• Abraham

    Our beloved forefather and partiarch, the father of the three big monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).

  • Abraham ben Alexander of Cologne

    Avraham of Cologne was a lay preacher. Once it happened that he walked into the synagogue of Shelomoh ibn Adret’s father. While he was on the western side of the synagogue, a voice was coming out at the opposite side. They asked it every kind of question, and the voice also known as the “voice of Elijah” answered.

  • Abraham ben David

    Rabbeinu Abraham ben David was a Jewish, French commentator on the Talmud. He was born in Provence, France, about 1125 CE; died at Posquières, 27 November 1198 CE.
    He was the son-in-law of Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne Av Beth Din (known as the Ravad II), and the father of Rabbeinu Isaac the Blind.
    RABaD (abbreviation for Rabbeinu Abraham ben David) or RABaD III remained in Lunel after completing his studies, and subsequently became one of the rabbinical authorities of that city. He went to Montpellier, where he remained for a short time, and then moved to Nîmes, where he lived for a considerable period.

  • Abulafia, Avraham ben Samuel

    Rabbi Avraham Abulafia (1240-1291) was one of the most engaged promoters of Prophetic Kabbalah. He wrote over twenty books, mostly concerning the ways to acquire the ecstatic state and have a direct experience of the divine.

  • Avraham ben Yitzchak of Granada

    Rabbi Avraham Ben Yitzchak of Granada (Rimon) lived in the late 13th early 14th Century CE. He is thought to be the author of Brit Menucha. Some identify him with Rabbi Avraham ben Yitzchak of Narbonne. Scholem disagrees, possibly because it contradicts his thesis that the author of the Zohar is Moshe de Leon.

  • Azariah da Fano, Menahem

    He was a disciple of Rabbi Moses Cordovero, to whose widow he offered 1,000 sequins for her husband's manuscripts. Even as a youth Fano had some reputation for learning, as is shown by the fact that Moses Cordovero (d. 1570) sent him a copy of his Pardes Rimonim.

  • Azriel of Gerona

    Azriel ben Menahem was one of the most important kabbalists in the Catalan town of Girona (north of Barcelona) during the thirteenth century when it was an important center of Kabbalah. He was the teacher of the most important figure from the kabbalist community of Girona, Nahmanides and the most important student of the mystic Isaac the Blind.

  • Azulai, Abraham ben Mordecai

    He was a kabbalistic author and commentator born in Fes, Morocco. In 1599 he moved to Israel and settled in Hebron, where he wrote a commentary on the Zohar under the title Kiryat Arba (City of Arba). The plague of 1619 drove him from his new home, and while in Gaza, where he found refuge, he wrote his kabbalistic work Chesed Le-Abraham (Mercy to Abraham).

  • Caro, Joseph ben Ephraim

    Joseph Caro, also spelled Karo (Toledo, 1488 – Safed, March 24, 1575) was author of the last great codification of Jewish law, the Shulchan Aruch and an Italian kabbalist.

  • Chamai Gaon

    Pseudonym of a kabbalist belonging, according to Jellinek, to the school of Isaac the Blind. The works which bear this name are Sefer Ha-Yiḥud and Sefer Ha-Iyyun.

  • Cordovero, Moses ben Jacob

    Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522-1570), also known as the Ramak, was the first to systemize Kabbalah and lay down the foundations that have been later accepted by all kabbalists. Renewed for his mental lucidity and his ability to explain in a simple manner complex topics, he was the master of Isaac Luria in Safed.

  • De Leon, Moshe ben Shem Tov

    He was a Spanish rabbi and Kabbalist who is thought of as the composer or redactor of the Zohar. It is a matter of controversy if the Zohar is his own work, or that he committed traditions going back to Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai in writing.

    To Moshe De Leon was also attributed Shaarei Tzedek (Gates of Righteousness), even if he probably was not its original author.

  • Gikatilla, Joseph ben Abraham

    He was the best pupil of the kabbalist Avraham Abulafia.

  • Ibn Gabbai, Meir ben Ezekiel

    He was an enthusiastic kabbalist, noted for thorough mastery of the whole kabbalistic lore.

  • Isaac ben Samuel of Acre

    Palestinian cabalist, flourished in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. According to Azulai ("Shem ha-Gedolim,"s.v.), he was a pupil of Nachmanides. He was at Acre when that town was taken by Al-Malik al-Ashraf, and was thrown into prison with many of his coreligionists; but he escaped the massacre, and in 1305 went to Spain. Abraham Zacuto states, in his "Yuchasin," that Moses of Leon discovered the Zohar in the time of Isaac of Acre. But Isaac doubted the authenticity of the Zohar, not having heard of it in the Holy Land, and made inquiries about it of Nachmanides' pupils, without, however, any satisfactory result. When he met Moses of Leon at Valladolid, the latter took an oath that he had in his house at Avila a copy of the Zohar, written by Simeon b. Yochai himself. But Moses of Leon died before he could return to Avila, and Isaac, more than ever desirous of obtaining the truth, consulted at Avila a certain David Rafan. The last-named told Isaac that Moses of Leon's wife and daughter had revealed to the wife of a certain R. Joseph the fact that Moses of Leon had written the book himself. Grätz ("Gesch." vii. 211) takes this story as historical, but Landauer (in "Orient, Lit." vi. 710-713) shows it to be apocryphal, and demonstrates that the Zohar was discovered much later.
     Isaac of Acre is frequently quoted by Elijah de Vidas in his "Reshit Chokmah," and by R. Chayyim Vital in his "Megillat Setarim." He was an expert in composing the sacred names ("Tserufim"), by the power of which angels were forced to reveal to him the great mysteries (Azulai, l.c.). According to Azulai he wrote many cabalistic works. Those that are known are: "Me'irat 'Enayim", a cabalistic commentary on Nachmanides' commentary to the Pentateuch; "Sefer ha-Sodot", mentioned in the "Nobelot Chokmah" of Joseph Solomon Delmedigo; "Ketem Paz", a cabalistic work mentioned by Moses Botarel in his commentary to the "Sefer Yetsirah", and the author of which he calls "Isaac ben Samuel", identified by Michael ("Or ha-Chayyim", No. 1088) with Isaac b. Samuel of Acre; "Likkute Shoshanim," possibly a compendium of the "Sefer ha-Sodot".

