Background:In a message dated 7/29/99 2:57:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time, email@example.com writes: <<
I found your mail most interesting and new to me.
Where can I find the text of Rabbi Kaplan that you mention?
I want to make a cross reference to the DP.
ITN /Bengt de Paulis >>
Well, for Kaplan's books in print, you can search Amazon.com under Aryeh Kaplan.
Or here is the text I mentioned which I scanned in a document last week. Note my previous post said "stanza 156". It should be stanza 159.
XVI THE BAHIR (Aryeh Kaplan's Translation and Commentary)
his own knowledge." 45 Even in such a case, the complete tradition was only given over to the head of the group, and then he would limit its instruction to those whom he saw fit. Only individuals possessing the highest qualities of scholarship and piety would be admitted to the circle of initiates.4e
Another important relevant injunction was, "Things transmitted by mouth may not be written down." 47 As a result of this, even mundane teachings involving the Oral Law were not put into writing during the earliest Talmudic period. Although each master might keep personal notes, these were called "concealed documents," and were not even made available to his closest disciples.48 If this was true of mundane matters, it was certainly true of the Kabbalah, which was considered to contain the "secrets of the Torah." If any texts existed, they were most carefully guarded.
Tradition has it that the Bahir was kept by a small school of Kabbalists in the Holy Land. During this period, parts of it were paraphrased in another Kabbalistic text known as Raza Rabba ("Great Mystery"), which as a whole has been lost, but is quoted by some eastern writers of the tenth century.49 From there, the center of activity moved to Germany and Italy, bringing the Bahir with it.
By the year 1100 some of the Bahir's teachings were known to a small group in Spain, and its influence can be seen in the writings of Rabbi Avraham bar Chiyah, particularly in his Megilat Ha Megillah ("Scroll of Scrolls"). Soon after this, the main Kabbalistic school moved to France, particularly to Provence. This city became an important center of Kabbalah, and it was here that the decision was made to publish the Bahir.50
The earliest known members of this school were Isaac Nazir and Yaakov Nazir of Lunel. The title "Nazir" indicated that they did not engage in any worldly.activity, but were supported by the community so that they could devote their entire life to Torah and worship. It was in such a contemplative life that the teachings of Kabbalah could flourish.5l
Also important in this group were Rabbi David ben Isaac, and Rabbi Avraham ben Isaac of Narbonne, author of the Eshkol. Son of the former and son-in-law of the latter was Rabbi Avraham teen David (Raavad) of Posqueres (1120 - 1198), author of a gloss on Maimonides' Code. A master of the mystic
arts, he received the tradition from his father and father-in-law, and later became head of the school. In his legal commentaries, he writes that his school was subject to divine inspiration and the revelation of mysteries.52
It was Raavad's son, known as Isaac the Blind, who inherited the leadership of the Kabbalistic school and brought it to Provence.53 Even though he was blind, he was reputed to be able to look into a person's soul and see his thoughts.54 In his commentary on the Torah, Rabbi Bachya ben Asher (1276 - 1340) calls him the "father of Kabbalah."55
There was a tradition that revelation of a sort would return in 1216, and this was even known to Maimonides from his ancestors.5e Like the entry into the Holy Land, this would require forty years of preparation, and part of this preparation was the dissemination of the Kabbalah. It was in this spirit that the Bahir was first published around 1176.
Since the Bahir was restricted to a small closed group for several hundred years, there has been considerable confusion among historians regarding its transmission and publication. Oral traditions and secret societies do not lend themselves to historical research, and jealously guarded manuscripts do not find their way into libraries. The only viable data regarding the Bahir comes from traditions preserved over the centuries, and, as many modern historians and anthropologists have discovered, these traditions are usually reliable and accurate.
The tradition was passed on from Isaac the Blind to his disciples Ezra and Azriel, and from them, to Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Nachmanides), known as the Ramban (1194 - 1270). Through his commentary on the Torah, where he frequently quotes the Bahir, he popularized many of its teachings to the Jewish world at large.
