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Israel, one nation in the earth ? ' Israel says, ' As the
apple among the trees of the forest ' ; and the Holy
Spirit replies, ' As the rose among thorns.' Israel says,
' This is my God, and I will glorify Him ' ; and the
Holy Spirit says, ' This people which I have formed
unto me.' Israel says, ' For thou art the glory of
their strength ' ; and the Holy Spirit says, ' Thou art
my servant, Israel, in whom I shall be glorified.' "
In this characteristic passage the Holy Spirit is the
Comforter, the great encourager par excellence. It
lays before God the claims of Israel to be considered as
the people nearest Him. It is an intercessor in a very
similar sense to that of the Logos. This branch of
the subject will be further considered in dealing
with the conception of the Holy Spirit in Rabbinic

One of the reasons why Philo exerted a greater
influence on Christianity than on ^Judaism, was the
fact that his doctrine of God collided somewhat with
Judaism's stringent notions of the Unity of God.
But there is another, and perhaps greater, reason.
Philo's God is too impersonal ; He is too much of a
metaphysical entity. Philo does not teach religion,
but theology — theology with all its speculativeness,
with all its aloofness from the tasks of the everyday
world. The immanent God of Philo is a philosophi-
cal principle. The immanent God of Judaism is a
person. At the basis of the Jewish hearts' longing
and panting after God, was the unshaken consciousness
that He is a father with a father's compassion for
His children. No other theory of faith would suit the
Jew. Here is the supreme line of cleavage between
Rabbinism and Philonism. It is just this warm,
personal note that will be observed, now that the


reader passes on to consider how the Immanence of
God is taught in the pages of Kabbinical literature.*


(1) In the books of the Palestinian Apocrypha such as Ben Sira,
Baruch, Tol)it, etc., there is very little development of the Biblical view
of God which, as pointed out, leans mostly to the side of tran-
scendentalism. Ben Sira's desire to keep to the beaten track of the old
Biblical theology and not venture into pastures new, may possibly be
hinted at in his lines :

Seek not things that are too hard for thee,

And search not out things that are above thy strength ;

The things that have been commanded thee, think thereupon.

For thou hast no need of the things that are secret.

(iii. 21, 22).

That Ben Sira was a true Palestinian in this respect, is seen from the
fact that the above-quoted lines form one of the few extracts from Ben
Sira to be found quoted in the Palestinian Talmud (see Talmud Jerusalem
Haggigah II.). It is also found in Genesis Rabba viii. 2, this Midrash
being also an early Palestinian product.

(2) Wisdom of Solomon vii. 24-26.

(3) Nahmanides in his commentary on Genesis xlvi. 4 has a long
dissertation on the meanings of Kabod and Shechinah in refutation of
Maimonides' view {Guide of the Perplexed, i. 27) that Shechinah is
N-133 1133, " a created Divine Glory." To Nahmanides the two terms were
absolutely identical, both meaning Divine Immanence or the immediate
Divine Presence.

(4) The continuation of the passage is, " When God looked at the
generation of the Deluge and that of the dispersion (nj'^sn nn) and saw how
perverse their works were. He hid the Light from them. For whose sake
did He hide it ? For the sake of the good men in the time to come . . .
etc." It is quite clear that Light here has the full spiritual connotation
of Shechinah, especially as the Talmud so frequently speaks of the
Shechinah as abiding only in the company of the pious and as departing
no sooner evil enters into existence.

(5) In Wisdom of Solomon vii. 29, 30 and viii. 1 there is a repetition
of the same theme showing the same parallelism with Rabbinic ideas,
significantly enough, in the anecdote (mentioned in T. B. Sanhedrin 39a)
where Gamliel is asked by a heathen, " How many shechinah are there ? "

* On this passage, Mr. Israel Abrahams writes to me thus : " Does not Philo
again and again compare God to a father ? You quoted some passages above,
and there are many others. I do not think your study of Philo has been deep
enough. Especially here, you are quite wrong. Philo is full of warmth. And
as for the figure of father and children, it is often found in Philo."


