The Inside Story of the Kabbalah
By: Harun Yahya
"Exodus" is the title of the second book of the Torah. This book describes how the Israelites, under the leadership of Moses, left Egypt and escaped the tyranny of Pharaoh. Pharaoh made the Israelites work as slaves and would not consent to set them free. But, when confronted by the miracles God performed through Moses, and the disasters He inflicted on his people, Pharaoh relented. And so, one night the Israelites gathered en masse, and began their emigration from Egypt. Later, Pharaoh attacked the Israelites, but God saved them through a further miracle He performed through Moses.
But, it is in the Qur'an that we find the most accurate account of the exodus from Egypt, because the Torah underwent much textual corruption after it was originally revealed to Moses. An important proof of this is that in the five books of the Torah-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy-there are many contradictions. The fact that the book of Deuteronomy ends with an account of the death and burial of Moses is indisputable proof that this portion would have to have been added after Moses' death.
In the Qur'an, in the account of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, as in all other stories related in it, there is not the slightest contradiction; the story is recounted soundly. Moreover, as with other stories, God reveals much wisdom and many secrets in the course of what is related. For this reason, when we examine these stories closely, we can extract a number of lessons from them.
THE GOLDEN CALF
One of the important facts concerning the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, as related in the Qur'an, is that they rebelled against the religion revealed to them by God in spite of the fact that God had rescued them through Moses from the tyranny of Pharaoh. The Israelites were not able to comprehend the monotheism that Moses communicated to them, but tended continually toward idolatry.
The Qur'an describes this strange tendency here:
We conveyed the tribe of Israel across the sea and they came upon some people who were devoting themselves to some idols which they had. They said, "Moses, give us a god just as these people have gods." He said, "You are indeed an ignorant people.
What these people are doing is destined for destruction. What they are doing is purposeless." (Qur'an, 7: 138-139)
Despite Moses' warnings, the Israelites continued in such perversion, and when Moses left them, to ascend alone to Mt. Sinai, it manifested itself fully. Taking advantage of Moses' absence, a man by the name of Samiri came forth. He fanned the sparks of the Israelites' inclination towards idolatry, and persuaded them to fabricate the statue of a calf and worship it.
Moses returned to his people in anger and great sorrow. He said, "My people, did not your Lord make you a handsome promise? Did the fulfilment of the contract seem too long to you or did you want to unleash your Lord's anger upon yourselves, so you broke your promise to me?"
They said, "We did not break our promise to you of our own volition. But we were weighed down with the heavy loads of the people's jewelry and we threw them in, for that is what the Samaritan did."
Then he produced a calf for them, a physical form which made a lowing sound. So they said, "This is your god-and Moses's god as well, but he forgot." (Qur'an, 20: 86-88)
Why was there such a persistent tendency among the Israelites to erect idols and worship them? What was the source of this inclination?
Clearly, a society that had never before believed in idols would not suddenly adopt such inane behavior as to construct an idol and begin to worship it. Only those for whom idolatry was natural inclination could have believed in such nonsense.
However, the Israelites were a people that had believed in one God since the days of their ancestor Abraham. The name "Israelites" or "the Sons of Israel" was given first to the sons of Jacob, Abraham's grandson, and afterwards to the whole Jewish people who derived from him. The Israelites had safeguarded the monotheistic faith that they had inherited from their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, peace be upon them. Together with Joseph, peace be upon him, they went into Egypt and preserved their monotheism for a long period of time, despite the fact that they had lived amidst Egyptian idolatry. It is clear from the stories related in the Qur'an that, when Moses came to them, the Israelites were a people that believed in one God.
The only explanation for this is that the Israelites, however much they adhered to a monotheistic belief, were influenced by the pagan peoples among whom them lived, and began to imitate them, replacing the religion chosen for them by God with the idolatry of foreign nations.
