Friday, December 31, 2010

Secular Education and Ministry within the Natsarim

Secular Education and Ministry within the Natsarim
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Many people foolishly believe that Yeshua and the first century believers were uneducated hippies who roamed the country side only being taught personally by Adonai. Some even believe this about the prophets of the Tanak. This is ludicrous and way off. People ignorantly feel or believe that secular or education by man is a bad thing and will taint ones soul and cause one to puff up with pride.

First off, pride comes from within, a defect of the soul and no one can “make” you prideful by simply being in contact with them or their teaching. Pride is a personal decision whether consciously or unconsciously.

Many people say that titles mean nothing and fruit is all one needs to see.

Consider this, would you let some one cut on you who does not have the legitimate designation and degree of "Doctor?" Would the “fruit” of their bedside manner be enough for you? So too, ones spirit and mind is just as important as the physical body and it behooves us to know who we learn from. Fruit will only confirm the title one worked so hard for.

Some asks what education did Moses have, or Paul? They simply focus on the Burning Bush and the Damascus Experience and think that is all the training they needed and they fail to look at the rest of their lives and the education they received by man.

Moses was trained to be as a Pharaoh, he had the best training
Egypt could offer. According to the Book of Jasher he had training as a King and a Military General. He also had hands on - on the job training as a shepherd to balance his training and education as a warrior and a king. So secular education IS important. It is how we filter the manmade education which becomes and asset or detriment to ones supplemental education by Adonai Himself. The Torah is the filter and proper assimilator of all things, especially education of men.

Rav Sha'ul was in the running to be on the next generation of Sanhedrin and was taught by the famous Gamaliel, he had the best education Judaism could offer. For Him to be a Roman citizen and speak to philosophers about “the unknown God” shows Rav Sha’ul had some sort of secular education in philosophy at least.

The Arkco Volume, if true, speaks of even Yeshua having a personal tutor of a retired Kohen.

The talmid of Yeshua were Jewish and had a Hebrew School education as did all Jewish boys. The Talmidim had secular education as well. Job training by their fathers and in the case of Judas, some sort of political education in order to be deemed a zealot. G-d just didn’t find an empty country bumpkin brain to fill, it was already prepped by education of men. The supplemental education of the Spirit set straight and assimilated the education of men so as to be channeled and used in the proper way according to the Torah and the Spirit.

Also, full time ministers were rare. Ministers were traditionally compensated for their teaching either by food, money and or supplies. The Talmud says it is best if one coupled there ministry with a secular job as well as Rav Sha'ul did, for he knew the Oral Torah well. Rav Sha’ul made Tallits (tents), Luke was a physician. Kefa (Peter) was a fisherman and when the talmid needed funds or to pay taxes, they went fishing to pay the bills.

So to think secular education has no place in Natsari Judaism is utterly foolish and an irresponsible conclusion to come to by faulty Biblical interpretation.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Blight Upon Today’s Natsarim

The Blight Upon Today’s Natsarim
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

I fear if the reborn, newborn Natsarim of this generation does not learn to roll over and crawl very soon, what we know as the Natsraim will die of spiritual SIDS. We will smother ourselves or get our head hung in the crib bars of our own making. There is a mysterious disease that has infected today’s Natsarim that could be a genetic defect carried over from our Western Spiritual Genes.

Many of us have awoken in the hibernation den of Modern Day Christianity, as if we woke up in the Matrix, plugged in to the Great Machine of “Churchianity” and we escaped and learned the reality of what Christianity should be, was always meant to be, but sadly is not, and as a result we revolted against “The Machine” and fight for the Messianic Torah Obedience of the first century.

We are poor, weak and ragged, but tenacious, resolved and determined never to give up, but how we have channeled our revolt could well be our undoing.

“Why are you keeping Torah?”

“What kind of question is that Rabbi!? Obviously because we are called to, to please and obey HaShem, because Messiah never did away with the Torah!”

Really? You seem a bit touchy, testy, angry and annoyed about it.

What’s my point? Well, I believe some of us are going through the process and stages of grieving. We are angry at modern day Christianity. We feel betrayed and lied to and thus our Torah Observance is birthed, or at least observed in that anger, in a type of unconscious protest against Christianity. As a result we appear angry, rigid and even pagaphobic around Christians and Christianity as we lash out against ignorance and Torahlessness and thus we appear as an angry close minded, brain washed cult to them. Sadly, we have unwittingly turned more Christians away from Torah that we ever turned on to it. Such Torah obedience isn’t out of joy and zealous love for the Master, so as to obey and please Him. We have lied and fooled ourselves and have unconsciously done damage to the Kingdom and we have built it up.

Then there is the issue of how we act within our own sect and community of Torah Obedient believers. Yes we uplift, proclaim and obey Torah, but we have become our own Rabbi and High Priest and though we belong to a group or study under a Rabbi we fail to submit to the G-d ordained authority and Halacha and we put our own personal Halacha above that of the sect or the even sometimes the Torah itself. Where does this come from? It comes from the Western mentality most of us were born and raised in. What ever do I mean? I am talking about how as Westerners we are individuals and feel we have “rights,” unlike the East and the Eastern mindset where it is a more communal based mentality. Like Spock, the East tells us, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

Western songs speak of “me” and “I” and the East almost always speaks of “we” and “us”; just look in a Jewish prayer siddur and you will see what I mean. We say we want unity and community, but we refuse to give up our personal rights and identity to do so and as a result we pawn off this lone ranger, customized Torah Obedience as First Century Natsari Judaism and we lie to ourselves and so it is all a sham that the outside world sees right through. It boils down to the original sin, of Lucifer and Adam and Eve; the sin of unresolved pride and arrogance. In our customized faith and failure to submit to the Rabbi and halacha we have chosen to convert or study under, we, by default proclaim that we know better than the Rabbi’s and Sages of blessed memory or the ones who have trained for years to be a leader among the Natsarim. This is nothing more than sinful rebellion.

We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and ask what is our motive in keeping Torah and are we obedient to the community we have attached ourselves to?

Look, as a Rabbi and being in the Natsari movement for years now I have seen the darker side of Natsari Judaism; how blind obedience to rabbinical authority can be as equally disastrous as being a lone ranger Jew. Every religious group and organization has a darker side because it is full of imperfect, fallen and flawed humans. I have seen those in authority abuse, attempt to control and take advantage of congregants, just like a cult. Yes, like some of you, I have been betrayed and burned by my own. Because face it, Rav’s, Rabbi’s and Natsari organizations are not perfect and the sects and their authorities are accountable to Torah as any laymen is. So how does one keep from being hurt or burned? Simple, obey and adhere to the Halacha of the sect, Rav, Rabbi or community you have willingly chosen to put yourself under UNLESS it blatantly goes against or has nothing to do with Torah. For example I knew a man who quit his job because he truly felt the L-RD was calling him to another job and his Rabbi got wind of this and had a Beyt Din set for this man and told him he was unnecessarily putting his family at risk, wasn’t truly hearing from G-d and that he was immature and needed to put himself under the authority of a guy that just came into the congregation a few weeks earlier and that this Rabbi quickly put him in an authoritative position as a leader and member of the Beyt Din. The man who wrongly was standing before the Beyt Din correctly pointed out that he, deciding or feeling led to quit and switch jobs was a clearly personal decision that had nothing to do with Torah or Halachic obedience. He rightly pointed out that this was outside of the Rabbi’s jurisdiction and so he refused to submit and put himself under the authority of the Rabbi and this new guy in which he knew nothing about. As a result the man and his family justifiably left that K’hilah, for clearly this Rabbi was abusing his power and authority and overstepping his bounds. This Rabbi and congregation sadly, was quickly becoming a cult. But otherwise, if the organization you have decided to come up under has decides to wear their tzitzit a certain way, follow a particular order of service in their synagogues, use a particular siddur in service, have a certain code of modesty and dress, adhere to a particular minhag or observe a particular calendar one should submit, especially if they have signed documents saying they would. For these issues promote unity and cohesiveness among the community and does not impose on ones personal freedom, their inalienable human rights. You will inevitably have to sacrifice some personal freedoms in regards to choice and this is for the greater good of the community, but we do this in other aspects of our lives. For example, you can’t wear certain things to work. You have to give up certain personal freedoms if you decide to join the military. Why, because you represent a particular company, branch of the armed forces and or country. I am sure that for there to be unity in the book of Acts and everyone having everything in common and everyone being in one accord, everyone had to personally sacrifice something.