Gamliel's answer is, " As the sun whicli is one of tlie myriad servants of
God giveth light to all the world, so in a much greater degree does the
Shechinah." No better way of illustrating what Shechinah is, commends
itself to the mind of the sage, than that of using the metaphor of light.
And we get the same thing in T. B. Hullin 60a, when R. Joshua ben
Hananya replies to Hadrian who had expressed a wish to see the Jewish
God : " If thou art not able to look upon (the sun) a servant of God, how
much less mayest thou gaze upon the Shechinah."

(6) A more categorical assertion is the following in Genesis Eabba
iii. 6 : " God never conjoins His name with evil, but only with good."
The Name is probably here used identically with Deity as in Exodus
iii. 15, ix. 16 ; Psalm cxxxv. 13, etc.

(7) In Exodus Rabba xviii. 5 the angels Michael and Samael hold a
court with the Shechinah as Judge. In T. B. Haggigah 16b, Berachoth
43b, the sinner is represented as "crowding out the feet of the Shechinah."
And numerous other passages which I shall instance as we go along.

(8) A good typical example of Philo's blending of Greek and Hebrew
ideas in his Biblical exegesis is his comparison of the four rivers mentioned
in Genesis ii. 11-14 to the four Virtues, viz. Prudence, Temperance,
Courage, and Justice (Vol. I. "Allegories of the Sacred Laws," xix.-xxiii.).
It is interesting to place this by the side of his remarks on the burning bush
(Exodus iii. 2-6) : " For the burning bush was the symbol of the
oppressed people and the biu'ning fire was the symbol of the oppressors,
and the circumstance of the burning bush not being consumed was an
emblem of the fact that the people thus oppressed would not be destroyed
by those who were attacking them. . . . The Angel again was an emblem
of the Providence of God. . . ." (Vol. III. "Life of Moses," xil.). Philo
here exactly rejiroduces the Rabbinic trend of ideas.

(8a) Philo's inconsistency as well as his indebtedness to Plato is well
expressed by Von Hiigel {Mystical Element of Eeligion, ii. p. 69) thus :
" Already Philo had, under Platonic influence, believed in an Ideal man,
a Heavenly Man ; had identified him with the Logos, the word or Wisdom
of God ; and had held him to be in some way ethereal and luminous,
never arriving at either a definitely personal or a simply impersonal con-
cei^tion of this at one time intermediate Being, at another time this
supreme attribute of God." From a Jewish standpoint, one can assert
that it is just this absence of clear doctrines about God that accounts for
the comparatively scant influence which Philonic thought had on the
Rabbinical schools.

(8b) Plato finds no place for a personal God in his scheme of
philosophy ; Platonic ideas are all of a general kind, necessarily devoid
of determination, hence impersonal (see Von Hiigel, i. p. 16).

(9) Vol. I. " On the Unchangeableness of God," xxiii.

(10) Vol. I. " On the Creation of the World," lxi.

(1 1) An unmistakable instance of Stoicism is Philo's remark : " Every-
man in regard of his intellect is connected with Divine reason, being an
impression of, or a fragment or a ray of that blessed nature ; but in
regard of the structure of his body he is connected with the universal
world " (Vol. I. " On the Creation of the World," Li.). These ideas are

Ill NOTES 75

paralleled by the Stoical teaching of the human soul as an emanation of the
world sold.

(12) Philo's relations to the Halacha and Haggada, whether as
recipient or as giver, have been investigated by, among others, Z. Frankel,
in his book on The Influence of the Palestinian Exegesis upon the
Alexandrian Hermeneutics ; B. Ritter, Philo and the Halacha ; Sieg-
fried, Philo of Alexandria as Exponent of the Old Testament. The
assumption on the part of all these writers seems to be, that the
resemblances between Philonic and Eabbinic ideas do not necessarily
imply borrowing on either side. The same ideas may have been in
vogue in Palestine and Alexandria concurrently.

