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Aliens, the GRA and Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz

Did the ‘GRA’ believe in space aliens?

By the end of this post, hopefully, we’ll have a better idea about who he actually might have been, and how all this links up with kabbalah and ‘space aliens’.

Let’s start with a book by Ariel bar Tzadok called Aliens, Angels and Demons – which I DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE READ!!!

I ordered the book after a reader sent me a PDF of Bar Tzadok’s writings comparing aliens to demons that he wrote in the 1990s.

There was a lot of arrogance in the text, but it mostly seemed to be sharing useful, ‘kosher’ information.

I don’t know what happened in the intervening years (I can guess – you can’t mess around with practical kabbalah and ‘merkava meditations’ without risking what happened to the ‘4 that entered Pardes’)  – but so much of this book was heretical twisted kabbalah, I ended up skipping large parts of it.

The ‘good’ stuff was the stuff from 25+ years ago.

And now, Bar Tzadok is convinced that the world is billions of years old…. that ‘Watchers’ are really running the show on planet earth while God just twiddles His thumbs somewhere…. and that while some ‘aliens’ are probably demonic and living within ‘hollow earth’, there are definitely OTHER aliens from other worlds in the universe that aren’t.

There’s a lot more that bothered me, but this is summing up the main points for this post.


As I read through the book, I made a note of the so-called ‘Torah scholars’ who had impaired Bar Tzadok’s thinkings about space aliens.

The names were very familiar.

There was of course the known Sabbatean Jonathan Eybshutz, who wrote his famous commentary about the Tower of Babel actually being some sort of rocket ship.

There was Aryeh Kaplan, who translated a whole bunch of ‘practical kabbalah’ texts into English that should never have been translated into English, and also advocated ‘ancient world’ and ‘cosmic shittot’ ideas, plus described doing ‘meditation’ in a way that is spiritually dangerous. (He died suddenly aged 49…. I would not be shocked if this is another example of ‘4 entered Pardes’).

Then, there was the ‘Tiferet Israel’, who we outed as a probable ‘twisted kabbalah’ Sabbatean HERE.

And then there were many references to one ‘Menachem Tziyoni‘ (‘Menachem the zionist’) and one ‘Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz‘, who authored ‘Sefer HaBrit’.

Those are the two we are going to take a closer look at, in this post.


Let’s start with Menachem Tziyoni.

The Kotzk blog has a lot of information about him in a post entitled:

Menachem Tziyoni’s kabbalistic writings on demonology

And just like that, you can already probably start to see where this is going.

Here’s some pertinent snippets:

Menachem ben Meir of Speyer (c.1340 – c.1410), also known as Menachem Tziyoni, was an early and therefore authoritative Kabbalist. He was a student of a student of Nachmanides (Ramban) the father of Jewish mysticism.

Menachem Tziyoni had spent some in Jerusalem and when he returned to Germany, he referred to himself as Tziyoni (the ‘zionist’)

That’s probably not a CO-IN-CID-ENCE.


Tziyoni published at least two works, but the one Bar Tzadok refers to a lot is called Tzefunei Tziyoni.

It’s a book about demonology.

Here’s another snippet from the Kotzk blog:

Huss (2004:56) explains that:

[f]irst and foremost, R. Menachem Ziyyoni was interested in demons. He enumerates a wide variety of demons and evil powers, and describes their hierarchy and their emanation from the divine world of the Sefirot.


The Kotzk blog continues:

Tzefunei Tziyoni describes ‘seven demon kings who each rule on one day of the week.

The Torah commentary Sefer Tziyoni shows a belief in Werewolves, Striga (a human woman transformed into a monster or vampiress by a curse, who is filled with hatred towards all living beings and who often has red hair and is four cubits high, it sometimes transforms into an owl to hunt humans at night) and Mares (a malicious entity in that rides on people’s chests while they sleep, bringing on nightmares.)


Again, I can’t stress this enough, that when Rebbe Nachman writes about ‘Jewish Demon Scholars’ , this phrase can be understood to be referring to a few different things at once.

So much of the trouble is that sincere, well-intentioned people ‘over-reach’ in their pursuit of kabbalistic knowledge, and then become very easy pickings for the demons they believe they are ‘controlling’ to subvert and turn to the ‘dark side’.

