Short essay on Lurianic Kabbalah
Isaac Luria (1534-1572) -- also known as the "Ari Zaal," or "Divine Rabbi Isaac," -- was, and remains to this day, unarguably the greatest Kabbalist in world history. His doctrines, based entirely on the Old Testament and Zohar, anticipated virtually world-for-word -- or at the very least, concept for concept -- the theory of the "Big Bang" origins of the universe in astrophysics. Thus, the cosmogony of a 16th century Jewish Kabbalist was literally validated by modern science four hundred years later.
The details of Luria's Kabbalah are far too complicated to be discussed here. Suffice it to say that his doctrine ofSheviretHaKelim, or "Shattering of the Vessels," was at their core and profoundly influenced all subsequent Kabbalistic theosophy.
Put simply, the doctrine of Sheviret HaKelim states (as does also the 20th century Big-Bang theory) that the Universe (i.e.,the Unity of God) was shattered at the moment of mundane creation. From this cataclysm, "Holy Sparks" flew off in all directions, some returning to their Source, others falling into the world of "things" and "beings." Thus, as the Baal Shem Tov states, "In all that is in the world dwell Holy Sparks, no things is empty of them; in the actions of men also, indeed even in the sins he does, dwell Holy Sparks of God."
Thus, the Kabbalistic notion of Tikkun Olam, or "Repair of the World," is based on the principle that all things and actions in the world, no matter how seemingly trivial, are saturated with Holy Sparks, yearning to return to the state of premundane unity from which they fell at the creation of the world. Again, modern Chaos Theory in physics states much the same principle when it proposes that all disturbed systems seek to return to their pre-existent state of "quasi-stationary equilibrium."
One hundred years after Luria, in 1665-66, the Jewish Messiah and avatar, Sabbatai Zevi, began completing the Tikkun Olamthrough various "strange gestures," including his conversion to Islam. Thousands of his millions of followers followed him into this "Holy Apostasy," as did the followers of Yakov Leib Frank into Christianity another hundred years after that. Today, theDONMEH forum is attempting to complete the great task initiated by Sabbatai Zevi through the powerful medium of the internet.
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content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 28 May 1998, most recent update 3 June 2001