(13) Graetz, History of the Jews (Eng. trans.), vol. ii. chap. vii.

(14) Graetz, History of the Jews (Eng. trans.), vol. ii. chap. iii.

(15) In T. B. Niddah 69b allusion is made to the "twelve questions
which the men of Alexandria asked of R. Joshua ben Hauanya." The
latter was a Palestinian, and it is quite possible that the questions were
addressed to him while making a sojoiu'n in Alexandria.

(16) Vol. I. " The Allegories of the Sacred Laws " (Book I.), iii. vii.

(17) Vol. I. "The Allegories of the Sacred Laws" (Book III.), xvii.

(18) Vol. I. " The Allegories of the Sacred Laws" (Book I.), xiv.

(19) Vol. I. "The Worse plotting against the Better," xlii. See
also Vol. II, " On Dreams being sent by God," xi. xxxi. (Book I.).

(20) See Note 11.

(21) Vol. IL "On Fugitives," xiii.

(22) Vol. I. "On tlie Creation of the World," xlvi.

(23) Vol. II. "On Dreams being sent from God" (Book IL),


(24) Vol. II. " Who is the Heir of Divine Things," xlviii.

(25) Vol. II. " On Fugitives," xx. In Philo's allegorical identifica-
tion here of the High Priest with the Logos we get another typical
instance of his blending Greek with Hebrew ideas.

(26) VoL II. " On the Confusion of Languages," xxviii.

(27) Vol. II. "On Dreams being sent from God" (Book I.), xii., ibid.


(28) Vol. II. " On Fugitives," i,

(29) Vol. I. " On the Creation of the World," xxiv.

(30) Another way which Philo adopted to get out of the difficulty is
his ingenious theory of the two original Adams : (1) the Heavenly, (2) the
Earthly. The former is the Scriptural first man who was made in the
image and likeness of God ; he is imperishable, " an idea or a genus
perceptible only by the intellect." The latter is man as we see him now
in the races of the world, imperfect and corruptible. Philo deduces hLs
former view from the account of man's creation in Genesis i. 26, and his
latter view from Genesis ii. 7. But an intermingling of Greek and
Rabbinic doctrine is here very apparent. Philo is following Plato's well-
known theory of ideas and combining with it the basic thought contained
in several Midrashic statements about the absolute perfection of the first
man " who reached from Earth to Heaven " and was wonderfully gifted,
in ever so many other ways. (See the Midrashim on the various


passages in the early part of Genesis dealing with, the Creation and fall
of man,)

(31) Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, ii.

(32) Genesis Eabba viii. 4.

(33) See Note 25.

(34) Vol. II. " Who is the Heir of Divine Things," XLll.

(35) Vol. III. " Life of Moses," xiv. (Book III.).

(36) Besides the Gospels, see 2 Corinthians iv. 4, 1 Corinthians
viii. 6; Colossians i. 15, 16; Ephesians i. 10, etc., where all these
Philouic ideas of the image, intercessor, etc., are applied to Christ. The
usage of the " Word " in St. John's Gospel as the eternal qnickening
spirit in creation, the world principle, has affinities to the Greek term
Logos, which in general Greek philosophy signifies both word and
reason ; it seems also to resemble in many respects the Logos of Philo ;
and again it bears a striking relation to the Memra of the Targumic
literature as well as to the Talmudic identification of the " Word " with
the Torah. Thus, take the opening verse of St. John, " In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
was God." The Rabbins (in Genesis Rabba i. and other places) in com-
menting on the Psalmist's utterance, " By the word of the Lord were
the heavens made " (Psalm xxxiii. 6), say that the Word here is the
pre-existent Torah, pre-existent to aid God's purpose in creating the
world, ahian nx Nini mina b'3D :\2pn. According to T. B. Pesahim 54a,
the Torah was " one of the seven things fashioned before the creation of
the world." In other j^assages it is spoken of as " the glorioiis treasure
hidden in the Divine store-house from the first six days of Creation."

