buddhism to the concept of a cycle of birth (jāti) and consequent decay and death (jarāmaraṇa), in which all beings in the universe participate and which can only be escaped through enlightenment. Saṃsāra is associated with suffering and is generally considered the antithesis of nirvāṇa or nibbāna





left is right, right is left.

The key to polarity is to realize that opposites are the same thing. A Kaplan explains this well early on in his version of the safer yetzirah.

Opposites if stretched out forever…will bend in upon themselves and meet.

However beyond opposites is the 3rd…

The sperm and the egg form a zygote
a chemical wedding…marriage of opposites to create a 3rd

Thus a child is of the mother and the father, both and yet neither.
Thus Christ is of the father and the world (the mother), both, and yet neither
The line (father) and the circle (mother) when joined form the serpent (child), which is the circle and the line, yet neither.

the end is in the beginning, kether is in malkuth, kether is closer to malkuth than it is to chockmah.
When united, there is no kether or malkuth………there just is

“Tarry a little; there is something else. This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood; The words expressly are ‘a pound of flesh:’ Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of flesh; But, in the cutting it, if thou dost shed one drop of Christian blood, thy lands and goods are, by the laws of Venice, confiscate unto the state of Venice.

Therefore prepare thee to cut off the flesh. Shed thou no blood, nor cut thou less nor more but just a pound of flesh: if thou cut’st more or less than a just pound, be it but so much as makes it light or heavy in the substance, or the division of the twentieth part of one poor scruple, nay, if the scale do turn but in the estimation of a hair, thou diest and all thy goods are confiscate.”

–the merchant of venice, the bard

So we see, nothing exists in isolation. Blood is inseparable from flesh. Good is inseparable from evil.

“Light and Darkness, life and death, right and left, are brothers of one another. They are inseparable. Because of this neither are the good good, nor evil evil, nor is life life, nor death death. For this reason each one will dissolve into its earliest origin. But those who are exalted above the world are indissoluble, eternal.”

–gospel of Philip

good is not good, evil is not evil. Christ is not the father or the mother.

This is dualism…..


He who has known that all beings have become one with his own self, and he who has seen the oneness of existence, what sorrow and what delusion can overwhelm him?

He has occupied all. He is radiant, without body (incorporeal), without injury, without muscles, pure, untouched by evil. He is the seer, thinker, all pervading, self-existent, has distributed various objects, through endless years, each according to it’s inherent nature.

–Isa Upanishad

of course concepts are concepts. Concepts by their very nature are inherently wrong. The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao. But concepts “help”, the greatest thing you can say is however, to remain silent.


When you want to enter the higher worlds…..Klippot (frustrating forces) will stand in your way…..Continue to work with all your might, and in the end you will…..enter the higher worlds.”

Sefer Baal Shem Tov



Tales of Wonder! Tales of Woe!

20. “Queen Sabbath”


Joseph Patai

(from “Souls and Secrets” )

A. Introduction


Jacobus Swart

A remarkable derivation from the Merkavistic Tradition, is the concept of Divine Wisdom based on Proverbs 8 and Job 28, which was understood to be the “Feminine Power” through which God created the world. The suggestion is that this female force coupled with the masculine God in order to create the whole of manifestation. In the extra-canonical Wisdom of Solomon 7:25, “She” is described as “A breath of the power of God, and a clear effluence of the glory of the Almighty…..for She is an effulgence from everlasting light and an unspotted mirror of God, and an image of His goodness.” This Wisdom was also seen to be the Sabbath and the Torah or Law, as the verbal expression of God. There were various terms for the feminine counterpart of God including Kavod (Glory), and the most important of all the names for this feminine creatrix is the word Shechinah, a word which earlier simply meant the “Presence of Divinity” in this world. There is a direct connection between the word Shechinah and the Greek word “skene” or, as we now say, “scene.” It originally meant a tent or tabernacle, or a stage for actors. Sometimes a Temple. It was a “blanket-word” meaning “surroundings,” or something that both displayed and concealed the “Presence of God” on earth.

