Part 2, "Common Vessels of God"

"Two men had strayed back in the camp . . . . [and] began to prophesy. Then said Joshua, son of Nun, who had served Moses from his youth, 'My Lord Moses, stop them!' Moses answered him, 'Are you jealous on my account? If only the whole people of Yahweh were prophets, and Yahweh gave his spirit to them all!'" (Numbers 11:26)

One of the greatest impediments ordinary people like you and me have to becoming vessels of God is the common belief that we cannot do so unless we are, like our mistaken notion of Moses, untainted, holy, saintly, free of sin. But even Moses implied that all of Israel (which is to say, all Mankind) could and should receive the Holy Spirit (Hebrew = Ruach HaKodesh) in order for them to be His prophets and Tzaddikim. However, a close inspection of Jewish mystical writings, as well as those of the unlikely C. G. Jung, suggest otherwise. For example, the great Tzaddik, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov said:

"I have spoken with many great Tzaddikim [his own great-grandfather was the Ba'al Shem Tov]. They all said that they attained their high level through Prostik -- absolute ordinariness [or 'ignorance']. They would do the most ordinary things, secluding themselves and conversing with G-d. This is how they attained what they did. Happy are they." (Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom, trans. and annotated by R. Aryeh Kaplan, Breslov Research Institute, 1973, Saying Number 154)

Moreover, he also stated:

"The Talmud teaches us that every prayer that does not include the prayers of the sinners of Israel is not a true prayer. If I consider myself a sinner, then I am an essential ingredient of every worship service. No prayer is perfect without me."(Ibid, Saying Number 295)

In the same vein, Rebbe Nachman's great-grandfather, 18th century founder of Jewish mystical Hasidism, the Ba'al Shem Tov, stated:

"This is the mystery of the oneness of God, that at whatever place I, an insignificant bit, lay hold of it, I lay hold of the whole. And since all teaching and all Commandments are radiations of His being, so he who fulfills any one mitzvah [commandment from God] in love to its very ground, and by this single mitzvah lays hold of the oneness of God, thereby holds the whole in his hand as though he had fulfilled the entire Torah." ("Instructions in Intercourse with God,"trans. by Martin Buber in Hasidism and Modern Man, Horizon Press, 1958, p. 191)


"Whoever does the right thing or applies himself to a teaching in the fervor of cleaving to God, he makes his body the throne of the life-soul and the life-soul the throne of the heart and the heart the throne of the spirit and the spirit the throne of the light of the indwelling Glory, and he sits in the midst of the light and trembles and rejoices." (Ibid, p. 193)

and even more to the point of the Holy Sinner:

"The indwelling Glory embraces all worlds, all creatures, good and evil. And it is the true unity. How can it then bear in itself the opposites of Good and Evil? But in truth there is no opposite, for the evil is the throne of the good."(Op. Cit., p. 208)

Finally, in our own time, the modern prophet and theologian, C. G. Jung, wrote:

"We can, of course, hope for the undeserved grace of God who hears our prayers. But God, who also does not hear our prayers, wants to become man, and for that purpose he has chosen, through the Holy Ghost [i.e., Ruach HaKodesh], the creaturely man filled with darkness -- the natural man who is tainted with original sin and who learnt the divine arts and sciences from the fallen angels. The guilty man is eminently suitable and is therefore chosen to become the vessel for the continuing incarnation, not the guiltless one who holds himself aloof from the world and refuses to pay his tribute to life, for in him the dark God would find no room."(Answer to Job, par. 746)

In other words, it's not the saints, the pious and the righteous whom God chooses as the vessels for His continuing incarnation in this trashy world, but the ordinary ones, the common ones, who, like the world itself, themselves are trash. It is the Holy Sinners whom He chooses, we who have been bruised and soiled by life -- who have dirtied ourselves in the dust to which the Holy Bride has fallen, and from where she must be lifted up -- we who have sinned and will probably sin again because it is in the nature of the scorpion to sting -- we who belch and fart and scratch our asses -- who bounce the rent check, get divorced, cheat and sometimes (if we must) even steal -- but who, nonetheless, in the secret caves we keep for God, nurse the wounds inflicted on us by His love as if they were stigmata, not from thorny crowns or nails, but from the insults of each day that eat away at life.

And even then, not all of those who sin are Holy Sinners, but only those who, at the very moment of our sin, like Samuel, cry out: "Hinayni, Lord! Here I am!" Thereby proving to the Father that although we may be cast down and beaten, we are never cracked or broken. By surviving and transmuting a just punishment for our unjust sins we prove ourselves to Him to be strong enough to contain the wine of His Holy Spirit without bursting or becoming, like those for whom we pour it out, drunk.