Until the Zohar was published around 1295, the Bahir remained the most important classical Kabbalah text. There are many places where the Zohar expands upon concepts found in the Bahir, and careful study reveals an important similarity of content in both works. This is not surprising, since the author of the Zohar, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, was doubtlessly familiar with Rabbi Nehuniah's teachings. Even before his special revelation in the cave, Rabbi Shimon must have been initiated into the mystical tradition, and a possible link may havebeen his father-in-law, Rabbi Pinchas teen Yair, whom, as
THE BAHIR (Last Three pages of)
198. Why was she called Tamar and not any other name?'
Because she was female.
Can we then say that [it was something special that] she was female?
But it is because she included both male and female. For [Tamer means a date palm, and] every date palm includes both male and female.247
How is this? The frond (Lulav) is male. The fruit is male on the outside and female on the inside.
And how? The seed of the date has a split like a woman. Paralleling it is the power of the moon above.
The Blessed Holy One created Adam male and female, as it is written(Genesis 1:27), "Male and female He created them." Is it then possible to say this? Is it then not written(Genesis 1:27),"And God created man in His image, in the image of God He created him"? It is only then later written (Genesis 2:18), "I will make him a helper opposite him," and (Genesis 2:21), "And He took one of his ribs, and closed the flesh under it." [We therefore see that the male was created first, and only later the female.]
But we must say that the Torah uses [three different words]: "formed" (yatzar), "made" (asah),and "created" (bara).
When the soul was made, the word "made" is used.249 The word "created" is then used:] "Male and female He created them." The word "formed" was used when the soul was combined with the body and the spirit was brought together.250
How do we know that "forming" means bringing together? For it is written (Genesis 2:19),"And the Lord God formed (gathered) all the beasts of the field and all the flying things of the heaven, and He brought them to the Man to see what he would call each thing."
This explains the verse (Genesis 5:2), "Male and female He created them." It is also written (Genesis 1:28), "And God blessed them."
199. The soul of the female comes from the Female, and the soul of the male comes from the Male.
This is the reason why the Serpent followed Eve. He said, "Her soul comes from the north, and I will therefore quickly seduce her. And how did he seduce her? He had intercourse with her. 200. His disciples asked: Tell us how this took place.
He replied: The wicked Samael made a bond with all the host on high against his Master. This was because the Blessed Holy One said [regarding man1 (Genesis 1:26), "And let him rule over the fish of the sea and the flying things of The heaven."
[Samael] said, "How can we cause him to sin and be exiled from before God?" He descended with all his host, and sought a suitable companion on earth. He finally found the serpent, which looked like a camel, and he rode on it.
He then went to the woman and said to her (Genesis 3:1), "Did God also say, from all the trees of the garden [you shall not eat]?" [He said, "I know that He did not forbid all the trees,] but I will seek more-I will add in order that she should subtract."
She replied, "He did not stop us from anything besides (Genesis 3:2), \i0 "the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. God said, 'Do not eat from it and do not touch it, lest you die."'
She had added two things. She said, "from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden," while [God] had only said (Genesis 2:17), "from the Tree of Knowledge." She also said, "do not touch it lest you die," [while God had only spoken of eating it].
What did Samael do? He went and touched the tree. The tree cried out and said, "Wicked one, do not touch me!" It is thus written (Psalm 36:12), "Let not a foot of pride overtake me, and let not the hand of the wicked move me. There have the work-ers of iniquity fallen-they are thrust down, they cannot rise."
He then said to the woman, "See, I touched the tree and I did not die. You can also touch it and not die."
The woman went and touched the tree. She saw the Angel of Death approaching her and said, "Woe is to me. Now I will die and the Blessed Holy One will make another woman and give her to Adam. I will therefore cause him to eat with me. If we die, we will both die, and if we live, we will both live."
She took the fruit of the tree and ate it, and she also gave some to her husband. Their eyes were opened and their teeth were set on edge. He said, "What is this that you have given me to eat? Just as my teeth were set on edge, so will the teeth of all [future] generations be set on edge."
