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Songster

Reincarnation: Have We All Been Here Before?

40 posts in this topic

By way of further explanation, there often appears to be a perception among non-Jews that Judaism is monolithic, that one can, if one knows Judaism, provide THE Jewish understanding, THE Jewish position, THE Jewish explanation, THE Jewish way of seeing and doing. Although there are some within the Orthodox community who might say otherwise, the truth is that very, very often there are a multiplicity of Jewish viewpoints that are considered equally valid.

I go back to the midrash I have mentioned before regarding a heated dispute during the time of the Second Temple between the School of Shammai and the School of Hillel. The views were diametrically opposed to one another. Nevertheless there came a voice from heaven declaring -

אלה ואלה דברי אלוהים חיים

Elu v'elu divrei elohim chaim

These and these are the words of the living G-d.

In other words, both positions were valid.

Isn't there a Book of the Wheel? Sefer haGigul?

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Isn't there a Book of the Wheel? Sefer haGigul?

Close, actually it is ספר הגלגלים in the plural, Sefer haGilgulim.

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Having never heard of "The Book of the Wheel(s)", I googled it and got a list of "Books on Wheels" - a dead end. Next, I tried "Sefer haGilgulim." I googled it, and came up with several sites. The first 2 were from amazon advertising their copies of the book. I checked out all of the sites in order until I came upon this one- http://www.jonnywaxman.com/gilgulim/index.html - in which the title is given as "The Book of Re-incarnations" and references the Akashic records as the source of the information. I have not been able to ascertain whether it is accepted (in whole or part) as a tenet of Judaism, or just by Kabbalists. Most Christian churches renounce reincarnation as false doctrine and those that promote it are ostracized and excommunicated. Rabbi, how do you (or others of your faith) reconcile the differences between the two camps and keep the faith united? Or am I mis-informed and there are as many different sects within the Judaic faith as there are in the Christian?

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http://reluctant-mes...nation-pope.htm

The early Christian Church believed in reincarnation up until an Emperor decreed against it.

A prominent theologian named Origen wrote around 250 AD about the pre-existence of the soul. He taught that the soul’s very source was God and that the soul was traveling back to oneness with God via the lessons learned in multiple lives. He taught that Christ came to show us what we can become. For centuries this was the mainstream view of Christianity but 300 years later it became a huge issue and the belief was made illegal because Emperor Constantine believed it was dangerous to the Empire to believe in reincarnation.

In the sixth century A.D., Emperor Justinian and Pope Vigilius disagreed on whether or not the teachings of Origen should be condemned as heresy. The Pope supported the teaching as being consistent with the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. The Emperor was determined to eradicate the belief even though the Pope and the church believed in reincarnation. The fact that the doctrine of reincarnation had been a part of Christian theology for over 500 years did not sway the Emperor.

Origen's writings were considered heresy by important cardinals in the sixth century. Origen's teachings had been considered as profound spiritual wisdom for three centuries. Origen lived around 250 AD and wrote about the pre-existence of the soul and in reincarnation. He taught that the soul’s very source was God and that the soul’s was traveling back to oneness with God via Reincarnation.

Emperor Justinian wanted Origen’s writings and teachings to be condemned and destroyed but Pope Vigilius refused to sign a papal decree condemning Origen's teachings on reincarnation. As a result of his disobedience, the Emperor had the Pope arrested and put into jail. In 543, Justinian convoked the Fifth General Council of the Church and told the Pope he would sign whatever into doctrine whatever the council decided. On the way there, under guard, the Pope escaped to avoid being forced to condemn Origen’s writings. The Emperor commanded the council to continue despite the Pope’s refusal to attend.

There was a logical reason why the Emperor was opposed to the concept that all of mankind originally came from God and was returing to God via the cycle of birth and death. Justinian had been convinced by high ranking cardinals that it was not in the interest of the empire to allow Origen's writings to continue to be copied and distributed. A powerful group of Cardinal’s and Bishop’s explained that if every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn’t anything special to have come from God. These Cardinals convinced the Emperor that if people realized they were the children of God they might begin to believe they no longer needed an Emperor, or to pay taxes, or to obey the Holy Church. But since they reasoned that only Christ had come from God but God made brand new souls at the time of conception and only the Holy Church could bring these souls to God. Without the protection of the Empire or the guidance of the church, all people would be doomed to be forever cut off from God in Hell. This doctrine was very acceptabloe to the Emperor. Once Justinian understood the political danger inherent in Origen’s teachings, the rest was simply an Emperor doing what was in his best interest.

The council, as instructed by the Emperor, produced fourteen new anathemas and the very first one condemned reincarnation and the concept that souls pre-existed with God.

"If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema."

