Freemasonry and Judaism - Leon de Poncins

The Jewish Religion

To the study of the race must be added that of the religion for in Judaism the two ideas are inseparable. Georges Batault writes in Le Probleme Juif (1921):

"Judaism presents a unique phenomenon in the annals of the world, of an indissoluble alliance, of an intimate alloy, of a close combination of the religious and national principles.

"There is not only an ethical difference between Judaism and all other contemporary religions, but also a difference in kind and nature, a fundamental contradiction. We are not face to face with a national religion but with a religious nationality.

"The idea of God, the image of God, such as it is reflected in the Bible, goes through three distinct phases.

"The first stage is the Higher Being, thirsty for blood, jealous, terrible, war-like. The intercourse between the Hebrew and his God is that of an inferior with a superior whom he fears and seeks to appease.

"In the second phase the conditions are becoming more equal. The pact concluded between God and Abraham develops its consequences, and the intercourse becomes, so to speak, according to stipulation. In the Tahmudic Hagada, the Patriarchs engage in controversies and judicial arguments with the Lord. The Tora and the Bible enter into these debates and their intervention is preponderant. God pleading against Israel sometimes loses the lawsuit. The equality of the contracting parties is asserted.

Finally in the third phase the subjectively divine character of God is lost. God becomes a kind of fictitious Being. These very legends, one of which we have just quoted, for those who know the keen minds of their authors, give the impression, that they, like their readers, or their listeners, look upon God in the manner of a fictitious Being and Divinity, at heart, from the angle of a personification, of a symbol of the race."

This religion has a code: the Talmud.

"[Footnote: The study of the Talmud is indispensable for the understanding of the Jewish question, but it would exceed our limits. See among others the summary of the question by Mgr. Jouin, Le peril judeo-maconnique, t. V; which contains moreover an important bibliography on the subject; B. Lazare, L'antisemitisme; Werner Sombart, Les Juifs et la vie economique; G. Batault. Le probleme juif, etc.]

The Talmud

The Talmud is the code of Jewish religious and social laws, the progressive deformation of the ancient Mosaic law, long since forsaken.

In course of time and from contact with external influences such as the religious doctrines of the Chaldeans, the priests who held in their hands the spiritual guidance of Israel (and especially the Pharisees) transformed little by little the law of Moses. Among others "the preachings of a whole line of prophets to the effect that Israel is the people chosen by God, became transformed into the conviction that Israel is the God-like people", and the promise of the rule of Jehovah changed itself into the idea of the domination of the world for the benefit of the Jews.

The Pharisees had always transmitted their teaching by word of mouth. One of the most remarkable of them, Judah the Holy, codified it by writing, about 190 A.D., the Mishna, which, with its annex the Ghemara (composed in the fifth century by the rabbi Jochanan) forms the Talmud of Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin, the Jewish government of the Dispersion, having been transported to Constantinople, there edited about the end of the fifth century the conclusions of the Ghemara, a revised and accentuated edition of the Talmud of Jerusalem, and since called the Talmud of Babylon. It was printed for the first time at Venice by Daniel Bomberg from 1520 to 1531 and aroused moreover a general indignation in the Catholic world.

The Talmud is very long and confused; consequently a learned rabbi, Joseph Karo, composed at the beginning of the year 1500, a revised abridged, and clear edition called Shulchan-Arukh, and the reputation and authority of this work have remained unchanged. It has become par excellence the Judaic code for Jews of all countries.

The sepher Ha Zohar, or Book of splendour, contains the Jewish mysticism and gnosticism; it is the modern expression of the Kabbala.

When we speak of the Jewish religion we only think of the Bible, of the religion of Moses; that is an illusion: the Jews of the Middle Ages were Talmudists; they have not all ceased to be so. Even to-day the Talmud takes precedence in authority over the Bible. The Archives Israelites recognizes the absolute authority of the Talmud over the Bible and the Univers Israelite says:

During two thousand years the Talmud has been and still is an object of veneration for the Israelites of whom it is the religious code.

This religion creates men of business and revolutionaries because it is 1) essentially worldly, 2) exclusive, 3) Messianic.

It is essentially worldly because it does not believe in the future life and promises happiness here below, whence there is logically an unbridled materialism and the cult of gold, the only creator of material enjoyments.

From Georges Batault, Le probleme juif, 1921:

"The foundation of Judaism, that which constitutes its master thought, that which makes its extraordinary originality, is its exclusiveness. The whole history of the Jewish people and of its religion, which is inseparable from it, gravitates round this central phenomenon.

"A jealous God: Jehovah, his chosen people: Israel. The rites, the commandments, the law which unites them one with the other, there is the essence of all truth and all justice. Outside of these, there is only the world and evil: the world of evil. This short-sighted but impassioned and singularly powerful view has made the integrity of a people, during three thousand years. This unfailing exclusiveness has created a race, a nation, a religion, a mentality, which are without analogy in the history of the universe.

