Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book I Part 14.15

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year it was published: 2004

Overall theme:

"With only one God, heaven would be a barren place, at least in mythic terms. Yet the actual Jewish view of heaven is quite different. There are seven heavens, filled with angels and other divine beings, such as the Messiah [Not jesus!], who is said to have a palace of his own in the highest heaven. The clestial Temple can be found there- the mirror image of the Temple in the earthly Jerusalem- as well as an abundance of heavenly palaces, one for each of the patriarchs and matriarchs and sages, where he or she teaches Torah to the attentive souls of the righteous and the angels..." (xliii)

"Drawing on the full range of Jewish sources, sacred and nonsacred, ten major categories of Jewish mythology can be identified: Myths of God, Myths of Creation...Each of these categories explores a mythic realm, and, in the process, reimagines it. This is the secret to the transformations that characterize Jewish mythology. Building on a strong foundation of biblical myth, each generation has embellished the earlier myths, while, at the same time, reinterpeting them for tis own time." (xlv)

Book One: Myths of God

Part XIV: Visions of the Bride of God

83. The Shekhinah at the Wall

Issue: Mention that Shekhinah hovers over Wailing Wall and she doesn't move from there. The north corner is where she reveals herself, and if one wants to see her, they must devote their lives to studying Torah.

84. A Vision at the Wailing Wall 

Issue: Rabbi Abraham Berukhim is follower of Ari who has great wisdom and mystical powers, as well as knowing who will die and live the following year. One night Rabbi Abraham Berukhim is told to travel to Jerusalem and to pray at a Wailing Wall to not die. He does so and sees an old woman who is grieving followed by a woman who is radiant and is told that all should be well. When he comes back, he is granted twenty-two more years.

To Be Continued...

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