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Pardes: the Quest for Spiritual Paradise in Judaism



Moshe Idel


 April 16
    Primordial Wisdom: The Philosophers' Quest

April 18
      Primordial Light: The Ecstatics' Quest

April 22
      PARDES: Between Sefirot and Demonology

 The Core of  the "Pardes" Tradition:  Tosefta Hagigah 2:3-4

  Four entered  the  Orchard (Pardes): Ben Azzai,   Ben Zoma,  Akher and Rabbi Aqiva. One peeked and   died; one peeked and was smitten; one peeked and   cut down  the shoots;  one ascended  safely  and   descended safely.

  Ben  Azzai   peeked  and  died.  Concerning  him   Scripture says:   "Precious  in the  eyes of  he   Lord is  the death  of His  loyal ones" (Ps. 16.   15).

  Ben Zoma  peeked and was smitten. Concerning him   Scripture says:  "If you  have found  honey, eat   only your  fill lest   you become filled with it   and vomit" (Prov.  25:16).

  Akher  peeked  and   cut  down   the  shoots.   Concerning him  Scripture says: "Do not let your   mouth bring  your flesh  to sin,  and do not say   before   the angel  that it  is  an  error;  why   should God  become angry at your voice, and ruin   your handiwork" (Eccl. 5:5).

  Rabbi  Aqiva  ascended  safely  and  descended   safely.   Concerning him  Scripture says:  "Draw   me, let  us run  after you, the King has brought   me into His chambers" (Song I:4).

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page uploaded 29 July 1999