Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 3 Part 4.10

General Information:

Name of Book: Tree of Souls

ISBN: 9780195086799

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

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 Three: Myths of Heavens

 Part IV: The Divine Chariot

215. Ezekiel's Vision

Issue: On 30th year in Chebar Canal a vision comes to Ezekiel. A stormy wind came over and the man sees four creatures. Description of these creatures follows as having four of each limbs. More description of these creatures follows but it focuses on faces and wings. Fire seemed to be with them. There is also description of their movements and wheels. More descriptions of the vastness above them as well as wings. After all that, Ezekiel finally beholds G-d and he falls down and begins his worship.

216. Mysteries of the Chariot

Issue: When Rabbi Yohanan Ben Zakkai and Rabbi Eleazar ben Arakh ride through a field on their donkeys, Rabbi Eleazar asks Rabbi Yohanan to teach him something about Mysteries of Chariot. Rabbi Yohanan reminds the student that such mysteries cannot be revealed to soeone who doesn't understand and encourages Rabbi Eleazar to begin discussion. Rabbi Eleazar dismounts and begins to pray and explains why he does so. While they were talking, an angel descends and tells them that these are the mysteries discussed on Pargod. Rabbi Yohanan blesses Rabbi Eleazar after discussion. Later on other  two Rabbis, Rabbi Yehoshua and Rabbi Yossi ha-Kohen stopped at the same spot and had a group of angels listening to their discussion. When Rabbi Yossi and Rabbi Yohanan meet, Rabbi Yohanan reveals the dream he had.

To be continued...

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