He just recently adopted a dog from a non profit center. On the health record certificate under breeder they attached a label that I’ve come to find out is some sort of prayer called “ANA B’KOACH”. I’ve found this website which has the exact prayer and two translations:
But I’m having trouble understanding the origins since I don’t really know much about Kabbalah and how it links up with traditional Judaism. Is this some form of Jewish prayer? How should this prayer be viewed by a Catholic…as an extension from our “older Jewish brothers”…or does this go against Catholic teachings. I’m not sure what they mean in the beginning when they say “Ana By the great power of thy right hand”. Is that a reference to God the Father? Not sure what they mean by “Ana”.
LOL…I read the second post first and thought…what could someone have wrote to get that reaction…haha. The good thing is that it’s just a sticker on the health record…so I should be able to remove it without causing any issues to the document…so I’ll do that.
I knew something was odd when I saw a book called “Zohar: The Secrets of the Bible” on the counter of the place when I first walked in. Looking like a bible itself I knew better than to ask about it (I didn’t want to get in a deep discussion with someone about religion without knowing history from their side first). I’ll have to look up some apologetic discussions on this in case I ever come across a situation like this again.
The good thing is now I can bring the dog up in a good Catholic household…HAHA.
Kabbalah is a body of knowledge whose name derives from the Jewish word קבל, which means “to receive.” It is the language of symbolism found in the spiritual worlds. It is most commonly associated with Judaism, although someone well-versed in Kabbalah can find its teachings in Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu scriptures, just to name a few.
The most commonly cited source for explanations of the Kabbalah is the Zohar, the book you mentioned. The Zohar is a commentary on the Torah (although it also addresses many of the other old Testament books in a rather scatter-shot fashion) by a number of rabbis who sat down to explain some of the symbols contained within it. It’s origins are disputed. As far as I know, the earliest known written copies are from the middle ages, but there are claims that the teachings themselves predate those copies.
It is also worth mentioning that the the Zohar is not a book. It is a bookshelf. And it is written in Hebrew. I am not aware of any full translations into English. Also, even though the Zohar explains many of the symbols in the Torah, much of the Zohar itself is written in symbols. So it cannot be read at face value. Furthermore, as Khalid has mentioned, much of what is currently masquerading as Kabbalah in the West is actually just new age junk.
As far as the prayer itself is concerned, I see nothing terrible about it. I wouldn’t be concerned about putting it on your dog, though if you don’t feel comfortable doing something like that, then certainly you should remove it.
Do the teachings of the Kabbalah deviate from the Catholic teachings? In places, yes, though they make use of the same scriptures that Catholics accept.
I recommend the study of Kabbalah, because so much of the scriptures are written in symbols, and without the proper training and experience, interpretation of those scriptures basically becomes speculation and guesswork. The trouble is that with so much junk floating around as “Kabbalah” it is easy to be mislead.
I suspect that you are planning to steer clear of the Kabbalah, and that’s a perfectly acceptable and understandable choice, though if you do decide to undertake its study, please send me a private message and we can talk about this further.
Why would I need to “study” kabbalah to interpret the Bible when I have the Catholic Church that can do that AND have the ASSURANCE that SHE cannot deceive me nor teach me anything false about it :rolleyes:
Unless you imply using the Bible as a sort of “divination” book. Which it is rather clearly spelled as FORBIDDEN in that same Bible.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. - Matthew 16:17-19
Because that statement is loaded with so much symbolism I’m not sure how you can even read it without knowing Kabbalah.
And to respond to the second half of your statement, no I do not recommend using the Bible as a divination tool.
Is sortes sanctorum (divination with the Bible, e.g. letting the Bible stand on its spine and flop open, and reading the first word that one sees) forbidden by the Church?
Secondly, the Church says that we do not need Kabbalah to understand her pronouncements: at best, Kabbalah would add a heavy layer of private interpretation and dissension that doesn’t now exist, and would add nothing that is profitable for salvation (although it may add some interesting details). The only solution would be to make Kabbalah scripture and then to have the Magisterium interpret it, too. (Notice how any controversial document, once interpreted authoritatively, merely shifts the interpretative debates to the authoritative documents? For example, when I argue creationism, as a Catholic to Catholics, I debate it out of the Catechism - the authoritative interpretation of the Bible for Catholics - as much as I argue it out of the Bible directly. When with Protestants, from the Bible alone, as they accept not the CCC as authoritative interpretation.)
The Kabbalah, if introduced on even a small scale, has the potential for causing great dissension, but it does not have the possibility of causing any benefit (as the Faith that was “once and for all delivered” is already sufficient for salvation). Then again the same argument probably could have been used to prove that it was wrong to interpret Christianity in Platonic or Aristotelian terms, as Tertullian did, saying: “What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?”
I speak this as one with some knowledge, who has studied the Zohar (mostly in translation, with the standard rote memorization of the original text: there is a complete English version, by the way) and Kabbalah, and learnt the Art of Names (i.e. theurgy: occultism or magic, or both: “And the High Priest called the name of God, and God heard, and [implied, “was forced *ex natura rei to”] translated him to heaven”, although I could not - and believe it to be impossible - to know or speak the Name of God, who is infinite, although men can certainly learn the Name of other, especially inanimate, creatures), both of the more New Age, and more Jewish mystical sort (more of the former than the latter).
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.