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All Name of God Texts

Jewish Mysticism
Joseph Gikatilla, Sha‘are ’Orah, 1-205-206

When God, blessed be he, unites with the righteous and pious, the patriarchs of the world and the mighty ones, he removes from himself all cognomens and the Tetragrammaton alone is exalted. Thus, the Tetragrammaton alone stands with Israel like a king who has removed all his garments and unites with his wife. This is the secret, “Turn back, O rebellious children, for I have united with you” (Jer. 3-22), and it says, “I will espouse you forever” (Hosea 2-21). “I will espouse you”–like a king who removes his garments and unites with his wife, so too the Tetragrammaton removes all cognomens and garments, and unites with Israel, with their pious (hasidim), ascetics (perushim), and the pure ones (tehorim). This is the secret, “I had taken off my robes, was I to son it again?” (Song of Songs 5-3).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Eunuchs who Keep the Sabbath- Becoming Male and the Ascetic Ideal in Thirteenth Century Jewish Mysticism,” in Becoming Male in the Middle Ages, 151-185. Edited by J. J. Cohen and B. Wheeler. New York- Garland, 1997. Translated from Sha’are Orah, edited by Joseph Ben-Shlomo (Jerusalem- Mosad Bialik, 3rd edition, 1996).

Ibn Tabul, Derush Hefsi.

The worlds in which he is garbed are called “his name,” and if we contemplate the matter we will find that the blessed One is called by his name, that is, the Tetragrammaton as is known, for all is one in relation to the Tetragrammaton. “And the Lord is in his holy abode” (Hab. 2-20), for Malkhut, which is the garment, becomes the soul for all the worlds … and all of these worlds and Malkhut were contained in the supernal world in ’Abba’ and ’Imma’, and thus all were contained in Keter and in the containment of Ein-Sof, blessed be his name. All the worlds were swallowed up in it, for naught but it was discernible. His name indicates a minimal disclosure, and it is the aspect of judgment, but his essence is entirely mercy, and everything was a complete unity, and all was Ein-Sof, blessed be his name.

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), 1a.

Eleazar of Worms, Sefer ha-Shem, MS London, British Museum 737, fol. 213a

The unique name is only revealed to one who has nullified the desire for women and to one whose heart is anxious.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson, “Martyrdom, Eroticism and Asceticism in Twelfth Century Ashkenazi Piety,” in Jews and Christians in Twelfth Century Europe, 171-220. Edited by J. van Engen and M. Signer, Notre Dame- University of Notre Dame Press, 2001.

MS Vatican, ebr. 456, fol. 4a

Therefore he who learns all of the thirty-two and thirteen names by heart (‘al peh) … and he knows how to mention them with his mouth can see that their being mentioned when they are read orally is affirmed, for they are one word in the pattern of the essential name, for this demonstrates that they are all contained in the essential name, which is one word … It follows that just as the essential name, which is one word, attests the essence of the unity of the ten sefirot and ’ein sof, so these thirty-two and thirteen names that comes from it attest to the ten sefirot and ’ein sof.”

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Megillat ‘Emet we-‘Emunah- Contemplative Visualization and Mystical Unknowing,” Kabbalah- A Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts 5 (2000)- 55-110.

MS Vatican, ebr. 456, fol. 3b

These names illustrate and attest to the essence of his divinity, his being, his unity, and the simple essence that is God, blessed be he, for through them and their commentaries the thought of the believer is perfected to ascend to the limit of faith from above to below and from below to above in order to unite the sefirot in ’ein sof and ’ein sof in the ten sefirot. Thus it is the limit of the believer to ascend to unify [the potencies] from keter ‘elyon to ‘atarah and from ‘atarah to keter ‘elyon, for there are the lights, paths, and springs … that come from faith to faith and from there to the faith of the physical heart which is in its pattern. … And what we said from ‘atarah to keter ‘elyon, that is, the ascents and descents of thought that rises from ‘atarah to keter ‘elyon as in the secret of “and angels of God were going up and down on it” (Gen. 28-12). Through this thought is the perfect unity and the perfect faith to ascend to his limit and to descend to his limit.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Megillat ‘Emet we-‘Emunah- Contemplative Visualization and Mystical Unknowing,” Kabbalah- A Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts 5 (2000)- 55-110.

