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. CABALIST CONCLUSIONS NUMBERING 47 ACCORDING TO THE SECRET TEACHING OF THE WISE HEBREW CABALISTS, MAY WE ALWAYS REMEMBER THEM WELL
1. Sicut homo et sacerdos inferior sacrificat Deo animas animalium irrationalium, ita Michael sacerdos superior sacrificat animas animalium rationalium. 1. Just as a human being and lower priest sacrifices the souls of irrational animals to God, so Michael, a higher priest, sacrifices the souls of rational animals.
CVE 191, 78v; Recanati, Comm. (1545, 127ra, 129vb-30ra, 131va); Midr. Rab. Exodus, 220; Lev. 2:1, 9:4; Ps. 89:7; CA44; CB11-13; W21-2, 158-9, 230. The lower and higher priests are Aaron and Michael. In Leviticus, Moses promises that the Lord ‘will appear to you’ as he gives instructions to Aaron, the first high priest, for the rite of sacrifice. Just as the Hebrew verb ‘will appear’ is numerically the same (256) as ‘Aaron,’ so ‘Michael’ yields the same number (101) as the word ‘to you,’ thus making ‘Michael’ the answer to a question derived from Ps. 89:7, ‘who in the skies shall set an offering before the Lord?’ Michael’s place among the Sepirot is with Clemency (S4) because his offering of the righteous to God is an act of kindness. Souls sacrificed by him leave the body in ecstasy, and those so blessed do not necessarily die in the ordinary sense. Their intentional self-sacrifice is prayer.
2. Novem sunt angelorum hierarchiae, quarum nomina Cherubim, Seraphim, Hasmalim, Haiot, Aralim, Tarsisim,Ophanim, Thephsarim, Isim. 2. There are nine hierarchies of angels, whose names are Cherubim, Seraphim, Hasmalim, Haiot, Aralim, Tarsisim, Ophanim, Thephsarim and Isim.
CVE 190, 177r; cf. Zohar II, 43r; Zohar Hadash Ber’esit, 4a; Gen. 1:6; W22-3. In Jewish tradition there are usually ten groups of angels, not nine, the number that Pico knew from the Celestial Hierarchy of Dionysius the Areopagite. One list from the Zohar is mal’akim, ’er’elim, serapim, hayyot, ’opanim, hamsal’im (hasmal’im), ’elim (kerubim), ’elohim, beney ’elohim, ’isim, meaning Messengers, Heroes, Burners, Living Things, Wheels, Heralds, Powers, Rulers, Sons of God and Men. Pico’s source, interpreting Genesis, sees the ten ‘words’ of creation as ten degrees of honor, of which only nine are angelic; the tenth is sefirotic (S10). Translating this text, Mithridates interpolated a tell-tale phrase for Pico: ‘they are called the celestial hierarchy.’
3. Quamuis nomen ineffabile sit proprietas clementiae, negandum tamen non est quin contineat proprietatem iudicii. 3. Although the ineffable name is the attribute of Clemency, one must not deny that it contains the attribute of Judgment.
CVE 190, 41r; CA21; W23. YHWH, the unutterable name, and Clemency or Compassion (Rahamim) are names of S6; Judgment (Din) is S5. Pico’s choice of clementia for rahamim follows the translation by Mithridates. Pico may also be thinking that YHWH as S3 is vocalized as ’Elohim, which is also a name of S5.
4. Peccatum Adae fuit truncatio regni a caeteris plantis. 4. Adam’s sin was to sever Kingdom from the other plants.
Recanati, 19vb-20ra; CVE 190, 122r, 227r; Zohar I, 35-6, III 239; Gen. 1:6; Isa. 5:24; Lam. 2:15; CA36; CB26; Scholem, Kabbalah, 124; W24-5, 134, 163. The command in Genesis not to eat of the tree of knowledge begins ‘And the Lord commanded the man, saying….’ Each divine word was taken as an injunction against some sin. ‘Saying’ forbids adultery, which is why the prophets use it to rail against the lascivious, defilers of the daughter of Jerusalem, and thus it comes to represent the Shekinah (S10) or Kingdom. The Zohar associates the tree of life with S6, the tree of knowledge with S10, describing the latter as connected not only with the former but with all the plants in the garden – all the Sepirot. Even while alone in paradise, Adam could sin by separating the two trees, cutting the tree of knowledge off from the other plants and detaching S10 from the higher Sepirot. Kingdom is the lowest Sepirah, closest to the lower world and the instrument through which God creates it. To separate what should be united is the primal sin.
5. Cum arbore scientiae boni et mali in quo peccauit primus homo, creauit Deus saeculum. God created the world with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, by which the first man sinned.
5. Recanati, 23vb; Zohar I, 36; CA4; W25. The Shekinah (S10) is God’s instrument in creation.
6. Magnus aquilo fons est animarum omnium simpliciter, sicut alii dies quarundam et non omnium. 6. The great North Wind is the source of all souls in general, just as other days are sources of some souls but not of all.
CVE 190, 241r-v; CVE 191, 90v-3r, 100v-2r; CA8; CB5, 47; W25-8, 146, 188. Days are usually the seven lower Sepirot (S4-10); the three above (S1-3) are lights. S5 is the North, also associated with S7.
7. Cum dicit Salomon in oratione sua in libro Regum, exaudi o coelum, per coelum lineam viridem debemus intelligere quae gyrat uniuersum. 7. When Solomon says in his prayer in the Book of Kings, hear O heavens, we should understand the heavens to be the Green Line that rings the universe.
CVE 190, 258v; CVE 191, 73r-4r; Bahir 68(S); Zohar III, 227; Gen. 1:1-2; I Kings 8:32-9; CB5, 7, 29, 49; W26, 181. The Green (or bluish) Line around the universe is associated with the Tohu or formlessness of Genesis but also with S3, corresponding in astronomy to the firmament, the eighth sphere above the planetary seven (Fig. 4).
8. Animae a tertio lumine ad quartam diem et inde ad quintam descendunt, inde exeuntes corporis noctem subintrant. 8. Souls go down from the third light to the fourth day and then to the fifth, and when they leave there they slip into the night of the body.
Recanati, fol. 8va-9vb; CVE 191, 312v; Bahir 104(S); CA6; W26-9. The groupings of lights and days here are 5 and 5 rather than 3 and 7, making S3 the third light, S9 the fourth day and S10 the fifth day.
9. Per sex dies Geneseos habemus intelligere sex extremitates aedificii procedentes a bresith sicut procedunt cedri a Libano. 9. By the six days of Genesis we may understand six Extremities of the Building coming forth from Bresith just as cedars come from Lebanon.
Recanati, 14vb; CVE 190, 261r; Zohar I, 3-4, 31, 35, 133-4; Gen. 1:1; Ps 104:16; I Chron. 29:11; Eccl. 1:7; CA4; CB64; W29. Recanati says that the six days and six cedars are S4-8 and S10, thinking of the verse in Chronicles (reflected eventually in the Christian Lord’s Prayer) where the names of these six appear, flowing from S2, called both Wisdom (Hokmah) and Beginning (R’esit). The Book of Roots translated by Mithridates defines the six Extremities (ketsabot) in two ways: first, as rivers (S4-9) running through Tip’eret (S6, Beauty) to the sea of ‘Atarah (S10, Diadem); second, as S4-5 and S7-10 The first pattern (S49) corresponds to the six Extremities that the Zohar associates with Ber’esit, the first word of Genesis, or with the first six words of the Sem‘a. The Zohar also calls the six days ‘cedars of Lebanon’ and includes them among the plants attached to the tree of knowledge. In general, the lower Sepirot make up the Extremities of the Building.
10. Rectius dicitur quod paradisus sit totum aedificium quam quod sit decima, et in medio eius est collocatus magnus Adam qui est tipheret. 10. It is more correct to say that paradise is the whole Building than that it is the tenth, and in the middle of it is placed the great Adam who is Tipheret.
Recanati, 17va-18ra; CA9; W30, 107-8, 190. S6 (Tip’eret), identified with Adam and (by Pico) with Christ, is in the middle of the Building described in the previous conclusion.
11. Dictum est ex Heden exire fluuium qui diuiditur in quatuor capita, ad significandum quod ex secunda numeratione procedit tertia quae in quartam, quintam, sextam et decimam diuiditur. 11. They say that out of Eden comes a river that divides into four headwaters, meaning that out of the second Numeration comes the third that divides into the fourth, fifth, sixth and tenth.
Recanati, 18va-b; Zohar III, 290v; Midr. Lev. Rab. 13:5; Gen. 2:10; W30-1. Eden is S2, the river flowing out of it is S3 and its four lower headwaters are S4-6 and S10, indicating that the higher Sepirot flow into S6 (Beauty) before they descend into Kingdom (S10).
12. Verum erit omnia pendere ex fato si per fatum fatum supremum intellexerimus. 12. It will be true that everything depends on fate if by fate we understand the Supreme Fate.
Recanati, 57rb; CC 80v-1r; I Sam. 1:10; W31. The divine name ’Ehyeh (S1), which stands above YHWH (S3, S6) in the Sepirot, is called the Supreme Fate.
13. Qui nouerit in Cabala mysterium portarum intelligentiae cognoscet mysterium magni iobelei. 13. One who knows the mystery of the Gates of Intelligence in Cabala will recognize the mystery of the Great Jubilee.
CC 128 v -9 r; Zohar I, 3-4, II, 183; Lev. 25:11; 2 Sam. 22:37; Scholem, Kabbalah, pp. 120-2, 166-7; CB689; W32. Wisdom (S2) builds the palace of Intelligence (S3, Binah) and carves fifty gates in it, seven gates revealed in each of the seven lower Sepirot and another unrevealed. The fifty gates, also called the Jubilee, correspond to the fifty-year festival ordained in Leviticus but also to the Great Jubilee of 50,000 years, when the seven 7000-year sabbatical cycles come to an end and the lower Sepirot collapse into S3 in a final millennium. The clue to this mystery, whose theme is redemption, comes from an anomalous letter (nun, 50) in a verse from Samuel.
14. Qui nouerit proprietatem meridionalem in dextrali coordinatione sciet cur omnis profectio Abraam semper fit versus austrum. 14. One who knows the southern attribute in the group on the right will know why Abraam always makes every journey to the South.
Recanati, 44ra; CC 121v-2r; Gen. 12:8-9; Deut. 33:2; CA3, 15, 17-18; CB68-9; W32-3. Abraham is S4 on the right of the Sepirot, Isaac S5 on the left and Jacob S6 between them. S4 is also the South. The flood in Genesis blocked the channels of the Sepirot until Abram’s journey south opened up a passage on the right. Since right and south are the directions of Love (S4, Hesed, also Piety), in contrast to left, north and Judgment (S5), they strengthen Abraham’s generative power.
15. Nisi nomen Abraam xvrct – id est he addita – fuisset, Abraam non generasset. 15. Had Abraham’s name not become xvrct – with the he added, in other words – Abraham would not have produced children.
Recanati, 46rb ; CVE 190, 176r; CVE 191, 23r, 289r; Bahir, 6(S); Zohar I, 3-4, 25, 93; Gen. 2:4, 9:6, 17:5; Isa. 26:4; CA14; CB68-70; W7, 33-4. When God changed Abram’s name to Abraham and promised that he would be ‘a father of many nations,’ the extra letter v (he) came from the end of YHWH, as manifest in the female Sekinah (S10) exiled because of sin. That Cabalists attributed exceptional creative power to the letter he is clear from their exegesis of Gen. 2:4, which deals with ‘generationes caeli et terrae.’ In that verse they divided behibar’am (xtrcvc, ‘when they were created’) into two parts, behe bra’am (‘with he he created them’). The letter thus spotlighted, called the ‘small he,’ was reduced in size in the text of Gen. 2:4 – xtrcvc, which is also an anagram for ‘in Abraham’ xvrctc. Abraham’s production of children is also the generation of the seven lower Sepirot, beginning with S4.
16. Omnes ante Moysem prophetarunt per ceruam unicornem. 16. Before Moses they all prophesied through the Hind with One Horn.
Recanati, 83va-b; CVE 191, 34v; Cod. Vat. Ottob. Lat. 607, 57r; Zohar I, 170-1, II, 23, III, 249; Ps. 29:9; Prov. 5:19; Job 33:14, 39:1; CA14, 20, 26; CB5, 53-5; W34. Cerva unicornis translates ’Ayalet (hind), a name for S10. Those before Moses are the patriarchs of Genesis, who lacked his prophetic access to the higher Sepirot; they saw only the Mirror That Does Not Shine (S10), while he saw the Mirror That Shines (S6).
17. Ubicunque in scriptura fit mentio amoris maris et feminae, nobis mystice designatur coniunctio tipheret et chieneseth Israhel uel beth et tipheret. 17. Wherever scripture mentions the love of male and female, the connection of Tipheret and Chieneseth Israel or of beth and Tipheret is indicated to us mystically.
Recanati, 18va-b, 171va, 212ra; CVE 191, 30r; Zohar III, 74; Deut 22:22; CA18; CB6-7; W30, 35. Treating S6 (Tip’eret) as a male power (Adam, Jacob or, from Pico’s point of view, Jesus), Cabalists often see this Sepirah as connected sexually with other Sepirot, especially the Lower and Higher Women; the former is S10, here called the Community (Keneset) of Israel, and the latter is S3, Intelligence. Pico probably means bet as the first letter of Binah (Intelligence), which is the primary name of S3, and also of bat or ‘daughter.’ But since the letter bet (c) is also the numeral 2. he may also have in mind that both S2 and S6 are Christ in his trinitarian interpretation of the Sepirot.
