Hayyim Vital, Sha‘are Qedushah (Jerusalem, 1983), pt. 3, ch. 5, pp. 89-90.


The Holy Spirit (ruah ha-qodesh) rests on a person when he is awake, when the soul is in his body and does not leave it [as in sleep]. But [the prophetic state involves] the matter of separation [of the soul from the body], for he removes [from his mind] all [mundane] thoughts entirely. And the imaginative faculty in him, which is a faculty that derives from the elementary animal soul, prevents him from imagining or thinking about any matter pertaining to this world as if his soul left him. Then his imaginative faculty transforms his thoughts such that he imagines that he ascends to the upper worlds to the roots of his soul… and the forms of all the lights will be inscribed in his thought as if he imagined and saw them as is the way of the imaginative faculty to imagine in his mind things of this world even though he does not [actually] see them… The [divine] light and influx reaches the rational soul that is in his body, and from there it reaches the vital soul and the imaginative faculty that is within it. And there these [spiritual] matters assume a corporeal form in the imaginative faculty so that [the prophet] can comprehend them as if he actually saw them with the [physical] eye (we-sham yistayyeru ha-‘inyanim ha-hem siyyur gashmi be-khoho ha-medammeh we-’az yevinem ke-’illu ro’eh ’otan be-‘ayin mamash).

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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