Zohar 2-3b

“For the Lord God is sun and shield” (Ps. 84-12), “sun and shield’ refers to the holy covenant- Just as the sun shines and illumines the world, so the holy covenant shines and illumines the body of the person (gufa’ de-var nash), and just as the shield is to protect the person (bar nash), so too the holy covenant is a shield for the person. … He who lies with respect to the holy covenant that is sealed on his flesh is as if he lied with respect to the name of the blessed holy One; the one who lies with respect to the seal of the king lies with respect to the king.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in “Ontology, Alterity and Ethics in Kabbalistc Anthropology,” Exemplaria (2000)- 129-155.

Shabbetai Donnolo, Sefer Hakhmoni, pp. 32-33

We have learnt that two thousand years before the creation of the world the Holy One, blessed be He, played around with the twenty-two letters of the Torah and He combined and rotated them and made from all of them one word. He rotated [the word] frontwards and backwards through all the twenty-two letters. … All this the Holy One, blessed be He, undertook for He wanted to create the world by means of His word and the epithet of the great name.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

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.

Jacob ben Jacob ha-Kohen, “The Commentary on Ezekiel’s Chariot by R. Jacob ben Jacob ha-Kohen of Castile,” ed. A. Farber, p. 3

The names above are the true essence, and they are divine powers hewn from the quarry of the intelligible light and from the pure, holy wondrous light. They are appointed to do everything, and every action is realized through them. They are interpreted truthfully by the holy prophets, the great sages, and the select few who make use of them in all good things before the Holy One, blessed be He, and not for another matter that is not the will of God. … All this comes to teach you that the name above with the true essence are hewn from the quarry of the light of life, for the intelligible grades are called kings and their glorious names are called princes. He who knows and comprehends the essence of the names, and knows how to mention them properly and correctly, as they are mentioned by the angels, his prayer is immediately received and approved. The enlightened will comprehend this secret that I have revealed concerning the matter of the name.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

From an anonymous commentary from the Hug Sefer ha-Temunah, the circle of the “Book of the Image.”

From an anonymous commentary from the Hug Sefer ha-Temunah, the circle of the “Book of the Image,” on the seventy-two letter name of God extant in several manuscripts (a version of this text was printed as part of Sefer Raziel; cf. Scholem, Catologus Codicum Cabbalisticorum Hebraicorum, p. 7, n. 1). Cf. MS JTSA Mic. 8115, fols. 66b-67a (MSS Cambridge Heb. Add. 671, fol. 84a; Oxford-Bodleian 1938, fols. 196a-197a)-

Then you will know something of the ways of the Supernal who illuminates the eyes of His sages, as it is written, ‘A light shines for the upright in the darkness’ (Ps. 112-4). They vindicate [those of] a pure intellect and place them in the supernal light, as it says, ‘For the commandment is a lamp, the teaching is a light’ (Prov. 6-23). If he comprehends God, blessed be He, to place his intellect [in a] straight way, to comprehend the form, combination, holy number, and vocalization of the glorious, awesome, and explicit name in holiness and purity, fortunate is he and his offspring. If he constantly directs his attention to God, then he will comprehend His light, and his intellect will be filled with the light of the angels, ‘for he is an angel of the Lord of Hosts’ (Mal. 2-7). For this form engraved on the throne… [consists of] the twenty-two letters of the Torah which are the mystery of the letters AHYH [i.e., the name Ehyeh whose consonants equal 21, and together with the word itself equal 22 corresponding the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet], and they are the light of every creature, the angels above and Israel below. One letter is engraved in them and amongst them, as it says, ‘For My name is in him’ (exod. 23-21), ‘in the midst of this people’ (Num. 14-14).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Zohar 1-110b

When the lower splendor, Adonai [i.e., the tenth gradation or Shekhinah] joins with the supernal splendor, YHWH [i.e., the sixth gradation or Tif’eret] the hidden name [YAHDWNHY, i.e., the combination of the two names] is produced which the true prophets know and [by means of which] they [visually] contemplate the supernal splendor.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Isaac the Blind, Cited by Ezra ben Solomon of Gerona in his Commentary on Canticles, in Kitve Ramban, 2-522

The Pious one, our teacher, blessed be his memory said- The essence of the worship of the enlightened (maskilim) and those who meditate on His name (hoshve shemo) is “and cleave to Him” (Deut. 13-5). This is a cardinal principal in the Torah with respect to prayer and blessings, that one must harmonize one’s thought and one’s faith as if it cleaved above, to unify the name in its letters and to comprise within it the ten emanations (sefirot) like a flame bound to the coal. With his mouth he mentions it according to is appellation [Adonai], but in his heart he unites it in accordance with its structure and how it is written [YHWH].

