Sunday, December 27, 2015

Book Review for Tree of Souls The Mythology of Judaism by Howard Schwartz Book 2 Part 11.15

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 Two: Myths of Creation

 Part XI: The Wheel of Creation

153. The Wheel of Creation

Issue: Discussion of repetition and how everything is cyclical in teh world, as well as how things and people metamorph from one to another and then back to their original forms.

154. The Cosmic Tree

Issue: G-d created a cosmic tree that had everything emerging from it, be it souls, or other things that emanate from it. It is believed that souls of the righteous will attach themselves to the tree. G-d also was alone when he planted the tree, causing angels to not be able to raise themselves and proclaim themselves to be there as well.

155. The Shattering of the Vessels and the Gathering of the Sparks

Issue: In beginning of time, G-d decided to contract Himself so that other things can exist as well. There is also creation of ten vessels that is filled with primordial light. Unfortunately the vessels shattered and the sparks they carried scattered everywhere. A thought that Jewish people were meant to find sparks which explains so many exiles. And when vessels have been restored, G-d will finally repair the world and will hasten the final redemption.

156.  Creation by Broken Vessels

Issue: Shortly before existence of Creation, G-d created and destroyed many worlds. The created and the destroyed worlds were the shattered vessels that were sent forth. One of the broken vessels was used to create the present universe.

To Be Continued...

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