Monday, May 26, 2008

The Authenticity of Kabbalah pt xxxii

Shadal continues his Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous segment.) The guest further cites Shomer Emunim and the Raavad that the Sefirot are not Divinity. The author cites the sefer Emunat Chachamim which offers a harmonization of sorts, that they are inconsistent in the use of Ein Sof to sometimes refer to Sefirot, and sometimes Divinity to refer to Sefirot, even though what was intended was emanations of Divinity. The guest does not accept this explanation as plausible. The text of the Vikuach follows:

And the man said: And so too in this sefer, sefer Shomer Emunim, you will find explained that the Sefirot are "effects" from Ein Sof.

And he read before me in the first dispute, siman 41, and this is its language: And we ascend the steps from the bottom effect until the upper effect, until we stand at the first effect which the Creator brought out, and this is the Supreme Crown {kesser elyon}, and we will establish that it is found uniquely complete to the extent of completeness which is possible to exist in an effect, etc.

And this is what the Raavad wrote in the introduction to his commentary to sefer Yetzirah. And this is its language: The cause of all causes {=Ein Sof} induces from it the Supreme Crown {=keter elyon, the first Sefirah} which is simple {all of one thing} to the full extent of simplicity, such that there is not between it {keser elyon} and its cause {=Ein Sof} anything except that this one {=Ein Sof} is the cause and this one {=keser elyon} is the effect.

And he {=the guest} said: Go now, please, and harmonize the Raavad, Rav Moshe Cordevero, the Rama {miPano}, the Ari, and the author of Shomer Emunim, who say that the Sefirot are effect and new things, and the others whom the Rama {miPano} mentioned who commit themselves as a matter of halacha that the Sefirot are entirely the Identity of the Divinity.

The author: Go and I will show you in sefer Emunat Chachamim one introduction, by which will be explained and whitened all these contradictions.

And I took the sefer and I found written in it, at the end of chapter 23, and this is its language: Only this I have seen fit to mention in order to remove the stumbling block from the eyes of those who learn from books {sefarim} and not from scribes {sofrim}, that in the words of the Sages of truth and righteousness, the term Ein Sof, Baruch Hu does not refer in every place to the Creator Yisbarach, but rather at times it is not so. And the Rama {mipano} zatza"l in Pelach haRimon delved into this, and in the introduction of sefer Yonat Elem he {=Rav Menachem Azarya miPano} explains this more. And I have not merited to receive it ftom the motuth of Maharma"z, who received this from Rav Binyamin haLevi, who received it from Rabbi Chiyya Rofei, who received it from the mouth of Rav Chaim Vital himself.

Further, all the sages of peshat know that in the words of the sages of truth, "Divinity" is not God Yisbarach but rather emanations of His Light, just as the light of the sun is not the actual sun. And therefore, be not astounded if you find in the words of the Acharonim that Divinity is the ten Sefirot, etc. And behold the sun which enters the house is not the sun itself, but rather its light which spreads through the words, and it is just exactly so the Shechina {Divine presence} of Hakadosh Baruch Hu." End quote.

And the man {=the guest} answered: The haughtiness of {King} Yerovam drove him out of the world, and the haughtiness of the kabbalists causes them to choose to deny God, and to say that God is not God, and that Ein Sof is not Ein Sof. in a way that they have no God anymore at all, rather than admitting that there is dispute between their sages, something with is clear like the sun at noon.

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