(37) There seems some doubt about the correct reading here. Fried-
mann in his note on this passage says that the word " Jeshurun " in the
first line is to be taken as an abstract noun from Josher = " uprightness."
In the second line it is the epithet of Israel. So that the sense of the
passage would be, that Israel calls God a God of uprightness, and the
Holy Spirit follows this up with the complimentary remark to Israel,
that this very God of uprightness is the God of no other nation than



G-RAETZ was riglit when he spoke of the Talmud as a
" Daedalian maze in which one can scarcely find his
way even with the thread of Ariadne." ^^^ The Rabbins
described it as an ocean on which only the experienced
swimmer might dare to venture. The difficulties of
Rabbinic literature are the inconsistencies of many of
the doctrines to be found there. One must always be
prepared for surprises when studying it. It embodies
such a huge medley of opinions which it simply states
as they were uttered, and leaves unreconciled, scattered,
not strung upon any particular thread. Thus, no one
will deny that angelology is a subject which embraces
a very large space in the Talmud and Midrashim. But
yet it is unsystematised. There is no clearly defined
doctrine of angels. There is a congeries of opinions, but
no one canonical opinion which is finally authoritative
and demands acceptance. It is the same with such a
highly important subject as sin. No one can say that
the Rabbins took up a decisive final attitude towards
the theology of sin. And yet they thought strongly
and abundantly about it. Of course, after wading
through a mass of disconnected, and often mutually
contradictory, statements one detects a common purpose
and sentiment. One can draw inductions and form
conclusions. But it involves considerable research.



And tlie conclusions arrived at, must always be under-
stood as being the views of the individual investigator.
In short, there are doctrines of sin, but no doctrine.

An exactly similar diflfuseness of treatment charac-
terises the subject to be dealt with here, viz. the
Immanence of God as depicted by the terms Shechinah,
Holy Spirit, etc, etc. The scattered elements have
to be taken up and classified under different heads.
It has to be remembered, that the teachers whose
utterances are recorded in Rabbinic literature embraced
a period covering several hundreds of years ; and there-
fore in collating the statements on any particular topic
we must make allowances for age. It has to be re-
membered, too, that the ancient Rabbins were not
philosophers. They went nearer poetry than philosophy.
The poetic vein is discernible in many Haggadic passages.
They spoke with simplicity of language and spontaneity.
They did not elaborate systems of thought. He that
expects to find any philosophical presentation of Divine
Immanence in Rabbinic literature, will be disappointed.
But that the Rabbins had notions of this Immanence,
and gave expression to them, is without doubt. These
notions they envisaged in the following ways : by ex-
pressions concerning (a) the omnipresence of God ; (h)
the omnipresence of the Shechinah ; (c) the constant
presence of the Shechinah in Israel ; (d) the universality
of the Shechinah as spiritual light ; (e) the Holy Spirit
in man ; (/) the Holy Spirit in Israel ; (g) the Holy
Spirit in prophetic usage ; (h) the Bath Kol ; (^) nature
and functions of angels.

To deal with the Shechinah first. What is the
etymology of the word ? It is a noun from " Shachan "
= to dwell ; but wherever it is found in Targumic
or Talmudic literature it is always in the sense of
God's dwelling-house, the abiding of God in a certain


spot. Thus in Numbers xxiv. 6 the Jerusalem Targum
has the phrase: "just as the heavens which God has
spread out for His abode " ; in Psalm 1. 9 the Targum
Jonathan supplements the original text (id tit'Id npi^
nS) with the words : " from the day that the house
of my dwelling has been in ruins," alluding to the
cessation of the sacrificial order after the fall of
Jerusalem. In Psalm Ixv. 2 Onkelos renders the
phrase : ]r2n d^hSn by p^si n^nDOm n nh^n = " God
whose abode is in Zion." From meaninsr the abode