In Kabbalah the Shechinah came to be seen as something separate from God, an intrinsic companion, as understood in Proverbs and the Midrash (Commentary) on Proverbs, where it is written that: “the Shechinah stood before the Holy One, blessed be He, and said to Him.” Thus with the Shechinah or “Divine Bride,” the Presence of God was recognised in this world. We might say it was just “Nature” as a spiritual force, or the action of Divinity through natural energies. For example, it is interesting that the old desert-dwelling Semites used to look on the “Ark of the Covenant” with awe, because it sometimes appeared to glow in the dark. Of course, this might have been nothing more than static electricity in that dry atmosphere, or “St Elmos Fire,” which they thought was the Shechinah making Herself visible. Since night, sleep and dream is believed to be the realm of the feminine, it was said that it was the Shechinah who appeared to Solomon in his dream in which he made the choice of the attainment of Wisdom, and got gold to boot.

There is a Zoharic legend that the righteous will be granted a vision of the Shechinah at the time of their deaths, and there might be a connection between this and the Christian clause in the “Hail Mary” which reads: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our deaths. Amen.” I personally feel there is a great similarity of beliefs between Judeo-Christian ideas. The Paternal Jewish religion had displaced the old Matriarchy, yet they had a sneaking feeling that it was not wise to abandon the Old Goddess altogether, just as the Christians later compromised with the “Virgin Mary” concept. It is said the Shechinah is present when ten men meet to pray, three men meet for justice, or two meet to study Torah. Ultimately the Shechinah came to be identified with the “House of Israel,” and these ideas finally found their way into the Sefer Bahir. This work takes a lot of its thinking from the earlier Sefer Yetzirah (the “Book of Creation”), and developed it further still.

In the Sefer Bahir the union between God and his Kavod, or Shechinah, is described in highly erotic terms. Let me make it clear here that the Kabbalah does not forbid or deride sex as such, neither encourage it unduly or advocate anything unsavoury such as cruelty and humiliation. Instead, it shows us how to use sex with intelligence and enjoyment combined so as to benefit by the God-Force it was and is meant to be. This Tradition has something alive and vital about it rather than only a lot of speculations concerning the Cosmos and details of Divinity. For instance the Shechinah is Kabbalistically considered to be with the male during sexual congress. In other words it was the old idea of “God-the-Father” in the “Man-human” mating with “God-the-Mother” in the “Female-human.” To put it crudely, God mating with God, which is exactly what happens.

The Shechinah, the Female Counterpart of God, or the Presence of God in this world, has always been seen to be represented by all women alive, and thus it was believed by Kabbalists that if you spend your time studying Torah, thus being in the company of the Shechinah all the time, it was your obligation to give pleasure to your spouse on the seventh day, since it was through her that the Shechinah or Divine Presence came to you. In fact the Seventh Day, or Sabbath, itself became associated with the Shechinah as a Divine Bride, and her arrival at the Friday Evening meal was greeted with ecstatic hymns, like this one which was written by the famous Isaac Luria, the greatest Kabbalists of the Safed School.

“I sing in hymns
to enter the gates,
of the field of apples
of holy ones.

A new table
we lay for her,
a beautiful candelabrum
sheds its light upon us.

Between right and left
the Bride approaches
in holy jewels
and festive garments.

Her husband embraces her
in her foundation,
gives her fulfilment,
squeezes out his strength.

Torment and cries
are past.
Now there are new faces
and souls and spirits.

He gives her joy
in twofold measure.
Lights shine
and streams of blessing.

Bridesmen, go forth
and prepare the bride,
victuals of many kinds
and all manner of fish.

To beget souls
and new spirits
on the thirty-two paths
and three branches.

She has seventy crowns
but above her the King,
that all may be crowned
in the Holy of Holies.