[God then] sat down in true judgment, as it is written (Psalm 9:5), "[You have upheld my cause, You have sat on the
page 82 THE BAHIR
throne as a righteous Judge." He called to Adam and said, "Why do you flee from Me?"
[Adam] replied Genesis 3:10), " 'I heard Your voice in the garden'-and my bones trembled. 'I was afraid because I was naked, and I hid.' I was naked of works, I was naked of commandments, and I was naked of deeds." It is therefore written, "because I was naked, and I hid."
What was Adam's garment? It was a skin of fingernail. As soon as he ate from the fruit of the tree, this skin of fingernail was removed from him, and he saw himself naked. It is thus written (Genesis 3:11), "Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from it?]"
Adam said to the Blessed Holy One, "Master of all worlds: When I was alone, did I ever sin before You? But the woman that You placed with me enticed me from your word." It is thus written(Genesis 3:12), "The woman that you placed with me [gave it to me, and I ate]."
The Blessed Holy One said to her, "Is it not enough that you sinned? But you also caused Adam to sin."
She replied to Him, "Master of all worlds: The serpent enticed me to sin before You."
[God] took the three of them, and decreed upon them a sentence of nine curses and death.
He then cast the wicked Samael and his group from their holy place in heaven. He cut off the feet of the serpent and cursed it more than all the other animals and beasts of the field. He also decreed that it must shed its skin every seven years.
Samael was punished and made the guardian angel over the wicked Esau.
In the Future, when God uproots the Kingdom of Edom, he will lower him first.253 It is thus written Isaiah 24:21), "God will punish the host of the heights of high."
This statement, death and punishment all came because she added to the commandment of the Blessed Holy One. Regarding this it is said, "Whoever increases diminishes."
Part One 83
May God enlighten our eyes with the light of His Torah, May He place in our hearts His fear, May we be worthy to greet Him
He will enlighten the heart Waken the heart with understanding Make the heart stride with brilliance.
page 176 THE BAHIR(Rabbia Aryeh Kaplan's Commentary on the similarly numbered sections)
Malkhut-Kingship is called the seventh rather than the tenth, since it is represented as being in the center of the six Sefirot of Zer Anpin. The six Sefirot represent the six directions, while Malkhut-Kingship is their center point. In this aspect, the Sabbath is seen as the middle of the week, preceded and followed by three days.
158. Yesod-Foundation only functions to create souls when it is in conjunction with Malkhut-Kingship. Therefore, the main day in which it functions is the Sabbath.
Yesod-Foundation corresponds to the sixth day, which is when Adam was created. He did not attain his main aspect of soul, however, until the first Sabbath and therefore, he would have been permitted to eat of the Tree of Knowledge on the Sabbath. His main sin was thathe did not wait, but ate of it on the sixth day.
159. Here we see Malkhut-Kingship as the source of all the other Sefirot. This may seem to contradict the usual con-cept of Malkhut-Kingship, as drawing from all the other Sefirot. But as mentioned earlier, with respect to "motivation from above," Malkhut-Kingship draws from the other Sefirot, but with respect to "motivation from below," it bestows to the others.
The concept of Keter-Crown is that of purpose, while that of Malkhut-Kingship is fulfillment. These two define the spiritual dimension, which is called Soul. The ultimate pur-pose of creation involves "motivation from below," and in this respect, Malkhut-Kingship is dominant.
This is the concept of Heart, where Keter-Crown (through Chakhmah-Wisdom and Binah-Understanding) shines into Malkhut-Kingship. This is the prime point of the soul dimen-sion. Heart is thus the "King" of the Soul dimension, that is, its aspect of Kingship. Heart is thus the motivating force for the lower seven Sefirot.
161. The date palm is the Lulav, discussed earlier (98,101). It is the spinal cord that acts as the channel from the three Mentalities, Chakhmah-Wisdom, Binah-Understanding and Keter-Crown, to Yesod-Foundation (166)
As discussed earlier, the splitting of the Red Sea was the initiation into the mysteries of the Sefirot, which is the Tree of Life.....
Comment: Nostradamus was a believer in the Kabbalah!