By Pinchas Giller

The Jerusalem kabbalists of the Beit El Yeshivah are the main influential university of kabbalah in modernity. the varsity is linked to the writings and character of a charismatic eighteenth-century Yemenite Rabbi, Shalom Shar'abi, thought of through his acolytes to be divinely encouraged by means of the prophet Elijah. Shar'abi initiated what's nonetheless the main lively institution of mysticism in modern center jap Jewry. this day, this meditative culture is becoming more popular not just in Jerusalem, yet through the Jewish international. Pinchas Giller examines the attribute mystical practices of the Beit El university. The dominant perform is that of formality prayer with mystical "intentions," or kavvanot. The kavvanot themselves are the made of millions of years of improvement and include many traditions and our bodies of lore. Giller examines the archaeology of the kavvanot literature, the primary element of that's the meditation on God's sacred names whereas reciting prayers, the advance of specific rituals, and the leading edge mystical and devotional practices of the Beit El kabbalists.

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Additional info for Shalom Shar'abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El

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The development of kavvanot accompanied the emergence of Kabbalah in Gerona, Provence, and the Rhineland. In each case, the preexistent format of the prayers was the instrument of the kabbalistic practice. ’’8 The German Pietists who flourished in the Rhineland roughly concurrently with Azriel’s activity in Spain are described as ‘‘interpreters of the listed [dorshei reshumot], weighing and counting the sum and number of the letters of prayer and blessings [Tur Orah Hayim 113],’’ namely that they interpreted the words of the prayer service according to its linear unfolding.

The names are never enunciated but only kept in the mind as silent objects of contemplation. The substance of the name traditions, that is to say certain patterns of vocalization, survived from one tradition to another, while the implementation did not. Sefirotic Coefficients The practitioners of the Lurianic kavvanot, including Shar’abi and his students and their contemporaries in Eastern Europe, incorporated a number of contributing elements from earlier traditions. These include the linking of Divine names to elements of the sefirot, the vocalization of the name YHVH in ways that have different numerical coefficients, and, finally, the recovery of traditions of sacred names whose origins are in antiquity.

In this case, Shar’abi and his heirs have been hiding in plain sight. Shar’abi’s followers have remained active and, in recent years, have grown as a group, yet they have not been given scholarly attention. There are many reasons for this. For one thing, Kabbalah scholars have come from a different stratum of Israeli society, separated from the practitioners in the field by social, ethnic, and religious barriers. In order to examine Beit El in the context of the study of Kabbalah, an initial question is, What is the nature of the mystical experience in the Beit El tradition?

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