The Arizal

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  • #602109

    Doswin
    Member

    What was Kabbala like before the Arizal and how did the Arizal change it? Who was the Arizal? And do the minhagim of the Arizal predate him and who follows them today? How do his minhagim differ from others?

    #853932

    not2bright
    Member

    (I am not guaranteeing the accuracy of this information however I believe the basic concepts are correct:)

    Rav Yitchak Luria, aka the Ari Hakadosh/Arizal, was born in Yerushalayim in 1534. When his father died he went to his wealthy uncle in Egypt who soon became his father in law when R’ Yitchak was 15 years old. He learnt by the Shitta Mekubetzes (Rav Betzalel Ashkenazi), then by himself, before he turned to intense study of the Zohar for 7 years while living in a hut on the Nile, only visiting his father in law/ uncle on shabbos. In his mid thirties he moved to Tzfas (one of the main places that the expelled experts of toras hanistar brought their expertise to after the Spanish Expulsion of 1492) and quickly gained a crowd of followers, most prominently Rav Chaim Vital, who may be called his Talmid Muvhak (it is said that the Ari himself said that the only one who fully understood his shiurim in toras hanistar was Rav Chaim Vital). His main goal was to serve Hashem in holiness and purity, which included, but was not limited to, immersing oneself regularly in a mikvah, praying with very intense concentration, and generally sanctifying ones thoughts. He obviously practiced and preached these concepts to his talmidim. Additionally, he stressed the three parts of ????? ?? which are: ?????, ????, ???????. These basically mean, sanctity of the mind and action; intensive attention to the correct intentions during prayer; and to ensure that love, fear, and service of Hashem one’s priority in life and that the physical is merely there to ensure our health so that we can serve Hashem. The Ari additionally studied the Teffillos that were enacted in general by the Geonim through a kabbalistic lense, and instructing his talmidim of the correct wording,rules, and laws of tefilla, which soon came to be known as the “Nusach Ari” ( which many chassidim follow). Additionally the tradition of the Ari, once more based on Kabbalah, was to dress in all white on ???, which is still followed today in some circles. He did not write any seforim, he just gave shiur, which was directed only to those steeped in Kabbala, so we rely on the ??? ?? ???? by his Talmid Rav Chaim Vital, as the source for his teachings. The Ari Hakadosh, so given the title because of the abbreviation of his name and possibly also because he was the ??? ???????(the lion in the group) was niftar in 1572 at the young age of 38. ????? ??? ?????.

    I hope this has answered most or all of your questions, if you have any more or receive different information, please let me know.

    Based off of “2000 Years of Jewish History” by R’ Chaim Schloss, published by Feldheim Publishers in 2004.

    #853933

    Naysberg
    Member

    He was niftar rather young. Accomplished so much in so short a time.

    #853934

    longarekel
    Member

    MODS: WHERE IS THE TANACH TRIVIA THREAD? IT SEEMS TO HAVE SIMPLY DISAPPEARED FROM THE ENTIRE COFFEEROOM!!

    #853935

    tzaddiq
    Member

    the greatest mekubal in the Arizal’s times was the Rema”k, R’ Moshe Kordevero zt”l. when he was niftar, the Arizal became the undisputed greatest mekubal of his generation.

    the Arizal lived in Tzefat for the latter part of his short life, together with the greatest of greats, including the Alshich hakodosh, the Beis Yosef, the Chareidim, R’ Chaim Vital, among others. The Arizal was so great and so seeped in learning torah, his soul would join the yeshivah shel maalah when he slept. he would learn on one night what would normally take years worth of learning to accomplish when awake. That is the greatness of his talmid R’ Chaim Vital who able to transcribe the lofty, endless teachings of the Arizal.

    #853936

    Doswin
    Member

    Is the Nusach used by Sefardim at all based upon the Nusach Ari?

    #853937

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Doswin, the other way around. The Ari based his Nusach parts of theirs.

    #853938

    BTGuy
    Participant

    Hi no2bright.

    Thank you for the biography on the Arizal. I read it with great interest.

    Would anyone know of the Arizal and the RaMCHaL were contemporaries and/or had any contact with each other?

    #853939

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The Ramchal was in the same generation as the Baal Shem Tov. He learned from the Sifrei Arizal.

    #853940

    cheftze
    Member

    Those that changed their Nusach, what was their halachic basis to change their families minhag?

    #853941

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    The same basis that the Arizal had. Actually, what’s the Halachic problem?

    #853942

    BTGuy
    Participant

    Hi HaLeiVi,

    Thank you again for the info.

    You always come through with interesting clarifications, which I appreciate very much!

    : )

    #853943

    Naysberg
    Member

    Isn’t there a klal of minhag k’halacha, and one shouldn’t deviate from his father’s minhagim?

