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All Evil Texts

Jewish Mysticism
Ibn Tabul, Derush Hefsi Bah.

When all of the forces of judgment are gathered together, it coalesces in one place, and on account of it the light of Ein-Sof, blessed be he, is withdrawn. There remains there a trace (reshimu) of light with the power of judgment, which is the root of the strong judgment, and all of the trace and the judgment are mixed together, and as soon as the mercy is withdrawn the judgment is revealed. Since the trace is only a vestige (roshem), it belongs to judgment, and it is mixed together with it.”

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Divine Suffering and the Hermeneutics of Reading- Philosophical Reflections on Lurianic Mythology,” in Suffering Religion, 101-162, Edited by R. Gibbs and E. R. Wolfson. New York and London- Routledge, 2002, from Ibn Tabul, Derush Hefsi Bah, in Simhat Kohen (Jerusalem, 1978), 1d.

Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar.”

There is a left [side] corresponding to the right, intended to perfect the right side, to punish and chastise with ‘chastisements of love’ those who walk in a bad way in order to purify them.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95, from Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar,” ed. Scholem, Tarbitz 4 (1933) 209.

Todoros Abulafia, Otzar ha Kavod ha Shalem (Jerusalem, 1970) 3a.

“Where dogs bark there the Angel of Death is to be seen, for [he] is emanated from the left side which is an emanation in itself.”

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar.”

“All reality is dependent on peace and war which are opposites.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95, from Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar,” ed. Scholem, Tarbitz 4 (1933) 211.

Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar,” 208-9

“And this is an established tradition handed over to all masters of the hidden wisdom . . . that reality in general could not exist except through the existents that do good and [those] that do evil, [those] that establish and sustain, [and those] that exterminate and destroy, [those that] give reward and [those] that punish.”

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95, from Moses of Burgos, “The Left Pillar,” ed. Scholem, Tarbitz 4 (1933) 208-9.

Zohar 2-69b.

“And the angel of the Lord [sc. Shekhinah] appeared to him [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a thorn bush” (Exod. 3-2)- “The thorn bush [i.e., the demonic potency] was surely within that holiness [i.e., Shekhinah] and cleaving to it, for everything cleaves together, the pure and the impure; there is no purity except from within impurity. This is the mystery, ‘Who can bring a pure thing from what is impure’ (Job 14-4). The shell and the kernel are together.”

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Zohar 2-184a

The words of Torah reside only there, for there is no light except that which emerges out of darkness. When that [Other] Side is subdued the Holy One, blessed be He, ascends and is glorified. And there is no divine worship except amidst darkness, and no good except within evil. When a person enters an evil way and forsakes it, then the Holy One, blessed be He, ascends in His glory. Thus the perfection of all is good and evil together, and afterwards to ascend to the good. . . . This is complete worship.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Zohar 2-34a

Job never gave any portion to [the Other Side], as it is written “he offered up burnt offerings according to the number of them all” (Job 1-5). The burnt offering rises upward. He did not give any portion to the Other Side for had he given him a portion he could not have overcome him afterwards . . . . Come and see- Just as he separated and did not contain the good and evil [together], so in the exact manner he was judged- [God] gave him good and then evil and then returned him to the good. Thus it is fitting for a person to know good and to know evil, and then return to the good. That is the secret of faith.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Zohar 3-80b

R. Isaac said- When the Holy One, blessed be He, created the world and wanted to reveal the depth out of the hiddenness and the light from within the darkness, they were contained within one another. Therefore out of darkness emerged the light and out of the hiddenness emerged and was revealed the depth. One emerged from the other. . . . And all things were contained one with another, the good inclination and the evil inclination, right and left, Israel and the nations, white and black. All things were dependent on one another.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Zohar 2-26b 27a

R. Eliezer began to expound- It is written, “And know this day, and consider it in your hearts, that the Lord is God” (Deut. 4-39). This verse should have been written as follows- “And know this day that the Lord is God, and consider it in your hearts.” Moreover, it should have said “consider it in your heart” libbekha. Yet Moses said- If you want to understand this and know that the Lord is God, then consider it in your hearts, levavekha, and you will know it. “Your hearts”— the good inclination and the evil inclination, for one is contained in the other and they are one. Then you will know that the Lord is God for one is contained in the other, and they are one. Thus it is written “consider it in your hearts” in order to know the matter. Moreover, R. Eliezer said- the wicked make a blemish above. What [is] the blemish? For the left is not contained in the right, the evil inclination is not contained in the good inclination on account of the sins of humanity. . . . And thus it says, “And consider it in your hearts,” to contain them as one, the left in the right.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Light Through Darkness- The Ideal of Human Perfection in the Zohar,” Harvard Theological Review 81 (1988)- 73-95.