When we investigate this matter in light of historical records, we see that the pagan cult that influenced the Israelites was that of Ancient Egypt. An important evidence in support of this conclusion is that the golden calf the Israelites worshipped, while Moses was on Mt. Sinai, was actually a replica of the Egyptian idols Hathor and Aphis. In his book, Too Long in the Sun, the Christian author Richard Rives writes:
Hathor and Aphis, the cow and bull gods of Egypt, were representatives of sun worship. Their worship was just one stage in the long Egyptian history of solar veneration. The golden calf at Mount Sinai is more than sufficient evidence to prove that the feast proclaimed was related to sun worship…23
The influence of the Egyptian pagan religion on the Israelites occurred in many different stages. As soon as they had encountered a pagan people, this leaning towards heretical belief appeared and, as the verse maintains, they said "Moses, give us a god just as these people have gods." (Qur'an, 7: 138) What they said to their Prophet, "Moses, we will not believe in you until we see God with our own eyes." (Qur'an, 2: 55) reveals that they were inclined to worship a material being that they could see, as their pagan religion provided the Egyptians with.
The tendency of the Israelites to the paganism of Ancient Egypt, that we have here outlined, is important to understand and gives us some insight into the corruption of the text of the Torah and the origins of the Kabbalah. When we consider these two topics carefully, we will see that, at their source, is found Ancient Egyptian paganism and the materialist philosophy.
FROM ANCIENT EGYPT TO THE KABBALAH
While Moses was still alive, the Israelites began to create likenesses of the idols they had seen in Egypt and to worship them. After Moses died, there was less to deter them from backsliding farther into perversity. Of course, the same thing cannot be said of all Jews, but some of them did adopt Egyptian paganism. Indeed, they carried on the doctrines of the Egyptian priesthood (Pharaoh's magicians), that lay at the foundation of that society's beliefs, and corrupted their own faith by introducing these doctrines into it.
The doctrine that was introduced into Judaism from Ancient Egypt was the Kabbalah. Like the system of the Egyptian priests, the Kabbalah was an esoteric system, and its basis was the practice of magic. Interestingly, the Kabbalah provides an account of creation quite different from that found in the Torah. It is a materialist account, based on the Ancient Egyptian idea of the eternal existence of matter. Murat Ozgen, a Turkish Freemason, has this to say on this topic:
It is evident that the Kabbalah was composed many years before the Torah came into existence. The most important section of the Kabbalah is a theory about the formation of the universe. This theory is very different from the story of creation accepted by theist religions. According to the Kabbalah, at the beginning of creation, things called Sefiroth, meaning "circles" or "orbits," with both material and spiritual characteristics came into being. The total number of these things was 32. The first ten represented the solar system and the others represented the masses of stars in space. This particularity of the Kabbalah shows that it is closely connected to ancient astrological systems of belief... So, the Kabbalah is far removed from Jewish religion and much more closely related to the ancient mystery religions of the East.24
The Jews, by adopting these Ancient Egyptian materialist and esoteric doctrines that were founded on magic, ignored the related prohibitions in the Torah. They took on the magic rituals of other pagan peoples, and thus, the Kabbalah became a mystical doctrine within Judaism, but contrary to the Torah. In her book entitled Secret Societies and Subversive Movements, the English writer Nesta H. Webster says:
Sorcery, as we know, had been practised by the Canaanites before the occupation of Palestine by the Israelites; Egypt, India, and Greece also had their soothsayers and diviners. In spite of the imprecations against sorcery contained in the Law of Moses, the Jews, disregarding these warnings, caught the contagion and mingled the sacred tradition they had inherited with magical ideas partly borrowed from other races partly of their own devising. At the same time the speculative side of the Jewish Cabala borrowed from the philosophy of the Persian Magi, of the Neo-Platonists, and of the Neo-Pythagoreans. There is, then, some justification for the anti-Cabalists' contention that what we know to-day as the Cabala is not of purely Jewish origin.25
There is a verse in the Qur'an that refers to this topic. God says that the Israelites learned satanic sorcery rituals from sources outside their own religion:
They follow what the satans recited in the reign of Solomon. Solomon did not become unbeliever, but the satans did, teaching people sorcery and what had been sent down to Harut and Marut, the two angels in Babylon, who taught no one without first saying to him, "We are merely a trial and temptation, so do not become unbeliever." People learned from them how to separate a man and his wife but they cannot harm anyone by it, except with God's permission. They have learned what will harm them and will not benefit them. They know that any who deal in it will have no share in the hereafter. What an evil thing they have sold themselves for if they only knew! (Qur'an, 2: 102)
This verse maintains that certain Jews, although they knew that they would lose out in the hereafter, learned and adopted the practices of magic. Thus, they strayed away from the Law that God had sent them and, having sold their own souls, fell into paganism (magic doctrines). "They have sold themselves" for an evil thing, in other words, they abandoned their faith.
