And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 4:5


Tragedy of a Jewish Mystic


Last week, the Associated Press (8/31/99) reported the controversial fatal shooting by New York police of a mentally disturbed Jewish man. It seems that Gideon Busch had been "brandishing a hammer and threatening children while singing loudly. . .

"At least five officers arrived and found Gideon Busch, 31, in the basement of his house, wearing a prayer shawl and leather pouches used to hold pieces of scripture, police said. The officers retreated onto the street and Busch followed them, carrying the hammer, said Detective Robert Samuel. Tear gas failed to subdue the man. One police sergeant stumbled to the ground and Busch struck him several times with the hammer, officers said. After Busch ignored several orders to drop the hammer, officers fired at least 12 shots, striking him in the torso at least seven times, police said."

A few days later, a New York Times feature story described the mental deterioration of the once bright and affable Jewish medical student who became the tormented and psychotic Gideon Busch.

By Susan Sachs
The New York Times
September 2, 1999

        Ten years ago, at age 21 and with a promising medical career in front of him, Gideon Busch learned he had an incurable kidney disease.
        It was that knowledge, his family and friends said, that capsized all the plans he had for his life, driving him on a search for spiritual enlightenment in Orthodox Judaism and sometimes sending him skidding into immobilizing depressions.
        Most of the time, he was a sweet-natured young man everyone called Gary, who loved music and the quiet grace of celebrating  the Jewish Sabbath with friends. But Mr. Busch could also slide into a deeply troubled and disoriented world or his own frenetic prayers, fears and symbols.
        The two sides -- often incompatible and impenetrable -- followed him to his death.
        The police officers who shot and killed him in Brooklyn on Monday evening said Mr. Busch, tall and skinny at 6 feet 3 inches and 159 pounds, attacked them with a hammer outside his tiny basement apartment in Borough Park. On that hammer, Mr. Busch, 31, a deeply religious man who prayed so loudly the neighbors complained, had carved the four Hebrew letters signifying the name of God.
        "In his good times, he was an outgoing fellow and would talk and sing psalms around the Sabbath table," said Rabbi Yakov Saacks, the director of the Chai Center in Dix Hills, N.Y., where Mr. Busch grew up in suburban comfort on Long Island. "In his bad times, perhaps when he wasn't taking his medication, he didn't look up from his prayer book or his food.
        "There were two different Gary Busches," the rabbi added. "I loved them both."
        As they prepared for his funeral today in Dix Hills, Mr. Busch's family said he was a gentle, if distressed, young man who never hurt anyone.
        "He had a mental illness, no question about it," said his father, Norman Busch, a retired dentist living in the Long Island town of Bay Shore. "But he was not a violent person. He was never violent."
        But Mr. Busch was hospitalized involuntarily for psychiatric treatment three times at a hospital on Long Island, where doctors said he had made threats to his parents and evinced signs of paranoid schizophrenia. Two years ago, he entered a residential program for the mentally ill in Borough Park but soon checked himself out against the advice of doctors who said they did not believe he was capable of living on his own.
        Still, his family said they did not recognize the man portrayed in published reports since the shooting as behaving so erratically that his neighbors called the police and as lunging with a hammer that the police said was inscribed with Hebrew letters.
        "This is not what he was or who he is," his mother, Doris Busch Boskey, said, weeping. "They've created a person to explain away or excuse what happened and what they did."
        Mr. Busch was studying to be a doctor at Mount Sinai Medical School when he discovered, when all the students tested their own urine sample as part of a classroom exercise, that he suffered from an immune system problem. He was given a diagnosis of IgA nephropathy, a disease that can lead to kidney failure.
        Until then, his relatives said, Mr. Busch showed no signs of mental  instability. But the diagnosis shook him deeply.
        Mr. Busch continued his studies, but in his third year of medical school, he told his family he wanted to drop out. He read books on philosophy. He immersed himself in his favorite classical music and jazz. He talked of finding a spiritual path to well-being, of exploring the meaning of life. His own religion, Judaism, called him and he moved to Israel.
        Mr. Busch spent much of the next seven years there, trying out different trends and practices within the religion. He studied Hebrew and the Torah in a conventional Orthodox yeshiva in Jerusalem. Drawn to the more mystical Hasidic movement, he delved into the messianic Lubavitch sect.
        Eventually, his family said, he drifted to the city of Safad in northern Israel to study at a school dedicated to the mystical teachings of Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Breslover Hasidic sect who died in 1810.
