#104 A Kabbalistic Journey Through Time (3)

The third part of David Solomon’s lecture series, A Kabbalistic Journey Through Time, examines two towering kabbalistic figures of the 16th century.

David explores the ideas of Rabbi Moshe (Moses) Cordovero (the RaMaQ) and Rabbi Yitzchak (Isaac) Luria (the AR”Y), whose contributions to Kabbalah – both emerging in late 1500s in the town of Tzfat – have been seismic.

 

The lecture investigates the RaMaQ’s book, Pardes Rimonim (The Orchard of Pomegranates), and its exploration of:

  • rational emanations
  • ein sof (infinite)
  • the relationship between Divine influence and the sephirot
  • the four worlds
  • the immanence of the Divine in reality
  • the divine element in the human soul
  • the revelation of God in meditation, kavannot, and mystical experience.

The AR”Y did not write down his vast kabbalistic teachings. The recording of his ideas was left to his students, chief among whom was Rabbi Chaim Vital. It was Vital who compiled the book Etz Chayim (Tree of Life), the cornerstone text of Lurianic Kabbalah. This book, which was to change forever the landscape of Jewish Mystical thinking, contained many transformative kabbalistic concepts, including:

  • tzimtzum (contraction)
  • primordial man (Adam Qadmon)
  • the domain of chaos (tohu);
  • shevirah (shattering)
  • integrated configurations known as ‘partzuphim’
  • tiqun (repair)
  • the maintenance and repair of the World of Emanation
  • the trapped sparks of lower worlds
  • the five levels of the individual soul
  • the responsibility of souls to repair the world

David provides an overview of these concepts, a picture of the men from who they emerged, the historical setting of this extraordinary revolution in mystical thinking, and the legacy of these ideas.

Continue reading “#104 A Kabbalistic Journey Through Time (3)”

#15 Worlds in Transition: Jewish History of the 16th Century (part 4)

Scholars, doctors and adventurers are the focus of this podcast episode, the final talk in David Solomon’s series on the 16th century. David explores figures of the second half of the 1500s, from Europe to the Americas, who made extraordinary contributions in science and medicine, mysticism and rabbinic literature, commerce and politics, and global exploration. These remarkable people and their works influenced contemporary and future Jewish life and helped shape the world that was to emerge in the following century.

Marranos: Secret Seder in Spain during the times of inquisition, an 1892 painting by Moshe Maimon. Public Domain.

Continue reading “#15 Worlds in Transition: Jewish History of the 16th Century (part 4)”