If the Natsarim are to survive and pave the way for the next generation that is to come after us, each person needs to look hard at themselves, ask the hard questions and be honest in regards to their motives and intentions regarding their faith and affiliation. One must keep the Torah in joy and willingly submit to the authorities they have chosen to put themselves under and if they can’t they need to graciously bow out and leave and find an organization they can comfortably submit to and be involved with.

In Messiah’s Love,
-- Rabbi Yehudah

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Angry Atheist

Angry Atheist
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

I have been thinking the past few days about certain atheists, especially those of the comedic sort. They are suppose to bring laughter to the stage and they do until they start speaking on religion and G-d, then their comedy turns very dark, angry, blasphemous and sarcastic. The laughs become more subdued and some nervously laugh just to be polite, but the energy and mojo of that stand up session radically changes. Their speech is violent and barbed. No good ribbing, just honing in on the negative that religion potentially can, and at times does bring because of the free will of imperfect the people. It takes on an activistic feel. I have seen interviews with such people and they are cold, aloof and have a constant underlying baseline of anger. They come off as if they are angry at the idiots who believe in G-d and religion; what they deem as fairy tales and “opiate of the masses” and that they are to intellectually superior to fall for it. They have a condescending smugness with pad answers when challenged on why they do not believe in G-d. You know what I think. I do not think they are angry because people believe in G-d, I think they are angry at themselves that they haven’t found in their mind sufficient proof of G-d. They are angry because they see other people who believe in G-d and are happy. They make it their mission to destroy others faith so they too can be frustrated and angry like them; as the saying goes, “misery loves company.” They are angry because they want to believe in G-d and angry that a Supreme Being doesn’t exist and if one straddles the fence and says that they are Agnostic, then they are angry that this mysterious G-d that is out there, (if He does exist) is unconcerned or uninvolved in the everyday affairs of man. What a sad existence, existentially having to create a meaning for existence and purpose for ones life that no matter what, feels empty and unfulfilling and thus the cycle of anger and frustration.

I shall not paint Atheists with one broad stroke, because there are atheists who seem happy, well adjusted and content and are very philanthropic. These are those who Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach called “holy” at the gasp of his congregation. He said they are “holy” because when they see a need they do not cop out and say “I’ll pray for you,” and go on merrily about their way numb to human need and suffering. They do not believe in G-d, so when they see a need they are touched with compassion and they do what they can to meet it; this is why they are holy.  

Asses and Angels

Asses and Angels
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Num. 22:23a And the ass saw the angel of the LORD…

As I read this passage recently to my daughter, about the account of Balaam and his trusted donkey, I froze, gasped and said “Woah!” As it struck me for the first time who this Donkey and eventually Balaam really saw.

Num. 22:23a And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand:

Rev. 1:16, 2:16, 19:15, 21 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength… Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth… And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God… And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

The “Angel of the LORD” in some Jewish sects is the highest ranking angel Metatron which some believe is an expression of a divine messenger which emanated from YHWH and in Natsari, Messianic and even some Christian circles, this Angel of YHWH or Metatron is none other than Yeshua Messiah in pre-incarnate form. We are not saying Yeshua was an angel, but the word in Hebrew for angel also means messenger. We see this same “Angel of YHWH” appear to Abraham, Joshua, Gideon, Samson’s parents, the Prophets and many others and they deemed this as equivalent of seeing YHWH Himself and feared death as a result.

So this ass and pagan prophet Balaam seen what the pagan opposition to YHWH in the Battle of Armageddon will see before they are destroyed; Yeshua the Messiah in all His Kingly Power!

I know what some maybe thinking, that the Angel in the Balaam story held the sword in his hand much like the Cherubim assigned to Eden after the Fall.

Gen. 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

But this verse in Genesis clearly says they were Cherubim (plural) and not the “Angel of the L-RD” (singular). And yes, in the account of Balaam the sword is in the hand and in Revelation it is in the mouth. We must recognize that the Balaam account is as a dictated story, plain and straight forward, where as Revelation is written mostly in allegorical and symbolic language.

The bottom line is that it was the Angel of the L-RD recognized as Yeshua in pre-incarnate form and the sword is present in both passages. It does not matter if it be in hand or “mouth.” Hand in Hebew is “yad” and means power and authority which is the same meaning of the allegorical use of mouth in the passages in Revelation.

We have all heard that the “pen is mightier that the sword.” Why? Because it deals with the power of words.

Prov. 18:21a Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue.

Yeshua created life with His words (Gen.1, John 1) and He can equally destroy with His words (Rev. 1:16, 2:16, 19:15, 21).

Num. 22:23a And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand:

The sword in hand symbolizes that the words to kill or give life was at the ready. The ass and Balaam may not have seen a literal sword, but saw the spiritual in a physical manifestation in such a way as they could understand and comprehend. Remember, He is Infinite and we are finite and thus He must communicate with us in ways we can ready understand. How can the finite comprehend the Infinite unless He makes it so as we can understand?

It never ceases to amaze me that as long as I have been ready the Torah that YHWH will show me something that has been there all along but I just didn’t get it. I have read it hundreds of time, but didn’t really see it until He turns the spot light upon it.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reincarnation and Judaism Part III

Some translations comment that, like the fourth man in the fire with the Hebrew Children, that it was the Angel of the L-RD, that Yeshua the Messiah accompanied Samuel and hence the witch’s expression of utter terror upon seeing Samuel.

The Biblical narrative seems to be clear that the woman saw Samuel but Saul inquired of the “form”, some translations say, “what does he look like.” Which could mean, as we mentioned in the legend, how is it that he is coming out of the ground, head first or feet first and what is he wearing. What age does he appear for perhaps he appears at an age when he was more favorable toward Saul? The witch seems to answer the all possible meanings of form. Seeing as he appeared as an “old man” when he was out of favor with Saul and knowing that Saul brought him up through forbidden means, Saul bowed in humility and fear.

As the epitaph “Rest in Peace,” Samuel asks Saul “why have you disturbed my rest!?” By the narrative and as alluded to in Legends, apparently, only Saul could hear Samuel.

This I’m sure answers many questions but causes more questions than it answers.

We know that the Torah is CRYSTAL CLEAR regarding contacting the dead, but what about the dead contacting you? I thought the Bible says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the L-RD (II Cor. 5:8), so can the dead come back from the heavenly realms, Abraham’s Bosom or wherever they go?

First off, isn’t HaShem Omnipresent? Meaning His presence is everywhere, if so; when one is dead it doesn’t matter if their spirit is in the heavenly realm or the veil just beyond this earthly mortal realm is not G-d there too?

Psa. 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou [art there].

Also did not Moses and Elijah come back from the dead to stand with Yeshua during Sukkot on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17)? It appears they came to Him and He did not call or conjure them up.