All worlds are formed
and sealed within her,
but all shine forth
from the Old of Days.

To southward I set
the Mystical candelabrum,
I make room in the north
for the table with the loaves.

With wine in beakers
and boughs of myrtle
to fortify the Betrothed,
for they are feeble.

We plait them wreathes
of precious words
for the coronation of the seventy
in fifty gates.

Let the Shekhinah be surrounded
by six Sabbath loaves
connected on every side
with the Heavenly Sanctuary.

Weakened and cast out
the impure powers,
the menacing demons
are now in fetters.”

A magnificent hymn, of which the last stanza is referring to the Klippot (Demonic shells – a Kabbalistic term, alluding to the “frustrating forces” of the Sefirot, once believed to be demons. The legend behind the “shells” is that they consist of all the imperfections of Creation, which “filter down” as it were to the bottom before being finally consumed by the Abyss system. As such, they obscure and obstruct the Shechinah in this world, except on the Sabbath, when they are said to be powerless because of the regenerating forces operating within the Union of God and His Shechinah. The task God intended for man was to “redeem” the fallen Shechinah.

Since his “Highest Soul,” his Neshamah, the Divine Spark Itself, is in fact part of the Shechinah, man should redeem this Divine Presence in himself, and thus perfect the whole “Plan.” Adam failed to do this, and his descendants are still struggling. It has been said many times that when the Messiah comes, everything will be made plain, and man will achieve the “Mystical Marriage” with the Shechinah or his True Self, and regain his Heaven-state. Another presentation of this said last verse in this Sabbath Hymn reads:

“The insolent dogs must remain outside and cannot come in,
I summon the Old of Days at evening until they are dispersed.
Until his will destroys the ‘shells.’
He hurls them into their abysses, they must hide deep in their caverns.
And all this now, in the evening, at the festival of Ze’ir Anpin.”

Ze’ir Anpin means the “Impatient One,” or the Aspect of Divinity which accelerated the Process of Perfection. In other words: “Get a move on God!”

B. “Queen Sabbath”

W e must hurry,” Luria said, turning back to his disciples. “The sun is setting and the Queen is approaching.”

With quick steps they left the vineyards behind and moved up the slopes of Mount Safed. The slender figure of the young master, a full head taller than all his companions, was wrapped in a white satin robe reaching down to his ankles. The disciples too were clad in festive clothes, and their white headcloths fluttered in the mild evening wind. For a while they kept silent as they walked side by side, lest an inadvertent word disturb the reverential mood of the master.

But soon the excitement overpowered the disciples, and, almost simultaneously, they intoned the Song of Songs, and walked on singing with growing enthusiasm.

Hark! My beloved! Behold he cometh,
Leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

Already the faraway mountains were printed purple by the messengers of the approaching Queen Sabbath, who spread violet-colored carpets before the feet of the eagerly expected royal Bride. The song of the disciples grew louder:

O my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff,
Let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice,
For sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.

The swelling tones of the song enraptured the master, and he too began to sing softly:

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride,
With me from Lebanon,
Look from the top of Amana,
From the top of Senir and Hermon,
From the lions’ dens,
From the mountains of the leopards.

The air began to cool, the breezes of dusk caressed the fronds of the date-palms and swept a sweet scent into the flushed faces of the master and the disciples. Luria sang almost inaudibly, as if the Song of Songs and the balsamic scents had dazed him:

Until the day breathe, and the shadows flee away,
Turn, my beloved, like a gazelle
Upon the mountains of spices.

They were out of breath when they reached the top of Mount Safed. A wonderful scene spread before their burning eyes. To the east they could see the valley of Gennesaret and the Jordan. Rows of pomegranate, fig, date, and sycamore trees divided the valley into narrow strips, and in its middle hurried the waves of the Jordan, which was lost to the south in the smooth waters of Lake Gennesaret, surrounded by a crown of dark trees. The purple of dusk painted a red color over the mirrorlike surface of the lake, and a red glow enveloped also the olive and palm trees that framed its banks and lifted their heads proudly toward the flaming sky, as if they too were offering silent hymns while waiting with outstretched arms for the appearance of the glorious Queen Sabbath. Luria and his disciples gazed enchanted into the distance, and whispered the verses of the Song of Songs:

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my bride,
Thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes,
With one bead of thy necklace.

