Remembering A Mystic: Rabbi Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi

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Today is the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria Ashkenazi, aka the Arizal or just the Ari (1534-1572). He was the father of modern Kabbalah and studied under greats such as Radbaz and the Shita Mekubetzet. The Arizal was no elderly sage–more like a boy wonder–by the age of 22 he was studying Zohar intensely and at age 36 he lived in Safed and rubbed shoulders with Rabbis Joseph Caro , Moses Cordevero (Ramak), Shlomo Alkabetz, and Moshe Alschich. The Arizal tackled hot topics including reincarnation and transmigration of souls. He also had a major influence in introducing the mystic system into Jewish religious observance. His ideas were compiled by his student Chaim ben Joseph Vital, into the work known as the Eitz Chayim.

What had you accomplished by age 22?

(Stay tuned for a new section about magic and the supernatural–coming to MJL this Fall…)

Posted on August 6, 2008

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