Also is not the righteous (Moses and Elijah), though their body be dead, are they not more alive than us!?

Matt. 22:32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

And the unrighteous dead is more dead that a physical corpse. They are called doubly dead.

Rev. 20:6 Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Rev. 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

So can we not then conclude that, seeing that we know through Jewish Tradition and the Bible that angels and demons can take on our appearance and may appear unto others looking like us after we physically die?

One of my cousins was struck by lightning and dies in the Smoky Mountains while hiking and he was reported to be seen by people who knew him walking on the side of the road days after his death.

Can we not also safely conclude that witches, psychics and mediums usually and knowingly call up the demonic that takes on the appearance of the once mortal to fool people? This would explain why such people as Sylvia Brown and John Edward who claim to contact the dead that it seems EVERYONE is on the other side in “heaven” and is happy and with loved ones. After all the evil ones mission is to deceive and destroy.

John 8:44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.

And with the presumed true story Yeshua told of Lazarus and the Richman the unrighteous dead could not return from that realm.

Luke 16:22-31 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried. And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that [would come] from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

But because Samuel, Moses and Elijah appeared after death and it was genuinely them, it appears that the righteous dead (who are really more alive than us) can go back and forth between this and the heavenly realm.

Though we cannot contact the dead, can the righteous dead, can they contact us? I think it is reasonable to say yes, they can.

I have heard of many believers tell them that their believing loved one delivered a message to them in a dream or via an apparition.

So if this happens to some one how can we tell if it is really them or not?

1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1.     Were they believers? If so it is possible it could be your loved one.
2.     Did they die lost? Is so you are most likely encountering a demon in disguise. 2 Cor. 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
3.     If you do see a believing loved one from beyond the grave in dream or apparition what is their message? Does it line up with Torah? If it does then it may indeed be your loved one. If it was an angel, they would be truthful and make the distinction that they are an angel and not your loved one. Does the message contradict Torah; it is a demon in disguise.

Many traditions, even Jewish tradition believes that our passed loved ones watch over us after death.

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…

Yes, they are at peace and at rest, but who is not to say that they have assigned tasks from the L-RD once they pass from this realm into the next? Eden prior to the Fall was heaven on earth and yet Adam still had work to do by keeping and tending the Garden and naming the animals. And in Judaism it is taught that it is not a burdensome thing to carry out the work of Adonai, but a joy, privilege and honor. So in the beyond or in perfection work is considered a pleasure and is not laborious.

So I do believe a righteous spirit can return, attach itself to a living soul and impart help to someone and then return to the heavenly realms when the mission is complete or the crisis is over.

Now regarding the Dybbuk we must explore briefly the doctrine of Hell.

Hell; a very open ended, ambiguous word that has a variety of definitions depending on what religious group you ask.

This is my statement in my book “Get Back to The First Century” under the heading: “Eternal Punishment”

“I believe those who (knowingly and willingly) reject Yeshua Ha Moshiach, the Living Torah will spend eternity separated from Elohim in Hell, and ultimately the Lake of Fire with all senses in tact (Rev. 20:14-15).”

I will attempt to elaborate on this statement.

Today, attempting to find out what Orthodox Judaism believes about hell, you will be more successful in squeezing water out of a dry stump. You will get a vague ecumenical type answer that makes hell sound more like the Catholic Purgatory (a pagan concept taken from the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities of the Jewish people).

This was posted on an “Ask the Rabbi” type site:

“Hi Saul

The way most people (and religions) view Hell is a place of eternal damnation and punishment. Judaism does not believe in that concept.

We do believe in a purgatory process (called Gehinnom), meaning that a soul may have to undergo cleansing (which is not very pleasant) for a period of time before it can enter Heaven.


Rabbi Ari Shishler”

The Jewish doctrine of Purgatory was conceived during and after the Jewish exile to Babylon, in that they felt G-d could never send anyone to “hell” but purges one from evil through punishment and thus making one able to be redeemed, likened unto exile. This was partially inspired by Babylonian doctrines concerning the place they call “hell”. The nutshell of a pagan hell is through refinement, correction and contemplation in the underworld one can eventually redeem oneself. It is like unto the concept of a debtor’s prison. Eventually this concept was picked up and adopted by the Catholic Church.

In the Scriptures there are four words to describe what we know as “hell”:
The Four Words For Hell
1067 geena (gheh'-en-nah);
of Hebrew origin [1516 and 2011]; valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of final punishment:
KJV-- hell.

5020 tartaroo (tar-tar-o'-o);
from Tartaros (the deepest abyss of Hades):
KJV-- cast down to hell.

7585 she'owl (sheh-ole');
or sheol (sheh-ole'); from 7592; Hades or the grave:
KJV-- grave, hell, pit.

86 haides (hah'-dace);
from 1 (as negative particle) and 1492; properly, unseen, i.e. "Hades" or the grave:
KJV-- grave, hell.

Sheol is better translated the grave, the good and bad are destine to go there (Gen. 37:35, Num. 16:30, Job 3:11-19). The positive side of Sheol is referred to in the Tanak as “Abraham’s Bosom”. Gehenna is better used as a description of the negative side of Sheol. Tartaros is used once in the Greek by Kefa (Peter) in II Pet. 2:4 to describe the place where the rebellious angels who copulated with human woman are held until the Day of Final Judgment. Hades is simply the Greek version of the Hebrew word Sheol.

Luke 16:19-31 Yeshua tells a true story (not a parable because he mentions names) about Lazarus and the Rich Man which reveals a bit of the first century doctrine of the Natsarim of the subject of “hell”.

Luke 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

We see that in this story we find possibly 3 compartments to Sheol (the Grave). Your body may be in the ground but the essence of who you are, your soul is either in one of two places.

1.     Abraham’s Bosom: The positive side of Sheol where the righteous goes after death.
2.     Gehenna: The negative side of Sheol where the wicked and unrepentant go after death to be punished.
3.     The Gulf: Some believe this is the Abyss or as Kefa said in II Peter 2:4, the place where the rebellious fallen angels who cohabitated the daughters of men.

It says that the Rich Man looked up and could see into Abraham’s Bosom and that there was a gulf between them. So this denotes that Abraham’s Bosom was an elevated compartment of the Grave (Sheol) and apparently Gehenna, where the Rich Man found himself was a lower compartment of Sheol. The Gulf was seems to be a type of void, which is what the word Abyss means and Tartaros implies.

Gehenna is a place to which no one returns from because of their unbelief, disobedience and un-repentance. Gehenna is referring to the in ancient Israel as the valley of Hinnom where human burnt sacrifices were offered up to the pagan deity Molech. In the time of the Brit Chadasha (New Testament) it was converted to a perpetual burning garbage heap. Most all pagan places that were taken over by the Jews were tuned into a dumping ground or latrines. Yeshua said that they (the Rich Man’s Brothers) didn’t believe Moshe (Torah) and the Prophets, (which denotes disobedience and being unrepentant of it), that they wouldn’t believe one who rises from the dead; Yeshua hinting about Himself and His upcoming resurrection.

This story reveals that our bodies may be “asleep” a Hebraic idiom for death. Just as Yeshua referred to the Synagogues Presidents daughter who died as being asleep (Matthew 9:24). Yet clearly our soul does not sleep but continues a conscious existence beyond physical death. In the Talmud the Rabbi’s talk about sleep as being a certain percentage of death.