R Eliezer Fleckeles of Prague explained about the Sabbatians of his generation that they basically fell into the deepest evil because they were messing with ‘kabbalah’ and ‘kabbalistic mediations’ and ‘practical kabbalah’ – without having the level of middot required to come out of Pardes unscathed.

This is what he said about the Frankists in 1799 (warning, it’s graphic). He accused the Frankists of:

“[A]ll sorts of evil, godless and infamous deeds unheard of even among the wildest barbarians. These people are worse than all the villains and criminals who ever lived since the beginning of the world. . . .

They have a secret according to which it is good to masturbate and smear the body with the outflow. . . . They consider it pious and highly recommendable to sleep with your neighbor’s wife, in the presence of ten men-folk, and in addition recommend other abominations and horrors such as fornication with male persons and even with animals.

They worship idols, practice witchcraft, live in debauchery and whoredom. . .

All this came about because Shabtai Tzvi / SHACH fell from his tremendously high level of Torah erudition and kabbalistic insight…. into totally twisted kabbalistic interpretations.

This same problem has happened over and over and over again in Jewish history.

And it’s still happening today.


So, back to Menachem the zionist.

Let’s quote a bit more from the Kotzk blog:

According to Tzefunei Tziyoni, angels can be used to control and subdue demons. These angels have special seals and names “which are known to us”:

And know, that each party (of demons) is (subordinated) to certain archons [according to Gnosticism these are builders of the physical universe and divine angels, as it is known among men of understanding. And each angel has a seal and a pennant.

And when he shows his subordinate the sign of his pennant he will immediately exercise his mission.”

The second square bracket is missing in the original.

But these ‘archons’ are what Bar Tzadok is now calling ‘the Watchers’.

And if you have had the misfortune of reading his more recent ideas, you’ll clearly recognise the link between Gnosticism and the twisted stuff he’s now putting out about these ‘Watchers’ controlling the world, while God sits and twiddles his thumbs.

There is nothing new under the sun.


If you carry on reading the Kotzk blog, you’ll discover that as well as describing how to try to ‘control demons’, and use them to ‘divine’ future events, Menachem the Zionist was also describing techniques to ‘divine the future’ by raising the dead, too.

The Kotzk blog explains that Menachem the Zionist:

[D]oes not always approve of the practices, but he still openly describes them in great detail.

This is kind of stunning, because some of the stuff being described in this book – that Menachem the Zionist apparently does ‘approve’ of – is stuff that was totally outlawed by the Shulchan Aruch, in the chapter on magic in Yoreh Deah, 179.

I read that over with my husband on Shabbat, and I’ll see if I can translate it for the blog soon, BH.

Two more things to notice about ‘Menachem the Zionist’ is that he seems to have picked up some of his ideas about ‘practical kabbalah’ from his sojourns in Jerusalem – and also in Candia, Crete.

That last place caught my eye, because the single biggest initial pusher of ‘heliocentrism’ in the Jewish community was someone called ‘Joseph  Solomon Del Medigo‘ from Candia, Crete.

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

After Istanbul he wandered along the Karaite communities in Eastern Europe, finally arriving at Amsterdam in 1623. He died in Prague. Yet in his lifetime wherever he sojourned he earned his living as a physician and or teacher.

His only known works are Elim (Palms), dealing with mathematics, astronomy, the natural sciences, and metaphysics, as well as some letters and essays.


Del Medigo was said to have learned his astronomy direct from Galileo….

I wonder.

But what keeps coming through here is the links between ‘Gnosticisim’, ‘Sadduccees’, ‘Karaites’ – and twisted kabbalistic ideas that then infect the authentic Torah-observant community, and take so many Jews away from simple emuna, and the Torah.

(Also as a BTW, Delmedigo’s daughter Sarah married straight into the Oppenheimer clan of Prague.)

I could go on about this for years…. but let’s stop here and now take a look at Bar Tzadok’s principle source for believing in ‘space aliens’ living on planets elsewhere in the universe, which is a book called ‘Sefer HaBrit’, published in 1797 in the Frankist stronghold of Brunn.


You have probably never heard of ‘Sefer HaBrit’ – The Book of the Covenant .

But it was a smash-hit best seller, and reprinted many times over, after it’s first publication in 1797.


