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December 12, 1980 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1980-12-12

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

6 Friday, December 12, 1980

Z'ev Ben Shimon Halevi's Kabalistic Bible Interpretations

By ALLEN A. WARSEN

"According to tradition,
once there was only God.
Nothing else existed.
Kabala perceives the
Godhead as Ayin or Abso-

lute Nothing and Ayin Sof
or Absolute All. Little else
can be said because God is
God and therefore totally
alone, and beyond human
comprehension. Because of

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"Hokhma" (Wisdom) and
"Bina" (Understanding) re-
present God's "revealing
and reflective mind."
"Hesed" (Mercy) and
"Gevura" (Strength) reflect
the "Divine Heart and
Image of God."
"Tiferet" (Beauty) is often
referred to as the "Seat of
Solomon."
"Neza" (Firmness) and
"Hod" (Splendor) express
the "Will of the Divine."
"Yesod" (Foundation) re-
presents "the principle of
Generation."
"Malkut" (Dominion) re-
fers to "the Body of God."
According to the
kabalists the Sefirot gave
rise to these four worlds:

this the oral tradition tells
us, God wished to behold
God and be known."
Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi
thus commences his treatise
"Kabbalah and Exodus"
(Shambhala, Boulder,
Colo.)
The kabalists, Halevi
notes, believe that God to
make his existence
known created the world
by means of Ten Emana-
tions or Substances that
they call Sefirot. The Ten
Substances flowing di-
rectly from God, accord-
ing to "The Universal
Jewish Encyclopedia,"
"are parts of one another,
as sparks are parts of the
same flame; nevertheless,
the Substances are dis-
tinguished one from an-
other as are different
colors of the same
The Ten Sefirot are:
"Keter" (Crown) sym-
bolizingpivine unity.
• • • • • • • 4 • • • •

"Olam Azilut" (the World
of Emanation);
"Olam Haberia" (the
World of Creation);
"Olam Hayetzira" (the
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• • • • •
• • •• • • •
Natural World of Making).
• •• •
The doctrine of the four
worlds is based on certain
• passages in Genesis, Eze-
• kial's vision and the verse in
• Isaiah (43:7): "I have called,
• created, formed, and made

• him."
Examples of Kabalistic
interpretation of biblical
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the uncouth hunter Esau to • the new Pharaoh "who had
the "gentle shepherd not known Joseph." He
therefore ordered the Israel-
Jacob."
An important event in the ites to be enslaved and their
life of Jacob was his dream possessions taken from
of the ladder extending from them. This cruel act, the
heaven to earth at Beth El, author stresses, was tan-
the place where the "physi- tamount to depriving "the
cal, psychological and interior and independent
heavenly" elements meet. sustenance of the soul and
Similarly important was spirit."
Nevertheless, the more
Jacob's changing his name
to Israel. By doing so, the the Israelites were op-
author says, Jacob trans- pressed, the tougher they
formed his status "from the became, and the more
psychological to the children they brought
spiritual, and so into direct into life.
As a result, the Pharaoh
contact with the Divine."
Jacob's son Joseph decreed that the Israelites
was the first of his drown their newly-bo
brothers to go down to male children in the NOlk
Egypt where he inter- River. But his atrocious de-
preted Pharaoh's dreams cree was countered by the
Shiphral
for which he was wel- midwives
comed to the royal (Brightness) and Puah
palace. For this kindness, (Splendid), who protected
Pharaoh, "the ruler of the the infants.
confrontation,
This
natural world, was cho-
sen by God to recognize Halevi declares, was "the
and accept the benefits of first sign of 'opposition
a higher world in his within the individual be-
country." tween the natural and
The Bible relates that supernatural aspects."
Nonetheless, the Israel-
Jacob's remains soon after
his death were taken back ites had to wait many years
to the Land of his Fathers, until Moses freed them and
"that is to the world of the led them through the
spirit." In contrast, Joseph's Wilderness. But at the point
body was buried in Egypt of entering Canaan Moses
and kept there "under the died and the leadership
promise that his bones passed to his generals
should be taken from there Joshua and Caleb, the only
to Ca an when God would two survivors of those who
send a eliverer to bring the had left Egypt 40 years
Israelites up and out of previously. Under their
command, the Israelites fi-
Egypt."
While the Israelites were nally entered the Promised
waiting for a deliverer, they Land.
"Thus," the author
multiplied and the "land
was filled with them" concludes, "it was that a
(Exodus 1:7)-. "This is saying totally new generation
that the creative spirit and brought up in the
the formative soul, in con- Wilderness under the
junction with the life prin- Torah crossed the second
ciple, make the body of a watery division of the
newly born babe grow at Jordan, which sym-
great speed as the indi- bolized again a point of
vidual herein symbolized no return."
"Kaballah and Exodus" is
relates to the physical world
the fifth book _"on the wis-
about him."
This phenomenal growth dom of the Kabala" by Ze'ev
of the Israelites frightened ben Shimon Halevi.

Israeli Youth Change Views
About Arabs, Themselves

JERUSALEM — Young
Israelis have come around
to viewing Arabs more pos-
itively and themselves as
less Superman-like, a He-
brew University of
Jerusalem study shows.
Four times during the
last 15 years, Dr. Kalman
Benyamini, who teaches
psychology at the univer-
sity and is engaged in
educational-psychological
research, has made a survey
of the image Israeli
youngsters hold of Arabs,
and of their own national-
ity. •
Among the findings are
that the image of the Arabs
changed drastically twice —
for the worse after the Six-
Day War in 1967 and for the
better following the Yom
Kippur War in 1973.
The 1973 war rehabili-
tated the national pride
of Arabs not only in their
own eyes, but also in the
eyes of the Israelis, Dr.
Benyamini comments. He
found that the totally

different images held by
the Israeli youngsters —
a negative one regarding
the Arab and an idealized
one of the Israeli — were
vastly_ sobered by the
Yom Kippur War.
Dr. Benyamini conducted
his surveys in the years
1965, 1968, 1974 and 1979,
the last three after signific-
ant events in the Middle
East: the Six-Day War, the
Yom Kippur War and the
signing of the peace trea -
with Egypt.

Touro Student
Aces LSAT

NEW YORK (JTA) — A
Touro College senior,
Tamar Blech, of Oceanside,
N.Y., achieved a perfect
score of 800 On the Law
School Admissions Tests.
and another student,
Joseph Lampert of Forest
Hills, N.Y. scored 778, ac-
cording to Dean Robert
Goldschmidt, the college
pre-law adviser.

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