According to some Natsari Rabbis they believe we can gather from the Scriptures that when Yeshua died on the cross and He told the one theft that he would be with Him in Paradise (another name for Abraham’s Bosom), and that this was the Sheol, or the “hell” Yeshua descended too; because even if it was a higher level than Gehenna, you still had to descend to it (Eph. 4:7-10, Acts 2:23-36, I Pet. 3:18-20). In Judaism Abraham’s Bosom wasn’t up in the sky (heaven) and “hell” wasn’t under ground. Yeshua apparently preached to the souls in Abraham’s Bosom showing them that He was the promised Messiah and this at resurrection sometime after he met Mary at the tomb and when appeared in the upper room, he ascended to Shamayim (the heaven where G-d is) and presented those souls to the Father. Then at His ascension after he had been resurrected for quite some time, He took those that rose with him (Matthew 27:52-53) and presented them to the Father as a type of First Fruit offering. Thus Abraham’s Bosom was consumed by Gehenna and is no more, thus the reference to hell opening her mouth and enlarging (Isa. 5:14). Now the righteous goes directly to the Father upon death (I Cor. 5:3) and in the end Gehenna will be thrown into the Lake of Fire originally prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41), but when man fell, he became a little lower than the angels and by default inherited the Lake of Fire too (Rev.19:20, 20:10-15, 21:8).

Some Natsari Rabbi’s believe that the Scripture speaking of “the worm that dieth not” (Mark 9:43-48) is not referring to a literal worm but speaking in a Jewish idiom regarding the fallen, unrepentant soul of man.

The Scriptures does not condone or support the doctrine of purgatory, soul sleep or annihilation of the soul. Revelation says that the burning of those in Sheol that were thrown into the lake of fire, it says that their smoke will rise forever (Rev. 14:11). If there is smoke it means something is burning, so eternal smoke denotes eternal burning. If annihilation were true, the smoke would not be eternal. If there is an eternity for the righteous, there must be an eternity for the wicked. You cannot have the Yin without the Yang.

Yes, there is much speculation in regards to “hell” and even with the Scriptures the information we are given, it is as if G-d gives the subject to us on a need to know basis. All that we currently know about “hell” is all we need to know at this time.

Therefore regarding the Dybbuk, it can only be a demon impersonating an unrighteous dead person, for from what we just learned they cannot cross over from the hellish realm back to the earthly realm.

Many may ask, “What about the recollection of past lives, especially in young children?” Again, nothing more than the impartation of demons impersonating deceased human beings. One may ask next, why would a demon go through the trouble of such a charade? Well, because that is its mission, to steal, kill, destroy, confuse and deceive human beings so they can join the Rich Man in his torment and so the fallen angels will have company through all eternity in the Lake of Fire prepared for them.

What of the terms “new soul” and “old soul”? “New,” meaning the soul is new to the cycle of reincarnation and “old” in that the soul has been through many lifetimes. Some people claim that they can look at someone and tell if they are an old soul or a new soul and even some Kabbalistic Rabbi’s have claimed this. I think it has to do more with ones intelligence and personality that the “age of their soul” or how many times they have lived on this earth in other lives. If someone is highly intelligent, he may look to be an old soul, if one is lacking in the mental department they may seem infantile and thus appear to be a new soul. Regarding personality, some one can be a melancholy and depending on what kind of direction the melancholy takes they may look to others as a cry baby (new) or sad somber soul (old). A Choleric depending on what direction the personality takes can come off as bossy (new soul) or a natural born leader (old soul). A Sanguine is very social and can come off as over enthusiastic (new) or charming and likable (old). A Phlegmatic may come off as dull and therefore appear as a new soul or stoic and look to be an old soul.

I am sure I have probably incited more questions and have left some unanswered as well, but this essay is by no means an exhaustive look at the concept in reincarnation and Judaism; but from what we have weighed out through the Torah I think we can safely say that reincarnation is debunked does not exist and should not be held as a belief by the Natsarim.


Reincarnation and Natsari Judaiam Part II

The main reason for reincarnation is for the soul to fulfill its role in the creation and achieve the spiritual level for which it is destined. If a soul does not manage this in its first life, it may be given another chance, and another. If the soul did not succeed in three times, it will have to settle for whatever it has gained in the everlasting afterlife. Another reason for reincarnation is to repay a soul for its deeds in a way parallel to its sins; for example, a rich miser might be reincarnated as a poor beggar and be disregarded by a rich man, who was himself one of the paupers disregarded by the rich miser in his previous life.”
If reincarnation is real and we keep coming back to work on fixing our souls and if we cannot remember our past lives, how can we know what to work on in this one? The Kabbalists say that the improvements carry over in to the next incarnation and the flaws that need to be worked on become readily apparent; you do not loose the improvements made in the previous life, you build upon them.
Let us look at a few passages in the Bible that are said to refer to the Jewish version of reincarnation.
Job 33:29 “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.”
I believe this simply means that in this life we have “close calls” or sticky situations in which G-d allows us learn from and be refined and enlightened by, but I seriously doubt this refers to reincarnation, because in other parts of Job it talks about the afterlife, the world to come and the resurrection.
Exodus 34:7 “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

This verse is simply alluding to the blessings of keeping Torah and raising ones family in Torah and the negative repercussions, consequences and or curses of not keeping Torah or teaching your prodigy to keep it.
Deuteronomy 3:26 But the LORD was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the LORD said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter. The “root in the verb form regarding Moses. The root (spelled, Ayin, bet, resh) can mean a number of different things, and this is usually translated as God being angry with Moses because of the people’s behavior. However, if the verb is translated as referring to “transmigration” instead of “being angry” it may be read as “YHVH will cause me to transmigrate for your sake.”  In fact, some Kabbalists believe that the soul of Moses is reincarnated every generation to help the people endure their exile from the Holy Land.” – The Everything Kabbalah Book
Okay, this is really grasping at straws and twisting the context of the passage in question. This would have Moses either using the excuse “the devil made me do it,” saying the peoples poor behavior is making him act in away that will cause him to be reincarnated instead of entering eternal rest, or that G-d’s anger is the root and reason for G-d making humans transmigrate in order to purify our souls, which supposedly the doctrine of transmigration is one of love and forgiveness, one of second changes motivated by love, not anger.
I do believe that some souls are kindred spirits, cut from the same cloth if you will thus there is a Moses in every generation and John the Baptist came in the “spirit” of the Prophet Elijah, not that John was a reincarnation of Elijah. 
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 regarding the commands governing the Levirate marriage is said to allude to reincarnation. One Rabbi at said, “Perhaps the closest scriptural hint to this idea is Deuteronomy 25:5-10 which says that "when brothers are on the earth at the same time, and one of them dies childless, the wife of the dead brother must not marry a man outside the family. [Rather] her brother-in-law shall come to her and perform levirate marriage with her. And he shall be the first-born whom she bears; he shall succeed to the name of his dead brother, and so the name of the dead brother shall not be erased from the people of Israel... But if he refuses to marry his sister-in-law... she shall remove his shoe... His name shall be called in Israel: 'The house of him whose shoe was removed'."
 “Transmigration gave a new meaning to many aspects of life.…The deaths of young children were less tragic, since they were being punished for previous sins and would be reborn in a new life…” Alan Unterman, Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend
Ramban, one of the greatest commentators on the Torah (and on the Talmud), and a seminal figure in Jewish history, hints several times that reincarnation is the key to penetrating the deep mysteries involved in the mitzvah of yibum (the obligation of the brother of a childless, deceased man to marry the widow). In his explanation of Gen 38:8, he insists that Yehudah and his sons were aware of the secret of reincarnation, and that this was a major factor in their respective attitudes towards Tamar.” --
I believe that the law of the levirate marriage was simply to keep the name and inheritance of the dead brother alive as well as to provide security to his widow. And the sin of Judah’s sons was that they wanted to absorb the dead brother’s inheritance and did not want to be burdened with a wife and a child that would not be considered his. There was also the suspicious fear that Tamar was cursed and they simply didn’t want to die.