Links to further research available here: http://reluctant-messenger.com/origen.html

Edited by Tsukino_Rei

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I had this discussion with God once, and only once, and during this lifetime. I told the Creator that I suspected I had been here before as it was vaguely familiar and that I really loved the diversity of the planet but did not enjoy much of the human's condition and their cruelty to one another. While I stated I would love everyone no matter their condition I was adamant that the Creator not have any ideas about sending me here ever again and that if It did, Armageddon would look like a tennis match. clown.gifderisive.gif

All the while He was thinking to you - "But Daughter - that is why I sent YOU... You are needed there.... "

Rabbi, Although I am not Jewish by birth, or faith, I feel an inate "closeness" that I cannot explain. I am certain that there is much you could teach me, if you desired to impart your knowledge to a non-Jew. Thanks again for your answer.

and folks poo poo the idea of reincarnation.... LOL :giggle:

The rabbi is but a ducking and dodging target for our attraction..... I can't blame him - sometimes he must feel called upon to explain all of Judaism to kindergartners..... :P

edit : further difficulty arises when the modern interpretation of Judaism doesn't coincide with the issues we have carried over from troublesome lifetimes.... but that is the case with all previous experience - just a strong force to reckon with in Judaism.......

Edited by Brother Michael Sky

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The rabbi is but a ducking and dodging target for our attraction..... I can't blame him - sometimes he must feel called upon to explain all of Judaism to kindergartners..... :P

At my age what you take for ducking and dodging is just my bending down and not being able to straighten up again while I look for something to support myself!

The Grand Canyon. You've got two paragraphs to describe it and do it justice. Not easy is it? Maybe impossible.

That is my problem when someone poses a question about Judaism. It is a giant tapestry woven together with extreme artistry with sudden bursts of color and all kinds of disparate sections that somehow come together.

What does Judaism say about...? What does Judaism believe about....? Are we talking Spinoza or are we talking the Ari? Are we seeking the wisdom of the Baal Shem Tov or Maimonides? Are we talking about G-d to Lawrence Kushner or Mordecai Kaplan or even, perhaps, Sherwin Wine? You cannot put it altogether in 20 second sound bites.

Edited by RabbiO

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At my age what you take for ducking and dodging is just my bending down and not being able to straighten up again while I look for something to support myself!

The Grand Canyon. You've got two paragraphs to describe it and do it justice. Not easy is it? Maybe impossible.

That is my problem when someone poses a question about Judaism. It is a giant tapestry woven together with extreme artistry with sudden bursts of color and all kinds of disparate sections that somehow come together.

What does Judaism say about...? What does Judaism believe about....? Are we talking Spinoza or are we talking the Ari? Are we seeking the wisdom of the Baal Shem Tov or Maimonides? Are we talking about G-d to Lawrence Kushner or Mordecai Kaplan or even, perhaps, Sherwin Wine? You cannot put it altogether in 20 second sound bites.

I fully appreciate that fact - and it is the primary reason I am not even more pushy towards you.... even given my hunger for info - what I want is YOUR understanding. For me, it would be a signpost along the way towards a greater understanding of what it means to be a Jew. .If pointed in the proper direction, I can read for myself what others think the Law is. But from you, I appreciate receiving your understanding of the topics presented, and I particularly appreciate how you are able to - with a few strategic words - make us understand that there are underlying concepts which must be understood along the way towards receiving the explanations we are looking for....

I do not see it as evasion, as I was heretofore prone to doing with others.... more of trying to spit out a chunk that is too big to fit as a "post".....

how to make one understand all the concepts which blend and merge together to form The Law, as regards any one question?

I for one, am willing to take whatever crumbs hit the floor.... it's a great big picture to hold in one's head, and i'm filling in pieces with every morsel.... :)

and so frequently,you deliver us up something delicious..... so, it's all good..... :derisive:

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I fully appreciate that fact - and it is the primary reason I am not even more pushy towards you.... even given my hunger for info - what I want is YOUR understanding. For me, it would be a signpost along the way towards a greater understanding of what it means to be a Jew. .If pointed in the proper direction, I can read for myself what others think the Law is. But from you, I appreciate receiving your understanding of the topics presented, and I particularly appreciate how you are able to - with a few strategic words - make us understand that there are underlying concepts which must be understood along the way towards receiving the explanations we are looking for....

My understanding? As I have noted before there is an old rabbinic dictum that if one runs out of questions one is either a fool or one is dead. I don't think I fit either category - although second opinions are always welcome - and so my understanding expands and contracts, reaches outward and inward in a continual dance. Sometimes I run into a midrash I've not seen before, sometimes something in a text speaks to me in a different way, sometimes an experience brings an insight. Sometimes I get reminded of something that, while not forgotten, I had not considered in awhile.