"The followers of Balaam had the wrong humility; they debased their hearts by not trusting themselves to fulfill the Commandment.....Make out of evil, Good."-- The Ba'al Shem Tov ("Instructions in Intercourse with God," trans. by Martin Buber in Hasidism and Modern Man, Horizon Press, 1958, p. 211)

We see the Holy Sinner represented in the Tree of the Ten Sefirot by Sefirah Yesod (which, in turn, represents the phallus), who mediates between Sefirah Malkuth (a.k.a., the "Fallen Shekhinah/Bride") and Sefirah Tiferet (a.k.a. Ze'ir Anpin, or "Smaller Face of God," also known as the "Rising Groom"):

Now notice there are two "Paths of Wisdom" leading down into Yesod from which the Tzaddik derives his Powers: these are the right-hand path from Netzach, identified in Kabbalah by the Hebrew letter Tzaddi, and the left-hand path identified by the Hebrew letter Resh. Given the conclusions in my seventh lecture on "The Thirty-Two Paths of Wisdom in the Ten Sefirot", where I discuss the Right and Left Columns of the Tree as being "positive" and "negative" respectively, it is significant that the right-hand letter Tzaddi in this case is associated in Kabbalah with "righteousness," while the left-hand letter Resh is associated with "sin."

  • Hebrew Word for Sinner = Rasha = Resh + Shin + Ayin
  • Hebrew Word for Righteous = Tzadak = Tzaddi + Vauv + Daled + Kaf
Thus, the Holy Sinner -- like Sabbatai Zevi, Jacob Frank, and anyone like ourself who chooses to emulate them -- is he by whom "righteousness" and "sin" are combined and reconciled with each other in order to lead the "Bride" (Shekhinah) to her "Groom" (Tiferet) who, as Ze'ir Anpin (the "Smaller Face"), then leads the three to the Throne of Keter, Atikah Kadisha, the "Larger Face" -- the "Ancient Holy One" -- in whom All become One, and the Face of God Repaired.

"When Israel is punished [by the Holy One, Blessed is He], He repents for what He has done and He makes demands [of Himself] on behalf of their shame." (Sepher Tomer Devorah, Sepher-Hermon Edition, 1974, p. 64)

God repents? Clearly so, at least according to Kabbalah: "When Israel is punished, [God] repents for what He has done [to them]." But "repentance," by definition, is always in the service of remediating a prior sin -- one does not "repent" of Good deeds, but only Evil ones. Therefore, if God "repents," as we are told He does in Sepher Tomer Devorah, then He also sins.

Indeed, God, like His creation, mankind, does sin -- we are told so here and elsewhere -- and, by sinning, so provides the paradigm, the Supernal Template as it were, for us Holy Sinners here on earth to follow. That is to say, by coming into the knowledge of evil as well as good, the Holy Sinner becomes aligned with God:

"Then Yahweh God said: See, the man has become like one of us, with his knowledge of good and evil." (Genesis 3:22)

But notice that mankind was already Good, even prior to having become, by eating from the Tree of Knowledge, "like one of us, knowing Good and Evil." God had already implanted His Holy Spirit in Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:7); so it was by eating the forbidden fruit that an unprecedented Evil was added to their pre-existing Good, thus elevating them to that divine status which so troubled God.

All of which is to say that the Holy Sinner completes the wholeness of God by sinning -- that is, since God is both Good and Evil, the presence of one without the other violates His unity and omnipotence:

"I do not mean that Yahweh is imperfect or evil like a Gnostic demiurge. He is everything in its totality; therefore, among other things, he is total justice [i.e., 'goodness'] and also its total opposite [i.e., 'sin']." (C.G. Jung, Answer to Job, par. 574)

Nowhere do we see this "totality" of God demonstrated more clearly than in the Biblical Book of Job. As Jung points out:

"Job answers Yahweh thus: 'Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer thee? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.' (Job 40:4-5) And indeed, in the immediate presence of the infinite power of creation, this is the only possible answer for a witness who is still trembling in every limb with the terror of almost total annihilation.....This is perhaps the greatest thing about Job, that, faced with this difficulty, he does not doubt the unity of God. He clearly sees that God is at odds with himself -- so totally at odds that he, Job, is quite certain of finding in God a helper and 'advocate' against [his adversary] God." (Ibid, pars. 560-561, 567)

Thus, the completeness of God is contained in His dual nature as both "Advocate" and "Adversary." For example, we see this reflected in the upper regions of the Ten Sefirot, where there is the interplay between "Left" and "Right," Darkness and Light, by which the unity of God is restored through Sefirah Keter, the "Holy King Messiah", who unites Good and Evil (Chesed and Gervurah) in himself:

