Letter from a Kabbalist to a rabbi
The Letter from Emmanuel Levyne to Rabbi Schwartz published in Letter from a Kabbalist to a Rabbi (Law & Creation) - Tsidek Publishing, 17 rue Bleue (75009) Paris. - Issy-les-Moulineaux on 24 08 1962.

Rabbi Jean Schwarz

director of the journal - Trait-d'Union -

I always read and study your special issues with great interest. In the one devoted to Hassidism, most of your collaborators have minimized the divergences between the Hasidic conception and the purely rabbinical conception. For example, for Rabbi Gugenheim, what would have separated the Hassidim from the Mitnaguedim, it was only a difference in prayer times. In this case, we do not understand the rigor shown by the Gaon of Vilna, who had proclaimed that the blood of the Hassidim could be shed like water.

In general - except obviously Mr. Andri Neher whose texts are perfect in all respects - your collaborators do not seem to have a very deep knowledge of Jewish mysticism and especially its experience -, because each time they approach his domain, they get lost - and their Hebrew with them.

So, I am surprised to read in the texts of your collaborators that the word Torah means Law, that Judaism is essentially and totally a Law. This is the point of view of a certain rabbinism. But one cannot express such an opinion from the point of view of Kabbalah.

How can a Hebrew person translate "Torah" into "Law?"

All dictionaries indicate that the word Torah comes from a root (YRH) which means to teach. Torah is divine teaching.

We can also bring this word from the root AOR, Light; and this etymology has its references in Kabbalistic literature (and also Talmudic and Biblical).

Prov. VI, 23: ki ner mitsva vetorah or: The Torah is the Light.
Meguilla 16 b: ora zou tora: Light is Torah.

Tikouni Hazohar , Tikoun XI, 26 b: There is a Palace of Light (hehela dinehora) which only opens for the man who takes care of the Light of Torah (nehora deoraota).

The Torah is the doctrine of Light, that is to say, according to the numbers of the root AOR-, the science of just relationships between the Infinite (1) - and (6) - the finite ( 2 (00)), between God and man, between God and the world.

The Torah is essentially the Law, and it is as Law that Judaism is distinguished from other religions, its originality is in its Law. This is how your employees express themselves.

From the point of view of Kabbala, this is not correct. The essential category of Torah and Hebrew is not Law, but Creation. The first three letters of the Torah are BRA, root of CREATION: the first verb of the Torah is also BRA: to create. The original word and verb of the Torah is Creation. The Torah begins where there is Creation.

The aim of the Torah is not to make man a submissive being, but a being who is in the likeness of God, that is to say, a creator and free being.

Although Creation and the Law are mutually exclusive, it must be recognized that in the Torah there is a Law - the Law of Moses. But this Law is a part of the Torah - not the whole Torah; and therein lies essentially the divergence between the point of view of Kabbala and the point of view of Rabbinism.

For Kabbala, the Law represents only a time in the history of the Torah, it is only one of the avatars of the Word of God in the world.

His reign is transient. It was manifested and imposed as a result of the sin of the golden calf (1) and it will disappear when the Messiah comes (2). For all of Israel. But even in premessian times, the Kabbalist - that is, the man who is immersed day and night in the study of the Zohar - escapes the bondage of the Law. For the purpose of the Law is to protect man from evil inclination and to help him overcome it. Now the study of Kabbalah has the property of ontologically eradicating evil. The Law therefore has no longer any reason to exist for the man who lives entirely in the Kabbalistic universe (3).

In a more systematic way, Kabbala divides Israel into two main classes (4):

I - The Kabbalists (or the Righteous), who are attached to the Torah of the Tree of Life - the Torah of Atsilouth -, which was that of the Patriarchs and that Moses received (kabbala) at Mount Sinai: this spiritual Torah formed the exclusive content of the first Tables, which he broke at the sight of the people adoring the golden calf. Only Kabbalists bear the name of Man; they are the sons of the King; they live in the sephirotic world.

II - The rest of the people - the mass and its leaders -, who are subject to the Torah of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil - the Torah of Beria - that is to say, the Law.

This last class is subdivided into two categories, like the tree which governs it.

A. The Good: rabbis and pious men who strive to keep the commandments; they are the servants of the King; they live in the angelic world.