And so what if there still mystery and unexplained things regarding the mitzvot, you are talking about a finite creation trying to fully comprehend the Commands of an Infinite G-d. Let it be a mystery, that is partly what faith is all about, if it really important we will know it in full on the other side.

“Reincarnation, gilgul in Hebrew, is not explicitly mentioned in the Torah, though some interpret traditional Jewish practices to refer to reincarnation. Maimonides has written about the allusion of biblical verses to its occurrence. For example, Daniel 12:13 states, "now go your way to the end and rest, and you shall arise to your destiny at the end of days." A second example can be found in the concept of yibum, when a married man dies childless, tradition holds that his spouse should marry the man’s brother and their first-born should receive the dead father’s name.” --

This passage in Daniel speaks of the resurrection and the destiny of a righteous person inheriting the World to Come rather than reincarnation.

Many passages in Ecclesiastes have been used in an effort to support the doctrine of reincarnation.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

These two have been cited by some to purpose the belief in reincarnation; again, it is a stretch. The first just speaks of the finite and transitory nature of human life while the rest of the world at large continues on and the second clearly speaks about ideas, not souls.

It does seem clear to me that Pharisaical Judaism of Yeshua’s day and early Christianity held to the belief of some sort of reincarnation. It was beyond doubt taught in the early days of the cult, for it was well known to the Jews who produced the men who founded Christianity. The greatest of all the Fathers of the Church; Origen, who believed in the doctrine. He taught pre-existence and the wandering of the soul. This could hardly have been believed without also giving currency to reincarnation, as the soul could scarcely wander in any place save the earth.

Let us examine a few passages in the Brit Chadasha that some say speak of reincarnation.

Matthew 16:13-14: "Having come to the region of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked his disciples:" Whom say the people out there who is the Son of man? "They said:" Some say John the Baptist, others who Elijah, others short, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Yeshua first asked His Talmidim who the people, the public, has said they believed He was and they answered as we read in the above passage which hints that the people did seem to have a belief in reincarnation. Then, if we read on in verses 15-17 He asks His talmidim who do they think He is and Kefa (Peter) says. “Messiah!”  By they way the Talmidim of Yeshua answered His question it seems clear that the people thought that Yeshua might be John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets because they believed that someone who was dead could come back as another person (reincarnation). However, the uneducated Jewish populace had no idea how this could happen. This passage shows us that at the time of Yeshua that the idea of reincarnation was fairly common and it bleed over into early Christian belief because it was officially banned by the Church in 553 AD at the Council of Constantinople.

Mat 14:1-2 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

Herod rubbed shoulders with the Pharisees who believed not only in the resurrection of the dead (as opposed to the Sadducees who did not) but in the transmigration of souls as well. Herod also half Jewish himself and would have gotten the concept of reincarnation from the Pharisees and applying it to the Jewish John the Baptist because of the Pharisaical belief in this doctrine.

Luke 1:17   And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

The Angel spoke this to John the Baptists Father Zechariah, and he was not saying John was Elijah reincarnated but was like or similar to Elijah in spirit and power. If John was Elijah reincarnated how then could Elijah stand with Yeshua on the Mount of Transfiguration?

Like Harriet Tubman who lead the Underground Railroad to free enslaved blacks was called the “Moses of her people.” No one meant by this that she was Moses reincarnated, but was like Moses in her actions and power.

Some people say their child is “the spitting image of Uncle or Grandpa “So-and-so” and they mean they he looks or has a personality like their relative, which speaks of genetics, not reincarnation.

Matt.17:10-13 The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. 

Here people fail to see the figurative speech and decide to wrongly interpret this passage in the literal and thus use it to support the belief in reincarnation. This can only be speaking of Elijah in the figurative sense and not the literal, because was we have seen, the foundation of all Scripture, the Torah is absolutely silent on the matter of reincarnation and therefore this passage can only be take figuratively.

What about Yeshua saying in John 3 that one must be “born again”? Again context, context, context, Yeshua is not speaking that Nicodemus had to be reincarnated to be for in verse 6 He says that being born of flesh (Nefesh/Soul/Blood) is different than being born of the Ruach (spirit) and in verse 8 He said that Nicodemus must be re-born in the Ruach (Spirit), not the Nefesh (Soul), which it is the Nefesh that returns again and again and not the Ruach or Neshamah aspect of man. Thus Yeshua was calling Nicodemus to a spiritual awakening in Torah and to see that He, the Moshiach is the Living Manifestation of that Torah. Yeshua is not teaching or advocating reincarnation.

Most Natsari scholars believe Rav Sha’ul (Paul) wrote Hebrews and was a bit of a Kabbalist himself and some speculate that this passage hints of reincarnation.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Meaning the body dies once and the soul is sent to be judged and sent back again in another body, but if we look at this verse in context, the passages before and after do not allude to, or hint of reincarnation, but of death, resurrection and the Day of Atonement and Messiah’s atoning work on the cross.

The Brit Chadasha (New Testament) itself, regarding the doctrine taught by Yeshua Himself nor the other writers of the Brit Chadasha advocate or purpose the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, but rather they clearly only support and teach the resurrection of the dead.

Seeing as The Torah and Talmud are silent on the subject of Reincarnation that the doctrine seeped into Judaism from the exiles and captivities of the Jewish people in Babylon and Assyria and eventually made it’s way into Jewish Spiritualism and Mysticism. Again, which we need not throw the baby out with the bathwater but filter it through Torah and eat the meat and spit out the bones. 

Up till now I have only spoke on the Jewish concept of Reincarnation also known as the “Transmigration of Souls” or in the Hebrew “Gilgul;” but what of Ibbur and Dybbuk?

Remember there are three concepts to reincarnation in Judaism:

1.      Gilgul, transmigration proper, meaning to roll, to cycle or revolve, in which a soul that had previously inhabited one body is sent back to earth to inhabit another body.
2.      Ibbur, meaning, “impregnation” or “transferring” in which a soul descends from heaven in order to assist another soul in the body.
3.      Dybbuk, a generally late concept, often mistaken as a Jewish version of a demon but rather is said to be a guilt‑laden soul pursued by demons who enters a human body for protection or in order to find rest and has to be exorcised.

We have already discussed Gilgul, let us now turn our attention to Ibbur and Dybbuk.

Regarding Ibbur, I do believe that G-d does allow a person to return to earth from the realm of the heavenly afterlife to assist others. To fully understand my meaning we must discuss what the Torah and Judaism believes about ghosts or spirits.

When I was a Christian things were very black and white for me. I use to think when people encountered spirits or “ghosts” it was either angels or demons. Period. Amazingly, when I began to practice Judaism I discovered Jewish Traditions seems to back up much of that view up.

Unknown to many readers of the Brit Chadasha, this passage reveals a long held Jewish believe about the death in Acts 12:1-16.

The people prayed form Kefa’s (Peter’s) release, I suppose they kind of prayed with a lack of faith for when their prayers were answered and Kefa shows up at the door Rhoda thinks that who is standing before her is not Kefa’s “ghost” but his angel (v.15). Hmmmm, how queer. Have your ever noticed that before? Well, according to Jewish belief, we are signed two angels, one is a tov (good) angel, the other a rah (bad) or fallen angel. Both work in conjunction with the Yetzar Tov and the Yetzer Hara (the Good Inclination and the Bad Inclination). It is believed that our angels take on our appearance and upon death they may appear to people looking like us. Tradition instructs us to call out are you Tov or Rah (Good or Bad)? This is to determine if this is the good or bad angel. Because at death the soul either went to Sheol to the compartment of Abraham’s Bosom, if we were righteous or to the compartment of Gehenna, a place of fire and torment (Luke 16:19-31).