The facts related in this verse demonstrate the main features of an important conflict in Jewish history. This struggle was, on the one hand, between the prophets that God sent to the Jews and those believing Jews who obeyed them, and on the other hand, those perverse Jews who rebelled against God's commandments, imitated the pagan culture of the peoples around them, and followed their cultural practices rather than the Law of God.
PAGAN DOCTRINES ADDED TO THE TORAH
It is important to note that the sins of the corrupt Jews are often reported in the holy book of the Jews itself-the Old Testament. In the book of Nehemiah, a kind of history book within the Old Testament, the Jews confess their sins and repent:
Then those of Israelite lineage separated themselves from all foreigners; and they stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God [for one-fourth] of the day; and [for another] fourth they confessed and worshiped the LORD their God. Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, [and] Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God.
...[They said:] "...they [our fathers] were disobedient and rebelled against You, cast Your law behind their backs and killed Your prophets, who testified against them to turn them to Yourself; And they worked great provocations. Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; And in the time of their trouble, when they cried to You, You heard from heaven; And according to Your abundant mercies You gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies.But after they had rest, They again did evil before You. Therefore You left them in the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them; Yet when they returned and cried out to You, You heard from heaven; And many times You delivered them according to Your mercies, and testified against them, that You might bring them back to Your law. Yet they acted proudly, and did not heed Your commandments, but sinned against Your judgments, which if a man does, he shall live by them. And they shrugged their shoulders, stiffened their necks, and would not hear.
...Nevertheless in Your great mercy You did not utterly consume them nor forsake them; For You [are] God, gracious and merciful.
Now therefore, our God, The great, the mighty, and awesome God, ...You [are] just in all that has befallen us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have done wickedly. Neither our kings nor our princes, our priests nor our fathers, have kept Your law, nor heeded Your commandments and Your testimonies, with which You testified against them. For they have not served You in their kingdom, or in the many good [things] that You gave them, or in the large and rich land which You set before them; Nor did they turn from their wicked works." (Nehemiah 9: 2-4, 26-29, 31-35)
This passage expresses the desire that a number of Jews had in returning to their faith in God, but in the course of Jewish history a different segment gradually gained strength, and came to dominate the Jews and later thoroughly altered the religion itself. For this reason, in the Torah and the other books of the Old Testament, there are elements that derive from heretical pagan doctrines, as well as those mentioned above which urge a return to the true religion. For example:
• In the first book of the Torah, it is said that God created the entire universe in six days from nothing. This is correct and derives from the original revelation. But, then it maintains that God rested on the seventh day, though it is a completely fabricated assertion. It is a perverse idea derived from paganism which attributes human qualities to God. In a verse of the Qur'an, God says:
We created the heavens and the earth and all between them in six days, nor did any sense of weariness touch Us. (Qur'an, 50: 38)
• In other parts of the Torah, there is a style of writing that is not respectful of the honor of God, especially in those places where human weakness is falsely attributed to Him. (God is surely beyond that) These anthropomorphisms are made to resemble the human weaknesses that pagans applied to their own fictitious gods.