18. Qui media nocte cum tipheret copulabitur prospera erit ei omnis generatio. 18. One who makes love with Tipheret in the middle of the night will succeed in every act of begetting.
W36; Recanati, 213; Zohar I, 49-50; C17. When Recanati says that ‘the Holy One Blessed be He unites with his Sekinah,’ he confirms the view of the Zohar that sexuality in the human world reflects divine sexuality.
19. Eaedem sunt literae nominis cacodaemonis qui est princeps mundi huius et nominis Dei triagrammaton, et qui sciuerit ordinare transpositionem deducet unum ex alio. 19. The letters of a name of the evil demon who is the Prince of This World and of a name of God, the triagrammaton, are the same, and one who knows how to arrange their transposition will derive the one from the other.
W36-7; Comentum sepher iesire (CVE 191, 6v); John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; cf. Ephes. 2:2; P7, 14, 41, 65. In John’s Gospel the Prince of This World is a Satanic figure. Pico probably means that the numerical values of a Satanic name and of a divine name are the same. Two values of Satan (ˆfc) are 1009 and 19, both calculated by methods used in Cabalist texts known to Pico. The larger figure is the sum of sin ( c, 300), tet ( f , 9) and final nun (ˆ, 700); the smaller figure sums the same numbers but restricts those that come after yod in the alphabet to units by dropping tens and hundreds. Since Pico believed that Yesu (wvy) is the Hebrew form of Jesus, he may have applied the same procedure to it, which would yield either 316 or, again, 19, from w (6), v (300) and y (10). As a source of this conclusion, Wirszubski identifies a Latin version, translated for Pico by Flavius Mithridates, of a commentary on the Seper Yetsirah; this text says that the triagrammaton is Yehu (why), but a transformation into Yeshu would have appealed to Pico and would seem to be confirmed by P65, where both S6 and S10 also add up to 19. Finally, this thesis is the nineteenth in its series, reflecting the numerology evident elsewhere (e.g., thesis 600) in the larger structure of the Conclusions. (Note that Wirszubski calculates the lesser value of Satan as 17 [3+9+5] rather than 19 [3+9+7]; this reduces the value of the short nun (n) from 50 to 5, but the long or final nun (ˆ), as it actually appears in Satan’s name, would be reduced from 700 to 7.)
20. Cum fiet lux speculi non lucentis sicut speculi lucentis, erit nox sicut dies, ut dicit Dauid.
20. When the light of the Mirror That Does Not Shine becomes like that of the Mirror That Shines, night will be like day, as David says.
W37-8, 178-9, 216; Recanati, 6, 83, 85; Zohar I, 181; Ps. 138:12; Isa. 30:26; C16, 45. Recanati calls all the Sepirot mirrors, but S10 or Night is the Mirror That Does Not Shine, while S6, called Day, is the Mirror That Shines. A Talmudic distinction between lower and higher grades of prophecy was applied by Cabalists to stages of emanation among the Sepirot and also to eschatology. The light of the Moon went out when the Temple was destroyed, but when the Messiah comes, according to Isaiah, ‘the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold.’
21. Qui sciet proprietatem quae est secretum tenebrarum sciet cur mali daemones plus in nocte quem in die nocent. 21. One who knows the attribute which is the secret of darkness will know why evil demons do more harm at night than by day.
W38, 180-1, 188; Recanati, 7-8, 10-11; Zohar I, 19; Gen. 1:5; Scholem, Kabbalah, 320-5, 357-8; C3. Although Compassion (S6) rules by day, night is the time of Judgment (S5), seen as the source of evil among the Sepirot; the Zohar says that ‘the pleasures in which men indulge in the time of sleep give birth to multitudes of demons.’
22. Licet fiat multiplex coordinatio curruum, tamen inquantum attinet ad phylacteriorum mysterium duo sunt currus ordinandi, ita ut ex secunda, tertia, quarta, quinta fiat unus currus, et sunt quatuor phylacteria quae induit vav, et ex sexta, septima, octaua et nona fit secundus currus, et sunt phylacteria quae induit ultima he. 22. Although the assembly of chariots becomes complex, in so far as it pertains to the mystery of phylacteries two chariots are to be assembled, so that one chariot is made from the second, third, fourth and fifth, and they are the four phylacteries that vav puts on, and from the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth the second chariot is made, and they are the phylacteries that the final he puts on.
W39-40, 138; Recanati, 86-7; Zohar I, 147, III, 262-3; P2, 50. Phylactries (tefillin) are worn on the head and arm, each having four compartments that contain passages of scripture. The Zohar says that God puts on the phylacteries, and the Sepirot do the same. Thus, using the chariot as a metaphor for groupings of Sepirot, S6, identified as waw (the third letter of YHWH and the number 6), puts on a higher chariot made of S2-5 and corresponding to the phylactery of the head, while S10, identified as he (the final letter of YHWH and the number 5), puts on a lower chariot made of S6-9 and corresponding to the phylactery of the arm. For Pico’s conception of the chariot (merkabah, Latinized as merchiava) as a way of grouping the Sepirot, see P2 and 50.
23. Supra proprietatem paenitentiae non est utendum verbo dixit. 23. Above the attribute of repentance one should not use the word ‘said.’
W40-1, 176-7; Recanati, 6; Zohar I, 16; C25; P5, 31. S3, called Return or Repentance (Tesubah), stands at the boundary of S1-3, in whose higher reaches divinity is completely hidden and thus beyond language, as Recanati points out in explaining why speech or saying does not apply to Ber’esit (S2) as the first word of the Torah, before there was any world to talk about.
24. Cum dixit Job, qui facit pacem in excelsis suis, aquam intellexit australem et ignem septentrionalem et praefectos illorum, de quibus non est ultra dicendum. 24. When Job said, who makes peace in his heights, he understood the Southern Water, the Northern Fire and their Commanders, of whom nothing more should be said.
W40-1; Bahir, 9(S); CVE 191, 289v; Zohar II, 147, 155, 231; Job 25:2; P67. Cabalists took ‘peace in his heights’ in this passage from Job to be the place where the Creator set form (Bohu) apart from evil in the place of chaos (Tohu). By making this supercelestial peace, God also settled a conflict of angelic commanders, between Michael, corresponding to S4 and the Southern Waters (mayim), and Gabriel, corresponding to S5 and the Northern Fire (’es), yielding the Heavenly Heights (samayim) of S6.
25. Idem est bresith – id est, in principio creauit – ac si dixisset in sapientia creavit. 25. Bresith – meaning, that he created in the Beginning– is the same as if it had said he created in Wisdom.
W29, 41, 239; Recanati, 2; Bahir, 3(S); Ps. 111:10; C23, 26; P15, 30, 32. The Bahir and later Cabalists, following earlier tradition, identify R’esit or Beginning with Wisdom (S2).
26. Quod dixit Anchelos Chaldaeus becadmin – id est, aeternis uel per aeterna – triginta duas uias sapientiae intellexit. 26. Because Anchelos the Chaldaean said Becadmin – in the eternals or through the eternals, in other words – he understood the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom.
W41; Recanati, 2; Gen. 1:1; C23, 25; P58. Targums, or versions of the Hebrew Bible in Aramaic (which Pico called Chaldaean), were used in pre-Christian times, but editors of the Targum on the Pentateuch ascribed to Onqelos worked in Babylonia as late as the fifth century CE. According to the Seper Yetsirah, the Thirty-two Paths of Wisdom (S2) are the ten Sepirot, here understood literally as ‘countings’ or ‘numbers,’ and the twenty-two letters of the alphabet. Referring to the Thirty-two Paths, Recanati notes that the Aramaic Beqadmin is plural, though Ber’esit, the corresponding Hebrew word that begins Genesis, is singular.
27. Sicut congregatio aquarum est iustus, ita mare ad quod tendunt omnia flumina est diuinitas. 27. Just as the Gathering of the Waters is the Just, so the Sea to which all rivers flow is Divinity.
W42; Recanati, 9; Zohar I, 33; Gen. 1:10; Eccl. 1:7. The Gathering of the Waters in Genesis is S9, called the Righteous or Just (Tsaddiq); the Sea mentioned in the same verse is S10, the Sekinah or Divine Presence.
28. Per uolatile quod creatum est die quinta debemus intelligere angelos mundanos qui hominibus apparent, non eos qui non apparent nisi in spiritu. 28. By the flying fowl created on the fifth day we should understand the angels of the world who appear to humans, not those who do not appear except in spirit.
W42; Recanati, 11-12; Zohar I, 34; Gen. 1:20-1. The Zohar interprets the flying fowl (volatile in the Vulgate) in the creation story as angels visible to humans, unlike the unseen angels mentioned as birds in the next verse; since Recanati uses ‘world’ to describe the former, where the Zohar has ‘supernal,’ a related
word but different both in meaning and spelling, Wirszubski cites the discrepancy as one of many indications that Pico depended on Recanati for his knowledge of the Zohar.
29. Nomen Dei quatuor litterarum quod est ex mem, sade, pe et sade regno Dauidis debet appropriari. 29. The four-letter name of God composed of mem, sade, pe and sade should be attributed to the Kingdom of David. W43-4; Zohar I, 20; Bahir, 80-1(S); CVE 191, 305-6; C47; P5. The term mtspts (≈pxm), formed by
substituting four other letters for those of YHWH by a method called atbash (exchanging the last letter for the first, the second-last for the second, and so on), was meant to have magical power but no lexical meaning. Vocalized in three ways (matsophets, matsphets, metsaphets) by attaching the vowels of three forms of the verb malak, ‘to be king,’ it was taken to mean that God reigns, reigned and will reign, like the regal and Davidic S10. Despite Pico’s acute interest in such trinitarian clues in the Cabalist theses that he claimed as his own, he makes no such claims here.
30. Nullus angelus habens sex alas unquam transformatur. 30. No angel having six wings is ever changed.
W44; Recanati, 12; Zohar I, 34; Isaiah 6:2; C28. Speaking of the visible and invisible angels, the Zohar says that the latter have six wings and never change, meaning that they always remain angels; Cherubim and Seraphim in the Hebrew Bible have six wings.
31. Data est circumcisio ad liberationem a uirtutibus immundis quae in circuitu ambulant. 31. Circumcision was given to liberate us from the unclean powers that go about in a circle.
W43; Recanati, 47; Ps. 12:9; P27. The Vulgate Psalm 12 says that ‘the wicked (impii) go about in a circle (circuitu).’
32. Ideo circumcisio fit octaua die quia est superior quam sponsa universalizata. 32. The reason that circumcision is done on the eighth day is because it is higher than the Bride Universalized.
W27, 45; Recanati, 47; Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 245r); C9, 13. The odd phrase sponsa universalizata renders a Hebrew pun that refers to S10, which stands below the phallic S9; since S10 is also the Sabbath, the seventh day, the eighth day should be the time of circumcision if it is more important than the Sabbath so that one Sabbath (S10) will be passed by to make the point.
33. Nullae sunt litterae in tota lege quae in formis, coniunctionibus, separationibus, tortuositate, directione, defectu, superabundantia, minoritate, maioritate, coronatione, clausura, apertura et ordine decem numerationum secreta non manifestent.
33. In the whole Law there are no letters whose forms, ligatures, separations, twisting, direction, defect, excess, smallness, greatness, crowning, closing, opening and order do not reveal the secrets of the ten Numerations.
W45-5; Recanati, 48.
34. Qui intellexerit cur sit dictum quod Moyses abscondit faciem suam et quod Ezechias uertit facies suas ad parietem sciet quae esse debeat orantis habitudo et dispositio. 34. One who understands why it is said that Moses hid his face and that Hezekiah turned his face to the wall will know what the posture and behavior of one praying ought to be.
W46; Recanati, 48; Zohar III, 260; Exod. 3:6; Isa. 38:2. Moses hid his face out of reverence for God’s presence, the Sekinah (S10), but Hezekiah turned his face to the wall to pray when he thought he was about to die.
35. Nulla res spiritualis descendens inferius operatur sine indumento. 35. No spiritual thing descending lower works without a covering.
W46, 237; Recanati, 50; C44; P4, 35-6. The ten Sepirot are the garments that God puts on to create the lower world, just as the soul needs a covering in its earthly life.
36. Peccatum Soddomae fuit per truncationem ultimae plantae. 36. The sin of Sodom was through cutting off the Last Plant.
W47; Recanati, 51; Gen. 18:20-1; C4. S10 is the Last Plant, whose creative force is cut short when sodomy thwarts procreation, thus separating what should be united.
37. Per secretum orationis antelucanae nihil aliud debemus intelligere quam proprietatem pietatis. 37. By the secret of the prayer before dawn we should understand nothing other than the attribute of Piety.
W47; Recanati, 52; Zohar I, 132, 229-30, II, 21, 129; Gen. 19:27; C38-40. Tradition attributed the invention of morning prayer to Abraham (S4), afternoon prayer to Isaac (S5) and evening prayer to Jacob (S6). In this sense, the secret of the morning prayer is Piety (S4), but the mysticism of prayer in Cabala is also sexual, starting with the principle that prayers are addressed to the Sekinah (S10) in order to stimulate intercourse with her by the other Sepirot.
38. Sicut extrinsecus timor est inferior amore, ita intrinsecus est superior amore. 38. Just as outward Fear is lower than Love, so the inward is higher than Love.
