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Yitzhak Luria left behind him almost nothing in the way of theoretical, ethical, or confessional prose, and only a handful of poems, but he comes down to us as one of the most vital figures in Jewish history—a myth-maker of major proportions and a charismatic personality whose recalibration of Jewish thought continues to alter the consciousness of Jews and non-Jews alike. Addressed to the baroque countenances of God as he envisioned them, Luria’s three Aramaic hymns for the Sabbath meals “suggest the grandiloquent gestures of a magician,” and, says Scholem, “read like the hymns of a mystery religion.” The third hymn, translated here, is at once a convocation and an exorcism.


This poem originally appeared in the March 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

March 2012

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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