Kabbalah: Chaye Ha Olam HaBa
Abraham Abulafia's Book on the After Life: "Life in the World to Come"
A new book on the legends and history of Kabbalah and the Book of Creation, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, has just published! Read some of the chapters and download a free PDF sample of the book to preview. This page is an excerpt from the book on Abraham Abulafia and his circles.
This is a section about a growing study and translation of R. Abraham Abulafia's work on "Chaya Ha O'lam Haba" ("Life in the After Life or in the World to Come"). As the title suggests, it covers life in the afterworld. But, also provides extensive meditation techniques, charts and instructions.
Abulafia's "Chaye Ha Olam Ha Ba" manuscript is written in 1280 by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia. It is R. Abulafia's explanation about the secret of the 72 names of the angels, Abulafia's circles, and YHVH.
According to Encyclopedia Judaica 1, 86, the treatise involves "explanations of the 72-letter name of G-d, partly illustrated by circular figures, with exact instructions for mystical meditation."
There were about 40 manuscript copies exant until the book was recently published for the first time. Abulafia was born in Toeldo, Spain in 1240 and died at age 52 in 1292.
My recent purchase of this book in Hebrew, enables me to finally see the original Hebrew used in quotes from Scholem, Kaplan and others. The actual translations, word by word, in today's English is a bit different than what original translations show. As I edit the work, I will add portions of the translations for others to study.
Chaye HaOlam HaBa, provides an amazing insight into R. Abulafia's techniques. I discovered some specific new techniques using the two letter gates, 231 letters and other meditative techniques not discussed in other English Kabbalah meditation books. The translations are difficult because what the words meant back then, do not mean the same today.
The book ends (page 114) with the charts of 28 phrases, then proceeds 30 pages of double ringed circles (4 per page) with the Qabalistic letters and phrases designed by Abulafia- 120 circles, with 9 letters and phrases each, totaling 1080 letters. Discussions how to use the letters, vowels, directions and sets permutations of YHVH are printed. See a sample of the charts.
Although the entire book is in its original Hebrew, the opportunity to study from the original source and to compare against other translations has been an enlightening experience.
Meditation and Kabbalah (amazon.com link) by Aryeh Kaplann contains a very complete translation about Chayye HaOlam HaBa.
There seem to be some common content between Abulafia's book and the "Sefer Raziel HaMelech," especially in the description of the 72 angelic names (based on the 3 lines of Exodus 14:19-21).
"Life in the World to Come" has been quoted by many Jewish Kabbalah authors in discussions about Sefer Yetsirah or the golem. The Jewish belief in an afterlife (reincarnation, gilguleem - gilgil, metempsychosis) is not an ancient one, though no ancient text has mentioned such a subject until near the middle ages.
A book on the history and techniques of Jewish mysticism, "Kabbalah's Secret Circle," contains some of the instructions provided by Abulafia.
The database I am compiling is with FileMaker Pro and contains some word-by-word translations, images and pages from the reprinted book, Chayye Ha Olam Haba, and plenty of information from a variety of sources. This stand-alone program (able to be used on just about any computer with or without FileMaker), is part of a growing database library and Jewish Kabbalistic resource. The Qabalah Stacks will be available in the near future. Learn more.
I'll also be adding some of the translations from the book as I can get them coverted to web format.
If you have an interest in this book or related books, please email [email protected]. Robert Zucker, Arizona, USA. Chayye Ha'Olam Ha Ba is also written as Chaye or Chai' Ha Olam Ha Ba.
Recommended Books from Amazon:
I recommend these books which are available on Amazon.com about Abraham Abulafia. The links open in a new window to keep your place here.
If you have an interest in this book or would like to request a copy of "Kabbalah's Secret Circle," please email [email protected]. Robert Zucker, Arizona, USA.