Union With God in Judaism? Not According to Gospels.

Dr Thomas Hickey

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Professor Boaz Huss wrote in part:

"Rabbinic Judaism does not reject the possibility of the creature to become God, as Prof. Dugin asserts, but rather assumes that the human creature was created as Divine."

This is very interesting to me as a student of mystical traditions. In most traditions, it is fairly easy to locate quotations to the effect that the creature not only can become God but is called to become God and is indeed destined to realize the inherent God-state at the end of a chain of reincarnation. For example, Advaita Vedanta's aham brahmasmi, Hallaj's anal Haqq, are often translated as equivalent to "I am God" in the sense that the embodied individual has experientially realized the mystical significance of only One is and I am That. The same can be said in different ways forBuddhism and Taoism, as well as Sikhism and Jainism also. In Christianity, a number of Christian mystics have described experiences of mystical union seemingly indistinguishable from ultimate transcendence, although they have generally stopped short of specifically asserting that they were God, which would have been to overstep the doctrinal boundary.

On the other hand, there is the assertion of Jesus that "Before Abraham was, I am," and "I and the Father are one," which, if we are to believe the NT reports, the rabbis of the time considered blasphemous. And while the putative "apostasy" is the chief charge against Sabbatai Zevi as an impostor, his claim to divinity is not received favorably either. My understanding has been that the conventional teaching of Judaism is that divine union to the degree that one can state that "I am God" is not permitted doctrinally.

Considering that this mystical testimony of the realization of Unity is found in virtually all other mystical traditions, it has always seemed to me that it would be quite remarkable if it were not found in mystical Judaism also. Yet, I have not yet been able to uncover it other than in Jesus and Sabbatai Zevi, both of whom conventional Judaism has rejected as false prophets, judging from what I have read. Perhaps I am not acquainted with the relevant texts. Also, I am well aware that in many traditions there are open-door and closed door teachings, and it may be that in mystical Judaism the acknowledgment of is a closed door teaching and that some in mystical Judaism may have privately claimed experience of the "I am God" state, or simply remained silent about it. But if no one has gone public in the long history of Judaic mysticism, one wonders if perhaps this may have been due to the prevailing doctrinal climate rather an lack of experience or personal reticence concerning its expression.

In summary, I would appreciate knowing the following:

1. What would be the position of Rabbinic Judaism with respect to such assertions as "I am God," as in aham brahmasmi, anal Haqq, and "I and the Father are one."

2. Are there any such assertions in mystical Judaism.

3. Did Sabbatai Zevi make such a mystical assertion of manifestation himself or was a divine state only attributed to him by others.

Shalom, Salaam, Shanti,

Tom Hickey

posted on the Donmeh mail list
Sun, 24 Oct 1999

About the author: external link Thomas Hickey is Director of the Circle School, spiritual counselor, Vedic astrologer, Yogacharya of the Advaitin tradition, Bishop in apostolic succession in the Communion of the Christos, and Taoist sifu.

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