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Kabbalah and Freemasonry

This is the second oldest text of Farwerck that I know. It was published in an internal publication of the Dutch federation of Le Droit Humain in 1922. I only have photos of the text. I tried ‘to OCR’ them online and then threw the text through Google translator. Of course I have made some corrections, but the text won’t be a perfect translation of a century old Dutch text.

Farwerck used quite a few abbreviations. Instead of translating them to English abbreviations I just gave the English terms for most of them. Terms such as “lesser lights” or “Sr. Warden” aren’t that exciting anymore I think.

There is undoubtedly a close relationship between Kabbalah and Freemasonry, which no student of either direction will doubt. Every Freemason has noticed that different symbols are derived from the Old Testament and other Jewish writings: the Temple of K: .S:., the words and passwords in different degrees, the two columns and especially the legend of the third degree. But apart from these striking similarities, there are others that are not so obvious from which can be mentioned in the first place the symbolic representations that are related to the philosophical system of Kabbalah, as embodied in the doctrine of the emanation of the Sephiroth. This system has already been written about so often that I only touch on that which is indispensable for a proper understanding of the following. According to the Kabbalistic view, before creation, only Ain Soph existed, the non-existent, the endless. From this comes the first Sephira, Kether, the Crown, to which a large number of other names are given, such as the First Point, the Ancient, the White Face, etc. From this came the second Sephira Chokmah, usually translated with Intellect. The first is a male (positive) force, the second a female (negative).
The fourth Sephira resulting from the third is Gedulah (Shine) or Chesed (Grace or Love) the fifth Geburah (Power) or Pachad (Fear or Justice) the sixth Tiphereth (Beauty) the seventh Netzach (Shine) the eighth Hod (Victory) the ninth Jesod (Basis) and the tenth Maikuth (Empire) or Schekinah.

These ten Sephiroth are usually depicted as opposite. They thereby form three columns, the first, female, consisting of Binah, Geburah and Hod, the second, neutral, from Kether, Tiphereth, Jesod and Malkuth, the third, male, from Chockmah, Gedulah, and Netzach. If we now look more closely at the Sephiroth and their translations, we notice that the name Geburah on the first column means Power, the name Tiphereth on the second column Beauty and the name Chokmah on the third Wisdom. So here we have the origin of the 3 lesser lights and also of the three columns which is said to be the foundation of the Lodge.

Now it turns out that two of the words we use are derived from the second triangle that the ten make Sephiroth and one from the top triangle. In the Kabbalah itself, the three columns are usually named after the vertices of the second triangle. It would go too far to list all the possibilities that lead to a confusion between the vertices of the two rectangles taking place with us. I do not know a sufficient explanation. Noting, however, that in the Kabbalah the three columns are named after the second triangle that the three columns are related to the three lesser lights in our Temple can we assume a relationship between the three lesser lights And the second triangle of the Sephiroth tree. Would the upper triangle be related to the three greater lights? There is a lot for that to say. Chokmah and Binah are presented as male and female. The same forces are not symbolized by compasses and square, the compasses the mobile van den spirit, the square the immobile of matter? The Bible lies open on John I: 1, In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God. Kether, the Crown, the first Sephiroth is said to have stayed in Ain Soph for eternity, was actually one with Ain Soph and was the only one who came from Ain Soph, since all the other Sephiroth emanated from him again. All this and more clearly indicates that the Kether of the Kabbalah is the same as the Word of John and so we have symbolized the first three Sephiroth with us in Bible Compasses and Square.

However, in those three greater lights even more. The ten Sephiroth are divided into groups in many ways. One of these is the division into three and seven and it is assumed that the first three are the primary ones in which the whole creation is enclosed and the seven the forces arising from the three that create the universe. This view is not exclusively Kabbalistic. it occurs in almost all cosmogonies. However, the fact that the seven originate from the three and are therefore hidden therein is admirable in our three greater lights symbolized. Compasses and Square form a […] hexagon, which together with the Bible the […], the sevenness. It was difficult to choose happier symbols to express how the seven in the three are enclosed and come from that.

The seven lower Sephiroth are, as said, not only regarded as the Seven forces that work to build the universe, but also as the forces that guide the development of man. They thus form and develop both the macrocosm and the microcosm. We find both ideas symbolized in Freemasonry.

In the Sohar (The book of the shine) one of the most important Kabbalistic books, all kinds of reflections are devoted to the lower seven Sephiroth. It is said, among other things, that they can be compared to the East, South, West, North, Height, Depth and Middle. It strikes us that when answering the catechism questions the form of the Light is indicated as: from sunrise to sunset, from noon to midnight and from the surface of the earth to the heavens and its center. This is, in other words, exactly the same. The Light can therefore be compared to the world in which these seven forces work, and is therefore a symbol of this more than just physical universe. This is therefore all the more likely because the “oblong square” of the preceding catechism question can already indicate this.

But also the seven forces as working on man, in this case the candidate, we find better in our Ritual in the English of the Antients as in that, followed in the Dutch LL :. In the English ritual, after all, the Worshipful Master Sr. Warden and Jr. Warden East, West and South placed exactly as the lesser lights with us and moreover it is said in one of the cathechism’s answers that the 3 Pillars are suggested by W.M. Sr. and Jr. Wardens. Columns, words, 3. fit perfectly together there and we need not hesitate to relate the first three of the lower seven Sephiroth to this. For the second three of the seven we again have a pair of contradictions in the two deacons, which also constantly act as such; they are e.g. at all important moments always on both sides of the Cand:.

It may seem a bit daring to the Inner Guard. To call it “Dritter im Bunde”, but it looks too good, because then the Outer Guard may also be related to the tenth Sephira. The Outer Guard is the link between Lodge and Outside World; likewise Malkuth the tenth Sephira is the link between the Atziluth world the world of the divine ten Sephiroth and the lower the Briah world, that of the archangels.

These are just a few of the many things that students of both directions notice and which, moreover, only concerns the 1º. It would be advisable if an overview of all points of agreement was obtained through the cooperation of students of the Kabbalah.



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