W27, 47-8, 196; Recanati, 55; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC, 380-1); Zohar I, 11-12, III, 122-3; Gen. 22:12; Isa. 41:8; C14, 37, 39-40; P5. The taxonomy of fear and love varies in the Zohar and other Cabalist texts, but in general Love is S4 and Fear (Pahad or Yir’ah) is S5 or S10, corresponding to the first part of Pico’s conclusion. Belonging to the lower Sepirot, S4, S5 and S10 are all outward. Among the three higher or inward Sepirot, Fear is S2 and Love is S3, corresponding to the second part of the conclusion.
39. Ex precedenti conclusione intelligitur cur in Genesi a timore laudatur Abraam quem tamen scimus per proprietatem pietatis omnia fecisse ex amore. 39. From the preceding conclusion one understands why Abraham is praised because of Fear in Genesis even though we know that he did everything out of Love through the attribute of Piety.
W47-8; C37-8, 40.
40. Quotienscunque ignoramus proprietatem a qua est influxus super petitione quam petimus, ad dominum naris recurrendum est. 40. Whenever we do not know the attribute whose influence covers the prayer that we pray, we should resort to the Lord of the Nose.
W48-9; Recanati, 65; Commentum voluminis de proportione divinitatis (CVE 191, 53v); Zohar III, 130; Scholem, Kabbalah, 176-80; C37-9. The fourth conclusion in this sequence on prayer deals with the mystical intention (kawwanah) of prayer as directed toward one or another of the Sepirot; the Lord of the Nose is S1, highest of all and normally not directly addressed.
41. Omnis anima bona est anima noua veniens ab oriente. 41. Every good soul is a new soul coming from the east.
W49; Bahir, 55, 104, 114, 116(S); CVE 191, 312; Gen. 1:27; Isa. 43:5, Scholem, Godhead, 43-5; P5. When the Sepirot are imagined as a human body, S7 on the east is the right leg, foot or testicle, receiving sperm through the spinal cord from the brain (S1-3) and thus producing the good seed that renews Israel.
42. Ideo Joseph ossibus sepultus est et non corpore quia eius ossa erant virtutes et militia arboris superioris vocati sadich, influentis ad terram superiorem. 42. The reason Joseph was buried with his bones but not his body was because his bones were powers and armies of the Higher Tree called Sadich, extending into the Higher Earth.
W49-50; Recanati, 75; Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 241r); Gen. 50: 5-13; Deut. 33:6; Joshua 24:32; C27, 32, 43; P19, 21. Differences in the burials of Jacob, Joseph and Moses, understood by Cabalists as levels of mystical union, were applied by Recanati to Joseph’s bones as the forces of S9, called the Just (Tsaddiq) and the Higher Tree, which extends into the Higher Earth (S10).
43. Ideo Moysis sepulchrum nemo nouit quia exaltatus est in Iobeleo superiore et super Iobeleum misit radices suas. 43. The reason that no one knows the tomb of Moses is because he was raised up to the higher Jubilee and sent his roots above the Jubilee.
W49-50; Recanati, 75; Jer. 17:8; C13, 42; P24, 68-9. Applying Jeremiah’s words to Moses in the context of the preceding conclusion, Recanati reads the word ‘stream’ (yubal) as ‘jubilee’ (yobel), thus raising Moses to S3 and beyond, the unknowable depths of the Godhead.
44. Cum anima comprehenderit quidquid poterit comprehendere et coniungetur animae superiori, expoliabit indumentum terrenum a se et exstirpabitur de loco suo et coniungetur cum diuinitate. 44. When the soul grasps whatever it can grasp and connects to a higher soul, it will rub off its earthly covering, pull up roots from its place and connect with divinity.
W50, 153-8; Recanati, 77-8; Maimonides, Guide, 3.51(627-8P); Gen. 49:33; C1, 35; P4, 10-13, 35-6. When Jacob, Moses and other patriarchs died, their souls shed their earthly coverings and connected with a higher soul, which is S10 from a Cabalist point of view or the agent intellect according to Maimonides. The soul’s leaving the body to attain this ecstatic union can result in a death – mutat nesiqah, the death of the kiss – unlike ordinary death when the body leaves the soul.
45. Sapientes Israhel post cessationem prophetiae per spiritum prophetarunt per filiam vocis. 45. After the cessation of prophecy through the Spirit, the sages of Israel prophesied through the Daughter of the Voice.
W51; Recanati, 83; C20. The Daughter of the Voice is the least of the three grades of lower prophecy that come from S10; it was accessible to the sages after the biblical period, when David, Solomon, Daniel and others had enjoyed the gift of prophecy through the Holy Spirit; only the earlier prophets were capable of the highest grade.
46. Non punitur rex terrae in terra quin prius humilietur militia coelestis in coelo. 46. A king on earth is not punished on earth unless beforehand a heavenly army is humbled in heaven.
W51; Recanati, 89; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC, 74v); Isa. 24:21. Michael, Gabriel or another archangel leads the heavenly army made humble by God in correspondence to earthly defeats.
47. Per dictionem amen ordo habetur expressus quomodo numerationum procedant influxus. 47. Through the term amen is expressed the order in which influences of the Numerations come forth.
W52, 106; Recanati, De secretis orationum (CVE 190, 318-19); C29, 40; P5, 65. Wirszubski points out that the Latin translation of Recanati’s work On the secrets of prayers interpolates his interpretation of the sefirotic intention (kawwanah) of amen with a phrase, missing from the Hebrew original, that makes ‘a trinity in unity of the three higher powers’ out of S1-3, which that text also relates to the three letters of amen. In this last of the forty-seven Cabalist thesis that Pico distinguished from the seventy-two others ‘according to his own opinion,’ the trinitarian message would have been invisible to contemporary Christians. They might have seen, however, that amen is a suitable topic for this final statement in its series, without understanding the order of the Sepirot or that of the theses themselves.
CONCLUSIONES CABALISTICAE NUMERO LXXII SECUNDUM OPINIONEM PROPRIAM, EX IPSIS HEBRAEORUM SAPIENTUM FUNDAMENTIS CHRISTIANAM RELIGIONEM MAXIME
CABALISTIC CONCLUSIONS ACCORDING TO MY OWN OPINION NUMBERING 72, PROVIDING POWERFUL CONFIRMATION OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION FROM THE VERY PRINCIPLES OF THE HEBREW SAGES.
1. Quicquid dicant caeteri Cabilistae, ego prima divisione scientiam Cabalae in scientiam sephiroth et semot, tanquam in practicam et speculativam, distinguerem. 1. Whatever the rest of the Cabalists may say, the first distinction that I would make divides knowledge of Cabala into knowledge of Sephiroth and Semot, similar to speculative and practical knowledge.
W134-40, 149; Abulafia, Summa brevis Cabalae (CVE 190, 120v); Pico, Opera, 176; Scholem, Kabbalah, pp. 182-3. Pico’s first task in this section is to define his notion of Cabala, as apart from the views of others. Later, when he used the phrase scientia receptionis in the Apology to describe Cabala, he was probably translating hokmat ha-qabbalah, words certainly used by ‘the rest of the Cabalists.’ Qabbalah is reception or tradition; hokmah is wisdom, skill, shrewdness or prudence. Pico’s distinction between Sepirot and Semot (names) comes from Abulafia, who describes the latter as ‘knowledge of the great name through the path of twenty-two letters … that compose names, characters or seals, and these names are invoked and spoken by prophets in dreams and through urim and tummim, the holy spirit and the prophets.’ Magical practices can thus be distinguished from theological speculation about the Sepirot, although the distinction came late in the history of Cabala and was observed only loosely by Cabalists, as by Pico.
2. Quicquid dicant alii Cabalistae, ego partem speculativam Cabalae quadruplicem dividerem, conrespondentem quadruplici partitioni philosophiae quam ego solitus sum afferre. Prima est scientia quam ego voco alphabetariae revolutionis, conrespondentem parti philosophiae quam ego philosophiam catholicam voco. Secunda, tertia et quarta pars est triplex merchiava, conrespondens triplici philosophiae particulari de divinis, de mediis et sensibilibus naturis. 2. Whatever other Cabalists may say, I would divide the speculative part of Cabala into four, corresponding to the fourfold division of philosophy that I usually apply, First is what I call knowledge of revolving the alphabet, corresponding to the part of philosophy that I call universal philosophy. The second, third and fourth part is the threefold merchiava, corresponding to a threefold particular philosophy of divine, middle and sensible natures.
W136-8, 259-61; Abulafia, De secretis legis (CVE 190, 420-2, 438); Azriel of Gerona, Quaestiones super decem numerationibus (CVE 190, 168v); Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 107; C22. Merchiava is Pico’s Latin for merkabah (chariot), used in the phrase ma‘aseh merkabah (work of the chariot) for the speculative theology derived from the visions of Ezekiel. Maimonides used this term to mean metaphysics, but Abulafia said that ‘it contains the revolving of the law or the sphere of the law (revolutionem legis seu sphaeram legis) by which you can understand all its secrets; this is proved by the fact that their numbers correspond.’ Abulafia meant that the letters of ma‘aseh merkabah and of galgal ha-Torah (wheel or cycle of the law) have the same numerical value, 682, indicating that numerological manipulation of the Bible’s
letters leads to theological and philosophical understanding – to the speculative Cabala of Pico’s conclusion, in other words. Thus influenced by Abulafia, Pico’s merchiava ought to include alphabetaria revolutio. But a triplex merchiava also reflects the teaching of another Cabalist, Azriel of Gerona. Like many others, Azriel arranges the Sepirot in triads, but he also describes S1-3 as intellectual, S4-6 as psychic and S7-9 as natural levels of divinity in a Neoplatonic scheme with obvious trinitarian implications. Drawing both on Azriel and on Abulafia, Pico’s notion of three elements (sensible nature, intermediary soul and divine mind) combined with a more comprehensive fourth element (universal philosophy) to make up the whole of speculative Cabala also recalls the structure of the ascetic curriculum described in his Oration.
3. Scientia quae est pars practica Cabalae practicat totam methaphysicam formalem et theologiam inferiorem. 3. The knowledge that is the practical part of Cabala puts into practice all of formal metaphysics and lower theology.
W139-140, 254; C4, 6, 13, 22, 38. Lower theology may apply to S4-10, the lower Sepirot, while formal metaphysics may be the corresponding metaphysics of the Sepirot, the ‘exact metaphysics of intelligible and angelic forms’ of Pico’s Oration. If practical Cabala is the application of this theological and metaphysical theory, the magical method of names (semot) reaches as high as the Sepirot, in keeping with the theurgy that Pico knew from the later Neoplatonists and pseudo-Dionysius. Wirszubski also notes that the positive and negative theologies of Dionysius – the former discussed in his work On Divine Names, which treats God as cause of the forms regarded as his attributes – match the distinction between the lower and higher Sepirot as more and less knowable.
4. Ensoph non est aliis numerationibus connumeranda quia est illarum numerationum unitas, abstracta et incommunicata, non unitas coordinata. 4. Ensoph is not to be numbered with the other Numerations because it is the unity of those Numerations, removed and uncommunicated, not a coordinate unity.
W235-8; Abraham Axelrad, Corona nominis boni (CVE 190, 182-3); Nachmanides, Comentum sepher iesire (CVE 191, 41-2); Azriel, Questiones super decem numerationibus (CVE 190, 166-7); C35, 44; P356, 62. The God who is hidden as ’Eyin-sop, the Infinite, is revealed progressively as the Sepirot; being unknowable, the former is not counted among the latter, even though ’Eyin-sop is the unity from which all proceed.
5. Quilibet Hebraeus Cabalista, secundum principia et dicta scientiae Cabalae, cogitur inevitabiliter concedere de trinitate et qualibet persona divina, patre, filio et spiritu sancto, illud precise sine additione, diminutione aut variatione, quod ponit fides catholica Christianorum. Corollarium: Non solum qui negant trinitatem sed qui alio modo eam ponunt quam ponat catholica ecclesia – sicut Ariani, Sabelliani et similes – redargui possunt manifeste si admittantur principia Cabalae. 5. Any Hebrew Cabalist, following the principles and statements of the knowledge of Cabala, is forced inevitably to grant precisely what the universal faith of Christians declares – without addition, subtraction or variation – about the Trinity and each divine person, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Corollary: Not only those who deny the Trinity but those who treat it in any way different than the universal church treats it – as do Arians, Sabellians and the like – can obviously be refuted if the principles of Cabala are admitted.
W161; C6-7, 16, 23, 29, 38, 41 and 47. Having prepared the ground – though silently – in the first fortyseven Cabalist theses, Pico here makes his first overt claim that Cabala confirms the Trinity. Arians denied the orthodox view of the Trinity by making the Son less than the timeless God who produced him; Sabellians said that God was not three persons but one under different aspects.
6. Magna Dei nomina quaternaria quae sunt in secretis Cabalistarum per mirabilem appropriationem tribus personis trinitatis ita debere attribui ut nomen vhvt sit patris, nomen vuvh sit filii, nomen hbst sit spiritus sancti intelligere potest qui in scientia Cabalae fuerit profundus. 6. Anyone with a deep knowledge of Cabala can understand that the three great quaternary names of God contained in the secrets of Cabalists ought to be assigned to the three persons of the Trinity through a wondrous arrangement of attributes so that the name hyha belongs to the Father, the name hwhy to the Son, the name ynda to the Holy Spirit.
W31, 141-2, 166-7, 197, 226; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC 80-1); Scholem, Kabbalah, 107-8. The usual correspondence between the Sepirot and the divine names connects S1 with ’Ehyeh; S6 with YHWH in its normal vocalization as ’Adonay; S3 with YHWH when vocalized as ’Elohim; and S10 with ’Adonay. The Hebrew letters given here to fill blank spaces in Pico’s printed Latin text follow Wirszubski. Appropriatio refers to proprietas as a translation of middah (measure, stature, size or garment), a synonym for Sepirah; middah can also be quantitas, according to Wirszubski.
