[b-hebrew] Interchangeable letters

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Oct 23 23:31:55 EDT 2007


Shoshanna,

While the debate on the authenticity of Sefer Yitzirah, the Zohar and other 
works of Kabbalah is fascinating, since Kabbalah, by its nature, stands 
outside the "natural" rules of scientifc discourse and is not easily 
understood by the uninitiated, it cannot be used as evidence for either 
linguistics or history. The authority of Kabbalah is an issue of faith. So 
just stating that something is written is Sefer Yitzirah which is three 
times ancient is not evidence in itself. I suggest that we keep Kabbalah out 
of the discussion on this list.

Yigal Levin



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2007 5:06 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Interchangeable letters


>I don't know who Kaptziel is, or Ben who supplies us with the website
> you cited, but it does not present authentic Kabbala.
>
> See this article at
> http://www.aish.com/spirituality/philosophy/Harry_Potter_and_the_Child
> ren_of_Ketura.asp
>
> This is an excerpt:
>
>
> ...Other sources, however, discuss Abraham's knowing and using Jewish
> mystical secrets. Abraham is credited as the source of the mystical
> secrets of the Sefer Yetzira, the Book of Creation. Sefer Yetzira
> gives meditative techniques for mystical healing, creating new
> bodies, teleportation, and more. Sa'adia Gaon writes that our text of
> Sefer Yetzira was written in Talmudic times, but the methods taught
> in the book date to Abraham. The last section of Sefer Yetzira itself
> describes "Abraham our father" making use of these meditative secrets
> to bring new creatures to life:
>
> "And when our father Abraham looked, saw, understood, probed,
> engraved, and carved, he was successful in creation, as the Torah
> writes, 'and the souls that they made in Haran' (Genesis 12:5)." 4
>
> The usual explanation of Genesis 12:5 is that Abraham and Sarah had
> spread the knowledge of monotheism, bringing people's souls closer to
> God, not that they had actually created new people. But the Sefer
> Yetzira's interpretation is, if anything, even more consistent with
> the words of the Torah, and identifies Abraham among the early
> practicing mystics.
>
> Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's extensive English commentary on Sefer Yetzira
> notes that Abraham lived in the 18th century BCE, the same time
> period in which mystical books, such as the Vedic Scriptures, were
> written in the Far East, making it logical that Jewish mystical texts
> would also have been written or conceived at that time.
>
> While some commentaries indicate that "The land to the east" might be
> Arab areas just to the East of the Land of Israel,[5] most understand
> this to be referring to the Far East.
>
> Jewish tradition is not clear on whether Abraham taught the Children
> of Ketura the secrets of Sefer Yetzira or other mystical secrets. But
> the Zohar tells the following revealing story:
>
> "Rabbi Abba said: I once was in a town where the children of the east
> live, and they taught me some of their ancient wisdom and showed me
> their books of wisdom.... I said to them, my children, all of this is
> similar to what we have in our Torah, but you should avoid these
> books, to avoid idolatry.... The ancient children of the east
> possessed a wisdom which they had inherited from Abraham, who had
> imparted it to the children of his other wife... in time they
> followed that wisdom to many false roads." [6]
>
>
>
>
>
> On 10/23/07, Shoshanna Walker wrote:
>> The BGDKFRT variations are not later developments, they are already
>> mentioned as the 7 (yes, reish is included) double letters in the
>> Sefer Yetzira which is ancient ancient ancient.
>
> On various views, both ancient and modern for the dating of Sefer 
> Yetzirah,
> see here:
> http://kaphtziel.blogspot.com/2006/04/saadiah-gaons-yetzirah-commentary.html
>
> On the significance of Resh as a double letter, see:
> Geoffrey Khan, 'The pronunciation of resh in the Tiberian tradition of 
> Biblical
> Hebrew', Hebrew Union College Annual LXVI (1995), 67-80.
> Ilan Eldar, "The double pronunciation of the Tiberian Resh", Leshonenu 
> 48-49
> (1984-85), p 22-34 (Hebrew)
>
> Yitzhak Sapir
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