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All Shabbat Texts

Jewish Mysticism
Joseph Gikatilla, in Heikhal ha-Shem (Venice, 1601), 40a.

Sexual intercourse is the secret of holiness (sod ha-qedushah) and the multiplication of the [divine] image, and its opposite is the diminution of the image. Therefore, sexual intercourse on Friday evenings is the time of the conjugal obligation of the scholar, “who yields his fruit in season” (Ps. 1-3), in the secret of zakhor and shamor, and the secret of “you must keep My Sabbaths” (Exod. 31-13). Since the extra soul (neshamah yeterah) is added to a person on Sabbath eves, then is the time for the sanctification of the union (qedushat ha-hibbur) and worthy children [shall be born] on behalf of the “eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths” (Isa. 56-4).

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Ma‘arekhet ha-’Elohut, 120a.

Since intercourse is considered profane in relation to Adam after he had sinned, and it is performed through the sign of the holy covenant, it is appropriate not to engage in sexual intercourse except for the nights of Sabbath in order not to make from that which is holy something profane. On the eve of Sabbath he is in his potency and intercourse is then holy, for the days of the week, wherein the shells surround them below, are completed and finished on the day of Sabbath. This is the secret of [the tradition that] the time for scholars to fulfill their marital obligation is on the eve of Sabbath.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Zohar 2-204a

When the point ascends everything is hidden, and she ascends. When she ascends, she is called shabbat. What is shabbat? The secret of the matter- When that point ascends and the light shines, she is crowned by the patriarchs. When she is crowned by the patriarchs, she is joined and united with them to become one, and she is called shabbat. Shabbat- shin bat. The secret of the three patriarchs that are united with the only daughter, and she is crowned by them, and they are one in the world-to-come. Everything is one, and this is shin bat so that everything will be one.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Moses de Leon, “Sefer ha-Mishkal,” pp. 110-111.

Thus you can know what is written, “You shall keep the Sabbath, for it is holy for you. He who profanes it shall be put to death” (Exod. 31-14). This is the secret of the point, for she inherits from the point of thought, which is the supernal point, and from there the entities emanate in their mystery until the end of thought, which is the final point, the secret of the holy covenant, and she stands amongst her hosts in the secret of the midpoint, which is the beginning of the edifice, within the circle. For the circle does not revolve on its axis except through the midpoint, which is in the space of the circle (halal ha-‘iggul). … According to this mystery it says, “He who profanes (mehalaleha) it shall be put to death,” the one who enters the space of the point of the edifice to uproot the thing from all of its emendations and from all of its matters shall be put to death.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Moses de Leon, Book of the Pomegranate, edited by Wolfson, pp. 333-334

The secret of the Sabbath is the lower point… and all the lower entities sit beneath this one point, which is the final point. Indeed, the foundation stone is that from which the world is established, and it is the midpoint of all the seventy nations and she stands in the middle. … Just as king Solomon, the secret of the median line, stands in the middle between the upper waters and the lower waters, so the secret of the lower point stands in the middle. Thus, she stands in the middle and revolves until she ascends in holiness, and the seventy thrones stand surrounding this point that is in the middle. … There is no circle without the beginning of this point that is in the middle. … When everything is in the surrounding circle and the point is in the middle, which is the space of the circle, the one who comes to touch the space of the circle, which is in the middle and which is called the “Sabbath,” is deserving of the punishment of death.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Sha‘ar Ma’amerei Rashbi, 18b-c.