7. Nullus Hebraeus Cabalista potest negare quod nomen Iesu, si eum secundum modum et principia Cabalae interpretemur, hoc totum precise et nihil aliud significat, id est: Deum, Dei filium patrisque sapientiam per tertiam divinitatis personam (quae est ardentissimus amoris ignis) naturae humanae in unitate suppositi unitum. 7. No Hebrew Cabalist can deny that the name Jesus, if we interpret it according to the method and principles of Cabala, signifies exactly all of this and nothing else, as follows: God, Son of God and Wisdom of the Father united through the third person of the Deity (who is the hottest fire of Love) to human nature in the unity of a supposit.
W161-2, 178, 193-4, 218; Zohar III, 10; Bahir, 10-11, 44-5(K); Exod. 15:3; Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:35; C7, 11, 13-14, 19, 25; P2, 6, 8, 14, 67. Pico’s trinitarian geometry includes all ten of the Sepirot, with S1 at the top, S6 in the middle and S10 at the bottom. The language of this conclusion, however, describes only the three highest Sepirot. The two structures (S1-3; S1, 6, 10) coincide at the top since in both S1 is the Father, as specified by the preceding conclusion (P6). Then they diverge when P7 identifies the Son as S2 (Wisdom), not S6. and also derives its Trinity from the name Jesus. Below (P14), we learn that this name has a sin in the middle joining yod to waw, which can only mean Yesu (wvy). Just how this name leads to Pico’s Trinity is unknown, but ingredients for speculation were ready to hand in Cabalist writings known to him, directly or indirectly. The Zohar, for example, says that the yod of YHWH is tied with the three knots of S1, S2 and S3. This establishes both the importance of yod (the first letter of Yesu and of YHWH) and its relation to the three higher Sepirot. These three could also be united through the sin ( v) of samayim ( µymv) or heavens, the part of that word that comes before water (mayim, µym) and stands for fire (’es, va). But in C7 the heavens are S3, Binah (hnyb), which can also be written as ben Yah (hy ˆB ),) Son of God; since Yah is the divine name of S2, ben Yah in this context is S3 or the Holy Spirit. Finally, when
the Son who is Wisdom (S2) is united to human nature through the fiery and filial S3, God becomes man or ’ish ( vya), the supernal man of the Sepirot. Likewise, ‘fire’ (’es, va) turns into ‘man’ (’ish ( vya) by adding a yod in the middle. In the Gospel story, accordingly, the Holy Spirit is the agent of the conception of Jesus in Mary, pregnant with God’s Wisdom and thus mirroring the emanation of S2 into S3. In medieval logic, a supposit is a term whose meaning and/or reference changes with propositional context while its linguistic form remains the same; hence, a single word may suppose for more than one concept. By analogy, the Holy Spirit as Paraclete supposes for the other persons of the Trinity, while the Spirit joins them in unity.
8. Ex praecedenti conclusione intelligi potest cur dixerit Paulus datum esse Iesu nomen quod est super omne nomen et cur in nomine Iesu dictum sit omne genu flecti caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum; quod etiam est maxime Cabalisticum, et potest ex se intelligere qui est profundus in Cabala. 8. From the preceding conclusion one can understand why Paul said that Jesus was given the name that is above every name and why it is said that every being in heaven, on earth and in the infernal regions bends the knee at the name of Jesus; this also has great Cabalist importance, as any one who knows Cabala deeply can understand on his own.
Reuchlin, De arte Cabalistica, fol. lxxviii; Philip. 2:9-10; P7, 14. What Paul said is that God gave Jesus the name above every name, suggesting YHWH, which with a sin in the middle becomes Yehosua (hwvhy), as Johann Reuchlin later concluded, but see P7 and 14 on Yesu.
9. Siqua est de novissimis temporibus humana coniectura, investigare possumus per secretissimam viam Cabalae futuram esse consummationem saeculi hinc ad annos quingentos et quatuordecim et dies vigintiquinque. 9. If humans may speculate about the last days, through a highly secret method of Cabala we can find out that the end of time will come in 514 years and 25 days.
This is the period between January 1, 2000, and December 6, 1486.
10. Illud quod apud Cabalistas dicitur ˆwrffm, illud est sine dubio quod ab Orpheo Pallas, a Zoroastre paterna mens, a Mercurio Dei filius, a Pythagora sapientia, a Parmenide sphaera intelligibilis nominatur. 10. What Cabalists call ˆwrffm is beyond doubt what Orpheus names Pallas, Zoroaster the Mind of the Father, Mercury the Son of God, Pythagoras wisdom, Parmenides the intelligible sphere.
W198-200; Orphic Hymns 32, 1-5; Oracula Chaldaica 39.1, 49.2, 108.1, 109.1; Corpus Hermeticum 1.6, 9.8, 10.14; Scholem, Kabbalah, 377-81; C44; Pythagoras; Parmenides; Lewy; ??? Metatron is a name of an angel so mighty and so close to God as to cause worry about confusion with the deity. In addition to the figures listed here by Pico, he was also associated with Enoch, with an emanation from the Sekinah and with the agent intellect.
11. Modus quo rationales animae per archangelum deo sacrificantur (qui a Cabalistis non exprimitur) non est nisi per separationem animae a corpore, non corporis ab anima – nisi 15
per accidens, ut contingit in morte osculi, de quo scribitur: praeciosa in conspectu domini mors sanctorum eius. 11. The way (though the Cabalists leave it unspoken) in which rational souls are sacrificed to God by an archangel happens only by the soul’s parting from the body, not the body’s parting from the soul – except accidentally, as it may in the death of the kiss, of which it is written: the death of his saints is precious in the sight of the Lord.
W153-60, 252-3; Zohar II, 124, 146; SS 1:2; Ps. 116:15.; C1, 44; P11, 13. For the Neoplatonic version of the distinction that Pico makes here, see the Oration….???
12. Non potest operari per puram Cabalam qui non est rationaliter intellectualis. 12. One who is not rationally intellectual cannot work through pure Cabala.
W160; P11, 13. This condition for successful use of Cabala is connected with the preceding conclusion and with the next.
13. Qui operatur in Cabala sine admixtione extranei, si diu erit in opere, morietur ex binsica, et si errabit in opere aut non purificatus accesserit, devorabitur ab Azazele per proprietatem iudicii. 13. One who works at Cabala and mixes in nothing extraneous, if he stays long at the work, will die from binsica, and if he makes a mistake in the work or comes to it unpurified, he will be devoured by Azazel through the attribute of Judgment.
W159-60; Bahir, 200(K); Lev. 16:5-28; C1, 3, 44; P11-12. Binsica is a Latinization of ‘kiss’ (nesiqah) preceded by the preposition ‘in’ (be). The death of the kiss is desirable, a consequence of ascent to ecstatic union, unlike death in the jaws of the demon Azazel; Cabalists identified the scapegoat demon of Leviticus with the Satanic Samael and with the attribute of Judgment (S5).
14. Per litteram v, id est scin, quae mediat in nomine Iesu significatur nobis Cabalistice quod tum perfecte quievit, tanquam in sua perfectione, mundus cum iod coniunctus est cum vav quod factum est in Christo, qui fuit verus Dei filius et homo. 14. In the letter v or scin that stands in the middle of the name Jesus we find a Cabalist meaning – that the world was completely at rest, as if at its perfection, when iod was joined with vav as it was done in Christ, who was the true Son of God and a human being.
W7, 30, 36, 39-40, 81-2, 165; Recanati, 18; Corona nominis boni (CVE 190, 176); Comentum sepher iesire (CVE 191, 23); Zohar II, 47, III, 290; Gen. 2:4; Isa. 26:4; Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 108; C6, 9, 13-14, 17-19; P7-8, 15-16, 18. Both yod and waw are letters of YHWH, and both are readily identifiable with Jesus, the former as S2 (Wisdom) and the latter as S6 (Beauty). The sin in the middle of the name Yesu that links yod and waw is also the first letter of Sabbat ( tBv), symbolizing rest or completion. The Zohar suggests that the mystical Sabbath is completed by the sexual union of S9 with S10, called Sabbath, standing at the end of the lower Sepirot treated as days, but the Sabbath was a much controverted topic in Cabala.
15. Per nomen iod he vav he, quod est nomen ineffabile quod dicunt Cabalistae futurum esse nomen Messiae, evidenter cognoscitur futurum eum Deum, Dei filium per spiritum sanctum hominem factum et post eum ad perfectionem humani generis super homines Paracletum descensurum. 15. Through the name iod he vav he, the ineffable name that Cabalists say will be the Messiah’s name, it is plainly recognized that he will be God, Son of God made man through the Holy Spirit, and that after him a Paraclete will descend upon men in order to perfect the human race.
W166, 218; Zohar I, 162, II, 126-7, III, 65; John 14:15-17, 25-6, 15:26, 16:4-15; Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 166; C3, 12; P2, 6-7, 18. As long as Israel is in exile, the letters of YHWH remain apart: yod as S2, the first he as S3, waw as S6 and the final he as S10. But when S10 rises to rejoin S6, the Messiah will come. S6, which is YHWH in its normal vocalization, is the male center of the lower Sepirot directed toward creation; hence it is identifiable with Jesus or Christ. The Holy Spirit, who is the agent of Christ’s incarnation, returns as Paraclete after Christ departs. A parakletos is a legal advocate who opposes a diabolos, an accuser, but Satan’s role will end when the Messiah returns at the end of time.
16. Ex mysterio trium litterarum quae sunt in dictione sciabat, id est tBv, possumus interpretari Cabalistice tunc sabbatizare mundum cum Dei filius fit homo, et ultimo futurum sabbatum cum homines in Dei filium regenerabuntur. 16. From the mystery of the three letters which are in the term Sciabat or tBv, we can use Cabala to explain that the world keeps its Sabbath when the Son of God becomes human and that the Sabbath will come for the last time when humans are reborn in the Son of God. W164-5; P2, 14-15, 18, 59. The word Sabbat ( tBv) surrounds bet (b), the first letter of the Torah in Ber’esit, with the last two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, sin (v) and taw ( t )), as in P59, where bet joins the first letter, ’alep ( a), to spell Father (’ab, ba) and the middle letter, nun (n), to spell Son (ben, ˆB),
thus associating the Holy Spirit as agent of the incarnation and as Paraclete with the perfecting and regenerating force of the Sabbath (S10).
17. Qui sciverit quid est vinum purissimum apud Cabalistas sciet cur dixerit David, inebriabor ab ubertate domus tuae; et quam ebrietatem dixerit antiquus vates Musaeus esse foelicitatem; et quid significent tot Bacchi apud Orpheum. 17. One who knows what the Purest Wine is for Cabalists will know why David said, I will be made drunk on the plenty of your house; and what was the drunkenness that the ancient prophet Musaeus called happiness; and what so many Bacchi signify according to Orpheus.
W186, 192; Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 243); Num. 12:5-8; Ps. 36:8; Plato Rep. 363C-D; Hymni Orph. 30, 44-8, 50, 52, 53; Ficino, Opera, 1399; Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 123; Wind, 277-8; P22, 47. In Orphic conclusion 24, Pico follows Ficino in requiring the Bacchoi mentioned at the start of nine Orphic hymns to be linked with nine Muses as prelude to the divine frenzy distinguished from ordinary drunkenness in the sixth Chaldaean conclusion on ‘twofold drunkenness.’ According to Musaeus as reported by Plato, the gods reward the righteous dead with divine drunkenness. Likewise, Cabalists associated the pure wine still in the grape with S10, distinguishing it from mixed wine used in sacrificing to idols, which they connected with the ‘other side’ (sitra ’ahra) that emerges from S5 to become a separate realm of dark demonic power.
18. Qui coniunxerit astrologiam Cabalae videbit quod sabbatizare et quiescere convenientius fit post Christum die dominico quam die sabbati. 18. One who connects astrology with Cabala will see that after Christ it is more fitting to keep the Sabbath and to rest on the Lord’s Day than on Saturday.
Zohar I, 199; Tikkuney Zohar 70 (128b); P6-8, 14-16, 48-9. The Lord is ’Adonay or S10, which is also the exiled Sekinah. S10 joins with S9 to bring in the Messiah and with S6 to complete the Sabbath, the day whose meaning Pico wants to change. Since God rested on the seventh day, the standard order of the week is Sunday through Saturday, corresponding to S4-10. The assignment of the planets to the days and hence to the Sepirot is more fluid, however, because of technicalities of astrology and variations in sources. The Cabalist Pico might have preferred a Hebrew source to a Greek or Latin authority, but here he seems to have gone his own way, as indicated by the planetary order announced in P48: Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Saturn, Venus, Mercury and Moon. In this framework, before Christ came, the day of rest on Saturday would have been ruled by the Moon (S10), understood as the Sabbath. After Christ comes to end Israel’s exile, a change to Sunday would move this holy day from the bottom (S10) to the top of the lower Sepirot (S4), as the mighty Jupiter replaces the inconstant Moon. Likewise, the Old Law bows to the New as the Moon of S10 merely reflects the Sun of S6.
19. Si dictum illud prophetae, vendiderunt iustum argento, Cabalistice exponamus, nihil aliud nobis significat quam hoc scilicet, ut Deus redemptor venditus fuit argento. 19. If we use Cabala to explain that saying of the prophet, they sold a just man for silver, it means only one thing to us, that God the Redeemer was sold for silver.
