THE KABBALIST-Roots-Judaism-Tradition and the folklore of the Moroccan Jews


A Kabbalist Jew, wrapped in a tallit and two pairs of tfillin (one according to Rashi and Maimonedes, and the other according to Rabbeinu Tamm), holds the book “A Law unto Israel", Chok LeYisrael. he dreams of Eretz Israel (in the background): The wailing wall, the tomb of Rachel, the tomb of the Machpelah. The Toledo Synagogue signifies his Sephardi origins. On'the right — the ghetto; on the left — the good tidings of the aliya to the land of Israel and settlement in a Moshav.

THE KABBALA — The study of mysticism in Israel is meant to explain the secrets of Genesis, how G-d emitted hidden rays of light which effected the creation of the universe, and speculations on "The Divine Chariot" in Ezekiel's vision. Since the 13th century, this field of study blossomed and developed in Spain as a superior, unique, esoteric study based on the emotions and imagination and rebelling against the rule of reason. It found solutions for the Act of Creation by speculating on the mysterious written sources and In the tradition (kabbala) of the ensuing generations.

In the mid-16th century practical Kabbalism developed in the spiritual center of Safed. The wise men, mainly exiles from Spain and a minority of Ashkenazi Jews, yearned for deliverance from persecution and forced conversion (the Inquisition). At the time when the theoretical Kabbala was attempting to understand the influence of the upper, noble world on the material, lower world, the "practicalists" were trying to influence the Upper World by arousing the lower to expiation and repentance, by prayer and self-affliction. They expected to bring about doomsday and hasten the Messiah by repairing the wheels of the soul in a war waged by incantations, caths and amulets in the name of the powers of evil..

Most of Morocco's Jews are descendants of Jews expelled from Spain, whose rich cultural heritage included practical Kabbala, developed by such famous Mekubalim as R. Haim ben Atar (Or Hachayyim), and R. Isaac Sagi Nahor (Sefer Habahir).

TFILLIN. It is a positive command from the Torah to lay tfillin on the hand and the head, as it is written: "And it will be a sign on your arm and a rememberance between your eyes."

On the arm tfillin all the verses (from the Torah) are written on one parchment which is rolled up as a scroll, tied from bottom to top, and bound in one very thin parchment. The verses included are:

  1. "Kadesh Li Kol Bechor" (Exodus, 13,1-10)
  2. "VeHaya Ki Yaviacha״ (Exodus, 13,11-16)
  3. "Shema Yisrael" (Deuteronomy 6, 4-9)
  4. "VeHaya Im Shamoah" (Deuteronomy, 11,13-21)

The head tfillin contain four verses in the following order: "VeHaya Im Shemoah", "Shema", VeHaya KI Yaviacha" and "Kadesh", each separate parchment in a compartment.

This order was established by Rash¡ and Rambam and used in all the diasporas of Israel. However, Rashi's grandson, R. Jacob Tamm, disagreed with them and maintained that the order should be different. This opinion was not widely accepted. Nevertheless, there are some strictly devout worshippers who fear for the sacred version of Rabbenu Tamam, and lay a second pair of Tefillin. The custom is to remove the first pair after the “18 Benedictions" and put on R. Tamm's without a blessing, and conclude the morning service this way. The Sephardic Mekubal lays both pairs on his forehead simultaneously.

(Professor Yigal yadin discovered the tfillin of Bar-Kochba's fighters in the Kumran caves. His research revealed the veracity of Rashi's version and he wrote an extensive article on this subject.

CHOK LEYISRAEL A study book which is divided into the seven days of the week, in which appear sections of Mishnah and Gemarrah, the Zohar and Agaddah, which was compiled by the MeKubal Rabbi Haim Vitale, a student of the “Arie". (R. Isaac Luria).

The book was printed for the first time in Egypt in the year 1740. In the later editions, portions of Kaballah, Poskim and Mussar literature have been added.

“A Law unto Israel" has been printed in many editions and became a much used book in the homes of many Jews. When a G-d fearing man would embark on a journey, he would pack in his suitcasse a talit, tfillin, a prayer book and Chok LeYisrael.

THE KABBALIST-Roots-Judaism-Tradition and the folklore of the Moroccan Jews

הירשם לבלוג באמצעות המייל

הזן את כתובת המייל שלך כדי להירשם לאתר ולקבל הודעות על פוסטים חדשים במייל.

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דצמבר 2019
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