Isaac Luria Ashkenazi (ARI = Ashkenazi Rabbi Isaac): 1534-72. Active in Safed only during
his last three years. Powerful personality (believed to be Messiah).
Influence of Spanish Expulsion: Concern for Messianic Redemption.
Concentration of Rabbis and mystics in Safed etc.
Note: Connection to Spanish Expulsion is not outlined explicitly in Lurianic texts, but is a historical construction accepted by Scholem and other scholars. Idel calls it into question.
Did not publish his own teachings (Unable to systematize; concern for
Versions of "students": Hayim Vital, Moses Jonah, Israel Sarug,
Joseph Ibn Tabul.
Rapid spread of his influence throughout the Jewish world.
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:
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
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
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.
Tikkun: Restoration, Repair:
Rebuilding of Primordial Man in `World of Emanation": The
Sefirot regrouped in Lurianic doctrine of faces, countenaces: Parzufim,
constellations of Sefirot:
Arikh anpin, Forbearing One=Keter
Ze'ir anpin, "Impatient one"=Six sefirot from Hesed to Yesod (around
Nukba de-Ze'ir (Female of Ze'ir)=Malkhut.
Mirror images of the Sefirot in lower levels of existence:
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.