Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 3 Part 5.10

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 V: The Seven Heavens

217. The Seven Heavens

Issue: Begins with description of heavens and their purposes or deeds, from first heaven to fifth heaven. It also describes the sixth and seventh heaven, mentioning that seventh is the greatest and its where treasures of all sorts can be discovered and where G-d is situated.

218. The Eighth Heaven

Issue: A possibility of Eighth heaven is raised, and its purpose is for the hidden mysteries, although they're not allowed to be told or revealed by others.

219. The Pargod

Issue: Within paradise there is a curtain that tells of past and future deeds and that is used to separate G-d from angel Metatron as well as G-d's bride. Rabbi Ishmael, thanks to the angel Metatron taking him up, witnessed all generations from Adam to the days of Messiah. Afterwards, Rabbi Ishmael praised G-d for the work and creations.

220. The Map of Time And Space

Issue: A king of sorts possesses a map that illustrates everything from structure of the worlds to the possible smallest detail.

221. The Place of the Stars

Issue: Rabbi Ishmael who ascended to heaven was shown stars that surrounded G-d's throne by the angel Metatron. Metatron clapped his hands so the stars flew away, and as they walked, he mentioned each star by name. The angel Rahatiel counts all the stars in the firmament and they praise G-d. In future times G-d plans to create them anew.

222. The Rainbow of the Shekhinah

Issue: Description of the rainbow such as where it rests and who carries it as well as the angel's appearance.

223. The Music of the Spheres

Issue: In heaven there is always music, and there are thoughts as to the source of music. If mortals hear this type of music, then unimaginable consequences would happen. Something like this happened to Moses and it continued to be with him for the rest of his life.

224. The Treasury of Merits

Issue: Heaven also has Treasury of Merits which sounds a bit similar to Pandora's Box, although if G-d is praised, then the curses are not allowed to leave the room. There are also treasuries of comfort where angels create various things such as crowns and comfort others. At one point Moses went up to heaven and was shown these wonders. He also sees Treasury of Gifts and asks G-d about it. G-d says he will give it to whoever He wants.

225. The Wings of Heaven

Issue: Both wings of heaven as well as wings of the land are tied to one another, and the seal that is used is of G-d's name.

To be continued...

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