        The school and its graduates, however, are not associated with the mainstream Breslover sect, which has shunned them as a fringe group that has gone too far in making a cult out of the rabbi's memory. The group is known in Israel for spray-painting Rabbi Nachman's name on walls and bouncing up and down as if in a trance, on street corners. Mr. Busch threw himself into the group, worrying his relatives back home.    
    "When you get involved in the inner circle of a fringe group, they are very warm and welcoming," Rabbi Saacks said. "But they had a very narrow focus. They were only reading Rabbi Nachman's books, only discussing his teachings, only telling the message of their teacher -- which I'm not sure what it is -- and not focusing on much else."
        Mr. Busch recently told family and friends that he had realized the group was too extreme and assured them he was gravitating toward the more mainstream Hasidic sect.
        But he seemed drawn, still, into his own sometimes inscrutable world of extremes, where his absorbing passion for religion turned into a fervor that seemed to amplify episodes of mental instability.
        "He bounced in and out of it," Rabbi Saacks said. "Last January, he said he felt he was maybe too entrenched and saw that he had to pull back. I welcomed that. And on August 8, the last time I spoke to him, he was back with 'Rebbe Nachman said this and Rebbe Nachman said that' and this very insular approach to life."
        What his family saw were periods of quiet, sometimes desperate depression. His mother said Mr. Busch once kicked a hole in the wall of his room in her house and became very agitated. "He kept saying, I can't believe I did that. I love this house. I grew up in this house," Mrs. Boskey recalled. Shortly after that, he became so depressed he was hospitalized, she said.
        About three weeks ago, Netanya Ullman ran into Mr. Busch on the subway to Manhattan. They had met briefly when both were studying in Safad five years ago, she said, and when they met again, there was an instant rapport.
        The couple decided to get married, she said, and spoke constantly of Mr. Busch's interpretations of Rabbi Nachman's teachings.
        "Its all about talking to God out loud and going into nature and praying and very intense meditation," Ms. Ullman said.
        When he meditated, he would play music very loudly, she said. Recently, he took to dancing with the hammer, which he called his staff.
        "He put God's name on it to make it something that would bring holiness into the world," Ms. Ullman said. "He'd go outside and dance with it and raise it up and move slowly. He was like bringing down light from his staff."
        "It was for holy purposes," she added. "He wanted to bring people closer and his way of doing that was this pushing toward the boundaries of what's acceptable."
        Mr. Busch's behavior drew comments from his neighbors in the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood where he moved last December in the apparent hope of immersing himself in the close-knit religious culture.
        He did not seem to connect with his neighbors, who said after the shooting that they regarded Mr. Busch as an oddball whose ecstatic dancing and music did not fit in.
        Even so, his parents said that Mr. Busch seemed content with his new life. He had taken a course in computer programming and was thinking of starting a business designing Web pages.
        But there were disturbing signs.
        Two weeks ago, he stopped by his brother Glenn's law office. "He seemed agitated, but O.K.," his brother said.
        Ms. Ullman said he stopped wearing his prescription eyeglasses. When the police came on Monday night, she said, he might not have seen them as anything more than blurry threatening figures. In the tiny basement apartment, the police said they found strange scribblings on signs on the wall. One spelled out the word "police," as "pointedly off-wing litigating intensely careful errand-deliverers."
        On Monday evening, someone called 911 to report that a man at Mr. Busch's address was menacing children in the neighborhood. When officers arrived to question him, they said, he waved the hammer at them.
        His family and friends, outraged by the shooting, said they believe Mr. Busch was frightened and panicked by the armed police officers. They said he was a spiritual man who wished for nothing but peace.
        "He was happy with the path he had taken," his father, Dr. Busch said. "But with mental disease, you do have periods of high emotion and periods of calm. He was a loving wonderful person, but he was never violent."

The September 3 New York Times stated that Busch believed he was the messiah:

"Mr. Busch told doctors at a psychiatric hospital that he increasingly feared his own impulses toward violence and repeatedly took cocaine and psychedelic drugs, his medical records show. [Doctors, nurses and social workers] said that when he was not taking his prescribed tranquilizers and antipsychotic drugs, Mr. Busch was delusional, believed himself to be the messiah, and was capable of doing harm to himself and others."