If this is more than a Jewish tradition or legend, this would explain much paranormal phenomenon such as certain episodes of ghosts, deja vu, evil twins and sightings of doppelgangers.  This would also explain deceased loved ones appearing in dreams and relaying messages as long as they are not in conflict with Torah, if so then it must be the demon that was assigned to us who also can take on our appearance.

The following are the Torah’s prohibitions of seeking out and contacting the dead:

·  Not to consult ovoth (familiar spirits/ghosts) (Lev. 19:31a).
·  Not to enquire of an ov (familiar spirit/ghost) (Deut. 18:11).
·  Not to seek the maytim (one who contacts or consults the dead/necromancer) (Deut. 18:11).

Lev. 19:31a Regard not them that have familiar spirits…

Deut. 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

“Familiar spirit” in the Hebrew is “ov.” “ovoth” is the plural form and it means in the context of this verse one who is a necromancer, who conjures up ghosts, the spirits of the dead or has a spirit of divination. In the modern day we may call such a person a “medium” a “psychic” or that they have a “spirit guide.”

Interestingly enough the word “ov” is a Hebraic homonym which I believe alludes to the word we are investigating. The homonym means, and animal skin, such as a container, a wine skin for instance. In other words, something that is hollow that can be filled or occupied by something else. Hinting of being temporarily possessed by and or channeling spirits of demons or the dead. Isn’t it interesting that alcoholic wine is sometimes referred to as a spirit? says this about the word:

“Such a person was called by the Hebrews an 'ob, which properly means a leathern bottle; for sorcerers were regarded as vessels containing the inspiring demon. This Hebrew word was equivalent to the pytho of the Greeks, and was used to denote both the person and the spirit which possessed him.”

The word “ov” or “ovoth” is similar to “av” or “avot” meaning “father” or “fathers” and thus the word “ov” or “ovoth” and thus gives us further insight that a familiar spirit can also mean contacting a dead ancestor or loved one.

Some have said that “ov” means to call up a spirit that imitates the dead one wishes to contact, such a fallen angel, a demon as I spoke about above which is according to Jewish Tradition and the Brit Chadasha (New Testament).

These prohibitions in Torah causes us to question Kings Saul asking the witch of Endor to call up the dead Prophet Samuel. Did she actually conjure up Samuel or was it a demon pretending to be Samuel?

We find this in I Samuel 28:7-20.

In verses 3-7 we see Saul bans witches and their craft from the land as is prohibited by Torah. He finds himself without the Holy Spirit and thus with out divine direction and he feels his only recourse is to consult a witch who can conjure up some one who can give him divine direction, the Prophet Samuel. But did she conjure up Samuel or a demonic imposter? Let us find out.

The Stone’s Edition of the Tanak says,

“Just as God gave great powers to the forces of holiness, as in plain from the exploits of the patriarchs and prophets, so He gave great powers to the forces of the profanity.  This was in order to create tests of faith, so that people could choose between good and evil. Now, in his desperation for counsel Saul restored to this forbidden devise to call upon the spirit of Samuel.”

Having said all the above I believe evidence is clear that this witch of Endor was expecting a demonic impostor appearing as Samuel and was utterly shocked when it was actually Samuel himself that appeared. It was then the witch knew that this was not her doing.

This is how the Legends of the Bible relays the story:

“In necromancy the peculiar rule holds that, unless it is summoned by a king , a spirit raised from the dead appears head downward and feet in the air. Accordingly, when the figure Samuel stood upright before them, the witch saw Samuel, she could not hear what he said, while Saul heard his words, but could not see his person – another peculiar phenomenon in necromancy: the conjuror sees the spirit, and he for whom the spirit has been raised only hears it. Any other person present neither sees nor hears it…

Samuel was appareled in the “upper garment” his mother had made for him when she surrendered him to the sanctuary. This he had worn throughout his life, and in it was he was buried, at the resurrection all the dead wear their grave-clothes, and so it came about that Samuel stood before Saul in his well known “upper garment.””

By the account in Legends it seems to be that Saul knew enough about the dark arts to know that witches usually conjured up demons who impersonated deceased humans and he wanted to be sure she indeed conjured up Samuel.

Legends of the Bible also says:

“…a number of spirits arise by the side by the side of Samuel… Moses…”


Reincarnation and Natsari Judaism Part I

Reincarnation and Natsari Judaism
Rabbi Yehudah ben Shomeyr

Those coming out of Christianity and into the Judaism of Messiah (Natsari Judaism) at one point or another in their journey pass through fields of Jewish mist such as traditions, Kabbalah, and the like, which cause a temporal confusion until one looks into the Torah concerning such things and the mist dissipates. Again, the Torah is the filter to all things, if one does not rely on the five books of Torah to find solid answers to faith, one can get turned around in the haze and end up lost in a forest of man-made laws, customs and traditions with not balance and confusion and vertigo set in and such people lose themselves and eventually end up rejecting the Messiahship and deity of Messiah. One such doctrine that is grossly misunderstood and has caused some confusion is the little known but nonetheless still found in Judaism is that of reincarnation. Reincarnation in Judaism is not mentioned much publicly and is a doctrine reserved for the spiritual elite who has mastered Torah, Talmud and Zohar. Reincarnation in Judaism isn’t considered to be vital for ones understanding of the Torah, nor does it directly affect ones soul in this life, so it remains a mystery to the average Jew. If reincarnation is real, it would help explain some enigmatic verses in the Bible, but of not, we must then dig deeper and flesh out the context of those perplexing passages. It would also account for some paranormal phenomenon.

In Hebraic Hermeneutics there are four levels of interpretation in which all levels must agree or said interpretation is wrong. In other words, all levels must line up. The Acronym for the Hebrew Word Paradise is used:


·        Pashat – literal, plain meaning.
·        Remez – Something hinted at or alluded too.
·        Drash – The practical application of a passage.
·        Sod – The spiritual or mystical meaning.

In my own personal study of the subject, in the Written Torah there are no explicit references to reincarnation, but there are hints. Thus there is no Pashat level verse in the Torah that mentions the concept of reincarnation but many verses has been used on a Remez and Sod level. This causes me to initially question, that if there is no Pashat level, how then can there be a Remez or Sod level of something that has no literal citation in Scripture? Then again, Messiah told his Talmidim that the Torah speaks of Him yet there is no strong Pashat passages that screams Yeshua in the Torah, but only Remez and Sod levels of Messiah Yeshua are found.

