One in Messiah Congregation
Beware of made up doctrines like the Queen of Heaven, the Shechinah ( female counterpart of God ) or the Sabbath Queen doctrine. Below are some examples of how evil they are.
The word Shechinah is 176 times in the man madeTalmud.
Jer.7[ 18] The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
Jer.44[ 17] But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil. [ 18] But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine. [19 ] And when we burned incense to the queen of heaven, and poured out drink offerings unto her, did we make her cakes to worship her, and pour out drink offerings unto her, without our men?
 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saying; Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows.
During Friday night prayer services, doors are opened to welcome the Sabbath Queen. What does the Sabbath Queen represent in Judaism?
Shabbat is compared esoterically to a bride given to us by God, whom we long for her arrival - (source: Talmud Shabbat 119a).
Though some do open the door, the common custom is just turn
around toward the door - (source: "Igrot Moshe" by R' M. Feinstein,
O.C. III 45; V 16). With blessings from Jerusalem,
Rabbi Shraga Simmons http://judaism.about.com/library/3_askrabbi_o/bl_simmons_shabbatqueen.htm
The Liturgy treats the Sabbath as a bride and queen, or, as we see in the Mishneh Torah, a king.
Shabbat Table: Challah, Wine and Candles"
The Nature of Shabbat
The Sabbath (or Shabbat, as it is called in Hebrew) is one of the best known and least understood of all Jewish observances. People who do not observe Shabbat think of it as a day filled with stifling restrictions, or as a day of prayer like the Christian Sabbath. But to those who observe Shabbat, it is a precious gift from 29/7/04 , a day of great joy eagerly awaited throughout the week, a time when we can set aside all of our weekday concerns and devote ourselves to higher pursuits. In Jewish literature, poetry and music, Shabbat is described as a bride or queen, as in the popular Shabbat hymn Lecha Dodi Likrat Kallah (come, my beloved, to meet the [Sabbath] bride) . It is said "more than Israel has kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept Israel."
Talmud Mas. Shabbath 119a
I made it a festive day for the scholars. Raba said: May I be rewarded for that when a disciple came before me in a lawsuit, I did not lay my head upon my pillow before I had sought [points in] his favour.1 Mar son of R. Ashi said: I am unfit to judge in a scholar's lawsuit. What is the reason? He is as dear to me as myself, and a man cannot see [anything] to his own disadvantage.
R. Hanina robed himself and stood at sunset of Sabbath eve [and] exclaimed, "Come and let us go forth to welcome the queen Sabbath." 2 R. Jannai donned his robes, on Sabbath eve and exclaimed, "Come, O bride, Come, O bride!"
Rabbah son of R. Huna visited the home of Rabbah son of R. Nahman, [and] was offered three se'ahs of oiled cakes. "Did you know that I was coming?" asked he. Are you then more important 3 to us than it [the Sabbath]? replied he.
Talmud - Mas. Baba Kama 32b
"Come, let us go forth to meet the bride, the queen!" Some [explicitly] read:". . . to meet Sabbath, the bride, the queen." R. Jannai, [however,] while dressed in his Sabbath attire used to remain standing and say: "Come thou, O queen, come thou, O queen!"
Ode to the Sabbath Queen
Drew Family Weekend 1999
Akiva D. Roth, Ed.M.
Assistant Chaplain/Hillel Director
As the sun begins to set on our campus Drew
It is time to gather and bid you Adieu
We take the time to acknowledge the role you play
On this our special holy day
Whether one attends prayer services in an auditorium
Or takes a nice stroll in the arboretum
Each of us recognizes the uniqueness of the Sabbath day
In his or her own special way
Your presence graces us each and every week
It is your company and inspiration we seek
You permit us to depart from our daily grind
And allow us to nurture the mind
The rest of the week we spend entrenched in technology
But on Shabbat we engage in spirituality
Through changing seasons and times you do remain
From our weekly visit you do not abstain
Each week you usher in our island in time
And with us every Friday night you dine
We welcome you into our life
On the Sabbath day we set aside our strife
Your presence is our weekly gift
That gives us that spiritual lift
We all observe Shabbat in a different manner
But to you that is no matter
The time has come to end our sojourn
From our Shabbat oasis we must adjourn
We have now finished our piece
Now it is time to say: I bid you peace.
Sabbath Queen, Author Jerusalem Fohner
Question : What does it mean when we ask the Sabbath Bride to come?