The third meal is the secret of the elevation of Ze‘eir ’Anpin entirely within the supernal ’Abba’ and ‘Imma’, the last three [sefirot] within him in the last three in them, and the three patriarchs in him in the three patriarchs in them, and three forms of consciouness (mohot) in him in the three forms of consciousness in them. This is called the “property without boundaries” (nahalah beli mesarim) [B. Berakhot 51a; Shabbat 118a], for the shell has no dominion there since he is entirely contained in the supernal ’Abba’ and ‘Imma’, and nothing of him remains below like the first order of emanation. When he ascends and he will be contained entirely in ’Abba’ and ‘Imma’, he is near the supernal forehead in the secret of the first three [entities] in ‘Atiqa’, and this is the time of favor (‘et rason). This ascent is not attained by the bride but only by the bridegroom. Therefore it is called the meal of Ze‘eir ’Anpin. We pray that the bride, too, will return to this level, and this is [the meaning of] “As for me, may my prayer come to You, O Lord, at a favorable moment” (Ps. 69-14). It is known already that she is called “prayer” and “moment,” and the secret of “As for me” (wa’ani) is to join ’ani [the feminine] and the waw [the masculine]. Therefore, during the afternoon service (minhah) of Sabbath we read from the Torah scroll, to conjoin her with her husband, which is the Written Torah. … Since Ze‘eir ’Anpin is contained entirely within ’Abba’ and ‘Imma’, the judgments in Ze‘eir ’Anpin are nullified, even though it is their [appropriate] time because the supernal forehead gazes upon him as he ascends there close to him. All the worlds are quiet and in peace for the supernal forehead sits upon the throne of the rivers of fire, to subdue them. … Thus we do not say qiddush at all for she is very hidden. There is the place of eating but not drinking. … During the time of the third meal the judgments are not discerned at all and everything is complete mercy. Therefore, Moses departed at this time, and not during the morning, to indicate that he ascended in the secret of simple mercy. Indeed, Moses, Joseph, and David had to depart on Sabbath for the sake of the three [forces] remaining in Malkhut, to elevate them above together with her husband.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Sha‘ar Ma’amerei Rashbi, 5a-b

The sixth day is the holy phallus (berit qodesh), for after the holy seed is formed in the two testicles, as the verse says, “The song of the turtledove,” the semen goes out by way to the holy phallus to the point of Zion. Insofar as hearing (shemi‘ah) is related to Malkhut, the sixth day is called [by the expression] “is heard,” and it is contained within Malkhut. It is called by her name to indicate that she governs… and she ascends to the Infinite. This is from the side of ‘assiyah, the mother, for from her side the feminine rules over the masculine in the secret of the “crown of her husband” (Prov. 12-4) and in the secret of the [letters] he’ and yod from the [name] ’elohim, in the secret of the yod, the dalet over the waw, in the secret of the world-to-come. This alludes to the fact that Adam, who was created on that [day], would in the future place ‘asiyyah [doing] before shemi‘ah [hearing], to ascend in the secret of the world-to-come until the Infinite. Thus, the mentioning of [the word] nishma‘ in Yesod alludes to the strengthening of Malkhut and her elevation above to the place whence she was hewn, until the point that Binah precedes Malkhut from below to above. “In our land,” this is the day of Sabbath, which is from the land of the living, the world-to-come, the world of souls, the world of comforts. On the sixth day Malkhut ascended to draw down the supernal light from all the emanations and to bring it down to Adam so that his soul would be comprised of all the emanations from the beginning of the gradations until their end. … On the Sabbath there is the supernal union and Tif’eret is coupled with Malkhut. Had Adam not sinned, the world would have been quiet and peaceful, without Satan and without evil infliction. The supernal union would have been face-to-face, but he caused the sin with regard to the Tree of Knowledge.

Translated by Elliot Wolfson in, “Coronation of the Sabbath Bride- Kabbalistic Myth and the Ritual of Androgynisation,” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 6 (1997)- 301-344.

Sefer Hasidim § 637

There is no throne without the Torah, and this is [the import of the poem] “At the time before creation He established the Torah and the throne.” Therefore the Torah is read on Sabbath. And there occurs seven times in Scripture [the expression] “enthroned on the cherubim” (yoshev ha-keruvim). Therefore, [on Sabbath] seven [sections in the Torah] are read, and it is as if the Shekhinah were placed on the throne of the cherubim.

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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