Louis Jacob says in his book, “The Jewish Religion: A Companion” to the shock of many that, “…there are no references to the idea in the Bible or the Talmud and it was unknown in Judaism until the eighth century CE, when it began to be adopted by the Karaites [a sectarian Jewish group] (possibly, it has been suggested, under the influence of Islamic mysticism).” Ironically the Karites claim to be Sola Scriptura and reject the Talmud and most Jewish traditions and yet they espoused their belief in reincarnation!? I do not know of any Karite today who believes in reincarnation, but then again I do not know many Karites. But “Anan ben David, who founded the Karaites in Baghdad about 765, said that all human souls have a common origin in the primordial human, Adam Kadmon, whose spiritual essence sends forth sparks which form individual souls. When the later Adam of Genesis committed sin in the Garden of Eden, his fall brought about confusion among higher and lower souls throughout creation, which resulted in the need for every soul to pass through a series of incarnations. Although Anan ben David's teachings were severely criticized as contrary to Orthodox belief, gilgul became a part of the Kabbalah, the compilation of mystical works collected in thirteenth-century Spain. Transmigration of souls is also a universal belief in Hasidism.” --

Some scholars and theologians believe that reincarnation infiltrated Judaism’s belief system via the influence of their various captivities and the pagan religions of their captors in Egypt, Babylon and Assyria and it made its way into the belief of the Jewish sect of the Pharisees in Yeshua’s day.
Though nothing in the Talmud directly speaks of reincarnation Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish mystic and philosopher believed in and spoke on reincarnation despite the doctrine being refuted by Sa’adai a prominent Rabbi, and Jewish philosopher of the Geonic period. “Other rabbis who rejected the idea of reincarnation include Hasdai Crescas, Yedayah Bedershi (early 14th century), Joseph Albo, Abraham ibn Daud and Leon de Modena. Crescas writes that if reincarnation was real, people should remember details of their previous lives. Bedershi offers three reasons why the entire concept is dangerous:
·        There is no reason for people to try and do good in this life, if they fear that they will nonetheless be punished for some unknown sin committed in a past life.
·        Some people may assume that they did not sin in their past life, and so can coast on their success; thus there is no need to try had to live a good life. In Bedershi's view, the only psychologically tenable worldview for a healthy life is to deal with the here-and-now.
·        The idea presents a conundrum for those who believe that at the end of days, God will resurrect the souls and physical bodies of the dead. If a person has lived multiple lives, which body will God resurrect? Joseph Albo writes that in theory the idea of gilgulim is compatible with Jewish theology. However, Albo argues that there is a purpose for a soul to enter the body, creating a being with free will. However, a return of the soul to another body, again and again, has no point. Leon De Moden thinks that the idea of reincarnation make a mockery of God's plans for humans; why does God need to send the soul back over and over? If God requires an individual to achieve some perfection or atone for some sin, then God can just extend that person's life until they have time to do what is necessary. de Modena's second argument against reincarnation is that the entire concept is absent from the entire Bible and corpus of classical rabbinic literature.” --
The concept of reincarnation in Judaism has been developed in the tradition of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah.

What I believe in regards to Kabbalah sometimes called by the Jewish mystical book of the Zohar:

I believe in holding to, but not being bound by, Jewish Traditions and customs that uphold and help fulfill Torah Commands, and enhance the meaning and significance of YHWH’s Word.  I believe all extra Biblical Documents, (which give us some of the “How To’s’” in fulfilling the Torahs commandments,) such as the Book of Jasher, the Books of Enoch, the Talmud, Shulchan Aruch, Pirkei Avot, Zohar (Kabbalah), etc. need to be filtered through the whole of Scripture.  I reject all that which annuls, or contradicts YHWH’s Word.  One has three choices in regards to Traditions:

1. If it lines up with Torah, Keep it!
2. If it is neutral, neither enhancing nor detracting from Torah one may choose or choose not to keep it.
  3. If it nullifies Torah then we MUST NOT keep it!

Jewish reincarnation has remained a jealously guarded secret of the spiritual realm. The Ramban (Nachmanides), who often delves into mysticism, only hints of the subject of reincarnation. Pythagoras who was sort of an assimilated Jewish mathematician also believed in reincarnation, but then again so did many of the Greek Philosophers.  

Before we look into the Torah about the possibility of reincarnation we must first know how Judaism defines it as opposed to other Eastern religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism.

In general the Eastern religions fatalistically believe that a person can come back from anything to a rock, to a bug, to an animal, to a person, depending on (karma) how good or bad a person was in their previous life and they must attempt to rectify the past faults in their new incarnation (new life) as a tree, worm, bird, person, what have you. And an individual stays in this cycle of incarnations until the soul purifies itself and reaches perfection and is then freed from the cycle of reincarnation to join with the collective soul of humanity in eternity in the spiritual real of the state of perfect nothingness. Some Eastern religion believes when you reached perfection in this world you move on to another cycle or incarnations in another world or realm, some believe you achieve a type of godhood.

Judaism, not motivated by a fatalistic belief, but acknowledging the free will and moral choices of every individual soul, dubbs the doctrine of reincarnation, “the transmigration of souls” or you may even hear the term, “metempsychosis” in which there are several forms meant by this:

1.      Gilgul, transmigration proper, meaning to roll, to cycle or revolve, in which a soul that had previously inhabited one body is sent back to earth to inhabit another body.
2.      Ibbur, meaning, “impregnation” or “transferring” in which a soul descends from heaven in order to assist another soul in the body.
3.      Dybbuk, a generally late concept, often mistaken as a Jewish version of a demon but rather is said to be a guilt‑laden soul pursued by demons who enters a human body for protection or in order to find rest and has to be exorcised.

According to some Jewish sources that there is a limit to how many times a soul can undergo transmigration, the minimal amount which is three, because we are a creature of three parts, body, mind and soul. And because of the allusions this passage in Job 33:29 implies, “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” Other Jewish sources claim one can return again only 1000 times based on Exodus 34:7 “Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

Still other Jewish sources say a soul can revolve 600,000 times because that is how many souls G-d originally created and these souls can splinter and that is why we have a population of 6 billion people/souls on the earth today.

According to Jewish Mysticism, “When you first come into this world, your soul is called a “point.” We are all parts of one spiritual vessel or Kli, called Adam ha Rishon (the First Man). The soul of Adam ha Rishon was split into 600,000 souls, which come down to this world…. The number of souls in the universal system is 600,000, and it is unchanging. There are 6,000 years given for all souls to reach attainment.” – The Complete Idiots Guide to Kabbalah

Most of Judaism believes the soul or essence of things are unique; a plant has a unique essence, an animal has a definitive essence and mankind has a special unique essence or soul because we were created in the image of G-d Himself and despite us having an animalistic aspect of the soul due to the fall we cannot come back as a dog, or a mosquito or a weeping willow, only a human, and because it is believed Adam and Eve were one body and one soul prior to G-d extracting woman from Adam, we all are split from one soul and we are either the masculine or feminine part of the soul and thus if reincarnate our soul stays the same but the body we have may be different. Some believe a feminine soul can come back into a male body and some use this as justification for homosexuality, and others say it is G-d’s way of teaching that soul restrain and not succumbing to temptation and thus achieving purification through Torah obedience. It is believed by some that a Jew can come back as a Goy (Gentile) in order to fulfill the supposed seven Noachide and occasionally this is used as an explanation why some Gentiles have this insatiable desire to convert. I think this has more to do with the lost tribes of Israel from the Assyrian Captivity, how there are people who are Hebrews and do not know it and are drawn back to Judaism because of who their ancestors are, rather than they are a reincarnated Jewish soul.

According to Alan Unterman in his Dictionary of Jewish Lore and Legend (1994): “Proselytes to Judaism were Jewish souls which had been incarnated in Gentile bodies. [Transmigration] also allowed for the gradual perfection of the individual souls through different lives.”

I think it ironic that many of these Jewish mystics like Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, writes that Moshe was a reincarnation of Adam's third son, Seth, and that Seth was a reincarnation of Abel. (The "mem" of Moshe's name stands for "Moshe," the "shin" stands for Seth, and the "heh" for Abel (Hevel). The Mishnaic Sage Shamai was a reincarnation of Moshe, and Hillel was a reincarnation of Aaron.

It is said by the Jewish mystics that Josephs ten brothers who sold him into slavery was eventually reincarnated into ten martyrs who were ten scholars to rectify their sin, and one of these martyrs was Rabbi Akiva of the second century.

Funny how they seem to fails to record one returning as just a regular Joe; always a famous person or Biblical personage.

I will not delve too deep into the Mystic Jewish literature, for we only want to know what the Bible itself says about reincarnation, if anything. For the Bible and the Torah specifically is the litmus test for all literature that addresses aspects of our faith, belief and doctrine.

