Rabbi Eleazar of Worms and the Medieval Book of Raziel
These pages are from the new book on the legends and history of the Kabbalah and the Sefer Raziel, Kabbalah's Secret Circles, Read some of the chapters and download a free PDF sample of the book to preview. Also, download other free books on Kabbalah.
One of the most well known practicing medieval Kabbalist was German-born Rabbi Eleazar ben Judah ben Kalonymus (1176-1238).
He is also known as Eleazar Rokeach or Rabbi Eleazar of Wormes or Eleazar of Germiza. He was a leading Talmudist and a pupil of Samuel the Pious. The rabbi was a descendant of the prominent Kalonymus family that pioneered the Hasidic Ashkanazi movement.
As the main inheritor of the Ashkenazi esoteric traditions, he fervently studied the Kabbalah throughout his lifetime and wrote many commentaries on Judaic mysticism. He obtained the instructions to create a golem from his teacher, R. Yehudah ha-Chassid (1150-1217) and from his father.
Rabbi Eleazar wrote many mystical works on Kabbalah. His ESER SHEMOT is a commentary on the ten Holy names of G-d. In SEFER HA-SHEM (BOOK OF THE NAME), he discusses steps how to mystically combine the 22 Hebrew letters with a table of permutations that correspond to the limbs of the body with the divine name, YHVH ????.
One of the most quoted commentaries on the SEFER YETZIRAH is attributed to Rabbi ben Judah of Worms from his Perush al Sefer Yetzirah (“Commentary on SEFER YETZIRAH”) also found in Sodei Razia (BOOK OF THE ANGEL RAZIEL). R. Eleazar uses extracts from Sabbethai Donnolo’s commentary on the SEFER YETZRIAH.
This work was first published in Mantua in 1562, reprinted several times after that, and again in Przemysl in 1889. That edition is still studied today, however, it has numerous errors.
R. Eleazar’s Book of Raziel The medieval magical manuscript SODEI RAZAYYA (or RAZIEL HAMALACH)– the SECRETS OF MYSTICISM OF THE ARCHANGEL RAZIEL has been attributed to Rabbi Eleazar of Worms. The book, survived in both in Hebrew-Aramaic from R. Eleazar, and in Latin as the magical Grimoire LIBER RAZIELLS ARCHANGELI and in 1564 called LIBER SALOMONIS (Book of Solomon), named after King Solomon. It was later reprinted in 1701 in Amsterdam. Today, it called the BOOK OF THE ARCHANGEL RAZIEL.
The Latin translations, however, strays far from the original Hebrew explanations. In SEFER RAZIEL, R. Eleazar’s explanation provides the first known written account on how to create an artificial man– a golem. The author describes how to combine the letters of the Hebrew alphabet into such a sequence that the combination of sounds evoke life into the lifeless body. He explains how dust is molded into the shape of a body and how the Hebrew letters are permutated according to the instructions in the 2nd chapter of the SEFER YETZIRAH.
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“Sefer Razaya” Chapters
These are the translations of the chapter titles to the SEFER RAZAYA HASHEM (BOOK OF SECRETS OF THE HOLY NAME), by Rabbi Eleazar, according to my translations:
• Ha'SkMT V'HaAyRT (Awakening Knowledge)
• Chapter 1: Sefer Aleph-Bayt (Book of the Letters of the Alphabet)
• Chapter 2: Sod HaYChod (Secrets of the Jews), Ha'LKot Ha'KSa (The Laws of Knowledge)
• Chapter 3: Sefer Ha'ZZShQ (76 Names of Metatron, listed with descriptions)
• Chapter 4: PYRVSh AyL Sefer Y'TziRaH (Commentary on SEFER YETZIRAH) with charts and diagrams.
• Chapter 5: V'ZKMoT Ha-Nefesh Subchapters: • 1: Chochmot ha-Nefesh (Knowledge of the Soul) This is the 5th part of Sodei Razayya that deals with psychology. Printed as a separate book 1876, Lemberg.
Chapter 4, the COMMENTARY ON THE SEFER YETZIRAH, discusses the issues revolving around the use and validation of the BOOK OF FORMATION.
In this section, R. Eleazar provides the instructions how to create a golem and then presents a letter combination technique.
Translation: “Whoever studies SEFER YEZIRAH has to purify himself [and] don white clothes. It is forbidden to study [SEFER YEZIRAH] alone, but only [in groups of] two or three, as it is written: “and the souls they made in Haran.” And it is written: “It is not good for man to be alone I will make a fitting helper for him.” Therefore, [Scriptures] begins with a “bet, bereshit bara,” He created. It is incumbent upon him to take virgin soil from a place in the mountain where no one has plowed. And he shall knead (Vayigabbei he-?aafar) the dust with living and he shall make a body [Golem] and shall begin to permutate the alphabets of 221 gates, each limb separately, each limb with the corresponding letter mentioned in the SEFER YEZIRAH.”
The translation is very close, but on closer word by word examination using an Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon, there are even deeper meanings revealed. For example, the phrase “fitting helper” has other meanings, including “wife, a golem or partner.”
The two Hebrew words AyZR KNGDV is defined as helpmate (wife, spouse). This is a dictionary definition. Other translations use companion or assistant. The instructions specify that two or three adepts, joined in the golem ritual, should take some virginal mountain earth, knead it in running water, and form a golem with it.
Over this figure they recite the combinations of the alphabet derived from the “221 gates of the Book Yezirah,” which according to R. Eleazar, form 221 combinations (not 231). Each letter is combined with the Tetragrammaton, according to every possible vocalization. A final step was the incision on its forehead of the name of G-d, or of the word ??? (EMeT) meaning “truth.”
The creature was destroyed by removing the initial letter ? (Aleph), leaving the word ?? MeT, meaning “dead.”
Recipes for creating a golem, with the use of letter combinations, are also found in R. Eleazar’s SEFER HA-BA, a commentary on the SEFER YETZIRAH in the chapter “Pe’ullah ha-yetsira” (the “practice or practical application of the Yetzirah”) along with comments by Rabbi Yehudah ha-Chassid. R. Eleazar wanted to keep the pronunciation of the divine names secret because it may be mishandled, yet he penned numerous books revealing most of the formulas and drew graphic charts.
R. Eleazar of Worms and, later on, Abraham Abulafia described two stages that are involved in the letter permutation process:
R. Eleazar revealed many secrets, like Raziel, he told the Jewish and Christian world for the first time the true secrets of the Jewish magic. It also brought the development of Christian Cabala– a way to legitimize Jewish magical practices in the name of Jesus. This spurned an occult industry in magical symbols and formulas popularized during the Medieval Ages.
New books on Kabbalah
After studying the Kabalah and the occult for more than 40 years, I'm writing aseveral books on the ancient Qabalah, Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation), Sefer Raziel (The Book of Secrets) and dream awareness (astral projection). If you are interested in copies, they will be available on Amazon.com. Email me if you want to be informed when the books are published at [email protected]
How to study Sefer Raziel
The information contained in the Book of Secrets is not easily revealed. Like most Qabalistic texts, there are riddles and puzzles to figure out to understand the true meaning.
When you study the book in English realize that the translation is based on the understandings of our culture and time- far removed from when the book was originally composed.
If you have a Hebrew edition, see the translation suggestions to translate it for yourself. You will learn much more about Raziel's secrets when you study the original Hebrew words.
Descargar sepher de raziel. Download free Sepher Raziel.
The Book of the Angel Raziel (book review)