• One such blasphemous assertion is another that claims that Jacob, ancestor of the Israelites, wrestled with God, and won. This is clearly a story invented to confer the Israelites with racial superiority, in emulation of the racial feelings widespread among pagan peoples. (or, in the words of the Qur'an: "fanatical rage")
• There is a tendency in the Old Testament to present God as a national deity-that He is God of the Isrealites only. However, God is the Lord and God of the universe and of all human beings. This notion of national religion, in the Old Testament, corresponds to tendencies of paganism, in which every tribe worships its own god.
• In some books of the Old Testament (for example, Joshua) commandments are given to commit horrible violence against non-Jewish peoples. Mass murder is commanded, with no regard for women, children or the elderly. This merciless savagery is totally against God's justice, and recalls the barbarism of pagan cultures, who worshipped a mythical god of war.
These pagan ideas that were introduced into the Torah must have an origin. There must have been Jews who adopted, honored and cherished a tradition foreign to the Torah, and changed the latter by adding into it ideas derived from the tradition they espoused. The origin of this tradition stretches back to the priests of Ancient Egypt (the magicians of Pharaoh's regime). It is, in fact, the Kabbalah which was passed on from there by a number of Jews. The Kabbalah assumed a form that enabled Ancient Egyptian and other pagan doctrines to insinuate themselves into Judaism and develop within it. Kabbalists, of course, assert that the Kabbalah simply explains in more detail the hidden secrets of the Torah, but, in reality, as Jewish historian of the Kabbalah, Theodore Reinach, says, the Kabbalah is "a subtle poison which enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it."26
It is possible, then, to find in the Kabbalah clear traces of the materialist ideology of the Ancient Egyptians.
THE KABBALAH-A DOCTRINE OPPOSED TO CREATIONISM
God reveals in the Qur'an that the Torah is a divine book that was sent as a light to humanity:
We sent down the Torah containing guidance and light, and the Prophets who had submitted themselves gave judgment by it for the Jews-as did their scholars and their rabbis-by what they had been allowed to preserve of God's Book to which they were witnesses…(Qur'an, 5: 44)
Therefore, the Torah, like the Qur'an, is a book that contains knowledge and commands related to such topics as the existence of God, His unity, His qualities, the creation of human beings and other creatures, the purpose of human creation, and God's moral laws for humanity. (But, this original Torah is not extant today. What we possess today is an "altered" version of the Torah, corrupted by human hands.)
There is an important point that both the true Torah and the Qur'an share in common: God is recognized as Creator. God is absolute, and has existed since the beginning of time. Everything other than God is His creation, created by Him from nothing. He has created and formed the whole universe, the heavenly bodies, lifeless matter, human beings and all living things. God is One; He exists alone.
While this is the truth, there is a quite different interpretation found in the Kabbalah, that "subtle poison which enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it." Its doctrine of God is totally opposed to the "fact of creation," found in the real Torah and the Qur'an. In one of his works on the Kabbalah, the American researcher, Lance S. Owens, presents his view on the possible origins of this doctrine:
Kabbalistic experience engendered several perceptions about the Divine, many of which departured from the orthodox view. The most central tenet of Israel's faith had been the proclamation that "our God is One." But Kabbalah asserted that while God exists in highest form as a totally ineffable unity-called by Kabbalah Ein Sof, the infinite-this unknowable singularity had necessarily emanated into a great number of Divine forms: a plurality of Gods. These the Kabbalist called Sefiroth, the vessels or faces of God. The manner by which God descended from incomprehensible unity into plurality was a mystery to which Kabbalists devoted a great deal of meditation and speculation. Obviously, this multifaceted God image admits to accusations of being polytheistic, a charge which was vehemently, if never entirely successfully, rebutted by the Kabbalists.