W32, 162; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC 128-9); Gates of Light, 72-3; Bahir 52, 136(K) Amos 2:6; Matt. 26:14-16; Idel, Mystics, p. 106; C42; P21. A Cabalist identity for the just man (Tsaddiq) sold for silver in the book of Amos is S9, whose divine name is ’El Hay, associated (along with ‘Adonay and S10) with the redemption (ge’ullah) of Israel, a reversal of exile (galut). S4 is silver as S5 as gold, but this seems not to be part of Pico’s reasoning here.
20. Si interpretationem suam adverterint Cabalistae super hac dictione za, quae significat tunc, de trinitatis mysterio multum illuminabuntur. 20. If Cabalists attend to their interpretation of this term za, which means ‘then,’ they will be greatly enlightened about the mystery of the Trinity.
W107, 162, 174-6; Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 226); Bahir, 139-40(K); Exod. 15:1; Num 21:17; Isa 60:5; P2, 21. Wirszubski shows that Pico’s translator expanded what he found in an original Hebrew text, Seper ha-Sorasim, to include trinitarian language in his Latin version, Liber de radicibus. The original says that the word ‘then’ (’az) at the beginning of three verses of Exodus, Numbers and Isaiah points to all ten Sepirot – its first letter ’alep (a) to S1-3 and its second letter zayin ( z) to S4-10. But the Latin makes S1-3 ‘a Trinity united in the unity of essence.’
21. Qui coniunxerit dictum Cabalistarum, dicentium quod illa numeratio quae dicitur iustus et redemptor dicitur etiam ze, cum dicto Thalmudistarum, dicentium quod Isaac ibat sicut ze portans crucem suam, videbit quod illud quod fuit in Isaac praefiguratum fuit adimpletum in Christo, qui fuit verus Deus venditus argento.
21. One who joins the saying of Cabalists, who claim that the Numeration called Just and Redeemer is also called ze, with the saying of Talmudists, who claim that Isaac went like ze carrying his cross, will see that what was prefigured in Isaac was fulfilled in Christ, who was the true God sold for silver.
W75-6, 111-13, 145, 163-4; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC 6-8); Pugio fidei (1687, p. 851); Gen. 22:6; Ps. 118:19; C42; P19-20, 22, 34. An ordinary (masculine, singular, third-person demonstrative) pronoun, zeh (hz), takes on Christological significance in another text interpolated by Pico’s translator. In the Gates of Justice, Gikatilla writes that the patriarch Jacob was granted the special knowledge that the correct gate to ascent is S9, called the Just (Tsaddiq) but also known as zeh, whose feminine is zot ( twz) or S10, also an agent of redemption. The Pugio fidei and other non-Cabalist texts interpreted the wood that Abraham gave Isaac to carry for sacrifice as a reference to the cross that Christ would carry. Talmud ???
22. Per dicta Cabalistarum de rubedine Esau et dictum illud quod est in libro Bresit Rhaba quod Esau fuit rubeus et rubeus eum ulciscetur – de quo dicitur, quare rubrum vestimentum tuum? – habetur expresse quod Christus, de quo nostri doctores eundem textum exponunt, ille erit qui ultionem faciet de virtutibus immundis. 22. Through sayings of Cabalists on Esau’s redness and the saying in the book Bresit Rhaba that Esau was red and red avenges him – of whom it is asked, why is your garment red? – it means expressly that Christ, to whom our teachers take this text to refer, will be the one who will wreak vengeance on the unclean powers.
W162; Recanati, 58; Gikatilla, Gates of Light, 29, 117, 168; Midras Ber’esit Rabbah ???; Gen. 25:25, 36:43; Isa. 63:1-3; Mal. 1:1-5; Rom. 9:13; Rev. 19:13; Scholem, Kabbalah, 117; P17, 21, 25. Isaiah 63 opens with a question: ‘Who is this (zeh, hz) who comes from Edom … why is your clothing red (Vulg. rubrum)?’ P21 establishes that zeh is Christ, the crucified Redeemer. The Book of Revelation, alluding to Isaiah, proclaims that in the final apocalypse the King of Kings will ride to victory ‘clothed with a vesture dipped in blood,’ but in Isaiah the avenger returns from Edom, which Cabalists knew as the attribute of Harsh Judgment (S5), as the place of the Sekinah’s exile and as the source from which the demonic ‘other side’ (sitra ’ahra) emerges. The word ’edom, whose consonants ( µda) are the same as those of Adam’s name, means ‘red,’ and the Edomites are descendants of Esau. In Jewish tradition Edom came to represent Israel’s enemies, eventually including Romans and Christians, a usage that Paul inverts in his Epistle to the Romans by using the fates of Esau and Jacob to prove that God predestines membership in the true Israel.
23. Per illud dictum Hieremiae, lacerauit verbum suum, secundum expositionem Cabalistarum habemus intelligere quod Deum sanctum et benedictum lacerauit Deus pro peccatoribus. 23. Through that saying of Jeremiah, he cut his word, we may understand, according to the explanation given by Cabalists, that God cut the holy and blessed God for the sake of sinners.
W162-3; Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 227); Midras Wayyikra Rabba on Lev. 6:5; Midras Rabbah on Lam. 2:21; Lam 2:17. The Vulgate understands Lamentations 2:17 to mean that the Lord ‘completed (complevit) his word,’ and Pico’s Cabalist reading connects words or speech ( rma ) with S10. However, the verb ‘to complete’ (batsa, [xB) can also mean ‘to cut off,’ which gave rise to various midrasim on the verses in Lamentations and Leviticus as well as to Pico’s Christological laceravit.
24. Per responsionem Cabalistarum ad questionem, quare in libro Numerorum coniuncta est particulae mortis Mariae particula uitulae rufae; et per expositionern eorum super eo passu ubi Moyses in peccato vituli dixit, dele me; et per dicta in libro Zoar super eo textu, et eius liuore sanati sumus; redarguuntur ineuitabiliter Hebraei dicentes non fuisse conueniens ut mors Christi satisfaceret pro peccato humani generis. 24. Those Hebrews who say that it was not fitting for Christ’s death to atone for mankind’s sin are refuted beyond any doubt by the reply of Cabalists to the question, why was the passage in the book of Numbers on the red heifer joined to the passage on the death of Maria; by their explanation of the text on the sin of the calf where Moses said, take me out; and through statements in the book of Zohar on the verse, and by his bruise are we healed.
W163; Zohar I, 182, III, 17, 42, 46-7, 124-6, 217-18, 231, 280; Zohar Hadash, Ber’esit 7a; Num. 12, 19:2, 20:1; Exod. 15:20, 32:32; Isa. 53:5; Heb. 10:13-14; C43; P17, 47. Christ atones for sin by becoming human and suffering exile from his own divinity. The saving pain of exile is the theme that unites the biblical passages cited by Pico. The red heifer, burnt to white ash to purify the unclean, is the Sekinah (S10), who goes into exile with Israel, suffering like the servant in Isaiah whose bruises heal Israel. Moses likewise redeems Israel by suffering in exile and being buried outside the promised land, like the Just (S9) given over to the demonic ‘other side.’ Moses also atones for Israel when, in anguish at the sin of the golden calf, he asks God to blot him out of his book. Miriam, the sister of Moses and a prophetess, challenged his authority, but God made her as white as a leper (like the red heifer burnt to ash) and healed her only after an exile of seven days from camp. She also died outside the promised land but in a place called holy, Qadesh.
25. Quilibet Cabalista habet concedere quod Messias eos a captiuitate diabolica et non temporali erat liberaturus. 25. Any Cabalist must grant that the Messiah was to free them from diabolical, not temporal, captivity.
26. Quilibet Cabalista habet concedere ex dictis doctorum huius scientiae hoc manifeste dicentium quod peccatum originale in aduentu Messiae expiabitur. 26. Any Cabalist must grant that the coming of the Messiah would expiate original sin, given statements of the teachers of this knowledge that plainly say as much.
W179; C4; P15, 18. From a Cabalist perspective, Adam’s primordial sin was to cut off the plants, separating the Sepirot that should be united, but the coming of the Messiah reunites them.
27. Ex principiis Cabalistarum evidenter elicitur quod per adventum Messiae tolletur circumcisionis necessitas. 27. From the principles of the Cabalists it is an obvious conclusion that the coming of the Messiah takes away the need for circumcision.
C31; P22, 25-6. The purpose of circumcision is to defend against unclean powers, but the Messiah’s victory over Satan and his forces removes the need.
28. Per dictionem ta quae bis ponitur in illo textu, in principio creauit Deus caelum et terram, ego credo significari a Moyse creationem naturae intellectualis et naturae animalis quae naturali ordine praecessit creationem caeli et terrae. 28. Through the term ta that appears twice in the text, in the beginning God created heaven and earth, I believe that Moses means the creation of an intellectual nature and an animate nature which in the natural order came before the creation of heaven and earth.
W139, 176, 217; Abulafia, De secretis legis (CVE 190, 343); Zohar I, 2-3, 5, 15, 29-31, 206, 221, II, 142; Zohar Hadash Ber’esit, 10-11, 16; Bahir, 32(K); Gen. 1:1; Rev. 1:8, 22:13; Scholem, Kabbalah, 107, 11819, 154-9. Composed of the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the particle et ( ta ) marks the object of a verb preceded by the definite article; thus, it has no independent semantic value. In the first verse of Genesis it appears before ‘the heavens’ (S6) and ‘the earth’ (S10). The Zohar says that S6 includes the letters of ’et – ’alep and taw – which as the first and last of the alphabet encompass all the others: ’alep is S1 and taw is S10. Hence, like the Alpha and Omega of the Book of Revelation, which are identified as the Lord and as Jesus, the two Hebrew letters contain the totality of the sefirotic Trinity – S1, S6 and S10. Together, they also stand for the lowest of the four worlds, which are the Sepirot, the chariot, the angels and physical creation. God creates this lowest world on the model of the higher, but the structure of the soul suggests a triadic pattern: the nepes (S10) governing vital functions, the nesamah (S2) intellectual functions and the ruah (S6) in between. The duality of intellectual and animate assumed by Pico is less common.
29. Quod dicitur a Cabalistis quod linea viridis gyrat universum convenientissime dicitur ad conclusionem ultimam quam duximus ex mente Porphyrii. 29. The saying of Cabalists that a green line rings the universe applies most fittingly to the last conclusion that we drew from the ideas of Porphyry.
W 186; Commento, 2.15; Wind, p. 67; C7. The relation between intellect and divinity in Pico’s last conclusion from Porphyry confirms the status of Binah or Intelligence (S3) as the green line separating the higher Sepirot from the lower. In the Commento, however, viriditas or fresh unchanging beauty is the highest of three Graces in the train of Venus, with intellect in second place.
30. Necessario habent concedere Cabalistae secundum sua principia quod uerus Messias futurus est talis ut de eo vere dicatur quod est Deus et Dei filius. 30. Following their own principles, Cabalists must necessarily grant that the true Messiah will have been such that it may truly be said of him that he is God and Son of God.
Above, C25; P15, 32.
31. Cum audis Cabalistas ponere in Thesua informitatem, intellige informitatem per antecedentiam ad formalitatem, non per privationem. 31. When you hear that Cabalists put formlessness in Thesua, understand formlessness to be the antecedent of the formal, not its privation.
W176-7; Zohar I, 16; Bahir, 2, 11-12, 163(K); Gen. 1:2; C7, 23. Tohu or formless matter comes before Bohu or form in Genesis but does not negate it; both arise from S10, the former made by S5, the latter by S6. S3 as Tesubah, Return or Repentance, is sometimes also identified with Tohu.
32. Si duplex aleph quod est in textu, non auferetur sceptrum etc., coniunxerimus ad duplex aleph quod est in textu, Deus possedit me ab initio, et ad duplex aleph quod est in textu, terra autem erat inanis, per viam Cabalae intelligemus ibi Jacob de illo vero Messia locutum qui fuit Iesus Nazarenus. 32. If we connect the double aleph in the text, the scepter will not be taken away etc., to the double aleph in the text, God had me from the beginning, and to the double aleph in the text, but the earth was empty, we will understand by a method of Cabala that Jacob spoke there of the true Messiah who was Jesus of Nazareth.
W177; Zohar II, 241, Zohar Hadash Ber’esit, 4a; Bahir, 139-41(KA); Gikatilla, Light, 24, 37; 256; Gen. 1:2, 49:10; Prov. 3:19, 8:22; Ps. 100:3; Isa. 66:1; C25; P7, 15, 20, 30. On the surface, the double ’alep means only that this letter ( a) appears twice in the three biblical verses indicated by Pico, but Cabala reveals a deeper conjunction between the plain messianic message of Jacob’s words in Gen. 49:10 and the other two passages. The key term, defined in preceding conclusions, is S2: the Son of God is both Wisdom and Beginning (R’esit), the basis on which God founds the earth in its aspect as ’Elohim. Jacob speaks to his twelve sons about Judah, promising that his rule will not end ‘until Shiloh comes (yab’o, aby).’ In Christian terms, this first use of ’alep means that the advent of Christ ends the old Israel. The other ’alep in this verse occurs in the negative l’o ( al), which can also be read as the preposition ‘to’ (le, l) plus ’alep, meaning ‘to ’alep,’ hence ‘to S1.’ The Bahir supplies this reading in the same place that identifies ’az as a divine symbol, which Pico understands as trinitarian in P20. But ’az also contains one of the ’aleps of Prov. 8:22, where Wisdom (S2) says that the Lord made her ‘the beginning (R’esit, tyvar ) of his way, first of his works of old (me’az, zam).’ Me’az is the preposition ‘from’ (min) plus ‘then’ (’az). R’esit, which contains the other ’alep , is established as S2 in C25 and as the Son in P7. Finally, there are two ’aleps in Gen. 1:2: ‘and the earth’ (weha’arets, ≈rahw) and ‘God’ (’Elohim, µyhla). According to the Zohar, YHWH is heaven and ’Elohim is earth, and in Prov. 3:19 the Lord founds the earth on Wisdom (S2), the heavens on Intelligence (S3). Whether these were the messianic and trinitarian clues that Pico found is unknown, though obviously such clues were abundant in the Cabala that he knew.
