Q: Doesn't Dor Deah misunderstand Kabbalah?

 

A:

 

A third criticism is that Dor Daim take works of Kabbalah too literally: it is intended to be myth and metaphor, and to subject it to rigorous analysis as the Dor Daim do is like trying to construe a Keats sonnet as if it were an Act of Parliament. Works of Kabbalah themselves contain warnings that the teachings should not be exposed to common view or read too realistically, and that to do so is indeed to incur the danger of falling into heresy or idolatry.

 

The Dor Dai response to this is that, however this may be in theory, these warnings have not been observed. Kabbalah, in its most literal and "realistic" sense, has in fact been extensively popularised, with the result that many otherwise pious Jewish groups are now permeated with superstition, so that the whole enterprise is now more trouble than it is worth. Further, the claim that these works, on their true interpretation, are harmless metaphorical imagery fully compatible with monotheism is disingenuous: the origins of most Kabbalistic concepts in pagan systems such as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism are too glaringly obvious to be ignored. (Dor Daim do not claim that all Kabbalists are in fact polytheists: only that they are inconsistent.)