  • Luzzatto, Moshe Chaim (Ramchal)

    Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) is an outstanding kabbalistic genius who was born in Italy, Padova, in 1707 and died in Acre in 1746. He could synthesize and reconcile the ancient kabbalistic views of the Rishonim with the modern lurianic ones. His writings are very explicative and clear, due to his rational and inquisitive mind.
    Poet, playwrighter, philologist and mystic, in 1727 he had a special revelation, which introduced him to the study of  Kabbalah. Despite the hostility around himself, since he was lacking all the necessary requisites for the study of Kabbalah, he  pursued his aim and founded the "Society of people looking for the Lord", a secret circle of young scholars.
    His kabbalistic activity put him soon  in disagreement with the rabbinate in Venice, forcing him to emigrate to Amsterdam. In 1743 he went to live in Safed, the foremost kabbalistic town situated in Galilea. Three years later he died of plague, together with his family, and he was then buried in Tiberiade.

  • Miscellaneous literature

    Miscellaneous old literature.

  • Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides)

    The Ramban was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, Spanish Sephardic rabbi, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator.

  • Nehunia ben Ha-Kana

    We have few writings of Rabbi Nehunia haKana, who was one of the most renewed Kabbalists just before the appearance of Moses de Leon. Master of the Roads of the Merkava, he was an undisputed authority in the field of Jewish mysticism.

    Nehunia haKana lived around the Ist century CE. He was a student of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai, teacher of Rabbi Yishmael, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer HaGadol.

  • Recanati, Menachem

    Menachem Recanati was an Italian rabbi who flourished at the close of the thirteenth century and in the early part of the fourteenth, who devoted most part of his writings to Kabbalah.

  • Sagi-Nahor, Yitzchok

    Rabbi Yitzchak Sagi-Nahor (the Blind), c. 12th C. CE, was the son of Raavad (Rabad of Posquieres), and grandson of Rabbi Avraham ben Yitzchak.

  • Sharabi, Sar Shalom (Rashash)

    He was a Yemenite-Israeli Jewish Rabbi, Halachist, Chazzan and Kabbalist. In later life, he became the Rosh Yeshiva of Bet El Yeshiva in the Old City of Jerusalem.

  • Shimon bar Yochai (Rashbi)

    Shimon Bar Yochai (Rashbi) is the most renewed Kabbalist in history, protagonist of the Zohar. He lived after the destruction of the second temple (around 150 CE).
    His teacher was Rabbi Akiva, who was tortured and killed with his students by the Romans who felt threatened by Kabbalah. They skinned him up to the bones with an iron comb for horses. Following the death of the 24.000 students of Rabbi Akiva, Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai was authorized by the teacher himself and by Rabbi Yehuda Ben Baba to teach Kabbalah to the future generations, as it was taught to him. He and other four students were the only ones in the school of Akiba who escaped the Romans.
    Rabbi Shimon Ben Yochai and his son Elazar hid for thirteen years in a cave. When they came out they had in their  hands the Zohar and a crystalline method for the study of Kabbalah.
    The Rashbi reached all the 125 levels of spirituality that a human being can reach during his life in this world, and in the Zohar he tells us how he reached together with his son the particular spiritual level called  "Eliyahu the Prophet", i.e. when the Prophet himself comes to teach the road.

  • Vital, Chaim ben Joseph

    Chayyim Vital (1543-1620 CE) was the major disciple of the most renewed modern kabbalist, Isaac Luria. Since Luria left nothing in writing, Vital was his "pen". He carefully annotated all the teachings of his master, and from his efforts all modern Kabbalah derived.

  • Zalman Kremer, Elijah ben Shlomo (Vilna Gaon)

    The Vilna Gaon (April 23, 1720 – October 9, 1797) was a prominent Jewish rabbi, Talmud scholar, and Kabbalist.
    Elijah applied to the Talmud and rabbinic literature proper philological methods. He made an attempt toward a critical examination of the text; and thus, very often with a single reference to a parallel passage, or with a textual emendation, overthrew tenuous decisions of his rabbinic predecessors. He devoted much time to the study of the Hebrew Bible and Hebrew grammar, and was knowledgeable in the secular sciences, enriching the latter by his original contributions. His pupils and friends had to pursue the same plain and simple methods of study that he followed. He also exhorted them not to neglect the secular sciences, maintaining that Judaism could only gain by studying them. His main work is Shulkhan Arukh.