Hashgacha Pratit – literally a day before I started reading Bar Tzadok’s PDF, where he refers a lot to Sefer HaBrit, I got this book delivered:

I’d been trying to track down some sort of copy of the ‘best selling’ Sefer HaBrit, but I can’t find a trace of it.

Which is kind of strange, for such a ‘best seller’, that was literally reprinted many times over.

So this book, by David Ruderman, was what I could find, and this is what I bought.

The front cover is interesting – it’s not the cover of the original ‘Sefer HaBrit’, it’s:

“[F]rom the frontispiece of Abraham ben Mordechai Farissol, Igeret orhot ‘olam, (Prague 1793… The image [is[ of the globe as an ark offering refuge to Noah and the animals….[by] artist Anton Balzer.”



Balzer’s father, Johann, created the famous copperplate images of both David Oppenheim and Jonathan Eybshutz….

Go HERE, for more of his illustrations.

Yet again, we see what a small world it really is.


Let’s bring a snippet from Bar Tzadok’s PDF on aliens, where he sets out what Horowitz says about ‘aliens’:

Rabbi Horowitz emphasizes that these are physical worlds in outer space…

The reward of the righteous is that they are to ascend to the stars and rule sections of the galaxy as the regents of the Holy One, Blessed be He.

Rabbi Horowitz continues to bring evidence of other worlds from the Bible itself. With this proof text, he not only claims to prove that there are other worlds, but that they are also inhabited by beings.

Rabbi Horowitz quotes from Judges 5:23, “cursed be Maroz, cursed be those who dwell there.” The Talmud (Moed Katan 16A) records an opinion that Maroz is the name of a planet. And the verse says,  “cursed be those who dwell there.” This seems to imply that the planet Maroz is

Rabbi Horowitz concludes Chapter Three with the words, “According to my opinion, there are inhabited planets [in outer space] and this is also implied in the Tikunei Zohar.”…

To again prove the point of the varying types of life that are in outer space, Rabbi Horowitz uses the example of the ocean, saying that just as sea creatures differ tremendously from land creatures due to the different nature of their environments, so do the inhabitants of the other planets differ from us.


Rabbi Horowitz then follows with one of his most important points.

He acknowledges that these extraterrestrial beings are “ba’alei sekhel u’madah” (masters of intelligence and science).

Yet, with all their intellectual potentials, Rabbi Horowitz claims that all extraterrestrials will lack one essential component that will forever set them apart from the human race.

They lack “behirah,” the ability of Free Will. Free Will separates mankind from any and every other species. It is Free Will that is the G-d given spiritual component that separates the human race from being just another animal species.


So, who is this ‘Rabbi Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz’ of Vilna?

Best-selling ‘rabbi-scientist-author-kabbalist’, who shaped the attitudes of a whole generation of Torah scholars, and is pretty much the ONLY person being quoted today as an ‘authentic Torah opinion’ for the idea that there are aliens from outer space?

(Aryeh Kaplan also referred to the Sefer HaBrit, for a lot of his ideas on this subject.)

Well…. no-one knows.

David B Ruderman wrote a whole book about him – and he still doesn’t know who he was.

This is a snippet from his book (p18):

“While Hurwitz offers a great deal of autobiographical information in his book, it extends only over a limited period of some ten to fifteen years.

During his early years and after the initial publication of his famous book, he becomes virtually invisible. Moreover, even in the period of his life that he does document, significant gaps make it difficult to determine the precise itinerary of his travels from east to west and back, and the people he contacted throughout his wanderings.

Even the date or place of Hurwitz’s birth cannot be established with any degree of certainty.

He appears to have been born in Vilna to Meir and Yenta Hurwitz…and the year of his birth is usually given as 1765, but no strong evidence for either place or year is forthcoming.”


I started looking at ‘Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz’ a LONGGGG time ago, because he is very good candidate for the identity of the ‘REAL VILNA GAON.’

There were all these strange ‘overlaps’ between him and the Vilna Gaon – including the strange stories of the GRA apparently being a genius in ‘modern science’, and having all these non-Jewish scientists come to Vilna to visit him.

Go back and read THIS post.

I am still tring to assimilate all this information myself….

But long story short, Eliyahu the GRA of Vilna and ‘Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz’ of Vilna overlap in a whole bunch of ways.

They hang out with the same people, (including Baruch Shick, translator of Euclid and member of the Frankists’ Asian Brotherhood secret society…)

They live at the same time – in the same place – but apparently never talk about each other.

