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The Cabalistic teaching of emanation is best understood by an examination of the doctrine of the Sephiroth.
The Supreme Being, say the Cabalists, is an absolute and inscrutable unity, having nothing without him and everything within him. In this infinitude he cannot be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words intelligible by human minds, so as to make his existence perceptible.
Of all who formed the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were first initiated into the Cabalah.
No one, however, dared to write it down till Simon ben Jochai, who lived at the time of the destruction of the second Temple.
And when the remains were deposited in the tomb, another voice was heard from heaven, saying, "This is he who caused the earth to quake and the kingdoms to shake!
" His son, Rabbi Eliezer, and his secretary, Rabbi Abba, as well as his disciples, then collated Rabbi Simon ben Jochai's treatises, and out of these composed the celebrated work called Sohar, that is, Splendor, which is the grand storehouse of Cabalism.
the Rabbi; whilst a burning fire appeared outside, forming as it were a sentinel at the entrance of the cave, and denying admittance to the neighbors.
It was not till the light inside, and the fire outside, had disappeared, that the disciples perceived that the lamp of Israel was extinguished.
In what estimation the Cabala is held by Jewish scholars, we may learn from the traditions which they teach, and which Doctor Ginsburg has given in his exhaustive work ( Kabbalah, page 84) in the following words: The Cabalah was first taught by God himself to a select company of angels, who formed a theosophic school in Paradise.
within, held in adoration by the Mohammedans, as containing the black stone said to have been given by an angel to Abraham.
The word is derived from the Hebrew Kabal, signifying to receive, because it is the doctrine received from the elders.
This word is frequently written Kabbala, which see. The mystical philosophy or theosophy of the Jews is called the Cabala.
The inner as well as the outer structure receives its name from Ka'ab, meaning cube (see Allah).