Answer: Throughout Jewish liturgy, G-d is referred to in two aspects; male and female. Where the Sabbath is concerned, it is often likened to the time when the Shechinah, the female aspect of the Lightforce of the Creator, is betrothed to the male aspect of the Lightforce. In the Shabbat hymn "Lecha Dodi", we are inviting the Shabbat Queen to come to her wedding canopy. When the two aspects of the Lightforce are united, the entire universe is in harmony, allowing for the tremendous Light of Shabbat to be revealed in our world.
TROUBADOUR LADY OF LOVE
in the Medieval Jewish Kabbalah
The Jewish mystical "Book Bahir" (Brilliance) appeared ca. 1176 in Provence (Languedoc) in Southern France, that is, in the exact time and geographical location of some of the most intense troubadour activity. The Bahir is one of the books of the early Jewish mystical "Tradition" called the "Kabbalah." Like the songs of 29/7/04 , sections 130-132 of the "Bahir" are modelled on the troubadour's pursuit of the courtly lady -- here especially as regards the pursuit of the mystery of love as symbolic of the pursuit of Divine Wisdom. Translators have also rooted these passages in Christian Gnosticism.
The following excerpt from THE EARLY KABBALAH, edited and introduced by Joseph Dan, Preface by Moshe Idel, translated by Ronald C. Kiener (NY: Paulist Press, 1986).
And what is THE WHOLE EARTH IS FULL OF HIS GLORY? It is all that land which was created in the first day, which is above, corresponding to the Land of Israel, full of the divine Glory. And what is it? Wisdom (Chokmah), as it is written: "Honor (kavod, Glory) of the wise will inherit." And it is said: "Blessed be the Glory of God from Its Place."
And what is this divine Glory? This can be explained by a parable: A king had a great lady in his room. She was loved by all his knights, and she had sons. They all came every day to see the face of the king, and they blessed him. They asked him: "Our mother, where is she?" He said to them, "You cannot see her now." They said; "Blessed is she wherever she is."
What is the meaning of that which is written FROM ITS PLACE? Because no one knows Its place. This is like a king's daughter who came from afar, and nobody knew where she came from. When they saw that she was a fine lady, beautiful and just in all that she did, they said: "She undoubtedly was taken from the side of the light, for her deeds give light to the world." They then asked her: "Where are you from?" She answered: "From my place." They said: "If so, the people of your place must be great! Blessed are you and blessed is your place!
LITURGICAL MUSIC: THE SABBATH QUEEN
The Sabbath Queen. Psalm 29 on CD titled "Water & Baptism" by Venance Fortunat (mixed vocal ensemble), directed by Anne-Marie Deschamps. l'empreiente digitale/Harmonia Mundi ED13060, 1996.
From the CD liner notes:
"[This] Recitation of Psalm 29 [is] the musical version belonging to the Greek Jews whose ancestors had been driven out of Spain. The chant is very similar to others found in oriental Sephardic communities. It was transcribed early this century [20th] by the famous musicologist Abraham Tsvi Idelsohn (in the THESAURUS OF JEWISH MUSIC). It is one of a group of chants sung to welcome the Sabbath; following the 16th c. kabbalist movement, the Sabbath is compared to a queen whom one goes to meet at sunset every Friday evening."
Anyone reading a non-Hebrew text of Psalm 29 will wonder why it was chosen to celebrate a "Sabbath Queen." Yet if read in Hebrew it is evident that the entire purpose of the psalm is to lead to and rejoice in a final resting place/time -- "YHWH on the flood sits and sits YHVH king forever." In Jewish mysticism the repetition of "sits and sits" (yashab ve-yesheb) deepens and stretches out this sense of completion. In addition YHVH is here named as "king" and therefore the king's "resting forever" is interpreted as His partner and queen.
In the Kabbalist book called ZOHAR (The Book of Enlightenment), which was first distributed in Spain in the late 13th century, there is a hymn called "The Secret of Sabbath" which helps to further identify the Sabbath rest as goddess and queen (see ZOHAR, translation and introduction by Daniel Chanan Matt, Paulist Press, 1983)
THE SECRET OF SABBATH
The Secret of Sabbath:
She is Sabbath!
United in the secret of One
to draw down upon Her
the secret of One.
The prayer for the entrance of Sabbath:
The holy Throne of Glory is united in the secret of One,
prepared for the High Holy King to rest upon Her.
When Sabbath enters She is alone,
separated from the Other Side,
all judgments removed from Her.
Basking in the oneness of holy light,
She is crowned over and over to face the Holy King.
All powers of wrath and masters of judgment
flee from Her.