But the master raised his hand, and the disciples fell silent. Luria’s ecstatic soul was aflame with the beauty of the Sabbath, and dazzling visions opened up before his eyes.

For a few moments he remained standing motionless and then spoke with a trembling voice:

“My brothers, I see the Time of Mercy approaching. Perhaps this is the Sabbath of Sabbaths.”

The disciples trembled in rapturous anticipation, but none of them dared to ask a question. Wordless, they riveted their eyes on the master, as if expecting a miraculous revelation. Only after a few minutes passed in silence did Luria’s favorite disciple, Hayyim Vital, break the hallowed silence:

“O Master, reveal to us too the secret of the Sabbath of Sabbaths!”

Luria, as if he had not even heard the words, clasped his hands over his breast, and looked around into the distance. His glance fell on Mount Meron where in the gathering dusk the torches of Ben Yohai’s tomb could be seen, and around them the believers, clad in festive white garb, rhythmically swayed in prayer, as if white ghosts of the dead were hovering about the holy tombs.

Luria suddenly turned to his disciples. “If you don’t feel it,” he said with sadness in his voice, “if you don’t see it with your own eyes, don’t hear it with your ears, I would tell it to you in vain.”

“But, O Master, open our ears! Remove the scales from our eyes, O light of Israel!”

“Do you not see that the air of heaven, near and far, is full of flames, of wandering fires, of souls seeking recovery, redemption?”

“I see it, O Master,” whispered Vital, the head of the disciples, with bated breath.

“You can see it, my son, because your soul is a spark from the heights of the Creator’s throne, because no dross of earthly sin has become attached to your soul, and its vision has not been dimmed by the stain of primeval sins. But he whose soul is heavy with old and new sins, cannot rise up into the heights, cannot endure the eternal light. He falls back to earth, tired and worn out, into the mire and sludge.”

And Luria raised his arms feverishly, and continued:

“The souls wandering about despondently in the oceans of the world are like small ships lost in the dark night of endless seas, always on the lookout and yearning for the appearance of a lighthouse on the horizon, so that they may hurry toward it. Without it they cannot find the way back to their ancestral home, from which they had set out, that home of eternal radiance and pure Light. They wander and err, and ever new waves beat against them and cover them with mud and slime, and the poor, tortured souls cry and whine, and seek refuge…..until, finally, in the distance, they espy a pure, lofty soul, the beacon, and they swarm toward it, grateful and happy to have found the eternal way.”

A flock of ravens circled over the head of the master, with slow, silent beating of wings. Luria looked up at them, and said:

“Perhaps these too are erring souls. And do you see there, on the neighboring hill, the little deer running toward us? Perhaps he too is a seeking, wandering soul. And down there in the valley flow the waters of the Jordan; perhaps its waves too carry fugitive souls toward the holy city, so that they may be able to bathe and become purified, and soar up into the highest Heights, for which they pine and yearn. Do you not hear the song of the souls in the rush of the waters, in the whisper of the boughs, the chirping of birds, the hum of the air, the flight of the clouds and their lightnings? It is the aching song of wounded, suffering souls, which would like to fly home, up into the Hall of Souls, to merge with the Highest Soul from which they were torn away. And the redemption of the world will be complete only when all the erring souls shall be cleansed and return to the Highest, the fragmented sparks become united again, and the soul of the world is filled with the repose of the Sabbath, with peace and mercy.”

“And will that be the Sabbath of Sabbaths?” asked Vital impatiently.

