Lurianic Kabbalah

  1. Historical Context:

  2. Major Doctrines:

    1. Tzimtzum: Contraction:

      • God must withdraw from a portion of the universe in order to create something other than himself.
      • Leaves "point" of emptiness, primordial space, substratum for creation: Tehiru.
      • Leaves residue of divine light: Reshimu (mercy + traces of Din): Vessels to receive emanated light.
      • Requires separation of forces of Din-Justice from undistinguished totality, principle of (Self-) limitation.
      • In the primordial space the Ein-sof creates the first yod.
      • Creation of unformed "primordial air" and "primordial man" (Adam Kadmon). Adam Kadmon was first being to materialize after Tzimtzum, contained Sefirot as concentric circles (Keter was outermost). Reorganized in human form (linear). Precedes four worlds of emanation-creation.
      • Circular and linear emanation of divine light.
      • Apparent contradiction of divine immutability: Leads to differences among commentators: Did Tzimtzum occur in Ein-sof or only in the emanated light? (Or.: How literally should Tzimtzum be understood?)
      • Usefulness of Tzimtzum theory as explanation of origin of evil/free will.

    2. The Breaking of the Vessels:

      • Ray of divine light came from Ein-sof in order to organize the Reshimu and forces of Din in the primordial space. Light radiated from head of Adam Kadmon as letters, etc. Lights from eyes (circular) radiates to "World of Points" `Olam ha-nekudot:: Stage of unstructured divine light--into vessels (Sefirot from Hesed to Yesod).
      • Vessels unable to contain light shatter into light and shards of Din (husks, kelipot).
      • Kelippot become root of evil: "Other side."
      • Root of exilic situation in God, humanity and Israel.

    3. Tikkun: Restoration, Repair:

      • Rebuilding of Primordial Man in `World of Emanation": The Sefirot regrouped in Lurianic doctrine of faces, countenaces: Parzufim, constellations of Sefirot:

        1. Arikh anpin, Forbearing One=Keter

        2. Abba, Father=Hokhman/Wisdom

        3. Imma, Mother=Binah/Understanding

        4. Ze'ir anpin, "Impatient one"=Six sefirot from Hesed to Yesod (around Tif'eret)

        5. Nukba de-Ze'ir (Female of Ze'ir)=Malkhut.

      • Mirror images of the Sefirot in lower levels of existence:
        1. Beri'ah (Creation);
        2. Yesirah (Fashioning);
        3. `Asiyyah (Making).

      • Tikkun involves raising each world to its proper place, especially elevating "Asiyyah, by separating holy sparks from evil sefirot.

      • Part of the task is reserved for humans, through observance of the Torah and worship with proper intention. Production of "female waters" to facilitate "mating" (and generating) of Father and Mother.


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