Her face shines with a light from beyond;
She is crowned below by the holy people,
and all of them are crowned with new souls.
Then the beginning of prayer
to bless Her with joy and beaming faces:
Barekbu ET YHVH* ha-Mevorakh ,
"Bless ET YHVH, the-Blessed One,"
ET YHVH, blessing Her first.
(*ET-YHVH is another name for 'Shekinah' (the feminine Divine Presence). In the Kabbalah, ET stands for Aleph to Tav, like our Alpha to Omega, or A to Z. Here ET refers to the song itself as the ultimate speech, hymn or prayer. According to the notes of Daniel Chanan Matt's translation, this passage from the ZOHAR is recited in the Sephardic liturgy on Sabbath Eve.)
Illustrations: Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1652): Detail of JUDITH and WOMAN PLAYING A LUTE (29.7.04 )
Queen Sabbath and its Relationship to Orthodox Women:
Orthodox Jews often refer to the Sabbath as a woman, calling it "Queen Sabbath." This terminology is used to express the great amount of anticipation that leads up to this day of rest. The use of the word Queen then has a dual significance. The Sabbath is sometimes also portrayed as a bride.
This image is especially important to Orthodox women, who for the most part find their primary role in the Jewish community through their position as wife and mother. The Sabbath is primarily focused on finding rest and renewal while spending time with family and friends. The prayers are centered around blessings for the family. This makes the day a time where the primary roles of the women are recognized and praised. In the Reform and Conservative traditions women have a variety of roles t hrough which they can express their religiosity, so the Sabbath becomes less significant in these branches in terms of heightening the role of women.
Blu Greenberg points out that lighting the candles on the Sabbath is one of three mitzvot that women are specifically commanded to perform. Greenberg looks to education and an appreciation for the role that women already do have in Orthodox Judaism as the place to begin before looking for new ways to further the role of women.
The Beauty and Power of Shavuot
In order to connect to the awesome Light of Shavuot we need to understand and appreciate the great opportunity available to us on this day. Many of us know that the Torah was revealed on this day but we do not realize that there was actually much more happening.
The Zohar reveals that the existence of the world was standing in the balance. If the Israelites had not accepted the Torah then the world would have not existed anymore. Why is this? Why would a nations acceptance or rejection of a book of wisdom have such ramifications? Was the destruction of the world a punishment from the Creator for us mortals not accepting his beloved Torah?
The answer lies in a truer understanding of the Torah. Yes, the Torah is made up of letters words and literal meanings, but, more important than all of that is the essence of the Torah. The essence of the Torah is the Light of the Creator the source of all goodness .
The Torah is a living awesome force. It holds within it the power that sustains us individually and the entire world. Amazingly it also holds within it the ability to stave off death entirely. In giving the Torah the Creator was in essence injecting the world with his true essence. Furthermore he was giving all of us the ability to control our lives by connecting through the Torah to his Light, the stronger our connection the greater the blessings and Light that we draw. Up until that time the worlds ability to connect to His Light and control their lives was limited.
With this understanding we can begin to appreciate the great opportunity of this day. We can reconnect with the Creators essence, which can bestow to us and to the world, abundant Light, blessings and Life.
Also we can begin to understand the amazing statement made by 29/7/04 in the Zohar. The Zohar explains on a deeper level that what happens on Shavuot can be understood as a matrimony. The Kabbalists explain that there are two main spiritual sources named The Holy One blessed be He, and his female counterpart the Shechinah. They connect or separate depending on our spiritual actions when we do positive spiritual actions they unite, and that union draws Light from the supernal worlds, which then flows down to us. If we do negative actions we cause them to separate, this reduces the amount of Light we receive. On Shavuot the amount of Light that is revealed is tremendous, this is described as the marriage and union of The Holy One blessed be He and the Shechinah. This is very beautiful and powerful time.
One of the best ways to connect to this Light is by staying up the entire night of Shavuot and reading from the Torah. This reveals great Light in the world more specifically through the reading we are preparing and beautifying the Shechinah the Bride for the supernal wedding. Rabbi Shimon in the Zohar says: "Sit beloved, sit and lets prepare the bride on this night, for everybody who connects to her on this night, will be protected for the entire year above and below, and he will complete his year in peace."
This is a beautiful and revelatory statement. Rabbi Shimon is proclaiming here that if we connect to Shavuot we are guaranteeing ourselves a peaceful and blessed life for the entire year. What an amazing gift! And as is true in all spiritual things the greater our understanding and joy of this amazing gift the greater the Light, which we draw from it, is.
Can you believe this? Beware!