United Discontent

One Kabbalalistic Interpretation of the Torah

There are many paths of understanding the kaballah and many teachers for understanding it. One path, in particular, derives the infinite meaning of the Torah.

“The Torah, as an expression of ‘Eiyn Sof’, encompasses an infinity of meanings. This principle is drawn from the fact that the text of the Torah is unvocalized; the Halakhah actually forbids its vocalization. In the eyes of the Kabbalists, the reason is that as long as a word remains unvocalized, it may be read in a variety of ways (for example, the root dvr may be read as davar[thing]. dibber[he spoke], dever [plague], dabar [leader], etc.), thus taking on a plurality of meanings.  The moment it becomes vocalized, though, this multiplicity ends; the word has but a single referent.”

In this sense we may understand how the Torah, though using a fixed set of hebrew letters considered to be divine , lay within them an infinitude of meaning.  We should also dwell upon the idea that “The moment it becomes vocalized, though, this multiplicity ends; the word has but a single referent.”  The notion that things in the numinous, unphenomenological world, “the thing in itself” remain permanently true and universally true and always true, yet at the same time phenomena, material, instantiated instances of a thing, or a ‘noun’ into an object it becomes a SEMBLANCE of truth in reference to its essence.

Within Kabbalist history, there is usually considered 3 or 4 layers of interpretation and concealed within that is an infinite amount of meaning.  The 4 general layers are called many names, Ma’aseh, midrash haggadah, and sod.  The ones I find easiest to understand is Peshat (plain way meaning), Derash (homiletical meaning), sekhel (rational way) and Kabbalah “the path of truth”.  (its also called peshat, remez, derash and Sod).  The 3 layers are refered to as R. Moses de Leon as Garment, Body, and Soul, or stories, commandments and esoteric mysteries.

That means that when you read a story from the Bible/Torah, there is within it contained 3 or 4 layers.  A literal story, a commandment, a intellectually gathered rational understanding and upon dwellin upon the very hebrew letters themselves which are regarded by kabbalists to contain endless mounds of meaning, another true path.   (the distinction between intellectual apprehension and spiritual apprehension was more undefined pre-13th century)

The kabbalists shun those who take a purely literal approach to the Torah.  That the world was literally created in 6 days, there were 5 groups of father/barren wife/slave girl + child forming the nations, and God loves Israel, Abraham, and wants to spread its seed around, is taken as amateur.  Not totally wrong, just only the “shell of meaning”.

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