po_Abulafia-AbrahamAbraham ben Samuel Abulafia, the founder of the school of “Prophetic Kabbalah”, was born in Zaragoza, Spain, in 1240, and is assumed to have died sometime after 1291. Abulafia’s literary activity spans the years 1271–91 and consists of several books, treatises on grammar, and poems, but amongst which only thirty survive. He wrote many commentaries: three on the Guide of the PerplexedSefer ha-Ge’ulah (1273), Sefer Chayei ha-Nefesh, and Sefer Sitrei Torah (1280); on Sefer Yetzirah: – Otzar Eden Ganuz (1285/6), Gan Na’ul, and a third untitled; and a commentary on the PentateuchSefer-Maftechot ha-Torah (1289).

More influential are his handbooks, teaching how to achieve the prophectic experience: Chayei ha-Olam ha-Ba (1280), Or ha-Sekhel, Sefer ha-Cheshek, and Imrei Shefer (1291).

Avraham Abulafia

And the letter is longing,
and sky desire
to know the will
that moves Him and lends
grace to spirit
and mercy to power
to rectify action,
Kingdom now foremost
and Law behind,
now Law foremost
and Kingdom behind—
and the letter and vowels
and song reveal
the mystery of blood…

And YHVH spoke to me when I saw His name
spelled out and merged with the blood in my heart,
separating blood from ink and ink from blood:
and YHVH said to me: Behold,
blood is the name of your soul, and ink the name of your spirit:
your father and mother are vessels for my name and a sign.
And then I fathomed the tremendous difference between
my spirit and soul, and a great joy came through me.
For I knew my soul was dwelling in the redness as blood,
and my spirit was dwelling in the blackness as ink.
And there raged a war in my heart between
the blood and ink: the blood from the wind
and the ink from the dust, and the black ink
over the blood was victorious—
as the Sabbath subdues all the days of the week.

And so my heart rested within me—and I offer
praise to the Lord, to the Name in my heart forever.