They are both super-interested in ‘modern science’, but also still very spiritual and involved in Jewish mysticism and Torah learning.

They both publish books on science at exactly the same time – Horowitz’s ‘Sefer HaBrit’, and the GRA’s ‘Ayin Meshulash’ book on geometry….

No-one knows where they are buried.

Their genealogy is a total, utter mess, and there are lot of ‘missing years’ in both their life stories….

And they are hanging out and inspiring two-faced ‘haskalah-pushing frummers’, most of whose descendants end up running both sides of the ‘religious / secular’ divide in the State of Israel.


If you go HERE, you’ll find a beautiful copy of the GRA’s ‘Ayil Meshulash’ book that was recently put up for sale on Bidspirit.

This is a screenshot of the title page:


And this is a screenshot of the Bidspirit description for the book:


Yaakov Moshe Slonim, the GRA’s grandson, ties us in to the haskalah promoting Slonims we started discussing in THIS post, which seem to also connect to the GRA – in a bunch of ways that have been hidden and covered up.

Here’s a few pertinent snippets from that post:

Shimshon (Samson) ben Mordechai of Slonim (c. 1734/1736 – 1794), was an 18th-century rabbi, philosopher, mathematician, and scientist.

He was one of the leaders of Haskalah and the Misnagdim, and was greatly influenced by the Vilna Gaon. He was the Av Beit Din of Slonim and Königsberg and is thought to have been descended from Shimshon Loew ben Bezalel, the Maharal of Prague’s brother through his grandson, Samson ben Pesah Ostropoli.


Shimshon had a library of around 250 to 300 books that he had collected on his journeys to Hamburg and other cities.

People such as the Vilna Gaon and Solomon Maimon came to Slonim to borrow books from his library. Among Shimshon’s prized possessions was the unpublished work, Bosmat Bat Shelomoh by the rabbi, Joseph Solomon Delmedigo.


Lookie there!

We are back with the heliocentric-pushing Joseph Solomon Delmedigo, and the Vilna Gaon.

But there’s more:

In 1778, upon the recommendation of the Vilna GaonBaruch Schick of Shklov (1744-1808) journeyed to Slonim to ask Shimshon to write an approbation to the first ever Hebrew translation of Euclid’s Elements, Sefer Oklidus. Shimshon agreed and wrote part of the introduction to the book.


And here’s the kicker, from that post:

In 1787, the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, was going to visit his brother, Samuel in Krichev, when he spent the night in Slonim. 

As he writes in his journal, all of the inns were full, so he was forced to spend the night with a rabbi who also kept a hardware store. He goes on to describe the rabbi’s home and that he had two bookcases with “not fewer than 250 or 300 Vols.”

Bentham also talked about how the rabbi possessed a copy of Euclid’s Elements as well as a manuscript on astronomy which contained a diagram, that was the rabbi’s own work.


Now, compare and contrast the above with THIS story from the onthemainline blog, entitled:

A Vilna Gaon Story That Was Too Weird for Artscroll.

That blog post suggests that the GRA and ‘Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz’ could have been one and the same person.

And it also brings this strange story:

The story is that the curators of a Russian museum had obtained some kind of precious mineral which reputedly possessed remarkable powers.
Scientist could not figure out the secret of the stone, so they decided to send it to Germany, where the real great scientists were! They also couldn’t figure it out, among them was Moses Mendelssohn, who suggested that they send it to the Vilna Gaon.
Two German professors (Shulman says they were short and bald!) went to Vilna and brought the stone to the Gaon. The latter instructed his shammash to bring him a glass of water. The Gaon dropped the stone into the water and – poof! – the water disappeared.
Seeing the shock, the Gaon explained to the German scientists that the stone was a sapphire and that when water comes into contact with sapphire the two elements of which is is composed separates and it reverts back to hydrogen and oxygen.
When the dumbfounded scientists returned to Germany and told everyone about the amazing rabbi in Vilna, Mendelssohn was excited and exclaimed that with this we can understand a naturalistic explanation for the splitting of the Red Sea!
Moses’ staff was made of sapphire, according to rabbinic tradition. When Moses split the sea with his staff, it was through the alchemic properties of sapphire!
When the Gaon was told of this “he was outraged.
“Heretic!” he proclaimed.” He then explained that the verse says harem et matekhah lift your staff and neteh et yadekha al hayam stretch out your hand over the sea (Ex. 14:16). Harem here means lift, but it also means to remove, set aside. So what actually happened was that God told Moses to set aside his rod and then stretch his hand over the sea – specifically so that the miracle was supernatural.
This indeed was the miracle! He had a sapphire rod, but he used his hand.


