Merkabah– Riding the Chariot
These pages are excerpts from the book, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, Download a free PDF sample compliments of the author.
The Merkabah is collection of ancient Jewish mystical texts include esoteric observations of the Babylonian TALMUD, descriptions of the heavenly palaces (Hekhalot), personal descriptions of ascents into Heaven (the Hekhalot Zutartey is the account of Rabbi Akiba and Hekhalot Rabbati is the account of Rabbi Ishmael), the secret names and seals to receive the Vision of the Chariot (Ma’aseh Merkabah).
Many of the principles of Kabbalah are based on these ancient Hekhalot texts. Most of the material was composed between 100-1000 CE and was later used by the Chassdic Ashkanazi during the Middle Ages (12th-13th century).
The Merkabah is discussed in early Jewish Hekhalot literature. The earliest Biblical reference is in Chronicles where it describes the “alter of incense and gold, refined by weight, for the Chariot of the cherubim who spread out their wings and cover the Ark of the Covenant.”
A reference in a MISHNA HAGIGAH passage stated that, “One may not expound the laws of…the account of Creation before two, nor the Divine Chariot before one, unless he is wise and understanding from his own knowledge.” Ezekiel’s vision of the cherubim included a description of the “chariot” (Merkabah).