By Elliot R. Wolfson
This booklet explores the basic concerns in Jewish mysticism and gives a taxonomy of the deep buildings of suggestion that emerge from the texts.
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Additional resources for Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics
1% It is reasonable to assume that Judah ben Yaqar was influenced directly by German Pietistic traditions or a shared source that expanded upon the relevant Hekhalot passages l97: in the teaching of Judah ben Yaqar, as in the case of Eleazar of Worms as will be seen below, the image of Jacob is a feminine form that is engraved upon the moon and upon the throne of glory. The change in symbolism began in the thirteenth-century kabbalistic sources, and a striking example of this phenomenon is Nal;manides, a student of Judah ben Yaqar.
Since he is unique the image of man precedes all the countenances, as it is written, "For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself" (Ps. 135:4), and it is written, "Jacob His own allotment" (Deut. 32:9). It is written, "You will see My back," we-ra )ita Jet )al:zorai (Exod. " (Gen. 30:2), [the THE IMAGE OF JACOB 33 word Janokhil is numerically equivalent to kisse J (throne). Thus, Jacob receives the splendor when the prayer rises upward. It is written, "And they saw the God of Israel" (Exod. "216 It is known that the human being is the most glorious of the creatures, and the head of a human is the most glorious of all the limbs, and so it is above.
138 From here it may be inferred that Jacob is identified with Metatron who is the Active Intellect. Even though the author employs standard medieval philosophical terminology, it is reasonable to assume that there is an echo here of an ancient tradition based on the identification of the heavenly Jacob and Metatron who stands in the position of the Logos or the divine Intellect depicted mythically as the supernal anthropos. In the text under discussion there is no mention of the image of Jacob engraved upon the throne.
Along the Path: Studies in Kabbalistic Myth, Symbolism, and Hermeneutics by Elliot R. Wolfson