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Rav Kook's Guide for the Perplexed

October 29, 2010 - The following teaching is a translation I made of a chapter from an unpublished book written by Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook over a hundred years ago.  It deals with issues that caused young people of his generation to lose their faith in the Torah.  Since much of my website deals with cosmology and kabbalistic theories of Creation, I thought it would be nice to include Rav Kook's take on Evolution and the Story of Creation in Genesis.  (the italics are mine):

72 Names (version 2)

The description of this painting is the same as the description of 72 Names (version 1).  The main difference in that there I arrayed the 72 Names in six rows across by twelve columns down; whereas here, I arranged them in nine rows across by eight columns down.

Acrylic on paper
60 x 50 cm


72 Holy Names

One of the most complex meditative techniques of the Kabbalah uses the 72 three-letter Names of God that can be seen in this picture.  These 216 letters (72 x 3 = 216) actually comprise one Name. 

This Name is mentioned in the Bahir and the Zohar, in Rashi’s commentary on the Talmud, but it was Rabbi Abraham Abulafia, the controversial 13th Century kabbalist, who taught how to use this Name in order to attain prophetic insight.

A Cure for Messianic Madness

As we ease into the 21st Century, many people are worried about Messianic Madness.  There are plenty of nuts out there, convinced of the immanent arrival of a Messiah who will swoop out of the sky on a white donkey and miraculously save us and transform the world into Paradise.  And there are plenty of fundamentalist religious fanatics preparing for the terror and mayhem predicted by various apocalyptic prophecies and end-of-days beliefs.