Not only was the Divine plural in Kabbalistic theosophy, but in its first subtle emanation from unknowable unity God had taken on a dual form as Male and Female; a supernal Father and Mother, Hokhmah and Binah, were God's first emanated forms. Kabbalists used frankly sexual metaphors to explain how the creative intercourse of Hokhmah and Binah generated further creation...27
An interesting feature of this mystical theology is that, according to it, human beings are not created, but are in some way divine. Owens describes this myth:
The complex Divine image …was also visualized by Kabbalah as having a unitary, anthropomorphic form. God was, by one Kabbalistic recension, Adam Kadmon: the first primordial or archetypal Man. Man shared with God both an intrinsic, uncreated divine spark and a complex, organic form. This strange equation of Adam as God was supported by a Kabbalistic cipher: the numerical value in Hebrew of the names Adam and Jehovah (the Tetragrammaton, Yod he vav he) was both 45. Thus in Kabbalistic exegesis Jehovah equaled Adam: Adam was God. With this affirmation went the assertion that all humankind in highest realization was like God.28
This theology comprises of a mythology of paganism, and formed the basis of the degeneration of Judaism. Jewish Kabbalists breached the limits of common sense to such an extent that they even tried to make human beings into gods. In addition, according to this theology, not only was humanity divine, but it consisted only of Jews; other races were not considered human. As a result, within Judaism, which was originally founded on the basis of service and obedience to God, this corrupt doctrine began to develop, whose intent was to satiate Jewish arrogance. In spite of its contrary nature to the Torah, the Kabbalah was introduced into Judaism. Eventually though, it began to corrupt the Torah itself.
Another interesting point about the corrupt doctrines of the Kabbalah is its similarity to the pagan ideas of Ancient Egypt. As we have discussed in earlier pages, the Ancient Egyptians believed that matter had always existed; in other words, they rejected the idea that matter was created from nothing. The Kabbalah asserts the same thing in relation to human beings; it claims that human beings were not created, and that they are responsible for regulating their own existence.
To state it in modern terms: the Ancient Egyptians were materialists, and, essentially, the doctrine of the Kabbalah can be called secular humanism.
It is interesting to note that these two concepts-materialism and secular humanism-describe the ideology that has dominated the world over the last two centuries.
It is tempting to ask if there are forces who have carried the doctrines of Ancient Egypt and the Kabbalah from the midst of ancient history to the present day.
FROM THE TEMPLARS TO THE MASONS
When we mentioned the Templars earlier, we noted that this peculiar order of crusaders was affected by a "secret" found in Jerusalem, as a result of which they abandoned Christianity and began to practice magic rites. We said that many researchers had reached the opinion that this secret was related to the Kabbalah. For example, in his book Histoire de la Magie (The History of Magic) the French writer, Eliphas Lévi, presents detailed evidence that the Templars were initiated into the mysterious doctrines of the Kabbalah, that is, they were secretly trained in this doctrine.29 Therefore, a doctrine with its roots in Ancient Egypt was transmitted to the Templars through the Kabbalah.
In Foucault's Pendulum, the famous Italian novelist, Umberto Eco, relates these facts in the course of the plot. Throughout the novel, he relates, through the mouths of its protagonists, that the Templars were influenced by the Kabbalah and that the Kabbalists possessed a secret that could be traced back to the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs. According to Eco, some prominent Jews learned certain secrets taken from the Ancient Egyptians, and later inserted these into the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch). But, this secret, which was transmitted secretly, could be understood only by the Kabbalists. (The Zohar, written later in Spain, and forming the fundamental book of the Kabbalah, deals with the secrets of these five books) After stating that the Kabbalists read this Ancient Egyptian secret also in the geometric measurements of the temple of Solomon, Eco writes that the Templars learned it from the Kabbalist rabbis in Jerusalem:
The secret-what the Temple already said in full-is suspected only by a small group of rabbis who remained in Palestine… And from them the Templars learn it.30
When the Templars adopted this ancient Egyptian-Kabbalist doctrine, naturally, they came into conflict with the Christian establishment that dominated Europe. This was a conflict they shared with another important force-the Jews. After the Templars were arrested, by joint order of the king of France and the Pope in 1307, the order went underground, but its influence continued, and in a more radical and determined way.