For example, we are in that part of the Torah reading cycle covering Genesis. I had not considered in awhile just how funny the Torah, as well as the rest of the Tanakh, is in certain places, and just how humorous those moments would have been to my ancestors. I was reminded because I was re-reading, Genesis 24:64, of that moment when Rebecca first sees Isaac. Virtually every English translation says that either she alighted from her camel or got off her camel or descended from her camel or jumped from her camel....

That is not what the Hebrew says. What the Hebrew says, rather, both creates a funny mental image and opens up potential inquiry because it changes the dynamic of the scene. What the Hebrew actually says is that when Rebecca first saw Isaac she fell off of her camel. In a more colloquial English way one might say Isaac blew her away or maybe knocked her socks off, but just the original language brought chuckles.

Edited by RabbiO

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Now, will you continue the story and tell us how they were "married"?.....Pleeaasse?.. :derisive:

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Now, will you continue the story and tell us how they were "married"?.....Pleeaasse?.. :derisive:

Are you sending me back to General topics without my supper??

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My understanding? As I have noted before there is an old rabbinic dictum that if one runs out of questions one is either a fool or one is dead. I don't think I fit either category - although second opinions are always welcome - and so my understanding expands and contracts, reaches outward and inward in a continual dance. Sometimes I run into a midrash I've not seen before, sometimes something in a text speaks to me in a different way, sometimes an experience brings an insight. Sometimes I get reminded of something that, while not forgotten, I had not considered in awhile.

For example, we are in that part of the Torah reading cycle covering Genesis. I had not considered in awhile just how funny the Torah, as well as the rest of the Tanakh, is in certain places, and just how humorous those moments would have been to my ancestors. I was reminded because I was re-reading, Genesis 24:64, of that moment when Rebecca first sees Isaac. Virtually every English translation says that either she alighted from her camel or got off her camel or descended from her camel or jumped from her camel....

That is not what the Hebrew says. What the Hebrew says, rather, both creates a funny mental image and opens up potential inquiry because it changes the dynamic of the scene. What the Hebrew actually says is that when Rebecca first saw Isaac she fell off of her camel. In a more colloquial English way one might say Isaac blew her away or maybe knocked her socks off, but just the original language brought chuckles.

well, it should be assumed that I will never stop asking questions.... so your understanding will be regarded on a moment by moment basis... it shan't get stagnant... :)

I MUCH prefer her to be falling off her camel, actually.... I love it when the texts show us a human moment - it is why my son is named Ichabod....

Edited by Brother Michael Sky

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The early Christian Church believed in reincarnation up until an Emperor decreed against it.

Yep, but they couldn't scratch out all of the references. They had to leave in the passage that says that the Baptist was Elijah returning to announce the coming of the Messiah. There's also the verse about one of the blind men that Jesus healed. The disciples asked if the man was born blind because of his sins or his father's sins, and the Christ told them that the man chose to be born blind just to allow the Christ to heal him.

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Yep, but they couldn't scratch out all of the references. They had to leave in the passage that says that the Baptist was Elijah returning to announce the coming of the Messiah. There's also the verse about one of the blind men that Jesus healed. The disciples asked if the man was born blind because of his sins or his father's sins, and the Christ told them that the man chose to be born blind just to allow the Christ to heal him.

:drinks: It's amazing what can still be found, isn't it? That's why reading the Bible exegetically had to totally change my theology!

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Yep, but they couldn't scratch out all of the references. They had to leave in the passage that says that the Baptist was Elijah returning to announce the coming of the Messiah. There's also the verse about one of the blind men that Jesus healed. The disciples asked if the man was born blind because of his sins or his father's sins, and the Christ told them that the man chose to be born blind just to allow the Christ to heal him.

at the site that tsukino_Rei posted, you will find a whole section which connects reincarnation to Christianity - very detailed, and developed over quite a bit of time now...

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Yes, Sir! I stumbled across the site a couple weeks ago.That's where I found the Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus. I finally finished it, and am on my second reading. I'll have to look around the rest of the site once I've thoroughly digested the AAGJ.

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I'm Wiccan. Wiccans traditionally believe in reincarnation. But there is no real teaching, no real dogma. More a general belief. This is what attracts me to the religion in the first place :)

I tend to lean toward the Buddhist teachings.

I don't believe in the New Age idea that we pick and choose stuff. I don't believe in soul contracts.

I believe it's much more involuntary. I think there is much more bastardry involved. The universe is not a kind place, and feels fit to chew us up and spit us out on a regular basis.

Which ties in more with the suffering notion the Buddhists mention. (Although opinions vary in Buddhism. You have your fluffy bunny buddhists too).

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Yes, Sir! I stumbled across the site a couple weeks ago.That's where I found the Aquarian Age Gospel of Jesus. I finally finished it, and am on my second reading. I'll have to look around the rest of the site once I've thoroughly digested the AAGJ.

I really enjoyed reading his story.... that site has a unique way of imparting the man's story, I liked it...

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