Rabbi ben ezra essays

If we substitute for a frog a "Mr. Goodwill" or a "Mr. Prudence," and for the scorpion "Mr. Treachery" or "Mr. Two-Face," and make the river any river and substitute for "We're both Arabs . . ." "We're both men . ." we turn the fable [which illustrates human tendencies by using animals as illustrative examples] into an allegory [a narrative in which each character and action has symbolic meaning]. On the other hand, if we turn the frog into a father and the scorpion into a son (boatman and passenger) and we have the son say "We're both sons of God, aren't we?", then we have a parable (if a rather cynical one) about the wickedness of human nature and the sin of parricide. (22)

Similarly, Rabbi Akiva said that the Israelites advanced to enter the Reed Sea, but they turned backwards, fearing that the waters would come over them. The tribe of Judah sanctified God's Name and entered the sea first, as Psalm 114:2 says, "Judah became his sanctuary (in order to sanctify God), Israel his dominion." The Egyptians wanted to follow the Israelites, but they turned back, fearing that the waters would return over them. God appeared before them like a man riding on the back of a mare, as it is said in Song of Songs 1:9, "To a steed in Pharaoh's chariots." Pharaoh's horse saw the mare of God, and it neighed and ran into the sea after it. [64]

To bridge the gap of mystical knowledge among his Karaite co-religionists, Lutski wrote six compositions fully dedicated to Kabbalah, explaining Lurianic concepts to his contemporaries and arguing for the validity of this extra-biblical source of knowledge for Karaites. In a number of other works there are either references to, or justifications of, Kabbalah. Lutski’s Kabbalistic presentations were not particularly original, offering elementary explanations of the various worlds, the sefirot , the divine names, the letters of the Hebrew language, and other Kabbalistic concepts. One book, for instance, is dedicated to an explanation of the relation of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the 10 Kabbalistic sefirot , with an analysis of each letter’s meaning and even its shape. Lutski’s innovation was in his attempt at making Kabbalah acceptable and accessible to Karaites, but even here he was incapable of fully integrating the two realms, which he might have done, for instance, by giving Kabbalistic reasons for the commandments as understood by Karaism (mirroring standard Kabbalah’s mystical explanations of Rabbanite practices). Occasionally, Lutski even slips and records specifically Rabbanite concepts in his Kabbalistic presentations, demonstrating the artificiality of his project. He was an eclectic popularizer of Kabbalah, not an original practitioner.

Rabbi ben ezra essays

rabbi ben ezra essays


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