As we said earlier, a significant number of Templars escaped arrest and appealed to the king of Scotland, the only European kingdom at that time that had not accepted the authority of the Pope. In Scotland, they infiltrated the wall-builders' guild and, in time, took it over. The guilds adopted the traditions of the Templars, and thus, the Masonic seed was planted in Scotland. Still, to this day, the mainline of Masonry is the "Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite."
As we investigated in detail in The New Masonic Order, from the beginnings of the fourteenth century it is possible to detect traces of the Templars-and some Jews associated with them-at various stages of European history. Without going into detail, here are some of the headings under which we examined this topic:
• In Provence, in France, there was an important Templar refuge. During the arrests, very many hid here. Another important feature of the area is that it is the most well known center of Kabbalism in Europe. Provence is the place where the oral tradition of the Kabbalah was made into a book.
• The Peasants Revolt in England, in 1381, was, according to some historians, fanned to flame by a secret organization. Those experts who study the history of Masonry agree that this secret organization was the Templars. It was more than a mere civil uprising, it was a planned assault on the Catholic Church. 31
• Half a century after this revolt, a clergyman in Bohemia by the name of John Huss started an uprising in opposition to the Catholic Church. Behind the scenes of this uprising were again the Templars. Moreover, Huss was very interested in the Kabbalah. Avigdor Ben Isaac Kara was one of the most important names that he was influenced by in the development of his doctrines. Kara was a rabbi of the Jewish community in Prague and a Kabbalist. 32
Examples such as these are signs that the alliance between the Templars and the Kabbalists was directed at a change in the social order of Europe. This change involved an alteration in the basic Christian culture of Europe, and its replacement by a culture based on pagan doctrines, like the Kabbalah. And, after this cultural change, political changes would follow. The French and Italian revolutions, for example…
In the coming sections, we will look at some important turning-points in the history of Europe. At every stage the fact that will confront us is that there existed a force that wanted to alienate Europe from its Christian heritage, replace it with a secular ideology and, with this program in mind, to destroy its religious institutions. This force attempted to cause Europe to accept a doctrine that had been handed down from Ancient Egypt through the Kabbalah. As we pointed out earlier, at the basis of this doctrine were two important concepts: humanism and materialism.
23 Richard Rives, Too Long in the Sun, Partakers Pub., 1996, pp. 130-31
24 Murat Ozgen Ayfer, Masonluk Nedir ve Nasildir? (What is Freemasonry?), Istanbul, 1992, pp. 298-299
25 Nesta H. Webster, Secret Societies And Subversive Movements, Boswell Publishing Co., Ltd., London, 1924, (emphasis added)
26 Nesta H. Webster, Secret Societies And Subversive Movements, Boswell Publishing Co., Ltd., London, 1924; Theodore Reinach, Histoire des Israélites, p. 221, Salomon Reinach, Orpheus, p. 299, (emphasis added)
27 Lance S. Owens, Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1994, pp. 117-194
28 Lance S. Owens, Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, Fall 1994, pp. 117-194, (emphasis added)
29 Eliphas Lévi, Histoire de la Magie, p. 273; Nesta H. Webster, Secret Societies And Subversive Movements, Boswell Publishing Co. Ltd., London, 1924
30 Umberto Eco, Foucault's Pendulum, Translated from the Italian by William Weaver, A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, p. 450, (emphasis added)
31 For further information, see, John J. Robinson, Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, New York: M. Evans & Company, 1989
32 Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 10, p. 759.