The author of that blog post – which I highly recommend you go and read in full – is mocking this story.

At this stage, I am reading it and getting chills….

‘Alchemic properties of sapphire’… magick vs miracles, tie-ups with the Frankist’s Asian Brotherhood and other secret societies, the haskalah, Mendelssohn and the State of Israel….

It’s all coming together.


Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz travelled all over the place – many of his known travels overlap with the known travels of the ‘Vilna Gaon’, including to Amsterdam.

One of Horowitz’s closest friends is a Jeweller-Freemason in London, called Eliakim Gotshlick Hart, who helped establish the Denmark Court  Synagogue.

In Rudman’s book (pg 27) we find that as well as being a beloved friend of ‘Pinchas Eliyahu Horowitz’,

“Hart was also a member of Hiram’s Lodge, Swan Street, home of the modern Freemasons’.”


Let’s stop there for now.

So many CO-INC-ID-ENCES to think about.

And if anyone can rustle up a Hebrew version of ‘Sefer HaBrit’ online – please let me know in the comments section.



Thanks to CA – here are the links to ‘Sefer HaBrit’ on the HebrewBooks website:




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4 replies
  1. moshe parry
    moshe parry says:

    not menachem tziyoni (menachem the zionist)… that would be a modern day translation… back then it would have been menachem tziyoni (menachem from tzion ~ from zion… meaning from yerushalayim or even menachem from eretz yisroel)… truth.out…

  2. Daisy
    Daisy says:


    Two things: first of all, it is not true that sapphire dissolves water. I have been dealing with this for decades, it never ever happened, not even once ( I have a GIA diploma for colored stones – got 96%; I should know my stuff, dont you think?). Actually, I just did the experiment twice right now: in a few ounces of water I only saw one tiny bubble, and for that I needed a loup. That should tell you something. And believe me, it was not for magic! Sapphire – corundum – is a very hard stone, it can sit in water for years and nothing will happen to it: maybe some parts of it that are not actually sapphire but matrix might dissolve. But the sapphire itself stays completely intact, and so does the water. You can have a sapphire sit in water for years and nothing will happen, NOTHING! And if the water evaporates over time because of ambient temperature, does that prove that the sapphire did it?

    If you don’t believe me, try it yourself. Go buy a sapphire, even if tiny, and do it: nothing will happen. Maybe the Gaon misidentified the stone. But I can’t think of any mineral that does that, at least no precious stone ( I remember in the past having some reaction of a plain stone dissolving, although I forgot what I had put on it: it felt a bit like the Shamir, the little worm created Erev Shabbat which cuts stone). But sapphire dissolving water? Where on earth did they get that idea???!!

    Second thing ( you can keep that to yourself, if you prefer not to post my potentially insulting comment in public; although that is not the reason I am saying that, I just feel that it creates spiritual disturbance to read such stuff): I am frankly disturbed by all the negative stuff you are writing about: why bring such things up? It creates negative energy: not good. Shemor Einayim, remember?

    Sorry, but it does not feel like the Rivka I remember……

    Why?????? What is going on????????????????????? Please!



    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Thanks for taking the time to engage, Daisy.

      1) I don’t for a moment think this story about the sapphire is meant to be taken literally. They are speaking ‘alchemically’ – i.e. I think this is a hint to something way, way deeper, spiritually, about manipulating the basic building blocks of the ‘natural world’.

      2) I’m not entirely sure what the ‘negative stuff’ is you are specifically referring to?

      I’ve been writing about Sabbateans for a long time….

      If the ‘negative stuff’ is calling out people who believe in aliens, or that the world is billions of years old, there’s not much I can do to stop calling that out – it’s not what the Torah teaches, and the sources I’m finding in the ‘Torah world’ that are pushing these ideas seem to be ones no-one should be relying on.

      Otherwise, I’m actually trying to stay away from negative stuff about people being ‘doomed’…. so if you can clarify what’s bothering you, that would be helpful.


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