"By the very strength of its own traditions, throughout the tempests which have tossed men during the centuries, Judaism has remained immovable, unalterably true to itself; such as it was in its origin it is found to day. For the Jews constitute the most conservative of all peoples, they are the living demonstration of the all-powerfulness of a conservatism which never permits itself to be thrown down by never making concessions. Humanity changes, empires rise and fall, ideals spring up, flame, and die, the Jew remains, enveloped in his fierce exclusiveness, hoping everything from the morrow, tirelessly . . . super-human, inhuman.

"I have already shown that the position of Jews in society, or rather on the edge of all society, proceeds from their exclusiveness; to preserve, themselves they must necessarily keep apart from a changing world; to become assimilated would be for them renunciation, it would be consenting to disappear as the Egyptians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Gauls and the Franks have disappeared; their exclusive traditions preserve them from that. A landless people, a wandering nation, a scattered race, they yet preserve a fatherland in their religion; a common ideal animates them made from the same hopes always deceived and ceaselessly renewed. They remain thus, pursuing the mirage of a golden age, of a new era, of a Messianic time, when the world would live in joy and peace, obedient to Jehovah, submitting to his law, under the guidance of the sacerdotal race, chosen from all eternity, tempered by ordeals in expectation of this supreme hour.

"But it happens that the people which, as I have said, is the most conservative among peoples, is also reputed, and justly reputed, to be possessed by a spirit of inextinguishable revolt. There is in that a paradox, or at least the appearance of a paradox, which I propose to clear away.

"Prisoners of immutable traditions which are the essence of their exclusiveness, the Jews are among humanity, which is composed of an immense majority of non-Jews, for ever unable to adapt themselves.

"Wherever it may be, whatever it may be, the established order is never founded, has never been founded, will never be founded upon the strict observance of the law of Jehovah, it will never be conformable to the dream of Israel. Judaism cannot but wish for its overthrow; it is the duty of the Jew and above all his instinct, formed by traditions three thousand years old, to lend his hand for its destruction. Jewish exclusiveness commands and justifies the spirit of revolt."

To this exclusiveness is added the Messianic doctrine which is largely derived from it. Jehovah promises to men happiness on earth by liberty, equality, justice; and — a capital point — the Jews believe that it is their mission to establish this age of happiness here below, the Messianic dream which makes them rebels in their very essence.

Bernard Lazare, a French Zionist leader writes in L'antisemitisme in 1894:

"'Without the law, without Israel to practise it, the world would not exist, God would make it enter once more into nothingness: and the world will not know happiness until it is subjected to the universal empire of that law, that is to say, to the dominion of the Jews, consequently the Jewish people is the people chosen by God as the trustee of His wishes and desires; it is the only one with which the Divinity has made a pact, it is the elected of the Lord . . .'

"Israel is placed under the very eye of Jehovah; he is the favourite son of the Eternal, he who has the right to his benevolence, to his special protection, and other men are placed beneath the Hebrews; they have only the right through pity to divine bounty, since alone the souls of the Jews descend from the first man. . .

"This Happiness will be realized through liberty, equality and justice. However, if amongst the nations, that of Israel was the first which preached these ideas, other peoples, at various times in history have supported them, without being a race of rebels like the Jewish people. Why? Because, if these peoples were convinced of the excellence of justice, equality and liberty, they did not hold their total realization to be possible, at least in this world, and consequently they did not work solely for that event.

"On the contrary the Jew believed not only that justice, liberty and equality could be the sovereigns of the world, but they believed themselves specially sent to work for that reign. All the desires, all the hopes which these three ideas gave birth to ended by crystallizing round one central idea: that of the Messianic time, of the coming of the Messiah, who was to be sent by Jehovah to enthrone the power of earthly kingdoms. . .

From Le probleme juif by Georges Batault:

"As for the final result of the Messianic revolution it will always be the same; God will overthrow the nations and the kings and will cause Israel and its king to triumph; the nations will be converted to Judaism and will obey the law, or else they will be destroyed, and the Jews will be the masters of the world. . .

"Whatever may be said, contemporary events again show the close parentage which unites Judaism with the spirit of revolt. Under various formulas it is always the same Messianic dream of the prophets and the psalmists which haunts the mind. Internationalism may be only an enlarged nationalism, a veritable ideological imperialism which dreams of placing in tutelage the nations brought under the ideal of justice obstinate and exclusive, which was that of Israel during the ages, and which has tormented the world for two thousand years.

"Setting aside human limitations, diversities, and imperfections despising the necessities of life and all tradition outside its own, the Messianic passion shaken by the spirit of revolt as by the blast of a tempest passes over the world laying waste all in its path. From the depths of a millenary past, crying out to the future, the voice of the prophets continues to thunder towards a world of justice where we shall see realized the haughty and impossible dream of Israel."

This race on which religion has impressed anti-social tendencies, is it organized with recognized chiefs whose authority extends over all the Jewish groups in the world?