Monday, July 25, 2016

Yahrzeit of Ha'ARI

KABBALAH WATCH: This Day In Jewish History 1572: Father of Lurian Kabbala and Confidant of Elijah Dies. Rabbi Isaac Luria thought evil had been created commensurately with everything else, but could be reversed by 'tikkun olam' (David B. Green, Haaretz).
On July 25, 1572 (5 Av 5332), the mystic-scholar Rabbi Isaac Luria died, in Safed, in the Galilee. Although Luria himself left behind almost no writings of his own, he had followers – in particular Rabbi Hayyim Vital – who collected his teachings, and these served as the basis for the Lurianic school of Kabbala, which remains an influential mystical trend in Judaism.

Isaac ben Shlomo Luria Ashkenazi was born in Jerusalem, in 1534. His father, Solomon Ashkenazi, is believed, as suggested by his name, to have come to Eretz Israel from either Germany or Poland. His mother, whose name is not known, was of Sephardi background, from the community of Jews expelled just decades before from Spain.

Prophet Elijah's first appearance

Much of what is known about Luria is derived from hagiographical texts about him, so it’s hard to point to established facts. Here are some of the stories.

Past posts on the Zohar, which served as a major inspiration for Lurianic Kabbalah, are here and many links. Past posts on Shabbetai Zvi and Sabbateanism, which were in turn inspired by Lurianic theology, are here and many links. For some background on the Lurianic concept of Tikkun Olam, see here. A couple of old posts involving Lurianic Kabbalah and Isaac Luria himself are at the links.