of God, the Shechinah gradually came to mean God
Himself. The material element was dropped, and the
spiritual idea alone was retained. Shechinah became
coined as a new word signifying the Godhead quite
apart from any notion of place. How this was de-
veloped in Rabbinical literature will soon be seen.
In the Targumic literature several instances occur.
In Exodus xvii. 7 Onkelos gives : "Is the Shechinah
of God among us or not?" In Numbers v. 3 the
phrase " I dwell among them " is rendered by Onkelos
as : " My Shechinah dwells among them." (Jonathan
has i^mi^p n3^D2? = the Shechinah of the Holy One.)
In Exodus xix. 18 the Jerusalem Targum translates
»«! '^n vhi} ~n^ -iQ?« ''3DD as : " because there was re-
vealed thereon the Glory of God's Shechinah in a
flame of fire." In Jeremiah xxxiii. 5 the hidinsr of
God's face appears in Onkelos as the taking away of
the Shechinah. In Psalm xliv. 10 the words " and
thou goest not forth with our armies " are rendered as
" thou causest not thy Shechinah to dwell in our
armies." And in the same Psalm, verse 25, we have
a passage in Onkelos identical with the one just
quoted from Jeremiah. A more telling usage, showing
the omnipresence and immanence of the Deity, is
Onkelos's rendering of Psalm xvi. 8, " I have set the


Lord before me continually ; because His Sbechinah
dwells upon me, I shall not be moved." The second
portion of the verse, which tells of the ever-present
dwelling of the Shechinah upon the speaker, is
tantamount to, and paralleled by, the first part, in
which he tells of the constant presence of God. The
word "^D-^o^D, " on my right hand," was evidently under-
stood by Onkelos to mean " He [i.e. the Shechinah]
is on my right hand." This is a clear personifica-
tion of the Shechinah, which is regarded as an in-
dependent entity, such as is often the case in the Talmud
and Midrashim. That the usage of aKTjvT] in the New
Testament is a reference to the Rabbinic Shechinah,
as is often maintained, seems to be true in some cases
but not in all, e.g. the allusion in Hebrews viii. 2,
Kal T^<? a-Kr)vrj<i T?}? aXrjdcvi]^, Can hardly refer to the
Shechinah, because a phrase such as " a Minister of
the true Shechinah " is quite foreign to Rabbinic modes
of expression. The phrase in Acts xv. 16, " and I

will build again (tt^v aKTjvrjv Aa^lB tvv ireTrrooKvlav) the

tabernacle of David which is fallen down," is merely
a quotation of Amos ix. 11, and the Hebrew there for
tabernacle is hdd which = a hut. But the allusion in
John i. 14, where the Logos is said to have "dwelt
among us" (iaKijvcoa-ev iv rjfitv) seems a probable re-
ference to Shechinah ideas ; and this is borne out
when one looks at the usage in that chapter of words
like "light," "word," "son," "glory," all of them
reminding one of the usage in Rabbinic hterature
of Shechinah, Or, Kabod, Yekara (in Targumic) and
the sonship of the Messiah. The passage in Revelation
xxi. 3, " Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and
He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people,
and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God,"
seems but a reproduction of Ezekiel xxxvii. 27, 28,


where ''DDmo and ^tnipo are used indiscriminately to
mean tabernacle or sanctuary, but in a localised sense.
Ezekiel is foreshadowing a re -establishment of the
Jewish kingdom in the heart of Palestine with David
sitting upon the throne. The re-existence of the Temple
is, of course, a sine qua non ; it is the indispensable
symbol of national status. Hence, God will establish
His sanctuary in the midst of Israel. It is these ideas
that are bodily reproduced in Revelation xxi. 3, and
there is no hint whatsoever of the Rabbinical view of
the spiritual Shechinah.

