By Elliot R. Wolfson
This e-book explores the elemental matters in Jewish mysticism and offers a taxonomy of the deep constructions of notion that emerge from the texts.
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Extra info for Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics
In any event, the fact that one stream of tradition connects the image of Jacob with the glory, and a second stream connects that image with the creatures that bear the throne, in my view strengthens the supposition that the kabbalists were elaborating in novel ways upon an ancient tradition concerning the anthropomorphic form of the chariot. 122 Interestingly enough, in one of the major textual units of the corpus of mystical speculation on the chariot, the Hekhalot literature, the ladder becomes a clear symbol for the ascent to the chariot.
49:3). 217 Therefore, the diadem of the glory is called Israel ... for it is made from the praise of Israel and ascends to the throne of glory .... "And the Lord was standing above him" (Gen. 28:13), as upon the throne above. Thus [it is written], "He mounted a cherub" (2 Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:11). And it is written, "[Moses] would hear the Voice addressing him from [above the cover that was on top of the Ark of the Pact] between the two cherubim" (Num. 7:89). Jacob is called small (qatan), and similarly the cherubim have small faces ( Jappe zutre) .
15:11], blessed are you to Me, those who enter before the chariot; until here is the Seier Yirqal:z 213 ) if you tell My children what I do to Jacob, your patriarch, when they lift their eyes heavenward and utter the Trisagion. 214 In order to enter into the depth of the symbolism of the image of Jacob in the thought of Eleazar of Worms, it is necessary to examine carefully additional passages of his own writings in which he mentions and elaborates upon this matter. I will begin with a passage from Eleazar's commentary on Ezekiel's chariot that will be cited according to two manuscript witnesses: We have known that the human being is the most glorious of the creatures, and the head is the most glorious of all.