Drugs or Kabbalah?

Were drugs the catalyst which drove this tragic figure from a high level of mental competence to insanity? It is common knowledge that psychedelic drugs such as LSD are mind-altering.  However, the chemist who discovered LSD recognized early on its mystical qualities, as stated in Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion:

"[High Priest of LSD, Timothy] Leary also contacted Dr. Albert Hofmann, the Sandoz chemist who had discovered LSD nearly thirty years earlier. They met for the first time at a cafe in Lausanne. Hofmann told Leary about his informal 'wisdom school' centered around psychedelic sessions with leading European intellectuals, including Ernst Junger, the German novelist and mystic. Leary asked Hofmann about the dangers of LSD, and the elderly scientist insisted there was no evidence of brain damage caused by the drug. The only dangers, he maintained, were psychological and could be avoided by supportive conditions. In the final analysis Dr. Hofmann affirmed the importance of LSD as an 'aid to meditation aimed at the mystical experience of a deeper, comprehensive reality.'" [Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD and the Sixties Rebellion, Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Grove Press, 1985, p. 269]

Although the NY Times recounted Gideon Busch's involvement in the Lubavitch and Breslover communities, there was no mention that these Hasidic sects would have encouraged the study of Kabbalah or that occult initiation in the mysteries of Kabbalah often leads to paranormal experiences similar to those produced by LSD. The end result of a course of initiation is all too frequently demon possession -- a condition the manifestations of which were exhibited by Gideon Busch.  The writings of Rabbi Nachman, founder of the Breslov sect, were diligently studied by Gideon Busch. According to Breslov on the Internet, Rabbi Nachman received his instruction in Jewish mysticism through the writings of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Sepher-Ha-Zohar, Book of Light, which is the premier book of Kabbalah:

Breslov Chassidus was founded by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.  Rabbi Nachman was the great grandson of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, who led one of the greatest spiritual revivals-renewals ever to occur among the Jewish people, two hundred years ago.

Rabbi Nachman followed in the tradition of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, Rabbi Isaac Luria and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.  Rabbi Luria, known as the Arizal, lived in the 16th century and was one of the greatest luminaries and expounders of Jewish mystical and spiritual thought.  Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was the author of the Zohar.

In performing the rituals of the Hasidim, what curious purpose was served by Gideon Busch's hammer (which he called his staff) upon which he had engraved the four letter name of God? Someone who was also educated by the Lubavitchers, such as Peter Michas of Messengers of Messiah, would be well-qualified to explain the significance of the staff engraved with the name of God.  According to Michas' book, The Rod of an Almond Tree in God's Master Plan, a similar staff in the Old Testament was (1) a "divine rod" from the Tree of Life, (2) possessed of miraculous powers, (3) preserved by the Patriarchs and (4) will one day reappear to validate the true messiah. This rod had mystical powers because God had engraved upon it his own "Ineffable Name":

". . .God gave Adam a branch from the Tree of Life, which was engraved with the Ineffable Name of God (YHVH). Considering its source, it must have been of supreme symbolic significance. . .Perhaps at some future time, a discovery will be made to verify the history of this divine rod."(p. 119)

"According to rabbinical commentary and stories passed from generation to generation, the rod transferred from Adam successively down the line to Enoch, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and David. According to the Midrash Yelamdenu: the staff with which Jacob crossed the Jordan is identical with that which Judah gave to his daughter-in-law, Tamar. . . (p. 120)

"According to one account: On Joseph's death the Egyptian nobles stole some of his belongings, and, among them, Jethro appropriated the staff. Jethro planted the staff in his garden, when its marvelous virtue was revealed by the fact that nobody could withdraw it from the ground; even to touch it was fraught with danger to life. This was because the Ineffable Name of God was engraved upon it. When Moses entered Jethro's household he read the Name, and by means of it was able to draw up the rod, for which service Zipporah, Jethro's daughter, was given to him in marriage (emphasis added). (p. 121)

"What makes this account so remarkable is the reference to planting the rod engraved with the Ineffable Name of God (YHVH). Considering the prior reference to God's transplanting the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden, it seems of great consequence that a reference is made to planting a branch from this same tree in another garden." (p. 122)

"According to the Midrash Yelamdenu, David carried the rod into battle against Goliath. . .Undoubtedly, David's victory was proof of God's miraculous intervention. The rod, engraved with the Ineffable Name, bore witness to the authority which this miracle of redemption had been performed. . ." (p. 128)

Students of Scripture know that no such mystical branch from the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden is found in the Old Testament. Rather, based on mere legends, Peter Michas has grossly exaggerated the importance and chronological longevity of Aaron's rod, which Scripture only states (1) miraculously became a serpent before the court of Pharaoh to swallow up the rods of the Egyptian magicians, (2) later budded as proof of Aaron's authority, (3) was preserved for a time in the Ark of the Covenant.