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Anonymous text that reflects as well the Provençal-Geronese tradition, 13th century.

MS Berlin Or. Qu. 833, fol. 98a, cited in Scholem, “The Concept of Kavvanah,” p. 178, n. 38

The righteous, pious, and men of action [mentally] concentrate (mitboded) and unify the great name, blessed be He [YHWH], and stir the fire on the pyre of the hearth chamber in their hearts. Then from the pure thought all the sefirot are unified and bound one to the other, until they are drawn up to the fount of the flame whose sublimity has no end.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Ezra ben Solomon of Gerona, 13th century, Kitve Ramban 2-521

“I the Lord am your God,” for knowledge is the foundation and root of everything. Concerning this the rabbis, blessed be their memory, said, “Whoever has knowledge it is as if the Temple were built in his life.” The meaning of this is that such a person knows how to unify the Unique Name [shem ha-meyuhad, the Tetragrammaton] and it is as if he builds the palace above and below… If there is no knowledge no worship is possible, whether the worship of sacrifices or that of prayer… The Pious one [i.e., R. Isaac the Blind] said to his disciples, when you pray know before whom you stand, thus it says, “Know the God of your father, and serve Him” (1 Chron. 28-9), after the knowledge the labor of service should be in his bosom. “Who brought you out of the land of Egypt,” there is an allusion here to the fact that every person is obligated to unify His name, for that redemption was not by means of an intermediary, an angel or a seraph, but rather the Holy One, blessed be He, in His essence and glory went forth. Therefore a person must know how to unify the name, He is one and not two… and he must unify Him in the ten sefirot in the Infinite.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Eleazar of Worms, MS British Museum 737, fols. 165b-166a. Cf. MSS Paris 825, fol. 193a, Munich 92, fol. 1a.

YHWH–His unique, glorious and awesome name. We will explain its meaning according to the capacity to speak and to know about the glory of the supernal name of the Lord and His fear… The [name] is transmitted only to the meek who do not get angry, and to the God-fearing who perform the commandments of their Creator. It is only transmitted over water, as it is written, “The voice of the Lord is over the waters” (Ps. 29-3). Before the master teaches his disciples they should bathe in water and immerse themselves in [the ritual bath that measures] forty se’ah. They should don white clothes and fast on the day that he will teach them [the name], and they should stand in the water up to their ankles. Then the master opens his mouth in fear and says- “Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, king of the universe, Lord, God of Israel, You are one and Your name is one, and You have commanded us to conceal Your great name, for Your name is awesome. Blessed are You, Lord, who reveals His secret to those who fear Him, the One who knows all secrets.” The master and his disciples should look at the water and say “The ocean sounds, O Lord, the ocean sounds its thunder, the ocean sounds its pounding, more majestic than the breakers of the sea is the Lord, majestic on high” (Ps. 93-3-4). “The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over the mighty waters” (ibid. 29-3). “The waters saw You, O God, the waters saw You and were convulsed; the very deep quaked as well” (ibid. 77-17). “Your way was through the sea, Your path, through the mighty waters; Your tracks could not be seen” (ibid., 20). Afterwards they should go near the water or to a synagogue or study-house where there is water in a pure vessel, and the master should say- “Blessed are You, Lord, our God, king of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us and separated us from the nations and revealed to us His secrets and instructed us in the knowledge of His great and awesome name.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Eleazar of Worms, MS Paris, BN 850 fols. 58a-b.

Whoever is occupied [with the study of] the chariot (ha-‘oseq ba-merkavah) or the glorious name (shem ha-nikhbad) [i.e., the Tetragrammaton], he and his students, to whom he wants to transmit this, should go and bathe in water, and cover their whole bodies in water, and their clothes should be soaked in water… they should immerse themselves and get dressed in white clothes and stand in water up to their thighs. And the rabbi should begin [to cite the blessing], with fear and trembling, with [proper] intention in mind, looking at the water… “Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, king of the universe, God of Israel, You are one and Your name is one, and You have commanded us to conceal Your great name, for Your name is awesome. Blessed are You, Lord, and blessed is the name of Your glory forever, the glorious and awesome name, Lord, our God. “The voice of the Lord is over the waters” (Ps. 29-3). “Blessed are You, Lord, the one who reveals His secret to those who fear Him, the One who knows all secrets.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Eleazar of Worms, MS British Museum 737, fol. 172a.