B. The Bad: the impious and the libertines; they are like animals, they live in the demonic world.

In short, the Law governs the angelic and animal world, that is, static creatures; the man who keeps the Law is like an angel, the man who does not respect it like an animal.

Man's own destiny is to live in the divine universe, that is, to participate in the life of the Creator. The world of Man is the world of God, which is above the world of angels (5).

The Law == angelo-animal hierarchy, static nature.

Kabbalah == human-divine hierarchy, creative nature.

The Law is the outer part of the Torah, it is what is grain straw, bark germ (6). It is not the proper nourishment of Man, son of God, but of fallen Man, of Man who has lost his divine soul, his nechama; it allows him not to succumb and not to fall to the bottom of the abyss. The man who falls breaks his limbs and injures himself: he needs crutches and bandages. This is the role of the Law and its commandments: But the man who is doing well has nothing to do with crutches, remedies and doctors. Such is the Kabbalist, such will be Israel in Messianic times.

And sincere and upright rabbis are aware of the therapeutic function of the law (7), therefore of its temporary usefulness and existence (8). One of the proofs is that they do not call the Rabbinical Law, but Halakha, which means walking, movement. As Chief Rabbi Fingerhut points out in his article, the verb Halakh "does not indicate the goal to be achieved, but the procedure to follow. "

That's right: the Law is the Halakha of the Torah, that is to say, it allows man to move towards his goal: the divine universe, the sephirotic universe. But once we arrive, the walk stops. There is no more Halacha (9).

The man who understood the meaning of the word Halakha grasped the whole Torah and the whole Jewish tradition.

The true Law is the Law of Moses, the 613 commandments in all their rigor.

Halachah is no longer the Law of Moses; she is too merciful, too human, too dynamic, too creative, too flexible, too personalized, to bear the name of Law. The Halakha does not subject the man to the Law, on the contrary, it detaches him from it, and unties him gently, imperceptibly (10), because it is dangerous to suddenly release freedom to a man who has become used to it bondage, which has become second nature to him.

The rabbinical function is not a legal function, but an educational and medical one. The rabbi is a doctor. One recognizes one who is honest with what he wishes, like his master Moses, for the time to come when the world will no longer need him and where his science will no longer be of any use (11).

I suspect some of your staff are Knock rabbis.

Chalom Aleikheim.

Emmanuel Livyne

PS Please note: no justification can be found in this letter for the position of so-called liberal Jews and those who live outside of Jewish tradition. The Kabbalist, who rises above the world of the Law, it is the Jew who studies and meditates Torah day and night according to the Zohar , in order to unite the Holy One, blessed be He, with his holy Chekhina; he does not exercise any other activity: he is therefore poor and lives on charity (12). This type of kabbalist hardly exists today - at least in France and Paris. Rabbinical Law, in its most orthodox expression, must therefore continue to govern the life of Jewish communities - and this all the more rigorously as the social level of Jewish families tends to skyrocket. The poor have less need of the law [end page 21] than the rich, because they are less tempted than they by the evil inclination (13). (Women, shows, drink, good food ... it's expensive. When you have no money, you don't interest the Temptress ... or the Temptress (Samael and Lilith). The poor don't have enough to make the golden calf.)

I can therefore only wish the success of the action of the Orthodox communities, such as those of the rue de Montevideo and the rue Cadet, and I declare myself resolutely hostile to liberal Judaism, let alone the Jews who live without faith law and who believe themselves to be emancipated and liberated, whereas they have fallen to a lower degree than that of the beast.

References :

1 - Zohar l, 26 b.
2 - Zohar III, 124 b, RM
3 - Zohar II, 117 b -118 a, RM
4 - Zohar III, 98 a - b, RM; 224 b, RM; 252 b - 253 a, RM
5 - Rosh Hashanah , 17 b.
6 - Zohar Hadach, Tikounim , 73 b; Tikouni Hazohar , Tikoun 69 b, 114 a.
7 - Eroubim , 54 a; Berakhoth 5a; Midrach Rabba , Genesis, 44.
8 - Maccolth 24 a; Sanhedrin 97 a.
9 - Menakhoth 99 b.
10 - Berakhoth 19 b.
11 - Jeremiah XXXI, 31 - 34
12 - Zohar III, 126 a, RM; Zohar Hadach , Tikounim, 63 a - b.
13 - Zohar III, 8 b - 9 a.
source en francais : Lettre d'un Kabbaliste a un rabbin