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Words of Wisdom

Divine Mercy of the Most Holy One: Selections from the Kabbalistic Zohar, Part 1 of 2

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Kabbalah is the ancient mystical school of thought of Judaism. Literally meaning “the received,” Kabbalah is also an esoteric method believed to have been revealed to elect saints and preserved by a certain few since the time of the Garden of Eden. Kabbalah aims to explain the relationship between God – the unchanging and eternal Ein Sof (The Infinite), and God’s creation – the mortal and finite universe. One of the most foundational of the Kabbalistic texts is the Sefer HaZohar, a Kabbalistic commentary on the Torah, which means the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Today, we will be presenting selections from the Great Holy Assembly, a volume of the Zohar where Rabbi Schimeon leads a group of holy sages through a discussion of the principles of Divine mercy as symbolized by the various parts of the beard of Macroprosopus. Macroprosopus is an aspect of Divine emanation in the Kabbalah, representing Divine will and the source of Divine compassion.

“Rabbi Schimeon began, and said: Woe unto him who extends his hand unto that most glorious supernal beard of the Holy Ancient One, the concealed of all. That is the beard of adornment, true and perfect, from which flow down thirteen fountains, scattering the most precious balm of splendor. The beard of ornament of the Ancient of the Ancient Ones, the most concealed of all things, is configurated in thirteen dispositions.”

“We have taught in the ‘Book of Concealed Mystery,’ that certain (dispositions) are found in the universe, according to those thirteen (dispositions) which depend from that venerable beard and they are opened out into the thirteen gates of mercies.”

“All things are comprehended in those dispositions; all things raise themselves up in order that they may receive these dispositions of the Mighty King, of the Ancient One, the most concealed of all. And all those are mitigated by those ordinations of the King, the Ancient One.”

“I have meditated, and lo, I have beheld the most excellent light of the supernal inner Heavenly Lights. It shone forth, and ascended on three hundred and twenty-five sides. And in that inner Heavenly Light was a certain obscurity washed away, like as when a man bathes in a deep river, whose divided waters flow round him on every side from that part which is above. And that inner Heavenly Light ascends unto the shore of the deep superior sea. I asked of them what might be the interpretation of that which I beheld; and, commencing they replied, ‘Thou hast beheld iniquity being taken away.’”
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