Everything You Wanted to Know About Kabbalah But Were Afraid to Ask
Remember "Ezekiel," the raving Jewish sage from a couple of posts back? He says that there are "seven interlinked wonders" that Kabbalah conveys to the sincere seeker, the first of which is "a vision of the infinite One," the Ain Sof, and with it, the "ineffable mystery of how Creation came to be."
In a way, it's analogous to the distinction between science and philosophy of science. The former just tells you what happened, while the latter ascends to a higher meta-level and tries to account for why things happen -- or how all the happenings fit together into a larger framework.
Just so, revelation tells us what happened -- e.g., In the beginning God created -- but the Kabbalah gets into the how of it all. You could say that in the absence of the how, the human imagination is reduced to thinking that it all takes place through some kind of supernatural magic, which is one reason so many garden-variety intellectuals reject religion. While the magical worldview was sufficient for a premodern mentality, it doesn't necessarily speak to the scientistic masses or tenured barbarians.
But since imagination is precisely what so many of them lack -- or at least never develop in its higher sense -- they seem to struggle with the leap from magical thinking to metamagical thinking, the result being that they spend their lives spinning around in their little circles. Non-tenured America is in the process of rediscovering what it's like to be governed by one of these insular little circle jerks, and isn't happy about it.
For me, the Sefirot of the Kabbalah evokes the vision of the One pouring its energies down into creation like one of those Japanese pinball machines. You see, that's the Ain Sof at the top, about to drop the Ball of God into time and history. The first sefirah -- which is the top, the center, and the origin of it all -- is called Keter, or Crown.
And just to re-remind the reader, I won't pretend that any of what follows is strictly kosher by any means -- this is just me and my imagination reflecting on the images and concepts.
Anyway, the Keter is the top of the cosmic hierarchy. Once you accept the fact that the cosmos is indeed hierarchically organized (which you must do in order to accept any facts at all), then it is the work of a moment to understand that there is no hierarchy in the absence of a toppermost of the poppermost. No top, no bottom.
Which is in turn why final causation trumps the other three types of causation. In the absence of final causation, truly, nothing would work. There could be no progress, no evolution, no movement toward truth, no organization, no distinction, just the toxic horizontal goo of our debased trolls, which is the crock upon they build their church.
Humans -- specifically the psychospiritual left -- can try to throw out hierarchy with a pitchfork, but it always comes back with a vengeance (and usually in a pathological manner, e.g., the oppressively hierarchical coercion of political correctness, which is just the dark side of their phony "tolerance"). This is because man is the cosmic pontifex, the one vertical link that cuts through all the degrees of being, from matter to spirit -- or, as the Kabbalah would have it, from the Keter at the top down to the Malkhut at the bottom (and don't conflate "bottom" with "inferior" in any colloquial sense).
Now interestingly, the nonlocal vertical axis of creation extends straight from Keter to Malkhut, or from Crown to Kingdom. The latter also happens to be the divine feminine, which immediately evokes the Hindu idea of the play (or lila) of shiva and shakti, or purusha and prakriti.
In a more Western sense it evokes God and Mary, or the transcendent "seed" (or Word) implanted into the womb of matter (and please recall that matter is etymologically related to mater and matrix, the latter of which is defined as "an environment or material in which something develops").
Now, the crown also evokes the primordial or archetypal man, who is called Adam Qadmon, and who is to be distinguished from the terrestrial Adam. The way I sees it, when Adam fell, he fell from Adam Qadman, precisely. Which is why the fall is not absolutely fatal, because it obviously did no damage to the celestial prototype that is outside time and history.
Oh yes. One of the practical purposes of Kabbalah, if you will, is the "divine marriage" of Keter and Malkhut, which are again cosmic male and female. In turn, their union gives birth to various "children" that we will discuss in later posts. But let's just stipulate at this point that the command to "be fruitful and multiply" has a plain exoteric meaning, but it also conveys this esoteric point about the spiritual fruitfulness of the divine union.
Here is how Matt describes Malkhut, the divine feminine: "She is the secret of the possible, receiving the flow of emanation from above and engendering the myriad varieties of life below." The union of this above and below "is the goal of spiritual life.... Human marriage symbolizes and actualizes divine marriage," which achieves its deepest union and harmony in what Petey calls the Friday night sabootycall: "Sabbath eve is the weekly celebration of the cosmic wedding and the ideal time for human lovers to unite" (Matt).
I'll leave you with a provocative little quote by the great Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, from his classic Thirteen Petaled Rose:
The whole order of relations among the various worlds may be conceived in images of intimate engagement, a kind of sexual contact between one world and another, between one level of being and another.
Or, as Petey put it, A little metaphysical diddling between a cabbala opposites, and Mamamaya! baby makes Trinity, so all the world's an allusion.