Monday, May 04, 2009

Abbahu: Magic Herbalist, Fiery Preacher

Along with my earlier entries on Jewish shamans of the Talmudic era,

Choni the Circle Drawer: Rainmaker and Rip Van Win...
Chanina Ben Dosa: Jewish Shaman
Akiba: Mystic and Miracle-Worker
Lamed Vavniks: The thirty-six righteous who sustai...
Rav Aha ben Jacob: Dragon Slayer, The Jewish Beowu...
Joshua ben Levi: Esoteric Master, Cosmic Jester

I must add Rabbi Abbahu. This Talmudic Sage (ca. 3rd-4th century) was a man of exceptional physical perfection, rivaling that of Jacob and Adam (B.M. 84a). When he sat and interpreted Torah, supernal fire would flash around him (S of S R. 1:10). He experienced clairvoyant dreams (T.Y., Taanit 1:4, 64b). He once escorted Elijah to Eden, where he gathered healing leaves, wrapping them in his cloak. Afterward he discovered his cloak had such a heavenly scent that he could sell it for a great price (B.M. 114a-b). An avid collector of lore both legal and legendary, he preserved stories of how angels intervened in the lives of biblical figures (PdRE 16, 43). He was given a glimpse of his reward in the Olam ha-Ba (the World to Come) before he died, which appeared to him as thirteen rivers of soothing balm (T.Y., A.Z. 3:1). When he did die, the building pillars in his home town, Caesarea, voiced their mourning (Mo'ed Katan 25b; T.Y. A.Z. 3:1, 42c).

Zal g'mor - To learn more consult the Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism: http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Jewish-Myth-Magic-Mysticism/dp/0738709050


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also an avid movie watcher (and reader of this blog)! I love star wars most of all. While surfing the Jedi wikipedia page (I'm a pretty big dork) I stumbled upon a historical influences section of the page. Low and behold under historical influences Jewish mystics were listed as a source of inspiration for the character of the Jedi. I am sure you are not a star wars freak, and wikipedia is obviously not the best source of information, but I was wondering about what you thought of the comparison of the character of the Jedi to Jewish mystics deceived in tradition.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything comparable to the Akashic Records in Jewish mysticism?

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading each of your posts. Thank you very much.
I also have your book.

Lammed vav...36 I was taught that in the eastern European hassidic tradition that the idea of 36 came from the scripture Is 30:18 ashrei kol h.okhei lo.....lo lammed vav
Blessed are all who wait, the 36.

Per the sephardic tradition I was taught that there are a minimum of 36 at any given time. Also taught that the idea of lammedvavniks was not original to Judaistic thought.I think the sephardic tradition tends to thrive on more mystical tradition and myths than mainstream American Jewish tradition (I could easily be wrong).

I love how you don't ridicule any tradition's myths. This is very uplifting and a good example for us all.

Thanks again

7:09 PM  
Blogger Geoffrey Dennis said...

The idea of the Jedi league has some parallels in Jewish thought, but really it is an archetype that crosses cultures - an elite masters who sustain/defend the world with supernatural influence. The nistarim, the 36 hidden righteous is one example in Jewish tradition. The kabbalist as interpreted in Tikkunei Zohar is another. And in Hasidic thought, the Tzaddikim who nurture the people while intervening with God is another. None of them, however, had light sabers. The warrior aspect of the Jedi has more to do with the eastern tradition of warrior monks than with Judaism.

Thanks for the additional material on the Lamed Vavniks. Very interesting!

10:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, This is a great blog. I just found it. I am about to begin a dissertation on art and spirituality with a particular focus on indigenous shamanism and jewish mysticism. can you tell me of any Jewish women who were shamans/ mystics/ herbalists/healers?

6:11 PM  

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