An examination of Shechinah passages throughout
the greater portion of the realm of Rabbinic literature,
suggests the following classification of the various
senses attaching to the word. I tabulate them as
follows (and have discussed them in this order) : —

(I.) Conception of Shechinah as Light or other
material object.

(II.) Shechinah used in a personified sense under
the following aspects : —

(a) Face of Shechinah.

(6) " Cloud," " Wings," etc., of Shechinah.

(c) As the Immanent God in Palestine, Temple, and

{d) As the Immanent God in Israel.

(e) Shechinah and Sin.

(/) Shechinah and Torah.

{g) Shechinah and Word (Dibbur).

(Jh) The Memra of Targumic literature.


(1) Graetz;, History of the Jews (Eng. trans.), vol. iii. p. 481.




The Rabbins pictured their ideas of the Immanence of
God by the figure of material light. The Shechinah is
universal light. Sometimes it is universal only as far
as Israel is concerned, sometimes it is universal in the
fullest sense of the term. It is also ofttimes used to
denote the omnipresence of God in the Temple. To
materialise the Shechinah as light, is a short step to
materialising it as any other substance. This, also, the
Rabbins did.

(A) As Light

In T. B. Sabbath 22b the light of the Menorah is
a " testimony unto all who come into the world, that
the Shechinah rests in Israel." (Repeated in Menahoth

In Exodus Rabba xxxvii. 3, " He who does a
' Precept ' acts as though he lights a candle before
God." ^^^ The allusion here is rather to the Torah,
which, like the Shechinah, is so frequently figuratively
represented as light.

In Aboth De R. Nathan, chap, ii., the phrase in
Ezekiel xliii. 2, " and the earth sinned with His glory,"
is interpreted as : " this is the face of the Shechinah."



There is an association here, of Shechinah with " Kabod "
("glory ") which will be considered later (see Appendix
11. ). This same Midrashic passage has an interesting
allusion to the universally-reaching powers of the angel
Gabriel's voice ; and this voice is inferior to the uni-
versality of God's Voice. The " Voice of God " is, in
Kabbinic literature, a companion idea to the Shechinah.
Like the latter, it is immanent in man and the world.

In Numbers Rabba xi, 5 the Biblical phrase " May
the Lord cause the light of His countenance to shine
upon thee " (Numbers vi. 25) is interpreted as " May
He give thee of the light of the Shechinah." (Similarly
in Sifri on Nm3, edit. Friedmann, p. 12.)

In Numbers Rabba xii. 8 there is a comment on
Leviticus ix. 24, in which allusion is made to the
dazzling brightness of the Shechinah. When the people
saw it, they fell on their faces, the Ught being too strong
for them.

In Numbers Rabba xv. 2 the windows of Solomon's
Temple were d^dij^n D^'DiptD, i.e. " narrow within but
wide without," in order that the light of the Temple
might go out and illumine the world. Here light is
certainly meant in the spiritual sense, and most prob-
ably to be regarded as identical with Shechinah. (See
T. B. Menahoth 86b.)

Ibid. XV. 5, there occurs the phrase, niN N^irr rrriN
ah^2} h\D, " Thou art the Light of the World," alluding
to the Deity.* Cp. with familiar New Testament
expression, John viii. 12.

Ibid. XV. 9. The sun and the moon obtain their

* Cp. what is said in an article by G. Margoliouth in J.Q.R. July 1908,
on the doctrine of the Ether in the Kabbalah. The idea of iin (primal light)
which in Rabbinical literature is, as we see, so much mixed up with mystical
teachings about God, seems to me to be the starting-point of the Kabbalistic
ideas of niN (primal light), ■l'^^e (primal ether), and mipj (condensation point) as
tliey appear in the works of Moses de Leon, Abraham Abulaiia, Recanati and
others. Cp. idea of the "Spark" in the mysticism of Meister Eckhart.


light " from the sparks of the light of above," i.e. the
abode of God. The passage goes on, " great is this

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