Κυριακή, 31 Ιανουαρίου 2016

Meditation and Kabbalah By Aryeh Kaplan


Meditation and Kabbalah By Aryeh Kaplan
 
Containing Relevant Texts from The Grellter Hekhalot, Textbook of the Merkava School The works of Abraham Abulafia Joseph Gikatalia's Glltes of Light The Glltes of Holiness Gate of the Holy Spirit, Textbook of the Lurianic School Hasidic Classics

The practical Kabbalah, on the other hand, was a kind of white magic, dealing with the use of techniques that could evoke supernatural powers. It involved the use of divine names and incantations, amulets and talismans, as well as chiromancy, physiognomy and astrology.
Many theoretical Kabbalists, led by the Ari, frowned on the use of such techniques, labeling them as dangerous and spiritually demeaning. As a result, only a very small number of texts have survived at all, mostly in manuscript form, and only a handful of the most innocuous of these have been published.

The path of the emotions also plays an important role in the
systems of the Kabbalists.

A path combining the intellect and emotions is the path of love, described in detail by the leading philosopher, Rabbi Moses Maimonides (1135-1204). He writes that when a person deeply contemplates on God, thinking of His mighty deeds and wondrous creations, he becomes profoundly aware of His wisdom, and is brought to a passionate love for God He speaks of a level of love called Cheshek (passion), where the emotion is so intense that every thought is exciusively engaged with its object. This love for God can be so intense that the soul can literally be drawn out of the body by it, and this is what occurs when a saint dies by the "Kiss of God." This is considered to be one of the highest possible levels of enlightenment, usually attained only at very advanced age.

One reason why so little is known about the various systems of Kabbalah meditation is that all of this literature is in Hebrew, and it has never been accurately translated. Since most of these methods are no longer practiced, the vocabulary associated with them has also been forgotten. So great is this confusion that even the very Hebrew word for meditation is not generally known. This has even led to the use of the wrong term in an article on the subject in a major Judaic encyclopedia.
Once a basic vocabulary is established, however, one can gain an appreciation of how often meditation is discussed in classical texts, particularly in the Kabbalistic classics.
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