YHWH is called the glorious name (shem ha-nikhbad), as it is written, “to revere this glorious Name,” le-yir’ah ’et ha-shem ha-nikhbad [= 1078] (Deut. 28-58). [This expression] equals numerically “to revere the four letters,” le-yir’ah dalet ’otiyyot [=1078], for it is glorious and it is not uttered as it is written on account of its great holiness. Other glorious names are above in the light surrounded by a cloud. Therefore the [expression] “They have placed My name there,” samu shemi sham appears fifty-two times in the Pentateuch, and fifty-two times [the word] cloud, to indicate that a cloud surrounds the glorious name above. Therefore the one who studies the name should wear beautiful clothes. The name is not mentioned unless beautiful clothes are worn, the garments of honor… Each of the names has a resplendent light and an enveloping cloud. The names of God are written about the throne of glory, on the pillars of glory.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Eleazar of Worms, MS British Museum 737, fol. 169a.

When Israel mentioned the name as it is written [i.e., the Tetragrammaton] in the Temple then glory and majesty were before Him, and this is [the meaning of the verse] “Glory and majesty are before Him; strength and splendor are in His temple” (Ps. 96-6). This is “the glory of His name” (ibid., 8), and this is “a glorious name” (Isa. 63-14). Then the glory is clothed in beauty, splendor, and majesty, and the throne is complete, and “joy is in His place” (1 Chron. 16-27). This is “for Your name is called upon Your city” (Dan. 9-19), “they rejoice in Your name all day long” (Ps. 89-17). The numerical value of “Your name is like finest oil” [shemen turaq shemekha = 1456] (Cant. 1-3) equals that of [the expression] “the four letters of Your name” [’arba‘ah ’otiyyot shemekha = 1456].

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Judah the Pious, Dan, Studies, p. 153.

Moses alone saw the great glory. Thus [it says in Scripture] “And the Lord [YHWH] spoke to Moses,” “And the Lord [YHWH] said,” using this name [YHWH]. Therefore Jethro said- “Now I know that the Lord [YHWH] is greater than all gods” (Exod. 18-11). The Lord is unique, He is God of gods, He and not an angel. At times [YHWH] is used as the name of His essence (shem ‘asmo), referring to the Creator, and at times it refers to the form (ha-to’ar) that appears to the prophet. It has already been written in the Sefer ha-Kavod [“Book of the Glory”] that the form is according to the decrees [of God’s will]. It says [in Scripture] “I am the Lord.” Does He appear to the prophet in such a way? The testimony and proof is in the expression “the Lord of hosts,” i.e., He appears as a form within the [celestial] hosts, as in the case of Michaiah, Isaiah, and Daniel.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Eleazar of Worms, MS British Museum 737, fol. 190b.

The four letters YHWA- [the letters YHW] numerically equal 21, and when one considers the pronunciation with an A the sum is 22, corresponding to the twenty-two letters of Torah. This indicates that [with respect to] the one who studies Torah it is as if he mentioned the name (ha-lomed torah ke-’illu mazkir ha-shem).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Sefer ha-Navon, cited from, Dan, Studies, pp. 119-120.

The name [YHWH] appears in its letters to the angels and prophets in several forms and radiance and it appears in the image of the appearance of an anthropos, as it says, “Above the expanse over their heads was the semblance of a throne, in appearance like sapphire, and on top, upon this semblance of a throne, there was the semblance of a human form” (Ezek. 1-26)… it appears in “the semblance of a human form,” this refers to the Shekhinah and the angel of the glory (mal’akh ha-kavod) which is the Tetragrammaton.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

Geronese kabbalistic text, early 13th century, MS Oxford 2456 (Christ Church 198), fol. 15b.

As a consequence of our mentioning the glorious name (shem ha-kavod), He is unified with us, and is blessed in His blessing. The meaning of the name is known to the enlightened, according to the matter, “Behold the name of the Lord comes from afar” (Isa. 30-27). And the meaning of the glory of the Lord is as it is written “the appearance of the glory of the Lord” (Exod. 24-17), and it is written “you shall behold the glory of the Lord” (ibid., 16-7), and it is written “The Lord our God has shown us His glory” (Deut. 5-21), and many more such as these.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in Through a Speculum that Shines- Vision and Imagination in Medieval Jewish Mysticism, Princeton- Princeton University Press, 1994.

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