Another Tree of Life is very mystical, however, and central to the initiatory process of Kabbalah. In this mystery religion, the initiate is taught that he will ascend toward divinity (Primordial Man or Adam Kadmon) through gates or ladders of wisdom called sephiroth on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. The sephiroth are comprised of the four letters of the Tetragrammaton (YHVH), which are supposedly vessels through which illumination is spread to the world.  According to Professor of Jewish Mysticism and prominent expositor of Kabbalah, Daniel C. Matt, the Light of the sephiroth is believed to be Ein Sof or "God as Infinity". The sum of all ten sephiroth is called YHWH. 

"The Light of the sefirot emanates and radiates from above to below in a direct path. . .While there are many unerasable names -- the ten divine names of the sefirot -- there exists one name that comprises all ten sefirot. This is the four-letter name: YHVH. Y symbolizes Hokhmah; H, Binah; V includes six sefirot; the final H. Malkhut. Ein Sof is concealed within Keter, while its light spreads through these four letters, from yod to he, from he to vav, from vav to final he. (The Essential Kabbalah, pp. 48)

Daniel Matt tells of an "ecstatic kabbalist" of the early Renaissance period named Abraham Abulafia who recommended meditation on the name of God along with free-form physical activity as a method of entering altered states of consciousness:

"Abulafia. . .recommends focusing on the pure forms of the letters of the alphabet, or on the name of God. Here there is no concrete, particular meaning, no distraction, just the music of pure thought. As the highest form of this meditation, Abulafia recommends 'jumping' or 'skipping,' a type of free association between various combinations of letters, guided by fairly lax rules. Thereby consciousness expands." (The Essential Kabbalah, pp. 12)

This helps to explain why Gideon Busch engraved the name of God on the hammer and danced wildly with the irrational notion that such a ritual would "bring down light" and holiness into the world. The Times article reported that the fiancée of Mr. Busch told reporters that he would pray so loudly the neighbors complained:

"When he meditated, he would play music very loudly, she said. Recently, he took to dancing with the hammer, which he called his staff. He put God's name on it to make it something that would bring holiness into the world. . .He'd go outside and dance with it and raise it up and move slowly. He was like bringing down light from his staff."

Masonic Grand Master, Albert Mackey explained in The Lexicon of Freemasonry that uttering the Name of God endued one with the power of God.  Note Mackey's reference to the lost name of God, which Master Masons receive upon their initiation into the 3rd degree, according to the Masonic Legend of Hiram Abiff:

". . .The Tetragrammaton might only be uttered once a year on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest in the Holy of Holies amid the sound of trumpets and cymbals which prevented the people from hearing it. It is said that in consequence of the people thus refraining from its utterance, the true pronunciation of the name was at last lost. The Jews further believed that the Tetragrammaton was possessed by unbounded powers. He who pronounces it shakes heaven and earth and inspires the very angels with astonishment and terror.' The Ineffable Name thus conferred miraculous gifts; it was engraved on the rod of Moses and enabled him to perform wonders, just as, according to the Toledot Yeshu, it conferred the same powers on Christ. . ." [(2) Mackey, Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 156; as cited in Nesta Webster, Secret Societies & Subversive Movements, p.167]

Ritual recitation of the name of God by the High Priest of Israel is also mentioned in The Torah Anthology of famous kabbalist, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, to whom Peter Michas frequently refers in his own book.  According to Rabbi Kaplan, as quoted by Peter Michas, God increased the volume of the voices of Moses and the High Priest -- not when they preached the Word of God -- but when they "recited" YHWH on Yom Kippur:

"When the High Priest recited the Tetragrammaton [the name of God] on Yom Kippur [Day of Atonement] it could be heard at a very great distance. This was a great miracle, like when the Torah was given, as it was written, 'Moses spoke and God answered in a voice' (Exodus 19:19). God made Moses' voice so strong that all 600,000 Israelites could hear it. Similarly, the same was true of the High Priest. God would make his voice so loud that all the people could hear it (emphasis added)." (The Rod of An Almond Tree, p. 199)