33. Per hanc dictionem vya, quae scribitur per aleph, iod et scin et significat virum, quae Deo attribuitur cum dicitur vir belli, de trinitatis mysterio per viam Cabalae perfectissime admonemur. 33. Through this term vya, written with aleph, iod and scin and meaning ‘man,’ which is applied to God in the phrase ‘man of war,’ we are given a very complete reminder of the mystery of the Trinity through a method of Cabala.
W178; Bahir, 26, 117(K), 18, 84(S) [CVE 191, fols. 291, 306]; Recanati, De secretis orationum (CVE 190, fols. 315-16); Exod. 15:3; C32; P2, 6-7, 14, 16, 20. The Bahir indicates that the ’alep, yod and sin of ’ish (man, vya) correspond to S1-3, but Wirszubski points out that they are also the first letters of ’Ehyeh (S1), YHWH (S6) and Sabbat (S10). As Pico suggests, the two overlapping configurations complete the picture of the Trinity by combining the higher and lower Sepirot.
34. Per nomen awh – id est quod tribus literis scribitur he, vav et aleph – quod nomen Deo propriisime attribuitur, et maxime conuenienter non solum ad Cabalistas, qui hoc expresse saepius dicunt, sed etiam ad theologiam Dionysii Areopagitae, per viam Cabalae trinitatis mysterium cum possibilitate incarnationis nobis declaratur.
34. By the name awh, the mystery of the Trinity along with the possibility of the Incarnation is revealed to us through a method of Cabala; this name, because it is written with the three letters he, vav and aleph, is a name most properly applied to God, and this is most consistent not only with the Cabalists, who often say it explicitly, but also with the theology of Dionysius the Areopagite.
W104-6; Abulafia, De secretis legis (CVE 190, 366); Liber de radicibus (CVE 190, 226); Gikatilla, Light, 356-60; I Kings 18:39; Ps. 119:12; Lev. 19:4; Exod. 17:7; Job 28:12-28; C33; P21. The letters he, waw and ‘alep , which all occur in the divine names YHWH, ’Elohim and ’Adonay, spell hu’ ( awh). Like zeh in P21 of this series, hu’ is a third-person, masculine, singular demonstrative pronoun that means ‘he,’ and, like ’ish in C33, it confirms the Incarnation when used of God. Gikatilla puts hu’ at the top of a descending series of such pronouns in the Bible. The other two are ’attah (hTa), meaning ‘you’ (S6), and ’ani (yna), meaning ‘I’ (S10). Noting that the letters of ’ani are the same as those of ’ayin (ˆya), which means ‘nothing,’ Gikatilla also applies ’ayin to S1 because it is the most hidden of the Sepirot. Hu’ as S1 is thus the most remote of the Sepirot, in keeping with the negative theology of Dionysius.
35. Si Deus in se ut infinitum, ut unum et secundum se intelligatur, ut sic nihil intelligimus ab eo procedere, sed separationem a rebus et omnimodam sui in seipso clausionem et extremam in remotissimo suae diuinitatis recessu profundam ac solitariam rectractionem, de eo intelligimus ipso penitissime in abysso suarum tenebrarum se contegente et nullo modo in dilatatione ac profusione suarum bonitatum ac fontani splendoris se manifestante. 35. If God in himself is understood as the Infinite, as one and in keeping with himself, so that we understand that nothing proceeds from him, but that there is separation from things, a complete closing of himself in himself, and a final, deep and solitary withdrawal within the remotest reach of his divinity, then we have the deepest understanding of him as covering himself in the depths of his darkness and in no way showing himself in the outpouring and expression of his blessings and surging splendor.
W237-8; C35, 44; P 4, 36. The ten Sepirot, conceived as coverings or garments, reveal what can be known of the Infinite (’Eyin-sop), but they also conceal its inner reality.
36. Ex precedenti conclusione intelligi potest cur dicatur apud Cabalistas quod Deus induit se decem vestimentis quando creauit saeculum. 36. From the preceding conclusion one can understand why Cabalists say that God clothed himself in ten garments when he created the world.
W237-8; Azriel, Questiones super decem numerationibus (CVE 190, 166-7); C35, 44; P4, 35. Azriel argued that creation would have been defective and accidental had the creator not worked through the number and order of the Sepirot.
37. Qui intellexerit in dextrali coordinatione subordinationem pietatis ad sapientiam perfecte intelliget per viam Cabalae quomodo Abraam in die suo per rectam lineam vidit diem Christi et gavisus est.
37. One who understands the subordination of Piety to Wisdom in the group on the right will understand perfectly through a method of Cabala how Abraam in his day saw the day of Christ through a straight line and rejoiced.
W138, 167-8, 184; John 8:56; C14, 38-9; P7, 14, 32, 42. Pico uses the words of John’s Gospel to describe Abraham’s joy, as Wirszubski notes. Since Piety and Abraham (S4) are below Wisdom and Christ (S2) on the right of the Sepirot, the straight line here points up from S4 to S2.
38. Effectus qui sunt sequuti post mortem Christi debent conuincere quemlibet Cabalistam quod Jesus Nazarenus fuit verus Messias. 38. The effects that followed the death of Christ should convince any Cabalist that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
W38; Zohar I, 90. II, 164-5, III, 224-5, 233; Tikkunei ha-Zohar, Tikkun 69, 105-6; Exod. 26:1; Ps. 104:2; SS 1:5; Ezek. 37:7; Matt. 27:45-53; Luke 23:44-6; C20; P43. Only the synoptic Gospels describe the calamities that accompanied Christ’s death. P43 shows why the Veil of the Temple (S6) refers to the Messiah; P18 explains the Sun (S6) in the same way. The eclipse of the sun and the rending of the veil thus announce the Messiah’s death, though the Sekinah (S10) was also called the Veil. Matthew also mentions an earthquake: ‘the earth did quake (mota est) … graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose.’ These words might have sent Pico to Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones: ‘behold a shaking (commotio), and the bones came together, bone to his bone.’ Cabalists saw the bones as letters of the divine name, united proleptically in sacrificial worship (for Pico, the sacrifice of the cross) as a sign of the Messiah’s triumph (the second coming) and final union.
39. Ex hac conclusione et trigesima superius posita, sequitur quod quilibet Cabalista habet concedere quod interrogatus Jesus quis esset rectissime respondit dicens, ego sum principium qui loquor vobis. 39. From this conclusion and from the thirtieth above, it follows that any Cabalist must grant that Jesus, when asked who he was, gave exactly the right answer, saying, I who speak to you am the Beginning.
W168; John 8:25; CC 25; P7, 30, 32, 38. If Jesus is the Beginning (R’esit, principium), he is also S2: Wisdom, the Son of God and the Messiah.
40. Hoc habent inevitabiliter concedere Cabalistae quod verus Messias per aquam homines purgabit. 40. Cabalists must inevitably concede this, that the true Messiah will cleanse men with water.
W42, 145; Recanati, 9; Gen. 1:10; C27; P21. The gathering of the waters is S9, Christ as the Just Redeemer who absolves sin by his suffering.
41. Sciri potest in Cabala per mysterium mem clausi cur post se Christus miserit paracletum.
41. In Cabala one can know through the mystery of the closed mem why Christ sent a Paraclete after him. W171-2; C15, 19; P7, 15, 16, 70. The closed mem ( µ )occurs only at the end of a word, in contrast to the open mem (m) found in other positions. The only exception is the word lemarbeh (hBr µl) in Isa. 9:6-7,
traditionally taken to mean ‘for the increase’ in this description of a messianic hero. But the first two letters of lemarbeh, lamed and mem ( µl), may also mean ‘to him’ or ‘for him,’ leaving the next three letters apart as rabbah (hBr ), ‘great’ in the feminine gender. The Zohar connects the anomalous mem with S3 as the barren son who governs the time of exile before the coming of the Messiah (S2). In a more positive vein, Pico wants to link the risen Christ (S2) with the Paraclete who abides with mankind until the second coming – with the Holy Spirit (S3), in other words. Grammatically, S3 can be the referent of rabbah because both ‘Intelligence’ (Binah) and ‘Spirit’ (Ruah) are feminine nouns. Breaking lemarbeh in two as lemo rabbah (‘to him the great [Spirit]’) puts the closed mem of Isaiah 9:7 in its usual final position. Normally, the numerical value of mem is 40, but 600 is an alternative for the closed mem. 600 is also 40 multiplied by 15 (hy), which is the divine name Yah (S2) as well as the sum of the double numbers of the Platonic lambda mentioned in Pico’s first Platonic conclusion. The same conclusion is number 600 of the whole work. The coincidence suggests that Pico meant us to find Cabala in Plato and numerology in the organization of his work, as in C19, for example.
42. Scitur per fundamenta Cabalae quam recte dixerit Jesus, antequam nasceretur Abraam, ego sum. 42. From principles of Cabala it is known how correct Jesus was to say, before Abraam was born I am.
W168; John 8:58; C9, 25; P32, 37, 39. Jesus is before Abraham because S2, the Beginning, is above S4.
43. Per mysterium duarum litterarum vav et iod scitur quomodo ipse Messias ut Deus fuit principium sui ipsius ut homo. 43. Through the mystery of the two letters vav and iod it is known how the Messiah himself, as God, was his own Beginning as man. W165; C25; P7, 8, 14, 15, 18. Waw (w) and yod (y) are letters both of Yesu (wvy) and of YHWH (hwhy), which are names of the Messiah. Yod is also S2 and waw is S6, while S2 is also R’esit or
principium, the Beginning. This puts S2 on high as the origin of S6, which is the central male figure of the Sepirot. Thus the Messiah is God and the origin of his own manhood.
44. Scitur ex Cabala per mysterium partis septentrionalis cur iudicabit Deus saeculum per ignem. 44. From Cabala through the mystery of the northern part it is known why God will judge the world with fire.
W180-1; C24; P67. Fire is S5 or Judgment in the person of Gabriel, the northern angel who announces the last judgment.
45. Scitur in Cabala apertissime cur Dei filius cum aqua baptismi venerit et spiritus sanctus cum igne. 25
45. In Cabala it is known very plainly why the Son of God came with the water of baptism and the Holy Spirit with fire.
Zohar II, 64, III, 65; Bahir, 59(K); C24; P7, 40, 44, 67. In one sense, water corresponds to the messianic S9, but just as the northern fire of P44 is Gabriel (S5), so the southern water is Michael (S4), contrasting the severity of the former with the mercy of the latter and reflecting a similar distinction at the level of the first three Sepirot between the pentecostal fire of the Holy Spirit (S3) and the baptismal water of the Son (S2).
46. Per eclipsationem Solis quae accidit in morte Christi sciri potest secundum fundamenta Cabalae quod tunc passus est filius Dei et verus Messias. 46. From the eclipse of the sun that happened at Christ’s death, one can know according to principles of Cabala that the Son of God and the true Messiah suffered at that moment.
P18, 19, 21, 38, 40, 45. Christ here is S6, which is also the Sun, eclipsed for three hours, from the sixth until the ninth. In the world of the Sepirot, S6 continues the straight line of mercy that runs from S1 to S9, suggesting perhaps that S6 dies only to be reborn as S9, the Just Redeemer.
47. Qui sciat proprietatem aquilonis in Cabala sciet cur Sathan Christo promisit regna mundi si cadens eum adorasset. 47. Whoever knows the attribute of the North Wind in Cabala will know why Satan promised Christ the kingdoms of the world if he would fall down and adore him.
W188-9; Zohar II, 125, 144, 149, 155, 203, 238, III, 79; Zohar Hadash Yitro, 41; Bahir, 130-4, 161-3(K); Jer. 1:14-15; Matt. 4:8-10; C6; P17, 24. Moral equilibrium in the Godhead and in creation balances Love (S4) and Judgment (S5); when sin disturbs this balance, an evil North Wind blows from S5 to produce the sitra ’ahra. In mythological terms, Samael and Lilith – the Adam and Eve of the other side – interfere sexually with the sacred intercourse between the male Tip’eret (S6) and the female Sekinah (S10). Since Satan (Samael) promises Christ ‘omnia regna mundi et gloriam eorum,’ Pico would have applied these words from the Gospel of Matthew to S10, known as ‘kingdom’ and ‘lower glory’ and as the Sekinah. If Christ had fallen from the higher Trinity of S1-3 to the bottom of the lower Sepirot in order to adore S10, Satan would have succeeded in tricking and tempting him sexually.
48. Quicquid dicant caeteri Cabalistae, ego decem sphaeras sic decem numerationibus correspondere dico, ut ab aedificio incipiendo Jupiter sit quartae, Mars quintae, Sol sextae, Saturnus septimae, Venus octauae, Mercurius nonae, Luna decimae; tum supra aedificium firmamentum tertiae, primum mobile secundae, coelum empyreum primae. 48. Whatever the rest of the Cabalists may say, I say that the ten spheres correspond to the ten Numerations as follows, starting from the Building: Jupiter belongs to the fourth, Mars to the fifth, the Sun sixth, Saturn seventh, Venus eighth, Mercury ninth, the Moon tenth; then, above the building, the firmament belongs to the third, the first moved sphere to the second, the empyrean heaven to the first.