“Amid the worries of the weekdays,” Luria continued, the sparks produced by good deeds disintegrate, or hide within opaque, heavy husks. And when the time of the flaming of the souls comes, the sacred moment of receivmg Queen Sabbath, the divine Shekhinah, the soul bathes :n the lake of purification, and the hidden sparks divest their husks, and flash, hover, naked over the heads. This is the light of Sabbath, the Sabbath soul. And happy is he above whose head a whole wreath of collected sparks hovers and shines, like a sparkling heavenly diadem. It is of these that Scripture says, ‘And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament…..’ And the wandering souls, the poor little erring lights, are attracted to place where the great light shines, where the flame soars up into the heights, and sweeps up and carries with it the little lights, up into the Infinite.”

Intoxicated with his own words, Luria embraced Vital, and then, placing his arm on the shoulders of the faithful desciple, advanced a few more steps:

“Come, my friend, to meet the Bride, let us receive the Sabbath.”

Alkabez, the young poet, recognized the words of his Sabbath song, and following in the footsteps of the master, continued happily:

Arise, arise, your light has come,
Arise, and shed your light,
Arise and sing a song,
God’s glory is revealed.

The disciples encircled the poet, and sang the refrain in unison:

Come, my friend, to meet the Bride,
Let us receive the Sabbath.

The melody of the Sabbath song filled the air, and the surrounding hills echoed faintly the shreds of the joyful words.

“It is the time of Mercy,” said Luria in a trembling voice. “Najara, my son, let us hear your Sabbath song too. When you sing, the gates of heaven open, and the angels come down from on high to enjoy it.”

Obediently, and with a disciple’s humility, Najara intoned his Sabbath song, and the companions hummed it together with him. Luria listened to it silently, dreamily. They reached the last stanza:

Return to Your Holy of Holies,
The place where spirits and souls rejoice,
And sing exalted songs of thanks
In Jerusalem, the city of beauty.

In the distance, over the crags of Gilead and the summit of Mount Tabor, it seemed as if red lightnings were streaking, as if bloody swords and spears were flashing in the air. From the mountains of Bashan and from the Lebanon red clouds, like hosts of racing horsemen mounted on fiery steeds, rushed in the flames of the dusk toward the Dead Sea and the Eternal City.

Luria suddenly drew himself up to his full length, and turned to his disciples with eyes aflame:

“Do you want to come with me to Jerusalem?”

“To Jerusalem!” exulted Vital. “Let us go. The Time of Mercy is at hand!”

“To Jerusalem!” Luria repeated with passion. “I can see on the distant peaks the crowned Queen, and with her the eternal glory of God. They are going to Jerusalem, and the Palace is being rebuilt, the Throne restored, and the ancient glory shines again. Behold, the Time of Mercy! The heavens open up, all the souls are elevated, and the wandering earthly beings see a great light, soar toward it, and say, ‘Up! Let us go in the light of the Lord!’ The summit of Lebanon catches fire, the captive of Jerusalem rises from the dust, the daughter of Zion throws off her shackles, and puts on her festive clothes. And she lifts up her eyes and sees, behold, her children all gather from the four winds and flock about her, and her eyes shine and her soul jubilates, saying, ‘Who are these who fly like clouds, and like doves toward their nests?’ The Sabbath of Sabbaths awaits us in Jerusalem. Come, let us go!”

“To Jerusalem!” the disciples echoed enthusiastically, and they set out after the Master in the gathering mysterious darkness. Luria stopped for a moment and looked around.

“Are all of you here, my children? And what is the matter with you, my son Uzziya, why do your knees tremble?”

The disciple answered modestly and sadly:

“O Master, allow me first to go home and take leave from my loving young bride with whom I celebrated our wedding only this Sukkot and who would despair at my absence. For the road is very long, and the night full of dangers.”

“Long and dangerous?” asked Luria, surprised. “If we want it, we shall be there in a moment, and if the Lord is with us, whom have we to fear?”