Readers of Peter Michas' book are never told that Rabbi Kaplan or any of his other rabbinic sources are kabbalists. However, the Theosophical Glossary of H.P. Blavatsky states that ritual recitation of the Ineffable Name is a practice derived straight from the Zohar, the preeminent book of Kabbalah:

"But the Rabbins do not care to remember the Zoharic admission that YHVH means 'not as I Am written, Am I read' (Zohar, fol. III., 230a). One has to know how to divide the Tetragrammaton ad infinitum  before one arrives at the sound of the truly unpronounceable name of the Jewish mystery-god." (p. 155)

Part IX of Vicky Dillen's expose of the Hebrew Roots Movement deals with Practical Kabbalah: Talismans & Masters of the Name.  She writes, "The magical abilities of Jewish adepts were a sign of their mastery of the Ineffable Name. The Divine or Ineffable Name is believed to be known only by those adepts who qualify for that secret initiation and knowledge and these are believed to become endowed with 'magical powers' by uttering or writing the Name. Their magical abilities became the impetus for various Hasidic movements which divided the Jews over whether a particular adept was the long awaited Messiah. These adepts were called Masters of the Name or Baal Shems. The term, 'Baal Shem' means that the person was regarded as expert in the 'practical kabbalah' or magic. 'Baal Shem' means literally one who is master of the name of God, who knows how to employ it." [Gershom Scholem, "On The Kabbalah And Its Symbolism," p.200, Schocken Books, 1965/1996]

Part VII: Of Sages and Scholars reveals that incantations of the name of God were intoned by Jewish sages as methods of entering the very presence of God, i.e., astral projection, as documented in the section "All Sages GO to Heaven":

The earliest documents (100-1000 A.D.) associated with Kabbalah describe the attempts of "Merkabah" mystics to penetrate the seven halls (Hekaloth) of creation and reach the Merkabah (throne-chariot) of God. These mystics used the familiar methods of shamanism (fasting, repetitious chanting, prayer, posture) to induce trance states in which they literally fought their way past terrible seals and guards to reach an ecstatic state in which they 'saw God'. [Colin Low]

In some instances the sages believed themselves to have attained to the divine state, which accounts for the messianic delusion of Gideon Busch:

. . .Hekhalot texts do tend to summon angels (never God, I believe) in a very preemptory way, and they ask for various types of esoteric wisdom and theurgic power. It seems clear also that the Merkavah mystics were deified (turned to angelic creatures of fire) before the throne of God, at least for the duration of the heavenly journey. Enoch received this deification permanently when he was transformed into the angel Metatron in 3 Enoch. But perhaps not too much should be made of this either, since deification rites are also known from the pagan magical papyri . . . [J.Davila, Ancient Magic, Part III, Jewish Magic ]

In the 17th century, famous kabbalist Sabbatai Tzevi founded the Sabbatean Movement which had many elements in common with the present-day Lubavitch Movement. Tzevi's profile even resembles that of the Lubavitch messiah, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson. Of interest, both were prophets of millenarianism and national restoration:

"Sabbatai Zevi, 1626-76, Jewish Mystic and pseudo-Messiah, founder of the Sabbatean sect, b. Smyrna. After a period of study of Lurianic Cabala. . . , he became deeply influenced by its ideas of imminent national redemption.  In 1648 he proclaimed himself the Messiah, named the year 1666 the millennium, and gathered a host of followers. In 1666 he attempted to land in Constantinople, was captured and to escape death embraced Islam. Nevertheless the influence of the Sabbatean movement survived many years." [Columbia Encyclopedia, p, 2389]

Moshe Idel noted in his volume on Messianic Mystics that Sabbatai Tzevi claimed to be the messiah after discovering the correct pronunciation of the Ineffable Name:

"Considering the fact that Abulafia's Kabbalah focuses on techniques for meditating on holy names and that he also saw himself as the Messiah, his writings may constitute a crucial precedent for the first 'strange deed' of Sabbatai Tzevi -- the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. . .If we accept the evidence concerning the young Tzevi as pronouncing the divine name and proclaiming himself Messiah in public in 1648 or 1649 his later career should be understood as the culmination of a remarkable beginning. . . Tzevi's reading Abulafian quotations in Sefer ha-Peliyah prompted him to pronounce the divine name so he conceived of himself as the Messiah. . ." [Moshe Idel, Messianic Mystics, Yale University Press, 1998, pp. 187, 193] 