C9-10; P18, 49. The Building mentioned here contains the Sepirot below S3.
49. Qui sciuerit correspondentiam decem praeceptorum ad prohibentia per coniunctionem veritatis astrologicae cum veritate theologica videbit ex fundamento nostro praecedentis
conclusionis – quicquid alii dicant Cabalistae – primum praeceptum primae numerationi correspondere, secundum secundae, tertium tertiae, quartum septimae, quintum quartae, sextum quintae, septimum nonae, octauum octauae, nonum sextae, decimum decimae. 49. Whoever knows the correspondence of the ten commandments to what is forbidden by the connection of astrological truth with theological truth will see from our principle in the preceding conclusion – whatever other Cabalists may say – that the first commandment corresponds to the first Numeration, the second to the second, third to third, fourth to seventh, fifth to fourth, sixth to fifth, seventh to ninth, eighth to eighth, ninth to sixth, tenth to tenth.
Exod. 20:1-17, 34:28; Deut. 5:6-21; P18, 48. Given the previous conclusion, some of the connections that Pico has in mind are obvious. Anger, for example, which violates the sixth commandment, is an attribute both of Mars and of S5. Likewise, the highest empyrean sphere matches S1, where any thought of multiplicity in God vanishes into the Infinite and yields to the first commandment to worship only the One God. For other correspondences, see Fig. 4 in the headnote.
50. Cum dicunt Cabalistae a septima et octaua petendos filios, ita dicas in merchiava inferiori accipi ut ab una petatur ut det, ab altera ne prohibeat. Et quae det et quae prohibeat potest intelligere ex praecedentibus conclusionibus qui fuerit intelligens in astrologia et Cabala. 50. When Cabalists say that one should ask the seventh and eighth for sons, you may say that in the lower Merchiava it is accepted that the one is asked to give and the other not to forbid. From the preceding conclusions, one who has understanding of astrology and Cabala can understand which one gives and which forbids.
W138, 146; Isa. 43:6; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC, 80); C37-40; P48-9. The Latin Gikatilla says that ‘since Eternity (S7) and Splendor (S8) are joined near the Foundation (S9) and at the Kingdom (S10), this is the side from which they who come to seek sons from the holy and blessed God direct their prayers.’ The Vulgate Isaiah indicates that it is S7 (Saturn) who gives sons and S8 (Venus) who does not forbid them; this relation of permission to prohibition accords with the commandments (positive and negative) of Saturn to keep the Sabbath and of Venus not to steal. Since the accompanying symbolism of S9 and S10 is sexual, keeping the Sabbath (S10) probably means intercourse under the influence of Saturn. The meaning for Venus of not stealing is unclear.
51. Sicut fuit luna plena in Salomone, ita fuit plenus sol in uero Messia qui fuit Iesus, et de correspondentia ad diminutionem in Sedechia potest quis coniectare si profundat in Cabala. 51. As the Moon was full in Solomon, so was the Sun full in the true Messiah who was Jesus, and by going deeply into Cabala anyone can infer how this corresponds to the waning in Zedekiah.
Bahir, 64-5(K); Zohar I, 181, II, 149; I Kings 3:28, 5:26; Jer. 39:1-7, 52:8-23; Matt. 1:7-11; C16, 20; P6-7, 18. Just as the Moon’s light (S10) is less than the Sun’s (S6) and dependent on it, Solomon’s wisdom is lower than the highest Wisdom (S2) because God gave it to him indirectly, through his royal daughter (S10). The highest Wisdom is also the Messiah (S6), the Son of God who illuminates S10, the source of Solomon’s wisdom. Solomon was a great king nonetheless and a cardinal figure in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus, divided into three sections of fourteen generations each. The second begins with Solomon and ends with Jeconiah. But the last king of Solomon’s line was Zedekiah, whom Matthew has subtracted (diminutio) because he ruined the house of David. He fled the Babylonians in darkness only to be captured
and blinded, and when the Temple in his capital was destroyed, the light of the Moon went out. Unlike the brilliant Solomon, whose wisdom at least reflected Christ’s, though dimly, Zedekiah’s light waned (another diminutio) entirely.
52. Ex praecedenti conclusione intelligi potest cur Euangelista Matthaeus in quatuordecim illis generationibus ante Christum quasdam dimiserit. 52. From the preceding conclusion one can understand why the Evangelist Matthew left some out in the fourteen generations before Christ.
53. Cum fieri lucem nichil sit aliud quam participare lucem, conveniens est ualde illa Cabalistarum expositio ut in ly fiat lux per lucem speculum lucens intelligamus et in ly facta est lux speculum non lucens. 53. Since for light to come to be is nothing but for light to participate, most fitting is that explanation of the Cabalists that in the ‘let there be light’ we understand ‘light’ to be a Mirror That Shines and in the ‘there was light’ a Mirror That Does Not Shine.
W178, 216; Recanati, 6; Zohar I, 11-12, 16-17; Gen. 1:3; C16, 20; P55, 57. The superiority of the Mirror that Shines (S6) to the Mirror That Does Not Shine (S10) expresses grades of prophecy and phases of emanation. Both are types of illumination, but the creative ‘let there be light’ comes before the prophetic ‘there was light’ because light must exist before it can be shared (participare) or ‘participated’ in the Platonic sense.
54. Quod dicunt Cabalistae, beatificandos nos in speculo lucente reposito sanctis in futuro seculo, idem est praecise sequendo fundamenta eorum cum eo quod nos dicimus, beatificandos sanctos in filio. 54. What Cabalists say, that we are to be blessed in the Shining Mirror set aside for the saints in the age to come, is precisely the same as what we say in following their principles, that the saints are to be blessed in the Son.
Zohar I, 31-2, II, 148-9, III, 45; Gen. 1:3; Ps. 91:11; C16, 20; P6-7, 53, 55. Some of the light of creation (S6), which is also the Messiah and the Son of God, is hidden by sin to be restored to the blessed in the messianic age at the end of time.
55. Quod dicunt Cabalistae, lumen repositum in septuplo lucere plus quam lumen relictum, mirabiliter conuenit arithmeticae pythagoricae. 55. What Cabalists say, that the light set aside in the Sevenfold shines more than the light left behind, is wondrously adapted to Pythagorean arithmetic.
Zohar I, 16-17; C20; P53-4, 56; Isa. 30:26. Isaiah says that when the Messiah comes ‘the light of the Moon shall be as the light of the Sun, and the light of the Sun shall be sevenfold’. Until that day, when all the lights are reunited, the promised Messiah (S6) is the perfect light that shines brighter in the midst of S4-10, the seven Sepirot that look outward, than the original light that shines in the inward triad of S1-3. This enigma arises from the process of emanation which, like a flame passing from candle to candle, magnifies
the light of revelation. Starting from the darkness of S1, the light grows through the first word (yehi, yhy) of ‘let there be light,’ which contains S2 and S3 as the first letters (hy) of YHWH. S4, the first light among the lower Sepirot, then emerges from S2. But S4 is Love, opposed by S5, which is Judgment, until their hostility is resolved by S6, the focus of illumination in the midst of S4-10. Pythagorean arithmetic adapts to this pattern in the Sepirot because both are figural (Fig. 5); the Pythagoreans thought of numbers as pictorial structures. The next conclusion (P56) refers to such a structure, the famous Pythagorean tetractys, an amulet in the form of an equilateral triangle of four points on each side and one in the center, ten in all. If S1-3 occupy the top three points of a tetractys, the lower seven will be S4-10. Moreover, the place of S6 will be central among all ten, as Pico’s reasoning requires, if S1-6 in the tetractys follow their normal order in the Sepirot: S1 is the apex; S2 is the right point of the second row, and S3 is the left; S4 and S5 are the right and left points of the third row with S6 in the middle; the likely order of the fourth row, starting from the right, is S7, S9, S10, S8. In any case, the Cabalist way of putting the light of S6 in the middle of the sevenfold adapts to the Pythagorean way.
56. Qui sciuerit explicare quaternarium in denarium habebit modum, si sit peritus cabalae, deducendi ex nomine ineffabili nomen LXXII litterarum. 56. If he is expert in Cabala, one who knows how to extend the quaternary into the denary will have a method for deriving the name of 72 letters from the ineffable name.
Bahir, 94-5, 107-12(K); Exod. 14:19-21; P55. The Pythagorean tetractys (Fig. 5) is an equilateral triangle of four points (a quaternary) on each side and one in the center; counting from any apex through four rows of points (another quaternary), all the points add up to ten: 1+2+3+4 = 10. If each row is replaced by as many of the letters (which are also numbers) of YHWH as can fit, starting with yod at the apex and then with yod again at the right of each row, the sum becomes 72: 10 (y) + 15 (h+y) + 21 (w+h+y) + 26 (h+w+h+y). As a divine name, 72 is hidden in three verses of Exodus 14, each of which contains exactly 72 letters. Aligned and read vertically, they produce 72 angelic names of three letters each. Thus, the mystical 72 comes from YHWH in the same way that the denary comes from the quaternary.
57. Per praecedentem conclusionem potest intelligens in arithmetica formali intelligere quod operari per scemamphoras est proprium rationali naturae. 57. From the preceding conclusion one who understands formal arithmetic can understand that working through the Scemamphoras is proper to a rational nature.
Bahir, 94-5, 107-12(K); Num. 6:22-7; P66. The Sem ha-mapores, according to the Bahir, is the divine name made explicit or interpreted when God gave Moses the priestly blessing for Aaron to use; the blessing includes YHWH three times, and for each instance of the neame there are 24 different arrangements of its four letters, summing to 72. The Bahir adds that these are the same names derived from Exodus 14, as in P56 on formal arithmetic. But YHWH also appears three times in the Sepirot, first as the divine name of S3, Intelligence (intelligentia), which Pico applies to the rational soul.
58. Rectius foret illud becadmin quod ponit glossa Chaldaica super dictionem bresit exponere de sapientialibus ideis quam de trigintaduabus viis, ut dicunt alii Cabalistae, utrunque tamen est rectum in Cabala. 58. It would be more correct to explain the Becadmin that the Chaldaean gloss applies to the term Bresit from the ideas of Wisdom rather than from the Thirty-two Paths, as other Cabalists say, although both are correct in Cabala.
W179; C25-6. Wisdom (S2) and Ber’esit are the same. But Pico prefers the ‘ideas’ of Wisdom to her Thirty-two Paths as an account of Beqadmin, which in the Aramaic Targum of Onqelos takes the place of the Hebrew Ber’esit as the first word of the Torah. Since Beqadmin, which Pico renders as ‘eternals,’ is plural, while Ber’esit is singular, the Targum raises the issue of multiplicity in God, which Pico may have wanted to address in terms of Platonic triads, thus avoiding the more florid theosophy of the Seper Yetsirah.
59. Qui profunde considerauerit quadruplicem rerum statum – primo unionis et stabilitatis mansionis, secundo processionis, tertio reuersionis, quarto beatificae reunionis – videbit litteram beth cum prima littera primum, cum media medium, cum ultimis ultima operari. 59. Anyone who thinks deeply about the fourfold constitution of things – first, the unity and stability of remaining, second procession, third reversion, fourth beatific reunion – will see that the letter beth works first with the first letter, medially with the middle letter and last with the last letters.
W164, 184; Gikatilla, Portae iustitiae (CC, 92); Bahir, 26, 61, 83; Prov. 24:3; C23; P6-7, 16, 28, 60-1. The standard Neoplatonic account of emanation moves from remaining through procession to reversion and then through the cycle again, but Pico adds a fourth stage of beatific reunion to support the curricular scheme of the Oration. In this context, he combines four letters – ’alep, nun, sin and taw – with the letter bet (S2, the first letter of the Torah) to construct three words: father (’ab, ba), son (ben, ˆb) and Sabbath (sabbat, tBv), corresponding to the Trinity of the first (S1), middle (S6) and last Sepirot (S10). Since the Hebrew alphabet has twenty-two letters, finding a true middle requires extending them through the five final forms to twenty-seven, with nun as fourteenth in the middle. ’alep is the first letter; the last two are sin and taw. To map these letters on to his fourfold pattern of emanation, Pico could have connected ’alep with S1 and remaining; nun with S9 and procession; sin with S3 and reversion; and taw with S10 and reunion.
60. Ex praecedenti conclusione potest contemplatiuus homo intelligere cur lex Dei a beth littera incipit de qua scribitur quod est immaculata, quod erat cum Deo cuncta componens, quod est conuertens animas, quod facit dare fructum in tempore suo. 60. From the preceding conclusion a contemplative person can understand why the Law of God – of which it is written that it is spotless, that it was with God putting all things together, that it is transforming souls, that it bears fruit in its time – begins with the letter beth.
W164, 184; Zohar I, 2-3; Bahir, 3, 14-15, 55(K); Ps. 1:3, 19:7; Prov. 8:29-30, 24:3; P6-7, 59, 66. The letter ’alep, first in the alphabet, does not come first in the Torah; its absence there represents the remote S1, the unity of all the letters and numbers. Instead, God creates the world through bet (S2), first in Ber’esit at the beginning of the Torah, because it also comes first in berakah (blessing). From Pico’s perspective, however, the deeper reason is that bet forms the Trinity described in P59, whose four moments of emanation are described here as pure, creative, redemptive and perfective, as revealed by the allusions to Psalms and Proverbs. Bet has a role both in Pico’s upper (S1-3) and lower (S1, S6, S10) Trinities, being part of the former and, according to the previous conclusion, God’s instrument for making the latter: ‘through wisdom is an house builded,’ in the words of Proverbs 24.
