Kabbalah: Golem

Color, sounds and the golem in Kabbalah

Kabbalah's Secret Circles by Robert ZuckerNew book on the legends and history of Kabbalah and the Book of Creation, Kabbalah's Secret Circles! Read some of the chapters and download a free PDF sample of the book to preview. This page contains notes from the book.

By Robert Zucker

The earliest text explicitly referring to using color as a mystical technique was written by R. David be Yehudah he-Hasid, a Spanish Kabbalist in the late 13th early 14th century.

R David said: "We are not allowed to visualize the ten Sephiroth, except in accordance with the rashey perakim which reach you, such as Magan David to Hesed and Honen ha-Da'at to Tiferet. "

Therefore, you should always visualize that colour which is [attributed to the ten Sefirah according to] the rashey perakim (notes), that color being the hashmal of the Sefirah, the hasmal being the covering [or dress] of that very Sefirah around [it]. "

Afterward, you shall draw [downward] by your visualization the efflux from "the depth of the river" to the worlds down to usó and this is the true [way], received [in an esoteric manner] by oral tradition." It is forbidden to visualize the Sefirah, so the colors must be used. The imaginary "colors" are the "covering" of the Sefirot."

R. Moses Cordovero wrote in his "Pares Rimmonim:"

"It is good and fitting if he wishes to visualize these havayot [that is, the different vocalizations of the Tetragrammaton] according to their color, as then his prayer will be very effecive, on the condition that his [mystical] intention is that there is no other possible way to represent the activity of a certain attribute [but[ the certain [corresponding] color. And as the colors in the gate of colors are many, we shall not discuss here the colors. But when he is interested to direct [his prayer', behold that gate which is before [the eyes] of the disciple. (Gate 32, chapt. 2)

R. Hayyim Vital mentions the use of visualization in his "Sha'arey Kedushah." ending with the ascent to 'Aravot, where one should visualize the firmament with a great white curtain, upon which the Tetragrammaton is inscribed in [color] white as snow in Assyrian writing in a certain color." He copied this  passage twice from R. Joseph Ashkenazi(MS British Library, 749, fol. 14b, 18a)

Since it is forbidden to visualize the ten Sephiroth, except in accordance with rashey perakim (such as magazn David to Hesed and Honen ha-Da'at to Tefiroth), colors are used by the Kabbalists.

Colors are the "covering" of the Sephiroth. This may have been the "world of lights" which emanated from the Sephiroth, according to the auhors of Tikkuney Zohar and Ra'ya Meheimma.

late 13th century, R. Joseph ben Shalom Askenazi write in a MS (Sasoon 290) a recipe included with the visualization of colors as part of the technique.

Return to Golem Home Page

Kabbalah's Secret Circles

Learn more about Kabbalah

© 2001-2017 Robert Zucker. Entertainment Magazine EMOL.org All rights reserved.