Other sources document the immense influence of Sabbatai Tzevi whose messianic claim instigated a great movement of consecutive Masters of the Name who were empowered as miracle workers:

"Since the sixteenth century the great mass of Jewry had settled in Poland, and a succession of miracle-workers known by the name of Zaddikim or Ba'al Shems had arisen. The latter word, which signifies 'Master of the Name,' originated with the German Polish Jews and was derived from the Cabalistic belief in the miraculous use of the sacred name of Jehovah, known as the Tetragrammaton."

"According to Cabalistic traditions, certain Jews of peculiar sanctity or knowledge were able with impunity to make use of the Divine Name. A Ba'al Shem was therefore one who had acquired this power and employed it in writing amulets, invoking spirits, and prescribing cures for various diseases. Poland and particularly Podolia---which had not yet been ceded to Russia---became thus a centre of Cabalism where a series of extraordinary movements of a mystical kind followed each other. In 1666, when the Messianic era was still believed to be approaching, the whole Jewish world was convulsed by the sudden appearance of Shabbethai Zebi, the son of a poulterer in Smyrna named Mordecai, who proclaimed himself the promised Messiah and rallied to his support a huge following not only amongst the Jews of Palestine, Egypt, and Eastern Europe, but even the hard-headed Jews of the Continental bourses. 1. Samuel Pepys in his Diary refers to the bets made amongst the Jews in London on the chances of "a certain person now in Smyrna, being acclaimed King of the World and the true Messiah." [(1)Harmsworth Encyclopaedia, article on Jews. (2) Diary of Samuel Pepys, date of February 19, 1666.; As Cited Webster op.cit., p. 181 (3) Jewish Encyclopaedia, article on Shabbethai Zebi B. Mordecai]

Through the more objective lense of history, Sabbetai Tzevi is described by the Jewish Encyclopedia as a pretender. Such will be the verdict of history against the numerous messianic mystics who would rob the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, of His glory:

". . . Shabbethai, who was an expert Cabalist and had the temerity to utter the Ineffable Name Jehovah, was said to be possessed of marvelous powers, his skin exuded exquisite perfume, he indulged perpetually in sea-bathing and lived in a state of chronic ecstasy. The pretensions of Shabbethai, who took the title of 'King of the Kings of the Earth,' split Jewry in two; many Rabbi's launched imprecations against him and those who had believed in him were bitterly disillusioned when, challenged by the Sultan to prove his claim to be the Messiah by allowing poisoned arrows to be shot at him, he suddenly renounced the Jewish faith and proclaimed himself a Mohammedan. His conversion, however, appeared to be only partial, for 'at times he would assume the role of the pious Mohammedan and revile Judaism; at others he would enter into relations with Jews as one of their own faith.' By this means the he retained the allegiance both of Moslems and of the Jews. But the Rabbis, alarmed for the cause of Judaism, succeeded in obtaining his incarceration by the Sultan in a castle near Belgrade, where he died of colic in 1676." [(3)Jewish Encyclopedia, article on Shabbethai Zebi B. Mordecai.; (1) Henry Hart Milman, History of the Jews (Everyman's Library), Vol.II, p. 445; As cited, Webster, op.cit., p. 181-182]

We may reasonably infer that the Lord Jesus Christ had in mind the pagan ritual of chanting or reciting the so-called Ineffable Name when He preached the Sermon on the Mount: "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking?" (Matt. 6:7) 

In stark contrast to the mindless rituals of messianic mystics, Jesus then gave to his disciples a simple model for prayer.  What Christians have come to call the Lord's Prayer is a rational approach to God that deals forthrightly with critical issues of sin that hinder prayer.

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Rather than recitation of the Lord's Prayer, Jesus intended His words to be a model for meaningful prayer. Rote prayers can easily become mantras, leading a person into a mesmerized state. New Age channeler and former Roman Catholic, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, wrote one publication which promotes the rosary as a method of entering an altered state.