 (Ancient Holy One) 
2. 3.
BINAH/Understanding CHOKMAH/Wisdom
(Left Side/Dark) (Right Side/Light)
4. 5.
("Adversary") ("Advocate")
 (Holy King Messiah) 

Thus, in one of the earliest forms of Christianity, the so-called "Libertines" (meaning "Liberated Ones"), we see Jesus, cast in the role of the Holy Sinner, teaching that sin was a prerequisite for redemption -- even, it is claimed, going so far as to use human semen as the "living water" with which to "baptize" his followers. (For more on Jesus as the Holy Sinner among the early Libertine Christians, see Prof. Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret Gospel of Mark, Harvard University Press, 1953, particularly pages 258-262.) So it is, with regard to the Holy Sinner in Sabbatian Kabbalah, that Gershom Scholem could write:

"In the history of religion we frequently encounter types of individuals known as 'pneumatics' (pneumatikoi) or 'spiritualists' (spirituales). Such persons, who played a major role in the development of Sabbatianism, were known in Jewish tradition as 'spiritual' or 'extra-spirited' men or, in the language of the Zohar, as 'masters of a holy soul.' These terms did not refer to just anyone who may have had occasion in the course of his life to be 'moved by the spirit'; rather, they applied only to those few who abode in the 'palace of the king' (hekal ha-melech), that is, who lived in continual communion with a spiritual realm through whose gates they had passed, whether by actually dwelling within it to the point of abandoning their previous existence, or by appropriating it from a 'spark' or 'holy soul,' as only the elect were privileged to do. One so favored was in certain respects no longer considered to be subject to the laws of everyday reality, having realized within himself the hidden world of divine light." (Gershom Scholem, The Messianic Idea in Judaism, Schocken Books, 1971, p. 89)

On the other hand, not all sin is holy, and not all who sin are Holy Sinners. Sinning for the sake of sin is sinful; sinning for the sake of God is holy. The man who writes a bad check for a prostitute, and the rabbi who writes a bad check for the prayer books of his congregation are both sinners, and both will be punished, but the former sinned for the sake of his own gratification, while the latter sinned for the sake of God.

| Sabbatai Zevi | Jacob Frank | Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain |
| A Critical Re-Assessment of Sabbatai Zevi |
| Reb Yakov Leib HaKohain's Professions of a Holy Sinner |
| The Zohar |
| Knowing the Unknowable |
| A Brief Note on Enlightenment |
| A Neo-Sabbatian Discourse on the Son of God |
| A Primer of "Yalhakian" Neo-Sabbatian Kabbalah |
| Participating in the Continuing Incarnation of God |
| Sabbatai Zevi's 'God of the Faith' | Evolution of the Ego |
| Two Torahs of Kabbalah: Torah D'Atziluth & Torah D'Beriah |
| On the Limits of Antinomianism | The Transformation of God |
| Commentary on the 13th Century "Treatise on the Left Emanation" |
| A Selection of Neo-Sabbatian Quotations Culled from Various Sources |
| Commentaries on Rabbi Azriel of Gerona's 12th Century Text, "Explanation of the Ten Sefirot" |
| Kabbalistic Genetics of the Holy Seed & Reclaiming the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel |
| A Commentary on the Book of Job | Kabbalah and the Interpretation of Dreams |
| To Die for the People: A Kabbalistic Reinterpretation of the Crucifixion of Jesus |
| The Shemot Shel Katzar Tikkunim: Revealing the Concealed Names of God |
| The Christian Myth of Melchizedek vs. Hereditary Jewish Priesthood |
| The Apocrypha of Jacob Frank | The Tikkun of Raising Animals |
| Appointment in Smyrna: A Neo-Sabbatian Odyssey |
| Sabbatai Zevi and the Mystery of the Red Heifer |
| The Kabbalah of the Hindu Mantra "OM" |
| The Mystery of the Middle Column |
| The Hidden Structures of Water |
| Exegesis on the Rod of Aaron |
| Book of Silence |
| Ten Sefirot of Jewish Kabbalah | Sufi Lion of Bektashi Islam |
| Mandala of Tibetian Buddhism | Seven Chakras of Tantric Hinduism |
| Ox-Herding Pictures of Zen Buddhism | Rosarium Pictures of Christian Alchemy |
| Donmeh West Home Page |
| Schedule of Live Online Classes | Links |
| Join Donmeh West |

  All original material on this website is ©2004 Donmeh West and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission.