Monday, April 14, 2008

Vikuach's Addendum pt ii

Shadal now concludes his addendum to his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) He explains that he is unsure about the preceding theory of combined contributions of Avraham Abulafia and Rabbi Moshe de Leon, and leaves it to others to investigate. He explains that the guest is not real, but rather is a way of putting forth his own thoughts to convince his friends. {Perhaps like he suggests for Rav Yosef Karo's maggid!} He explains how he did not publish this Vikuach for 25 years, but finally did so at the urging of a non-fictional Jew from Poland, since it would be useful to oppose Chassidut. The text of the Vikuach follows:

However, the matter is not entirely clear to me, and I am not judging a judgment, and I am leaving place to others to make a border {?} in it; and there is no doubt that in these matters there is left no shortage of mysteries, which will in the future be revealed via men of truth, who seek the truth with a straightforward heart.

And behold, please, dear reader, there is no doubt that already, your heart has said to you that the story of the guest who came to me from the land of Poland and disputed with me all the disputation written in this book, never was not was created, but was rather an allegory {mashal}.

And so it is in truth, for I, from the beginning of my childhood delved and inverstigated, to elucidate and clarify for myself what the beliefs are that are fitting to cling to, and which are fitting to distance oneself from.

And since there were to me in those days a few friends who were very dear to my eyes, and my thoughts were not as their thoughts in the matter of the wisdom of the kabbalah, I wrote this work to be for me as an advocate {meilitz}, to inform them upon what foundations my belief is founded, so that they would be able to point out my errors. And not only did they not find an answer, but they even agreed with my words and held my belief.

And after I came here, I showed my book to a few of my students and friends, and it did not arise in my thoughts to distribute it in Israel, since as events came about {?} and in these times, those who engage in the works of kabbalah are few, and most of them draw from them mussar and fear of God, and there intent is desirable, and their actions are also desirable to Heaven and people, and what is it for me to confuse their thoughts with my investigations?

However, this past summer, a certain bachur came from Poland (and this is truth, not an allegory), who while yet a lad abandoned his land and ascended to the land of Israel, and from there came to here, and I found in him good traits. And after he left me and traveled around the cities of Italy, he saw a copy of this Vikuach in the possession of one of my students. Then he wrote to me complaining that I did not bring it out to the light of day, since he was certain that it was able to be to great purpose for the people of our nation, and specifically for the people of his hand, since there are there many who have become Chassidim, who desecrate the honor of the nation and the honor of the Torah will their nonsenses and with the evilness of their deeds.

And it was only these words of his which roused me up to publish this book, after 25 years in which it was hidden in my tent and in the tents of a few of my students.

And now, one think I ask from Hashem, this I request: That this book should be for good and to positive purpose to our brothers, the children of Israel, and to strengthen their faith, and to improve their traits, and that there should not come from this a problem or a loss in any way; for not to weaken the faith was my intent, but rather to strengthen and embolden; to build, and not to overthrow; to plant, and not to root out {based on Yirmeya 1:10}. And whoever walks in the straight path, and does not wear a mantle of hair in order to fool, even if his faith is distant in some matters from my own faith, he is dear and honored in my eyes and I love him, and in love and peace together we will serve the God of peace. May Hashem grant strength to His nation, may Hashem bless His nation with peace.

Padua, 25 Kislev, Shadal the Little

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