Includes a practical explanation of Hindu devotion to Mother as the "Goddess KUNDALINI" --THE WHITE LIGHT that rises through the spiritual centers of your being, activating cosmic consciousness. You can accomplish this acceleration of light through the daily rosary. [Summit University Press, p. 6, as cited by Cathy Burns in Hidden Secrets of the Eastern Star, p. 351]

The New York Times account of the misguided Lubavitch adherent is indeed tragic. Unfortunately, the Times failed to uncover the real cause of Gideon Busch's destruction so that others in the Jewish community would be forewarned. It is regrettable that a newspaper with such circulation and influence among Jewry does not feature a series of articles on the dangers of Kabbalism. However, there is published on the Internet an excellent treatise on mysticism by an Israeli journalist who responsibly seeks to inform the Jewish people that the once proscribed Kabbalah is now entering the mainstream of Judaism:


What Jewish People Should Know About the New Age
by Hannah Newman

"In a similar development on the mystical side of Judaism, N[ew] A[ge] spokesmen applaud orthodox Jewish teachers for recently releasing Kabbalah from the restricted access imposed on it by past generations of Jewish sages, making its teachings available to all, and even encouraging free exploration without rabbinic supervision.  In Israel the Zohar (a major Kabbalistic work) is even being sold door-to-door. [This is strictly forbidden under the 'old order' of Judaism, but NAers are not concerned with proper understanding of the teaching, since Kabbalah is simply one path to their goal of getting as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, into 'contact with the spirit realm'].  These teachers are being hailed as 'co-conspirators' who are furthering the NA Plan. [not stated whether deliberately or unknowingly, but the results will be the same.]

"From the NA standpoint, however, the value of Jewish Kabbalah lies only in its teachings which overlap 'the other ancient occult doctrines', specifically: reincarnation; traffic with angels, demons and departed human spirits; 'monism' (light and darkness, good and evil, are all sides of G-d); attributing 'secret messages' or 'hidden meanings' to words or statements which mean something else at face value; self-induced trances, resulting in visions or 'astral' (out-of-body) travels; and harnessing of superhuman powers by pronouncing sacred names. [It is noteworthy that none of these can be supported by a clear (pashat or darash) Torah passage, while some are expressly forbidden; yet they are arguably the best-known elements of Kabbalah today.  The fact that they are accepted by so many Torah Jews in spite of their dubious relevance to Torah, only supports the claims of the NA missionaries.]  The NA goal is to promote a Kabbalah in the Jewish community which goes through successive 'transformations' until it is finally severed from all links with the Torah, thus 'recovering' its 'purity'."

Christian Kabbalah?

The infiltration of Kabbalah into the Jewish community is a tragic development that is drawing many into the experiential and irrational world of Jewish mysticism rather than the Torah (first five books) of Scripture, which is God's prophetic revelation of Jesus Christ. Happily, throughout history there have been Jews to whom has been revealed the true Messiah and these have been spared the spiritual bondage of the superstitious oral traditions of Jewish mysticism. However, non-Jews and converted Jews may not take comfort in believing that Kabbalah is an exclusively Jewish phenomenon. This sourcebook of Freemasonry and other occult traditions is becoming accepted and even fashionable in social and religious circles worldwide. 

Christians in particular would be unwise to consider themselves invulnerable to the creeping deception of Kabbalism, for its sorcery has gained a large following among those who subscribe to false teachings of The Hebrew Roots Movement.  The real tragedy is that these dangerous teachings -- which should easily be recognized as counterfeit by Christians -- are given the cloak of respectability and orthodoxy by the misnamed Discernment Ministries. In reality, the Hebrew Roots Movement promotes a form of Christianized Kabbalah, the true source of which is The Lubavitch Movement

Those who believe that the Hebrew Roots Movement is a last days return to the  Jewish roots of the Christianity should read up on Church history. Daniel Matt, noted in his introduction to The Essential Kabbalah that, during the Renaissance, medieval kabbalists gained entrance into the Catholic Church by feigning faith in Jesus Christ. 