So if we come back again and again, why do we do so?

Part if Judaism believes that a soul must keep all 613 Mitzvot of the Torah before one can be released from the cycle of transmigration and enter eternal rest. And no one person can keep all 613 Commandments in one lifetime, because some are for men, some women, some priests, some kings and some farmers and the various incarnations allows every soul to keep all 613 Torah Commands. Other Jewish Sages believe we return as many times as it takes to tikkun (fix) the flaws of the individual soul due to our fallen nature via the sin of Adam. Just as Moses after breaking the first set of tablets had to return and fashion a new set for G-d to write on, so too we, by sin broke our souls and therefore must fix or repair the damage and this can only happen through a process of multiple lifetimes to repair what was broken in our soul.

I feel that we only need a lifetime to keep only the aspects of Torah that apply to us as an individual and that we only need one lifetime to tikkun ourselves as best we can by teshuvah (repentance) and the Grace of G-d will take care of the rest. Just as the first set of tablets Moses brought down from Sinai was hewn and written by G-d and the second set was hewn by Moses and written by G-d. Moses couldn’t write them, it was G-d’s Laws not Moses’ laws, so only G-d could write them. Just like a child breaking a neighbor’s window. He may have to work the debt of the broken window off to pay for the damage but someone else; a window expert actually installs a new window and finishes righting the situation. Same, I feel with our soul. We fix what we can and G-d fixes the rest. 

If reincarnation is a reality, the question arises, which part of the human soul returns for this refining?

Christianity has a simple saying to attempt to explain the Trichotomy of being: “I am a Spirit who lives in a body and posses a Soul.” And it is said that the Soul mediates between the Spirit and the Body. Judaism too has a Trichotomistic view of being but bypasses in a way the body.

There are three arenas of the Soul are:

The Nefesh which is the lowest, basest realm of being that is said to reside in the blood, so in a way this includes the body “For the life is in the Blood (Deut. 12:23).” This part of the Soul is sometimes called the Animal Souls and is mainly concerned with survival, eating, sleeping, procreating etc. This part of the Soul deals with instinctual things. This is the part of the soul which is capable of sin.

A second component to the Soul is called Ruach in the Hebrew and is usually translated as Spirit. The Ruach is the second level of the Soul and duels with the Nefesh for moral and rational dominance and are the mediators between the Neshamah and the Body. The Neshamah should rule our being and communicate to the Nefesh and Ruach what the Body should do. This realm of the Soul mainly deals with our mental functions and emotions. It is said in Jewish mystical literature that the Nefesh should be the throne upon which the Ruach sits.

To use an analogy from cartoons, the Ruach can be seen as the angel upon the right shoulder and the Nefesh can be seen as the devil upon the left shoulder, both whispering in ones ear to trying to get the person to do what it suggests. You can also view the Ruach as the Good Dog and the Nefesh as the Bad Dog and which ever one you feed the most will be the strongest and when they get loose and fight one another, who wins our determines on which one received the most attention and care. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Nefesh is all bad, for it is the part of us that “Fights or Flees” when we are confronted with danger, but it is also the part that tries to make us grumpy because we are hungry or tired, or selfish when we don’t get our own way. Ruach tries to reason with the Animal Soul (Nefesh) and say, “Hey, calm down dinner is at six, you can wait till then, in the mean time you have no excuse for being nasty!”

The third and highest realm of the soul in the Hebrew is called the Neshamah which is considered the Divine Spark, the part of the Soul that was made in the Image and Likeness of G-d. This part of the Soul is pure, untainted and untouched by sin. This is the part of the Soul referred to in the Prayer Siddur when we Jews recite upon waking:

“I gratefully thank you oh Living and Eternal King for You have returned my soul (Neshamah) within me with compassion, abundant is your faithfulness.” 

And later it says: “My G-d the soul (Neshamah) you placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me, You safeguard it within me, and eventually You will take it from me, and restore it to me in the Time to Come…”

It is said that the Neshamah leaves the body during sleep, because the Sages say sleep is 1/60th of death, and resides in the realm of angels and demons and that a righteous Soul who follows Torah will be with the angels and those who are unrighteous are assailed and troubled by demons. The only way one can protect their Soul is by walking in the Torah during ones waking hours. This is why the above prayers are said upon waking. It is during this time of sleep it is prophecy can come through dreams.

Because English doesn’t have a designation between Nefesh and Neshamah and translates both of them as “Soul” it is hard to know in the English translation of Scripture which on is being discussed unless you know Hebrew or understand well the context of the passage dealing with the word “Soul”. Sometimes the word “Ruach” translated as “Spirit” is also sometimes translated as “Soul” in the English.

In Genesis 2:7 Tells us that G-d breathed life into us. G-d breathed all
Three parts of the soul within us and it was the Nefesh that fell during the Fall. The Neshamah was the Divine spark of G-d that was made in the image of G-d that was left untainted by the Fall in the Garden of Eden. The Ruach tries to bring rationale to the primal instincts of the Nefesh.

This is where I differ slightly from what has been described above. I believe that the word Ruach and Neshamah are essentially the same because Ruach and Neshamah in Hebrew have similar meanings, Ruach is Wind, Breath and Spirit and Neshamah is Wind, Breath and Divine Inspiration. In making distinctions I would say that the Ruach is what the Neshamah is called before it is regenerated and the Nefesh is “saved” redeemed by the blood of Yeshua Ha Moshiach and the infilling of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit), that the Ruach is actually latent within an individual until the regeneration occurs via the Holy Spirit (Ruach Ha Kodesh) and the Nefesh is transformed.

Gen. 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

As one Rav put it, Gof (Body) or as he actually said, “mud hut” plus the Ruach (Spirit) together equals a Soul.

According to Some Jewish legends we have a Neshamah, a Divine Spark, it is believed our souls were preexistent basking in the Pure Light of the En-Sof (G-d) before being assigned to a body. Legend says that our soul is male and female and it is split apart and the male is assigned to one body and the female to another and that this is your soul mate that you are supposed to find and marry in this world, thus completing yourself. According to the Zohar the only way for people to find their soul mate is to walk the path of Truth (Torah).

I like this one Jewish Legend that explains why we have that crease, that indentation between the nose and upper lip. It is said that when the angel escorted our Soul to a body in a womb of a woman, that the angel stayed in the womb with us and taught us Torah for nine months and that when the mothers water breaks and we are about to be born that the angel places his finger upon our lips, causing the indentation and says, “Shhhhh!” and we immediately forget all the Torah we were taught and that is why we cry upon entering the world and that our purpose in life is to learn or really remember the Torah we were taught in the womb.

Rav Sha’ul who was a Torah master and a master of all things and concepts Jewish said in II Cor. 5:8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

It is the Ruach/Neshamah which is the “Divine Spark” that returns to its source which is YHWH who gave it.

Ecc. 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

And it is the Nefesh that goes on into Paradise or Hell until the New Earth is created from the ashes of the old as Revelation and Peter says, and Hell is cast into the Lake of Fire. If it is Redeemed it goes to Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) if it is not it goes to Hell, Gehenna

So in the issue of Judaism and the transmigration of souls, only the Nefesh is broken or as we would call it, fallen and needs to be refined and purified and this is the only aspect of the human being that returns in a succession of lifetimes. It is also believed that when a soul returns he is rewarded and must pay the penalty for good deed and sins of the previous incarnation; and so reincarnation in Judaism isn’t about salvation, but justice and refinement.  So if a Rich person snubbed the poor in his lifetime he may come back as a pauper to pay for his negligence.