Zohar 1-228a

He began to speak and he said- “Who are these” (mi ’elleh) (Gen. 48-8)? One may infer that he was speaking about worship from the side of idolatry [as it says] “This is your god, O Israel” (’elleh ’elohekha yisra’el) (Exod. 32-4). Rather it is a secret- When all the aspects of that evil serpent, the serpent that comes from the side of the impure spirit, and the one who rides upon it are united, they are called “these” (’elleh)….The Holy Spirit is called “this” (z’ot), and it is the secret of the holy, inscribed covenant that is always found on men. And this [is the import of] “This is my God and I will glorify Him” (zeh ’eli we’anvehu) (ibid. 15-3), and “This is the Lord” (zeh yhwh) (Isa. 25-9). But these [demonic forces] are called ’elleh, and thus it is written, “This is your god, O Israel.” And for this reason it is written, “Though she might forget these” (gam ’elleh tishkahnah), but “I,” the secret of ’anokhi, “never could forget you” (we’anokhi lo’ ’eshkahekh) (ibid. 49-15).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Re/membering the Covenant- Memory, Forgetfulness, and History in the Zohar,” in Jewish History and Jewish Memory- Essays in Honor of Joseph Hayim Jerushalmi, 214-246. Edited by E. Carlbach, D. S. Myers, and J. Efron. Hanover and London- Brandeis University Press, 1998.

Zohar 1-97a-b.

“The song of the turtledove is heard in the land,” this is the word of the Holy One, blessed be He, which did not exist in the world until Adam was created. When Adam came into being, everything existed. After Adam sinned, everything departed from the world and the earth was cursed, as it is written, “Cursed be the earth because of you” (Gen. 3-17), and it is written, “If you till the soil, it shall no longer yield its strength to you” (ibid. 4-12), and it is written, “Thorns and thistles shall it sprout for you” (ibid. 3-18). Noah came and he crafted spades and hoes in the world, and after that [it is written] “He drank of the wine and became drunk, and he uncovered himself within his tent” (Gen. 9-21). People of the world came and sinned before the Holy One, blessed be He, and the forces of the earth vanished as it was in the beginning. They remained like this until Abraham came, for when Abraham came to the world, immediately “the blossoms appeared in the land.” All the forces of the earth were rectified and they were revealed. “The time of pruning has come,” [this refers to] the time that the Holy One, blessed be He, told him to circumcise himself, for the time had come when the covenant should be found in Abraham and he circumcised himself. Then this verse was fulfilled in him, the world was established, and the word of the Holy One, blessed be He, was revealed through him, as it is written, “The Lord appeared to him” (ibid. 18-1).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Re/membering the Covenant- Memory, Forgetfulness, and History in the Zohar,” in Jewish History and Jewish Memory- Essays in Honor of Joseph Hayim Jerushalmi, 214-246. Edited by E. Carlbach, D. S. Myers, and J. Efron. Hanover and London- Brandeis University Press, 1998.

Moses Hayyim Luzzatto, TQT”W Tefillot, § 17, pp. 17-18.

Your light shines from the source of all, and this is the yod that goes down vigorously, concerning which it says, “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light” (Gen. 1-3), and these are the five lights. This light emanated in the five configurations, which are the totality of holiness, and through them all the blemishes are removed so that all will be established in Your unity. This is the he’, and immediately everything is bound in one river, and this is the righteous one (saddiq) who stands on behalf of Israel, and concerning him [it says] “A river issues forth from Eden to water the garden” (ibid., 2-10), and this is the waw, and it spreads forth through Israel, which consists of the four divisions, the four camps of the Shekhinah, and when the righteous stands amongst them, the he’ is completed through them, and this is the perfection of Your holy name. … As soon as the righteous one stands in Israel, all evil is removed from them.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Tiqqun ha-Shekhinah- Redemption and the Overcoming of Gender Dimorphism in the Messianic Kabbalah of Moses Hayyim Luzzatto,” History of Religions 36 (1997) 289-332.

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