"Although Kabbalah emerged within Judaism, and has deeply affected Jewish thought and religious observance, its influence extends far beyond. Italian Renaissance humanist Pico della Mirandola immersed himself in Latin translations of Kabbalah, believing it to be the original divine revelation. Long lost and now finally restored, Kabbalah would enable Europeans to comprehend Pythagoras, Plato, and the secrets of the Catholic faith. Pico claimed that 'no science can better convince us of the divinity of Jesus Christ than magic and the Kabbalah.' His controversial, syncretistic 900 Theses drew heavily on Kabbalah and laid the foundation for Christian kabbalistic literature. Pico's follower, Johannes Reuchlin, produced the first systematic work of Christian Kabbalah, De arte cabalistica." (The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism, p. 16)

Two centuries earlier, the kabbalists had not fared so well. The ecstatic kabbalist, Abraham Abulafia, "came to see himself as playing a messianic role, and he actually attempted to meet with Pope Nicholas III in the summer of 1280, apparently to discuss theological and political questions. The pope condemned him to death by burning, but before the sentence could be carried out, the pope himself died. After a month in prison, Abulafia was released." (The Essential Kabbalah, pp. 12)

However, by 1493, the works of Pico della Mirandola, the famous student of Marsillo Ficino, founder of the neo-Platonic Academy of Florence, had captivated Pope Sixtus IV who mainstreamed the Cabala as orthodox doctrine.

"This reasoning appears eventually to have been endorsed by the Church in the case of Pico, who joined to his Hermetism a 'Christian Cabala,' and concocted a universal system in which Cabalistic ideas played a considerable part. Although condemned by a tribunal, Pico's synthesis was rehabilitated in 1493 by Alexander VI, whose recognition of the Cabalist as a loyal son of the Church seemed to give some authority to Pico's position. It should be remembered in this context that Sixtus IV (Pope, 1471-84) had himself translated seventy Cabalistic books into Latin, and that the concept of the 'Christian Cabala' was not peculiar to Italian thought. Reuchlin, the foremost Orientalist of the time, and the author of the first Hebrew grammar, came nearest to success in the attempt to transform the Cabala into Christian philosophy - although his pupil Widmanstadt considered the Jewish tradition as 'a Trojan horse introduced into the Church'. But the Hermeticists and Cabalists of the Renaissance were always maintaining their orthodoxy." (James Webb, The Occult Underground, Open Court Press, 1976, p. 221)

It was one hundred years later, in 1586, that Pope Sixtus V arranged for an obelisk, the phallic symbol of Kabbalism and Freemasonry, to be moved from Vatican Hill to its present position before St. Peter's Basilica. This was the same obelisk which the Roman emperor, Caligula, had transported from Egypt to Rome in 37-41 A.D. [Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion, pp. 32-3]

Renaissance Gnostic, Hermeticist and Cabalist, Pico della Mirandola ". . .conceived of Hermes and Plato as aids to persuading those to religion who would not accept Scripture alone." Are spiritual conditions any different within the Hebrew Roots organizations which reject the authenticity of the Greek New Testament and/or require rabbinic commentaries to understand the New Testament? Have the Freemasons and Kabbalists changed their seditious tactics of infiltrating the Church so as to bring about another "renaissance of religion" -- as predicted by Jay Gary in his Bimillennial report?

"We must recover the simple idea that the spark of eternity has been placed within each human being. We must fan this flame, this tiny spark within each person -- and insure that no government, no group, or no authority is allowed to smother or snuff out this sacred flame&hellipAs early citizens of the 21st Century, we have a sacred duty to carry this torch across the length and breadth of the planet. Let's blow the Jubilee trumpet and herald this coming renaissance among government, education, arts, media, business, and religion."

Speaking prophetically, the Lord Jesus Christ warned his disciples about ravenous wolves who would enter the Christian Church, not sparing the flock. Like the famous Trojan Horse of Greek mythology, these infiltrators would masquerade as Christians, but purvey doctrines that are calculated to corrupt and destroy true Christian faith.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

The unfruitful works of darkness became evident in the tragic life of Gideon Busch.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  Galatians 5:19-21

Likewise, Galatians 5:22 describes the fruit of the Holy Spirit which are produced by the pure doctrine of the Word of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

Ephesians 5:9 also mentions goodness, along with two other fruit of the Spirit:

For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 

Every spiritual leader will bear fruit either according to the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit. Christians must therefore carefully evaluate the fruit of those who claim to teach the Word of God by the quality of character that is produced in their disciples. However, fruit takes time to grow and the Hebrew Roots Movement is a relatively new phenomenon. For this reason, Christians would be wise to examine the fruit of the Lubavitch Movement before entering the same broad road to destruction via the Hebrew Roots Movement.  

The Lubavitch Movement

The Hebrew Roots Movement