    #853944

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    It is not random. The Arizal changed whatever he did after a thorough understanding of the Nuschaos.

    We keep all kinds of traditions because of She’al Avicha. It is very important to be part of a Mesora and not to go off on your own ways. However, the Arizal understood his position and he was guided.

    As for us, if you are a Talmud Muvhak of someone and you want to take on Hanhagos from him, I don’t see why not. That is also not a random direction. The Baal Shem Tov spoke of the dangers of Haholech Baderech Yechidi. Although Misnagdim at the time accused him of just that, obviously he understood that he was not alone.

    There were many Tzaddikim and Talmidei Chachamim that started new Minhagim. They understood that they can do that. It was from Dveikus and they were able to check that they were not going out alone.

    The Teshuva most quoted in regards to changing the Nusach is the Chasam Sofer. However, if you read it you can see that he has no real Halachic complaint. He mainly deals with the fact that everyone has their Shaar and you shouldn’t change it, in order to connect to your proper channel.

    Being that it is not an Halachic issue, only a Sohd issue, I’m sure it’s not so hard to accept that someone will choose to follow his Rebbe. Besides, the Chasam Sofer is addressing the idea of picking your Nusach. Now that it is well established and you want to change your Nusach to fit with your new surrounding or your Rebbe, that is not at all like picking a Nusach — which takes me back to what I started with. Where was I …

    #853945

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    F.Y.I. –

    The ARIz”l and Rav Shlomo Levi Alkabetz z”l (author of Lecha Dodi) are buried right next to each other in Tsfat.

    #853946

    Logician
    Participant

    Ramchal wrote a letter describing the development of Kabbalah, how Hashem allowed it to be more and more revealed as it was appropriate for the generation. He writes that Rashbi was chosen to reveal some, then the Ari revealed the second third, and then he writes that for the last third “Hashem has chosen me”.

    #853947

    BTGuy
    Participant

    Very informative posts!

    Thanks!

    #853948

    AinOhdMilvado
    Participant

    F.Y.I. –

    The Ramcha”l ztz”l is buried in the holy city of Tiveria, on a hill overlooking the city and the beautiful Yam Kineret. His kever is next to that of Rabi Akiva ztzvk”l.

    #853949

    cheftze
    Member

    Has Rabi Akiva’s kever (and the kevorim of other Tannaim) been marked, and known to Klal Yisroel where it is, from the time of his petira 1,500 years ago until today?

    #853950

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Doswin, the other way around. The Ari based his Nusach parts of theirs.

    Haleivi: That’s true, but some of his innovations filtered back in such as parshas haketores and the like.

    #853951

    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Itche, yeah, the Sfardim took on Minhagei Ari on a larger scale than Chassidim.

    Cheftza, many Kivrei Tzadikim were a Mesora through the years and many were revealed by the Arizal.

    #853952

    cheftze
    Member

    HaLeiVi: Which ones did the Arizal reveal? Did his knowledge of them come through Ruach Hakodesh or another mean?

    #853953

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Haleivi: Except for a handful of holdouts who still do not accept kaballa of any kind. Go to any Moroccan shul and you’ll some siddurim with a note on the lamnatzeiach menorah telling you not to read it.

    #853954

    Are you talking about 100-1500 years before the Arizal? Or are you talking about 0-20 years before him? Because if you are talking about 20 years the answer is simple- learn the Ramak’s Seforim.

    However, if you talking about 100-1500 years ago, I’ll teach you a history lesson on it (BS”D). ALL TIME IS APPROXIMATED

    1700 years ago (approx.)- the Zohar is completed. Nobody really knew about the Zohar back then.

    For 800+ years Kabala was only transmitted from teacher to student in private (except for a few Geonim that wrote some books).

    850 years ago- the Rishonim started learning Kabbala. The Raavad wrote a commentary on Sefer Yesira (the book they used to learn Kabbala until about 100 years after). The Rambam was a Mekubal (note: even though his philosophy was so against it, he still learned it at the end of his life. HoRav Yitzchok Yosef Shelit”a in his Sefer Ein Yitzchok writes that he was a Mekubal). The Baale Tosfos were Mekubalim (En Yitzchok). And a few more as well.

    750 years ago- the Ramban came in wrote a VERY DEEP commentary on the Torah (which he writes in his intro and Rav Chaim Vital in one of his Seforim). He taught Kabala to the Rashba, and the Rashba taught it to Rabenu Bachye. Rabenu Bachya also wrote about Kabala in his commentary. There is also Rav Yosef Giklatia who wrote Shaare Orah and a few other books.

    525 years ago- you have the Ramak who wrote some very fundamental works on Kabala.

    THIS IS ALL JUST AN OUTLINE.

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