By Hartley Lachter
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Additional info for Kabbalistic Revolution: Reimagining Judaism in Medieval Spain
But, Ezekiel’s revelation occurred during a harsh moment of exile that was close to causing many Israelites, as the Zohar claims, to lose their faith. Once Ezekiel shared his vision with the Israelites, according to the continuation of the zoharic passage, “they rejoiced; and when they heard the words from Ezekiel’s mouth they felt no anxiety at all about their exile, for they knew that the blessed holy one had not forsaken them. ”104 The uncovering of kabbalistic secrets is justified as a necessity brought on by circumstance.
50 Many kabbalists also describe rabbinic literature as a repository of Jewish esoteric knowledge. As we read in an anonymous commentary on the ten sefirot: Thus says the wise man, the Rabbi great in wisdom, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of blessed memory. I attest in clear testimony that these words are the words of the living God and the words of the Kabbalah that the wise men of the generations have received from the day that the Torah was given on Sinai until now, and they contain nothing but the unity of God, may He be blessed and exalted, and truth and faith.
86 Such strategies of “archanization,” a term adopted by Idel from Jan Assman to denote the implication of esoteric meanings into known texts and practices,87 indicate a deliberate power gesture in which Jewish knowledge of matters divine is portrayed as uniquely superior. As David ben Yehudah he-Hasid notes in a formulation characterizing the value of kabbalistic mysteries, “Comprehend all of these matters, for they are extremely wondrous, and the enlightened will understand. Happy are the righteous ones to whom the Holy One, blessed be He, has revealed His Shekhinah and the secrets of His holy Torah.