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Yiḥudim


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lsaac Luria (1534—1572)

Shekhinah

Ezekiel Landau (1713—1793)

 

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‘Unifications’, meditations on various combinations of the letters of the Tetragrammaton and on the various vocalizations of this name provided in the writings of Hayyim Vital and other Kabbalists of the Lurianic school. Isaac Luria, Vital's master, provided detailed Yiḥudim to be performed at particular periods and in accordance with the special soul-root of each mystical adept. The Yiḥudim were believed to be theurgic, affecting the upper worlds and the elevation of the mystic's soul. In post-Lurianic prayer books, the instruction is given to the worshipper to recite: ‘For the sake of the unification of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shekhinah' before carrying out a precept of the Torah. Rabbi Ezekiel Landau took strong exception to the recital of this formula by the Hasidim, which resulted in a fierce polemic between Landau and some of the Hasidic masters. Another of the Yiḥudim, printed in the Kabbalistic prayer books, is that in which the letters of the Tetragrammaton are mingled with the letters of the divine name, Adonai (‘Lord’). The Kabbalists, however, sought to limit the practice of other, more esoteric, Yiḥudim to initiates and, even for these, urged that it is all to be treated with great circumspection.

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.


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