Luria, Isaac ben-Solomon (ha-Ari)


Luria, Isaac ben-Solomon (ha-Ari)
(1534–72)
   Safad mystic. Luria was one of the most important figures in Jewish mysticism (the Cabbala). Only the barest facts of his life are known; much that was recounted of him later is legend. His father, Solomon Ashkenazi, probably came from Germany or Poland and emigrated to Jerusalem, where he died. Brought up by a wealthy uncle in Egypt, Luria studied Jewish law and traded in pepper and grain. Becoming attracted by mysticism, he withdrew to a small island in the Nile near Cairo, where he seems to have remained for seven years studying the Zohar (see Moses de LEON) and the works of contemporary cabbalists. About 1570 he settled in Safad in Galilee, gathering around him a group of disciples. Luria, who was known as ha-Elohi Rabbi Yitzhak, ‘the divine Rabbi Isaac’ (abbreviated to its Hebrew initials as ha- Ari, ‘the lion’), was a revered figure in Safad, and his fame as a holy man spread. Radical, indeed revolutionary, though his mystical system was, he was a traditionalist in liturgical matters and revived several old rites. After his death in an epidemic, his grave became an object of veneration and a place of pilgrimage for centuries.
   Luria guarded his teachings closely, and was extremely reluctant to write them down. When asked the reason for this by a disciple, he replied: ‘I can hardly open my mouth to speak without feeling as though the sea had burst its dams and overflowed. How then can I express what my soul has received ?’ Apart from an early commentary in Egypt, and some mystical Sabbath hymns, our knowledge of Luria’s teachings is based on accounts by four of his disciples, the most important being Chaim VITAL. According to Luria, God’s tzimtzum (concentration or withdrawal) forms the nothingness from which creation starts.
   But creation becomes flawed, and the human race is in exile from Adam onwards. Israel’s special task is to aid the process of tikkun, the restoration of the true order; by acting according to the Law every Jew plays his part in bringing about the redemption and the messianic era.
   Lurianic ideas spread throughout every country of the Diaspora, their cosmic drama of exile and redemption catching the imagination of the masses as well as of scholars. Elements of the Lurianic Cabbala lay behind the messianic claims of SHABBETAI ZEVI in the 17 century, and behind Chassidism, the revivalist movement stemming from ISRAEL BEN-ELIEZER Baal Shem Tov, in the 18 century.

Who’s Who in Jewish History after the period of the Old Testament. . 2012.

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  • Luria, Isaac ben Solomon — born 1534, Jerusalem died Aug. 5, 1572, Safed, Syria Jewish mystic and founder of a school of Kabbala. He was brought up in Egypt, where he pursued rabbinic studies. He dedicated himself to the study of the Kabbala with messianic fervour, and in… …   Universalium

  • Luria, Isaac ben Solomon (Ari; Ashkenazi) — (1534 72)    Palestinian kabbalist. He was born in Jerusalem and educated in Egypt. From 1570 he lived in Safed. His kabbalistic teachings were received by his disciples orally; they were later recorded by his pupil Hayyim Vital in Etz Hayyim,… …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • LURIA, JEHIEL BEN ISRAEL ASHKENAZI — (16th–17th century), kabbalist; scholar of safed and its emissary to western europe . It may be assumed that Luria was a relation of Isaac ashkenazi luria (Ha Ari). In 1599 he was in Worms and in 1601 in venice , apparently on his return journey… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • ABULAFIA, JACOB BEN SOLOMON — (1550?–1622?), Damascus rabbi. Abulafia, the grandson of jacob b. moses berab , studied under solomon absaban and under Moses Besodo – apparently in Damascus – together with Yom Tov Ẓahalon . There is evidence that he may have been friendly with… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Hayyim ben Joseph Vital — (Calabria, 1543[1] – Damascus, 23 April 1620[2]) was a rabbi in Safed and the foremost disciple of Isaac Luria. He recorded much of his master s teachings. After Vital s death his writings spread having a powerful impact on various circles… …   Wikipedia

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  • ABRAHAM BEN ELIEZER HA-LEVI BERUKHIM — (c. 1515–1593), pious ascetic and Safed kabbalist. Born in Morocco, he immigrated to Palestine probably before 1565. In Safed he joined moses cordovero s circle and became a friend of elijah de vidas . When isaac luria went to Safed (late 1569),… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism


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