Traditionally, the Torah has been interpreted in four ways, called Péshat, Rémez, Drash and Sod, or PARDÉS, an acronym that refers us to a garden.
A Garden of Pomegranates, will say the majestic volumes of Moisés Cordovero, the predecessor of the ARI in the Safed school.
It is said that, when reading the Torah, the soul is able to remember what life was like in the Garden of Eden, so you can enter through one of the 50 gates to the heavenly palaces, or you can go crazy.
As soon as you begin to walk its lines, the Torah can produce enlightened, epiphanic, prophetic states, depending on the way you choose to read it.
Péshat (פְּשָׁט) is the most literal sense of study, so that when reading you simply visualize a naked man and woman in a garden eating an apple and talking to a snake next to a tree. This is what Jews and Christians are taught when we are children.
Rémez (רֶמֶז) hints, every word and story you read becomes a direct allusion to your life, your actions, your decisions.
It is a psychological approach that has been used as self-help for centuries. It is a fertile field for intimate philosophers, mystics and writers.
Through the Drash (דְּרַשׁ) you interpret, draw lessons, morals, laws and ethical precepts of public application. It is the field of the men of the law, of the rabbis.
If you come to Sod (סוֹד) you will look for the secret, the hidden meanings in the words, the combinations of names and letters, the numerical values and the allegories of sacred geometry.
You will use the Tree of Life and the study of the 10 sefirot as interfaces to connect with the energy of Creation.
This vast field of study has traditionally been called Kabbalah (קַבָּלָה) and is supposed to be the true knowledge that Moses received in dialoguing with the Creator on Mount Sinai, which is encrypted under the words of the Torah, as pointed out the mathematicians and computer scientists who have finally cracked The Bible Code.
For centuries that secret knowledge of the 4th level of the Torah was transmitted from mouth to ear, from teacher to student, in small schools or yeshivot, through sacred texts such as the Sefer Yetzira and the Zohar, and was available only to Jewish men, over forty, married and with children.
This was how it should be until the arrival of the Messiah, at which time, as the prophecy says, (Isaiah: 11: 9), even children will have access to Divinity because “… For the land shall be filled with devotion to the LORD As water covers the sea.”
Here we run into a serious historical and prophetic problem, which is, in my opinion, what is giving rise to the emergence of a 5th level of interpretation of the Torah, to a 5th level Kabbalah, upgraded.
If the Torah is read literally (Péshat mode), the State of Israel will be born after the arrival of the Messiah. That is the interpretation of many orthodox Haredi, by which they are anti-Zionists and oppose the existence of the current state (Drash conclusion).
Another condition would be peace between Arabs and Jews, which, as is evident in these days of bombs, rockets, drones and iron domes, is far from happening.
Either the order of the Messianic prophecy is being reversed and the State has been born and survives in the middle of the war and before the arrival of the Messiah, or perhaps the Messiah has already walked through the streets of Safed and we do not know it, but the old woman who has waited for him every afternoon sitting in front of her house, has finally offered him a cup of tea, as the wise men of that city predicted.
An aspiring Jew can call himself messiah, as did Abraham Abulafia, which is why his writings on meditation and prophetic Kabbalah were buried for centuries.
Or as the most abhorrent of the false messiahs, Sabbatai Zevi, who ended up converted to Islam, and justified the prohibition of studying Kabbalah for Jews under 40, single or childless.
The 4th level of study is dangerous, and the Torah can be turned into a potion of death, the ancient sages warn us.
In Internet times, you can even put together a fake new, a hoax, crown a “new Messiah”, and call him Jizkiahu Ben David.
Or repeat the utopia of Moro and Campanella, and proclaim yourself the Christian messiah as Sergei Torop, the former transit agent from Siberia who claims to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
Torop founded the Church of the Last Testament in the village of Obitel Rassveta (Abode of dawn, in Russian), southeast of Krasnoyarsk, three thousand kilometers from Moscow.
Ecovillages have been built around this church, with houses, schools and other institutions that promote self-reliance.
They are Siberian kibbutzim lost in the middle of the forests and steppes. For them, first their messiah has arrived, and then they have taken on the task of building their New Jerusalem.
Is the order of events so important? From the ancient prophetic point of view, yes, because true prophets are not supposed to be wrong, since it is God who speaks through their mouths, who dictates the prophecy to them.
The prophet, the author of a sacred book, is hardly, as Borges said, a stenographer of the Creator.
But it also depends on whether we read his prophecies literally, or how we interpret those apocalyptic images, metaphors, and prosopopoeia.
Note that from the point of view of Sod, of the 4th level of interpretation, of Kabbalah, the matter is even more difficult because very sophisticated and abstruse names, nomenclatures and formulas are used, about which there is no instance of ” scientific agreement “as in physics or chemistry.
But it is here where new interpretations have emerged, from historical observation, the development of science and the dialogue of Kabbalah with neuroscience, quantum physics, astrophysics and the computer revolution, something that had not been foreseen by the prophets, at least in the order of their calendar and the order of events … Or maybe yes?
The Messiah may not have arrived and a great messianic event like the creation of the State of Israel will happen despite that, and despite the war.
He may have arrived unannounced publicly, and perhaps he is secretly contributing to the advancement of Humanity towards that state of peace and fulfillment that all utopias dream about, announce and sell.
There is a third position, that of the Messiah as a historical age, as a generation, as a quasi Hegelian development of the human spirit.
May be, an issue for a next post.