A Neo-Sabbatian Discourse on the Son of God
Part 4, "The Transmogrification of Israel"

"Then Jacob was left alone: and a man wrestled with him until the breaking of day....The man then asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Ya'akov,' he replied. The man said, 'Your name shall no longer be Ya'akov, but Yisrael [A Prince of God]; because you have been strong against God, you shall prevail against men.' " (Genesis 32:28-30)

Two key questions are raised by Jacob's struggle with "the man" he encounters the night before his reunion with Esau: Who was this adversary? and what does Jacob's promotion to the name "Israel" signify? To begin with, and for reasons which will become obvious, Christian apologists identify this "man" as "God." But there are two Hebrew words for "man" -- adham and 'ish. The former generally signifies a kinship with God, while the latter refers to a separation from Him.

The Transmogrification of Jacob According to Jewish Oral Torah

Now if, as Christian exegetes claim, this "man" who wrestled with Jacob had been God, then the word adham would have been used in the Hebrew text to identify him; but the fact is, the text uses the word 'ish -- thus denoting a status inferior to God rather than approximate to Him. The error, of course, arises from the limited data-base from which the Christians interpret Jewish Holy Scripture, and their investment in de-Judaizing the Hebrew Bible in the service of avoiding its embarrassing implications for a Christology that claims to be based on "Old Testament" prophecy but, in fact, is not. This "data-base" with which the Gentiles in general and Christians in particular are unfamiliar includes the Torah Sh'Baal Peh, or "Oral Torah," which is considered in Judaism to be equal in authority to the Torah Sh'Bik Tav, or "Written Torah," which Gentiles and Christians mistakenly call the "Old Testament":

"A fundamental issue with the [Jewish Sages] was the acceptance of a traditional Torah, transmitted from one generation to another by word of mouth, side-by-side with the written text. It was claimed that the Oral Torah, equally with the Written Torah, goes back to the revelation on Sinai, if not in detail at least in principle." (Rabbi Abraham Cohen, Everyman's Talmud, Schocken Books, 1949, p. 146)

Now, as anyone familiar with this Oral Torah knows, the fact is that Jacob's adversary was not God but, on the contrary, the fallen angel Samael who is also called Adversary or, in Hebrew, Satan:

"AND THERE WRESTLED A MAN WITH HIM, ETC. The angel here mentioned was Samael [the Satan], chieftain of Esau. (Zohar 2:170a)

And Rashi brings down from Oral Torah that "the man" with whom Jacob struggled, and whom he defeated, was "the guardian angel of Esau" (Rashi Commentaries I:32:23) -- which means Samael, the Satan, from whom, as I have already pointed out, according to the Zohar, Esau descended. As a proof text, consider the Midrash:

"Esau had Samael [i.e., Satan] as his ally, who desired [as he did] to slay Jacob." (Quoted in Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Bible, Jewish Publication Society, 1956)

Elsewhere in Jewish Oral Scripture Jacob's wrestling match, and conquest over, Samael (i.e., Satan) is described as follows:

"The [wife] of Samael is called Serpent, Woman of Whoredom, End of All Flesh, End of Days.....Jacob descended to her, went straight to her abode, as it is said: 'and he set out for Haran.' He saw all the trappings of her house and was saved from her. Her mate, Samael, was offended and swooped down to wage war against Jacob, but could not overcome him, as it is written: 'And a man wrestled with him, etc.' Now Jacob was saved and perfected, raised to a high rung, total perfection!" (Italics mine. Zohar Sitrei Torah 1:147a-148b)

Thus, Jacob's victory over Satan, the Guardian Angel of Esau with whom he was about to meet, was his moment of transmogrification from "The Supplanter" (i.e. Ya'akov) to "A Prince of God" (i.e., Yisrael) -- from the condition of imperfection to that of perfection; from being partly human to being wholly divine -- from mortality to immortality. Thus, Rashi brings down from Oral Torah the Scripture:

"Jacob our father did not die." (Commentaries of Rashi, 1:49:33)

That is, Jacob, miraculously conceived by a miraculously-conceived father, is the "Second Adam" (by virtue of his sonship with God) who, unlike the first Adam, conquers Satan rather than being defeated by him. Moreover, since it was the evil Samael, riding on the Serpent, as the Zohar tells us, who prompted the "first" Adam to fall from Grace, Jacob's victory constitutes a reparation, a Tikkun on behalf of all mankind for the first Adam's original sin. In this manner, Jacob proves himself to be the Perfect Priest -- one who conquers evil by descending into it -- and is therefore called "Israel," a Prince of God. Similarly for this same reason his heirs -- the fruit of his seed, his eternal sons and daughters, the Jewish people -- are also called Israel and priests. As the Holy One, Blessed be He, declared to them:

"You [Jews] shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:6)

We see this elevation of the Jewish people to the status of a Priestly Nation dramatically portrayed in the Book of Job (see my essay, A Commentary on the Book of Job) when, at the end, Yahweh declares to Job's three Edomite friends:

"I burn with anger against [you three Gentiles]....for not speaking truthfully about my as my servant Job [the Jew] has done. So now find seven bullocks and seven rams, and take them back with you to my servant Job and offer a sacrifice for yourselves, while Job, my servant, offers prayers for you. I will listen to him with favor and excuse your folly." (Job 42:7-8)

The Immortality of Jacob

"Who has set all the ends of the earth firm? What is his name, or the name of his son?" (Proverbs 30:4)

In conclusion, then, not only was Jacob (who was to be elevated to the status of Yisrael) miraculously conceived, as his own father Isaac had been, but Jewish Oral Scripture states he was immortal. As Rashi, whom we have already quoted, brings down, "Jacob our father did not die." Come and see: This is because the Hebrew word viamot ("and he died") ends the account of every Patriarch in the Bible except that of Jacob which, instead, ends with the words, "And he was gathered to his people" (Gen. 49:33) -- which is to say, he is reincarnated into every generation of the Jews. According to the Oral Torah, he was reincarnated as Elijah, and Elijah as Pinchas. For example, the Prophet Elijah is linked to Jacob through the Hebrew letter vav (which according to Kabbalah symbolizes the prophet himself) in both their names suggesting they are one and the same person:

"The name of Jacob is spelled with an additional vav five times in scripture [while the name of Elijah is spelled five times without its vav]....The vav [therefore] implies close relationship between events and continuity between generations." (Rabbi Michael L. Munk, The Wisdom in the Hebrew Alphabet, Mesorah Publications, 1983, p. 95)

And Pinchas, in turn, is believed by the Sages to be linked to Elijah through the passage of Oral Torah:

"Rabbah b. Abbuha met Elijah standing in a Gentile cemetery.....Said Rabbah to Elijah: Art thou not a priest [like Pinchas]?" (Talmud, Ba. Met. 114a-b)

These connections suggest that Jacob is immortal and present in every generation. When viewed in this way, the Shema prayer of the Jewish liturgy takes on a wholly different meaning. The words, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is One" no longer are being addressed merely to the congregation of Israel, but to Israel himself -- to the immortal person of Jacob. Thus, in this way, the Jews affirm the divine paternity of Jacob and address his living presence as Israel, the first-born son of God, from whom they inherit that title and the burden of its holy priesthood. Indeed,

"This is what the Lord God says: Israel is my first-born son." (Exodus 4:22)

PART: 1 2 3 4

| 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 |
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