61. Per eandem conclusionem sciri potest quod idem filius qui est sapientia patris est qui omnia unit in patre et per quem omnia facta sunt et a quo omnia conuertuntur et in quo demum sabbatizant omnia.
61. From the same conclusion one can know that the same Son who is the Father’s Wisdom is the one who unites all things in the Father, through whom all were made, by whom all are transformed and in whom at last all keep the Sabbath.
W164, 167; P6-7, 59-60. The Son, identified here primarily with the Wisdom (S2) of the Father (S1) and therefore with the upper Trinity, acts in the four phases of emanation described in P59-60.
62. Qui profunde considerauerit nouenarium beatitudinum numerum de quo apud Matthaeum in euangelio videbit illas mirabiliter conuenire nouenario nouem numerationum quae sunt infra primam, quae est inaccessibilis Diuinitatis abyssus. 62. One who has thought deeply about the novenary number of the beatitudes of which Matthew writes in the Gospel will see that they fit wonderfully with the novenary of the nine Numerations that are beneath the first, which is the unapproachable abyss of the Deity.
W145; Matt. 5:3-11; P4. Some matches between Matthew’s beatitudes and the Sepirot are plainer than others, though Pico may have preferred subtler connections: the fifth, emphasizing mercy, with S4; the seventh, calling the peacemakers sons of God, with S6; the eighth or the ninth, promising a heavenly reward to the just who are persecuted, with S9.
63. Sicut Aristoteles diuiniorem philosophiam quam philosophi antiqui sub fabulis et apologia uelarunt ipse sub philosophicae speculationis facie dissimulauit et verborum breuitate obscuravit, ita Rabi Moyses Aegyptius in libro qui a Latinis dicitur Dux neutrorum dum per superficialem verborum corticem videtur cum philosophis ambulare per latentes profundi sensus intelligentias mysteria complectitur Cabalae. 63. Just as Aristotle himself concealed under the guise of philosophical speculation and obscured by terse expression the more divine philosophy that the ancient philosophers veiled under fables and stories, so Rabbi Moses of Egypt in the book that the Latins call Guide for the Perplexed embraces the mysteries of Cabala through hidden interpretations of deep meaning while seeming through the outer bark of words to proceed philosophically.
W62-3, 84-99, 128-31, 136-7, 154-8, 175, 262-3; Arist. ???. Pico admired Aristotelian philosophy and wanted to harmonize it with Platonism and other types of thought. He knew Maimonides not only as the most eminent Jewish Aristotelian but also as an authority studied by Abulafia and other Cabalists. The Guide for the Perplexed was available in a medieval Latin version.
64. In textu, audi Israel dominus Deus noster dominus unus, rectius est ut intelligatur ibi collectio ab inferiori ad superius et a superiori ad inferius quam ab inferiori ad superius bis. 64. In the text, hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one lord, it is more correct to understand here a gathering from lower to higher and from higher to lower than from lower to higher twice.
W179 (??? ‘Pico’s Companion,’ W19, n. 2); Zohar II, 133-4; Bahir, 116(K); Deut. 6:4; C9. The first words of Deuteronomy 6:4 begin the Sem‘a, which as the main credal prayer of Jewish monotheism
stimulated Cabalist speculation on unifying the Sepirot through mystical intercourse. The triad of divine names in this verse (Sem‘a yisr’ael YHWH ’elohenu YHWH ’ehad) also attracted Christian interest – including Pico’s – to the Cabala on the Sem‘a. In this context, a ‘gathering’ (collectio) might be S4-9 or some part of this group of male powers or ‘extremities’ aroused by prayer to desire the Sekinah (S10). The divine names in the opening of the prayer are written as indicated, but since YHWH is vocalized as ’Adonay, the number of distinct names involved is three: YHWH, ’Adonay and ’Elohim. A gathering of the Sepirot in which these names figure could include S3, S5, S6, S7, S8 and/or S10. If the direction of a gathering were to reflect the spoken order of the names in the Sem‘a, a movement from lower to higher would start with S10 as ’Adonay or with S6 as YHWH vocalized as ’Adonay. Other structural possibilities are numerous.
65. Rectius est ut amen tipheret dicat et regnum, ut per viam numeri ostenditur, quam quod dicat regnum tantum, ut quidam volunt. 65. It is more correct that amen should say Tipheret and Kingdom, as the method of number shows, than that it should say Kingdom only, as some suppose.
W37; Isa. 65:16; Deut. 6:4-9, 11:13-21; Num. 15:37-41; C19, 47; P14-15, 64. The word ’amen (‘truly’), used at the end of a prayer to confirm its intention, can also be used as a substantive, as in Isaiah’s ‘God of truth.’ The whole Sem‘a is composed of 247 words from two passages of Deuteronomy and one of Numbers, but a different word for ‘truth’ (’emet, tma ) added at the end makes 248. Thus, there are two Sem‘as in Kingdom (S10, Malkut, twklm) because the numerical values of its five letters add up to 496, which is twice 248: t (400) + w (6) + k (20) + l (30) + m (40). But the same numbers can also be treated as units by the method used in C19, which gives 19: t (4) + w (6) + k (2) + l (3) + m (4). Reckoned in this way, the value of Tip’eret (S6) is also 19: t (4) + r (8) + a (1) + p (2) + T (4), which makes Pico’s point that this most sacred of prayers should end with the name of Jesus the Messiah.
66. Ego animam nostram sic decem sephirot adapto ut per unitatem suam sit cum prima; per intellectum cum secunda; per rationem cum tertia; per superiorem concupiscibilem cum quarta; per superiorem irascibilem cum quinta; per liberum arbitrium cum sexta; et per hoc totum ut ad superiora se conuertitur cum septima; ut ad inferiora cum octaua; et mixtum ex utroque potius per indifferenciam uel alternariam adhaesionem quam simultaneam continentiam cum nona; et per potentiam qua inhabitat primum habitaculum cum decima. 66. I relate our soul to the ten Sephirot in this way, so that it is with the first through its unity; with the second through intellect; with the third through reason; with the fourth through the higher desire; with the fifth through the higher wrath; with the sixth through free will; with the seventh through all of this as turning toward the higher powers; with the eighth as turning toward the lower; with the ninth as it mixes both through indifference or variable linkage rather than through restraint in either direction; and with the tenth through the power by which it dwells in the first dwelling.
W28, 30, 45, 189; Bahir, 53-5(K); Prov. 8:30, 24:3; Ps. 45:14; C11, 24, 33; P14, 18, 49, 55, 59. Most of these connections between faculties of the soul and the Sepirot are based on other conclusions: S1 is the unity of the letter ’alep and the number 1; S4 is Love; S5 is Judgment at war with Love; S6 is the arbiter who settles their conflict; the activity of S9 is suitably phallic. S2 and S3, normally Wisdom and Intelligence, take on Neoplatonic identities. S10 as the power of Dwelling in God confirms a point made by the Oration. According to the Bahir, the first Dwelling is Wisdom (S2), or the letter bet and the number 2 understood as the house (bayit) in which S1 dwells: ‘with wisdom will the house be built,’ as the book of
Proverbs says. But wisdom is a female principle with a feminine name (Hokmah), like the Sekinah (S10), the King’s Daughter (bat) in exile, signifying God’s presence banished to the lower world. Thus, bet also symbolizes the lower Wisdom of the distant Sekinah, accessible to the human soul as a link to the higher Wisdom in which God makes his dwelling.
67. Per dictum Cabalistarum quod caeli sunt ex igne et aqua simul et veritatem theologicam de ipsis sephirot nobis manifestat et philosophicam veritatem quod elementa in caelo sint tantum secundum actiuam uirtutem. 67. Through the saying of Cabalists that the heavens are made of fire and water, in one stroke we are shown both a theological truth about the Sephirot themselves and the philosophical truth that the elements are in heaven only according to active power.
W180; Recanati, 3; Bahir, 59, 99, 153-4, 188; Heptaplus (Opera, 5-7); Gen. 1:1; Job 25:2; C24; P7, 44, 45. The heavens (samayim, µymv) of Genesis can be divided into fire (’esh, va) and water (mayim, µym), which correspond primarily to the Love of S4 and the Judgment of S5 among the lower Sepirot but also to a higher opposition between S2 and S3. S6, called Heaven, mediates compassionately between S4 and S5, which are also Michael in the south and Gabriel in the north. These are theological truths about the Sepirot. A lower, philosophical truth depends on the difference between two inferior levels of fire and water, the sublunary and celestial, both below the supercelestial realm of the Sepirot. Below the Moon, fire burns life away and water drowns it, but in the heavens, where the elements are active but not destructive powers, fire only warms and water only nourishes.
68. Qui sciuerit quid sit denarius in arithmetica formali et cognouerit naturam primi numeri sphaerici sciet illud quod ego adhuc apud aliquem cabalistam non legi, et est quod sit fundamentum secreti magni iobelei in Cabala. 68. One who knows what the denary is in formal arithmetic and recognizes the nature of the first spherical number will know what I still have not read in any Cabalist, which is that in Cabala this is the foundation of the secret of the Great Jubilee.
W187; Allen, Nuptial, 51, 66; cf. Reuchlin, 248-51; C13, 43; P56. The denary in formal arithmetic is the tetractys (Fig. 5), the triangular figured number that shows 10 to be the sum of 1, 2, 3 and 4. 10 is also 2 x 5, and 5 is the first of the circular numbers, those whose powers always end with the last digit of the base. 5 is also prominent in a figural circle (Fig. 6) of ten equal segments bounded by five diameters terminating in five pairs of numbers that all add up to the denary 10: 1+9, 2+8, 3+7, 4+6, 5+5. The sum of these five pairs is 50, the number of the Jubilee. In Hebrew, 5 is he (h), which with yod (y , 10) forms the divine name Yah (hy); thus, the figural circle defined by yod or by two hes is an arithmetic expression of divinity. If solid numbers are products of multiplication, and if the figured 5 is the first circular number, then a good candidate for the first spherical number would be 50, or 5 x (5+5). The Jubilee is 50 years, and the Great Jubilee is 50,000 years, 50 multiplied by 1000.
69. Ex fundamento praecedentis conclusionis sciri pariter potest secretum quinquaginta portarum intelligentiae et millesimae generationis et regni omnium saeculorum. 69. On the basis of the preceding conclusion, one can know at the same time the secret of the Fifty Gates of Intelligence, of the generation of a thousand and of the Kingdom of All Worlds.
W35; Commentary on the Ten Sepirot (CVE 191, 30); Zohar I, 3-4, II, 183; Gen. 2:4; Scholem, Kabbalah, 120; C13-15; P68. The key to the Fifty Gates in the palace of Intelligence (S3) is S2, Wisdom or Ber’esit. But until Abraham (S4) came, the gates stayed shut and the lower Sepirot did not produce the worlds out of S3, the mother of the worlds and the Great Jubilee. Likewise, Abraham acquired his generative power only when his name gained he (h), the 5 that generates the spherical numbers, 50 and 50,000, of the Jubilees. For each of seven lower Sepirot, the Great Jubilee contains seven thousand-year weeks; after an additional thousand years in the fiftieth millennium, everything dissolves into S3 and the cycle starts again. S10 is the Kingdom of All Worlds because the cycle of generations is complete after the Sabbath of the Sekinah, in the last generation of a thousand.
70. Per modum legendi sine punctis in lege et modus scribendi res diuinas et unialis continentia per indeterminatum ambitum rerum diuinarum nobis ostenditur. 70. Through the method of reading without points in the Law we are shown both a method of writing about divinity and the content of divinity unified in its unbounded scope.
W181-2; Gen. 2:4; ; Isa. 9:6-7; C15, P41. Since the Hebrew alphabet contains only consonants, variation in vowel sounds (vocalization) is indicated in the text of the Bible by points written above, below and inside the consonants and also by special uses of a few of the consonants. Reading without points also means ignoring the word-division implied by particular patterns of vocalization. This is the method behind Pico’s reading of behibar’am (‘when they were created’) as behe bra’am (‘with he he created them’) in Genesis and of lemarbeh (‘for the increase’) as lemo rabbah (‘to him the great [Spirit]’) in Isaiah. In this way, meaning becomes infinite and unified in infinity.
71. Per id quod dicunt Cabalistae de Aegypto et attestata est experientiae habemus credere quod terra Aegypti sit in analogia et subordinatione proprietatis potentiae. 71. From what Cabalists say about Egypt and from what experience attests, we may believe that the land of Egypt is in analogy with and subordinate to the attribute of Power.
Zohar I, 210, II, 34-5, 40, III 69; Ezek. 29:3. When Israel is in Egypt, the land of exile, the Sun (S6) does not give its light to the Moon (S10). In this state, when the Sepirot are not united, the Power (Geburah) of harsh Judgment (Din, S5), the proprietas potentiae, dominates S10, releasing the demonic forces of the other side. Among these is Egypt as the ‘great dragon’ in Ezekiel.
72. Sicut vera astrologia docet nos legere in libro Dei, ita Cabala docet nos legere in libro legis. 72. Just as the true astrology teaches us to read in the book of God, so Cabala teaches us to read in the book of the Law.
W175-6; Exod. 32:32; Ps. 69:29. 139:16; Isa. 34:4; Dan. 7:10; Idel, Perfections, 482-92. Idel shows the likely influence of Yohanan Alemanno, derived from Spanish Cabala of the thirteenth century, on Pico’s view here: that astrology shows how to read the stars and planets as God’s heavenly scripture just as Cabala shows how to read the Sepirot as God’s supernal scripture revealed in the Bible.
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