“But from Safed to Jerusalem, O Master, the distance is three days’ walk, and the dense gloom of dusk has already covered the hills.”

Luria gave a start.

For a moment he looked around hesitating, disturbed, with pain in his eyes, as if he had awakened from a deep dream. He felt that all his wonderful visions had all of a sudden disintegrated from the sober words. Everything was over. In place of the dazzling images, high black mountains stood in the darkness. And Luria buried his face into his hands and began to cry aloud.

“Let us go, my holy Master!” begged Vital. “Sadness drives off the light of the Shekhinah , and the Sabbath of Sabbaths is awaiting us in Jerusalem!”

Luria wiped his eyes, looked lovingly at his disciple, and answered despondently:

“It is over, my son. Faintheartedness kills the miracle. Had we all wanted and believed it, it would have come to pass. But one unbeliever can play sad havoc with a thousand believers, and hold back the redemption of the world. The sacred Bride, the Queen of Queens, was waiting for us, but he pined after his young spouse. Come, my sons, let us finish our Friday night prayers and return to the city, to Safed.”

The End



There’s a ‘Tree of Klipoth’ in page 10 of Sepher ha’Ilan haGadol, http://www.jnul.huji.ac.il/dl/books/html/bk1325487.htm



  1. Tomi’el or Tumi’el;
  2. Ugi’el or Go’iy’el;
  3. Sitri’el or Harasi’el;
  4. Ga’ashkala;
  5. Geivlahav;
  6. Tagiriron;
  7. Arav Tzarak;
  8. Sama’el;
  9. Gamali’el or Nachashi’el; and
  10. Lillit.



“The difference between the use and abuse of the power of the cosmos, through the wisdom of Kabbalah, lies in the use of Resistance. And that is why Resistance/Restriction is the key…..

Nature is balanced and strives to maintain balance. When we do not exert Resistance by our own free will, nature – physically and metaphysically – steps in to gain her due balance. Because the Thought of Creation was only to provide fulfillment to the Vessel, the moment, it, or we, want to receive, Light enters immediately and automatically: because a Desire to Receive constitutes a vessel for the Light. However,…..when we receive immediately, a veil of negativity, called Klipot (Husks) or a Masach (Curtain) is effected and covers the Light. That is, we can always draw energy; but when we draw unbalanced energy, we inevitably blow a (cosmic) fuse, which immediately shuts down the flow of energy/Light.

Basically what this means is that whenever we act to gratify our desires immediately, we draw what is called Direct Light and cause a ‘short cirtcuit’ in the spiritual flow of energy from the Light to the Vessel, which is ourselves. Drawing Direct Light is very much like going out in the sun without sunscreen. One can get the most rays without sunscreen, but one will also burn. Aside from the pain of a sunburn, the skin then peels, and the initial goal of suntanning is forfeited. Instead, we strive to create Returning Light, which is Direct Light on which we have exerted Resistance – by pushing some of the Light away, like sunscreen resisting (our drawing of) some of the physical sunlight. It is only Returning Light that can be retained and thus enjoyed indefinitely. And it is only by resisting the Light that we convert Direct Light into Returning Light…..

[S]uffice to say for now that where there is is not a balance of giving and receiving, of positive and negative energy, which is the essence of Returning Light, a short circuit inevitably results…..

With every short circuit, another Klipah (Husk) or Masach (Curtain) is automatically erected, which in turn dims the Light from shining through. Direct Light causes a burnout; and what is burned out is the Light from that drawing Vessel.

It is important here to remind ourselves that the Light is a constant: It never changes nor ever ceases to shine. The Klipot or Masachim (the plural of Husk and Curtain) would be like lampshades put up around a lightbulb. With each layer added to the lampshade, the (physical) light appears to dim. The layers may become so numerous that they in essence block out the light and create the illusion of darkness.”

Nekhama Schoenburg (The Unifying Factor: A Review of Kabbalah