Qumranic Raz Nihyeh and Mishnah Hagigah 2: A clear expression of this attitude is found in the following parable of R. Thank you mgla gabefranco go to album. Within the heart of each man that desireth death ringeth a psalm for His way upon Earth. Such a notion may sound surprising at first, but it is also embedded in the parable of R. The tannaitic sources are extremely slim, however.
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Ecclesiasticus inveighs against its study: "Seek not out the things that are too hard for thee, neither search the things that are above thy strength. But what is commanded thee, think thereupon with reverence; for it is not needful for thee to see with thine eyes the things that are in secret.
Zera said that even the chapter-headings might be communicated only to a person who was head of a school and was cautious in temperament. According to R. Ammi, the secret doctrine might be entrusted only to one who possessed the five qualities enumerated in Isaiah A certain age is, of course, necessary. When R.
Johanan wished to initiate R. Some information seems to be given, though only by intimation, in the story of the four scholars that entered paradise that is, penetrated the mysteries of the secret doctrine , of whom only R. Akiva remained uninjured. Ben Yoma is represented as interested in the determination of the space between the upper and lower waters. Hagigah also indicates this in the story of R. Judah b. Here again, one must distinguish aggadic and devotional from mystic and philosophical thought, and must not teach views such as that the world was created out of "tohu" and "bohu" and "hoshekh," or that air, wind, and storm were the primal elements, as component parts of the doctrine of Creation.
Just as in the case of the latter, the purely aggadic explanations of Ezekiel 1 as found, for instance, in Hagigah 13b must not be taken into consideration. It is declared that this chapter of Ezekiel may be studied even by young pupils, because a boy can seldom recognize the doctrines implied in it.
The object, therefore, was to find special secrets in these verses. As the story of R. The belief was apparently current that certain mystic expositions of the Ezekiel chapter, or the discussion of objects connected with it, would cause God to appear.
Yohanan ben Zakkai , the latter dismounted from his donkey, saying, "It is not seemly that I sit on the ass while you are discoursing on the heavenly doctrine, and while the Divinity is among us and ministering angels accompany us. Jose ha-Kohen and his companion  had similar experiences. Such a divine interposition is expressly mentioned in connection with the "story of the Creation" in Sanhedrin 95b.
Rab Hananiah and Rab Hoshaiah studied the Sefer Yetzirah and the "Hilkhot Yetzirah" respectively every Sabbath evening and succeeded in creating a calf as large as a three-year-old ox. This esoteric tendency must have led often to pessimistic and nihilistic views, as is shown by the accounts of Elisha ben Abuyah  and the Mishnaic passage, "He who speaks of the things which are before, behind, above, and below, it were better he had never been born.
Judah, a tanna of the second half of the second century,  Yochanan ben Zakkai was the founder of the secret doctrine. In the same passage, in both Talmuds, it is said, however, that he refused to discuss it, even in the presence of a single person, although, as already stated, R. Eleazar ben Arach discoursed on it with him and was extravagantly praised by him; two other pupils of his, R.
Joshua and R. Jose ha-Kohen, also discussed it with him. According to tradition, the second one to give instruction in these matters was R. Joshua, vice-president of the Sanhedrin under R. He was succeeded by R. Akiva, and the last to teach them was R. Jose the Galilean and Pappus discussed the subject with R. The fate of the last-named, who was driven from Judaism by his experience, is said to have given rise to restrictive measures.
The study of profane books was forbidden,  and an interdiction of the public discussion of these subjects was issued, only R. Ishmael objecting. In the time of R.
Judah, R. Levi regarding this as inadmissible, R. Judah ha-Nasi was at this time the authority to whom, as formerly to R. Johanan, such matters were referred. But the theosophic and cosmogonic portions of this literature cannot with certainty be regarded as the source of the Talmudic doctrine. Although much of the material found in the former may belong to the Talmud, yet the entire doctrine of the heavenly halls, angelology, and the doctrine of the Creation as it is found, for instance, in Sefer Yetzirah , must not be regarded as Talmudic in origin.
The very fact that there are so many Talmudic and midrashic parallels to the conceptions of the geonic period leads to the conclusion that they contain only a limited amount of original material from the ancient esoteric teachings. Later interpretation[ edit ] Alternative Medieval views developed of the esoteric meanings of Judaism.
In the case of a sensitive issue such as crea- tion, anxieties may change and new religious and intellectual challenges arise. We cannot therefore assume that the concerns of the third and fourth-century Amoraim represent the original meaning and purpose of the ban, and research of its origins inevitably necessitates a separate inquiry into the earliest sources at our disposal. The tannaitic sources are extremely slim, however. Scholem claims that in contrast to Gnostic literature and to medieval Kabbalistic speculation of the divine, Merkabah mysticism shows no interest in cosmogony, but only in cosmology Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism [New York: Schocken, ], 73— However, in reference to m.
MA'ASEH BERESHIT; MA'ASEH MERKABAH (literally, "work of Creation" and "work of the Chariot"):
Skehan and Alexander A. The mystery of creation is the root of all know- ledge, and it touches upon fundamental halakhic issues regarding the mys- tery of marriage. Ben Zvi, Whatever the question is at this stage or the answer refers to the structure of the heavens. According to a tradition handed down by Jose b.