By Elliot R. Wolfson
This booklet explores the elemental concerns in Jewish mysticism and offers a taxonomy of the deep constructions of suggestion that emerge from the texts.
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Extra info for Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics
JIl4 This reconstruction fits well with the thematic context of the passage in Hekhalot Rabbati: when Israel utters the Trisagion below, God descends from His throne to embrace, fondle, and kiss the visage of Jacob. However, it is possible that even in this passage the face of Jacob symbolizes the heavenly or ideal Adamic figure without any connection to the feminization of the ecclesia of Israel. If this is the case, then the feminine language used in describing the image must be construed as a metaphorical expression of God's love for Israel, but it does not signify a dynamic in the divine world between the masculine king and the feminine form engraved on the throne.
Moreover, as I have argued elsewhere, in the philosophical thought of ibn Ezra, the first intellect in the chain of being is Metatron, also called 'yo$er bereJshit, the demiurge. 148 Thus, the secret to which ibn Ezra alludes is the identification of the image of Jacob with Metatron who is the form of the intellect that stands above the tenth sphere. 149 Further evidence for the identification of the image of Jacob as Metatron can be found in the literary corpus of Abraham Abulafia. Thus, for example, let us consider the following passage in the latter's JOr ha-Sekhel: THE IMAGE OF JACOB 21 The secret of "And [the angel of God] moved" (Exod.
99:5), the face of the cherub. They saw the God of Israel' (Exod. 24:10), 'under my head' (Song of Songs 2:6). The holy one of Jacob, this is what is said, 'He has cast down from heaven to earth the majesty of Israel' (Lam. "230 The description of the lower aspect of the glory as that which is beneath the feet is echoed in the Sefer lJakhmoni of Shabbetai Donnolo, acknowledged as one of the most important sources for I;Iaside Ashkenaz: Even though it says "I beheld the Lord" (Isa. 6:1), he did not see the image of His face, he saw the throne.
Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics by Elliot R. Wolfson