Instead of reading in learned books you are often employing your time in feeding hens, geese, ducks, and other creatures, which simply molest and annoy all cabbalists; instead of watching the course of the stars, the heavens, you dig in the earth; instead of deciphering the traces of the future in skilfully-constructed horoscopes you are churning milk into butter, and putting sauerkraut up to pickle for mean everyday winter use; although, really, I must say that for my own part I should be very sorry to be without such articles of food.
What follows may be read at full length in that work, vol. vi. p. 567: 'While mediaeval philosophy dwelt on the intellectual, moral, or spiritual nature of the soul to prove its immortality, the Cabbalists endeavoured to explain the soul as a light from heaven, after Proverbs xx. 27, and immortality as a return to the celestial world of pure light.
Perhaps the Milovka study-house boasted even Cabbalists starving themselves into celestial visions and graduating for the Divine kiss. How infinitely restful after the Milovka market-place! No more, for that day at least, would he prate of Self-Defence and the horrible Modern. He asked the way to the Beth Hamedrash. How fraternally the sages and the youths would greet him!
He hobnobbed with all the freaks in Paris, and from them he became deeply learned in the most diverse and hostile sciences. He, so cold and correct, was almost never to be found save in the company of astrologers, cabbalists, demonologists, alchemists, theologians, or inventors. Weary of the advances and the facile intimacies of artists, Durtal had been attracted by this man's fastidious reserve.
Yet Philo, save in one doubtful case which will be noticed, is not mentioned by any Jewish writer between Josephus in the first and Azariah dei Rossi in the sixteenth century. The compilers of the Midrashim and the Yalkut, the philosophers of the Dark and Middle Ages, finally the Cabbalists, are continually reminiscent of his doctrines, but they do not mention his works or his existence.
Remove the metaphorical drapery from the doctrine of the Cabbalists, and it will be found to contain the only intelligible and consistent idea of that plenary inspiration, which later divines extend to all the canonical books; as thus: "The Pentateuch is but ONE WORD, even the Word of God; and the letters and articulate sounds, by which this Word is communicated to our human apprehensions, are likewise divinely communicated."
According to the Cabbalists, two angels, Aza and Azael, complained to God at the creation of man. God answered, "You, O angels, if you were in the lower world, you too would sin." They descended on earth, and directly they saw the ladies they forgot heaven.
But he was too sane and generous to attribute his spiritual banishment solely to the excusable prejudices of others; certain incapacities of his own had made the sentence of exclusion; and hence it was that his imagination had constructed another man who would be something more ample than the second soul bestowed, according to the notion of the Cabbalists, to help out the insufficient first who would be a blooming human life, ready to incorporate all that was worthiest in an existence whose visible, palpable part was burning itself fast away.
These two persons, therefore, confirm the observation of Munster, that the creation of the woman from the rib of the man, was made by the Jews to signify the marriage of the celestial man who is blessed, or of the Messiah, with the Church; whence the Apostle applies the very words which Adam said concerning Eve his spouse, to the Church, who is the spouse of Christ; saying, for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For the explanation of these words, take what follows: The profoundest of the Jewish Divines, whom they now call Cabbalists, having such a notion as this among them, that sensible things are but an imitation of things above, conceived from thence, that there was an original pattern of love and union, which is between a man and his wife in this world.