Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Authenticity of Kabbalah pt xxix

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) The guest finishes his lengthy citation of Taamei haMitzvot by Rabbi Menachem of Ricanti, about the nature of God and the Sefirot. In the footnote, Shadal notes where this text can be found and where it cannot be found. The text of the Vikuach follows:

"And also in the great sefer haZohar he says on a verse in the beginning: On that which is written {Yeshaya 10:15}
טו הֲיִתְפָּאֵר, הַגַּרְזֶן, עַל, הַחֹצֵב בּוֹ: אִם-יִתְגַּדֵּל הַמַּשּׂוֹר, עַל-מְנִיפוֹ, כְּהָנִיף שֵׁבֶט וְאֶת-מְרִימָיו, כְּהָרִים מַטֶּה לֹא-עֵץ. {פ} 15 Should the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? Should the saw magnify itself against him that moveth it? as if a rod should move them that lift it up, or as if a staff should lift up him that is not wood. {P}
behold that he describes the actions of the Attributes as regards Him Yisbarach veYisalech as the relation of the craftsman to his tools. And this is a better proof than all of them, etc.

And so wrote the Ramban, z"l, as we have written, and this is his language:
{Commenting on Bava Batra 25b: אמר רבי יצחק הרוצה שיחכים ידרים ושיעשיר יצפין וסימניך שלחן בצפון ומנורה בדרום}
"One who wishes to become wise should yadrim {face south}." The explanation of yadrim is to direct {/intend} towards the right Attribute to request from there from the King, King of Kings. And so is the intent of yatzpin {face north} to request from Him from there."

Behold the words of the Rav z"l match our words, for he does not say have intent towards the attribute, but rather towards the Creator that he act towards him with the Attribute which he needs, etc.

And I found a support to my words in the matter of the Attributes and the Sefirot from that which is found written by one of the gedolim in this language: "And that which the First Sefirah is called "Original Air" {avir rishon}, it is not called this because it was First, for there is no First except for Hakadosh Baruch Hu, etc. These are his words, z"l, etc.

And it appears to me that upon this intended the poet {paytan} when he said in the Yotzer of Rosh haShana: "King with ten garments, who will be girded with holy ones, etc." He called the ten Sefirot garments because they are like a garment to Hakadosh Baruch Hu, like the body to the soul, which is to it a garment, etc.

This is my position and my opinion, even though the simple reading of the words do not inform so, and one who inspects them when initially delving into them will find it difficult that the matters are as I have written. And I know with a clear knowledge that not all of the Sages of kabbalah agree to this that I have written, but I have not found to these matters a fix in any other way that what I have written, for all the Sages in this wisdom, all of them built upon a foundation of nothingness, and have said nothing in the matter of unification. Therefore I have written what appears to me, and one who heeds it will heed it and one who ignores it will ignore it. (*)


The lengthy statement which the Chayyat recorded in his sefer is not found in the sefer Taamei haMitzvot which is printed (Constantine, year 304 {=1524}, but it it in manuscript form at the end of sefer Taamei haMitzvot, and before the explanation of the prayers. And this sefer in manuscript form was in my hands in the days of my youth, and now it is in the hands of my friend Ramshag. And from there I corrected a few scribal errors which fell into the words of Rabbi Menachem in the printing of the Chayyat.

And know that Taamei haMitzvot which is in manuscript form consists of 34 pages, and this statement comes after them, which is missing in printed form, and consists in manuscript form of 15 pages, and Baruch Hashem who gave into the heart of the Chayyat to record most of them in his sefer.

And after the aforementioned 15 pages, there are two additional pages, "a commentary on Birkat haMazon based on the path of kabbalah, according to what I found clarified in Midrash Rut to Rabbi Menachem." And afterwards a commentary on prayers just as in the printed edition, but in the beginning of it {=the commentary on tefillot} there are about 3 pages, missing in the printed edition, and also here he speaks about the Sefirot similar to what he said at the end of Taamei haMitzvot.

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin