Present And Discuss The Interpretation In The Kabbalistic Tradition Of One Or More Passages From The Hebrew Bible

2588 words - 11 pages

The element of mysticism in Judaism is that which is commonly referred to as Kabbalah. Kabbalah is an area of Judaism that seeks to - as much as is humanly possible - comprehend the inner workings of God through analyzing the commandments of God, and the writings of Jewish ancestry. The Torah is Jewish law. This refers to oral law and orthodox texts such as the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) or the first 5 books of the Old Testament. The Zohar is considered the most authoritative text of Kabbalah and is mainly concerned with the teachings found in the Torah. Kabbalah contains a system for analyzing the emanations of God and that is called the 'ten sefirot'. The Zohar aims to decipher much of the ...view middle of the document...

Keter affects the ten sefirot but in a way that is non quantifiable. When keter is not counted as one of the ten sefirot, then a sefirah by the name of daat is counted. Daat and its purpose will be discussed shortly. Keter is often not included in the ten sefirot because it is the primary divine will that affects all the other sefirot but is not affected by anything itself. Keter can also describe a human's desire or wish. A human may trace one's actions back as far as to a wish or desire but no further.Eight of the ten sefirot can be divided into three groups of meaning. Conceptual, active and tactical. The first three sefirot, chochmah, binah and daat, belong to the conceptual grouping. They are regarded as incorporating the intellect, will and understanding (Leiberman 2000:9).Chochmah (meaning 'from nothing') is the first of these three sefirot and hence is the raw element. It is comes from nowhere. It is the spark of mind. Chochmah is either inspired or taught to one. It is not derived through rational thought (Leiberman 2000:7). Binah is rational thought taken from the inspired chochmah and processed into an actual idea or concept (Leiberman 2000:8). When the keter is counted among the ten sefirot, then that of daat is discarded. Daat (meaning knowledge) is the final stage in rational thought. An idea, from inspiration (chochmah), processed into rational concept through binah, and finally through daat to become a solidified plan in the mind. Daat is a tool that moves to act. It bridges the gap between concept and reality (Leiberman 2000:9).To summarize the three sefirot above then:Chochmah is the father - the seed. Binah is the mother - the womb. And daat, the child - created from the two previous (Leiberman 2000:9).And they who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and they who turn many to Righteousness like the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3).They who are wise is in reference to those souls of the righteous and the brightness of the firmament is in reference to the upper three sefirot - chochmah, binah and daat. These three sefirot become illuminated when joined with chesed (Kabbalah Centre International 2004: http1).The next three sefirot, chesed, gevurah and tiferet, are grouped into the realm of action and activity.Chesed (meaning without condition) is unconditional and unmotivated. Chesed initiates action. God's Creation itself is seen as chesed. With love and kindness in mind God created all that is, and it is this idea that encapsulates chesed. In human understanding this means that an act carried through with purity of motivation is performed with chesed (Leiberman 2000:10). Chesed also describes the beginning of any relationship between Man and God.The core meaning of chesed as stated above is that it is without condition. Creation initiated by and performed through chesed would continue infinitely without some form of restraint to create boundaries and 'reality'. This brings us to gevurah, which...

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