By Elliot R. Wolfson
This booklet explores the elemental matters in Jewish mysticism and gives a taxonomy of the deep buildings of concept that emerge from the texts.
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Extra resources for Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics
Thus, for example, the influence of the text from Hekhalot Rabbati is apparent in a passage from Midrash JOtiyyot de-R. alaq) ... 186 When his descendants recite the Trisagion the Holy One, blessed be He, lowers His mouth from above and kisses him on his head that is engraved on the throne of glory, as it says, "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself" (Ps. 135:4). Whence do we know that Jacob is called smoothskinned (l:Jalaq)? As it says, "and I am smooth-skinned" (Gen. 27:11). "For the Lord's portion (l)eleq) is his people, Jacob His own allotment" (Deut.
So it was in the case of Jacob, our patriarch, for an opening corresponding 18 ALONG THE PATH to the chariot was opened, facing the throne of glory, and there was an illumination of the visions from heaven to earth, referred to as the "ladder that was set on the ground and its top reached to the sky" (Gen. 128 This passage attests that in the circle of Judah the Pious there was a tradition that assumed that the ladder beheld by Jacob referred to an illumination that shone upon him from an opening before the throne of glory.
The link that connects heaven and earth is Jacob, for he is in both places insofar as he is below but his image is engraved above. In a passage from Eleazar of Worms' comprehensive compedium of esoteric and mystical secrets, Sode Razayya J, cited by Nathan Nata ben Solomon Spira in his MegalJeh CAmuqot, one can discern a further development of the aggadic motif such that Jacob is himself the ladder: "From the earth to the throne of glory above there are twenty-two matters ... and this is what is written, 'he lay down in that place' (Gen.
Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics by Elliot R. Wolfson