The great mekubal Rabbi Yitzhaq Luria is often referred to as the "Ari" (lion), based on an acronym of his name. I have heard some explain this acronym as Ashkenazi Rabbi Yitzaq, while others explain it as 'Eloki Rabbi Yitzaq. (There appears to be some dispute over which was the original.) It is also common to refer to him as ha-Ari ha-Kodesh.

Such titles are quite unusual. Have there been any other individuals (mekuballim or otherwise) that have been titled "Eloki" and/or "Kadosh"? (Not groups, such as in Shemot chapter 16, wherein Korah refers to the entire edah of am Yisrael as kadosh.)

Someone has suggested to me that these arose because some considered him to be the Moshiach ben Yosef, but this answer does not satisfy: I haven't found any sources that indicate that people considered him a (potential or actual) Moshiach, nor have I come across any other Messianic candidates who were named 'eloki or kodesh.

  • 1
    "Elohi" means "theologian" not "divine" (ch"v).
    – Double AA
    Sep 9, 2015 at 2:48
  • @DoubleAA, you may be right about the meaning, but there's nothing "chas v'shalom" about being God-like. We're all supposed to try to be: "ma Hu rachum...".
    – msh210
    Sep 9, 2015 at 2:56
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    @msh210 Imitatio Dei is completely different than being "divine." No human is, was, or ever will be divine. Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Sep 9, 2015 at 3:07
  • @Maimonist, I recommend you look up divine. I strongly suspect that what DoubleAA meant is that the Ari was not a god; I was clarifying that he (arguably) was, nonetheless, divine in other senses.
    – msh210
    Sep 9, 2015 at 4:50
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    @msh210 The sense I mean it in was the sense which serves as a translation of "אלוהי" taken in the sense which would cause a religious Jew to translate it as "Eloki." I think that was clear.
    – Double AA
    Sep 9, 2015 at 15:20

2 Answers 2


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The concept and title originates from Moshe Rabbeinu in parshat v'Zot HaBracha 33:1, which calls him "Ish HaElokim". It translates as The "Man/G-d". It is referring to a true prophet of G-d as explained in Sefer HaChinuch, Mitzvah 517, Shoftim.

This is also how it is explained by Rabbi Meir Ibn Gabbai in Sefer Avodat HaKodesh, volume 2: Perek 5 in the name of the sage, Rabbi Yosef ben HaRav HaMekubal, Rabbi Shem Tov ben Shem Tov.

The concept is developed further by the Magid of Mezeritch in his Likkutei Amarim, chapter 29 beginning with the words, "Make for yourself two trumpets of silver..." The Magid explains that the word "trumpets" (חצוצרות) is to be understood "two halves" (חצי צורות). That a true prophet is actually half man and half G-d.

And this is in keeping with the words of the Sefer HaChinuch which explains such a person, the true prophet, is an actual agent of G-d, meaning "shaliach" as it is understood in Halacha. That means that the shaliach, the legal agent or representative actually represents the one who has empowered him. He speaks for him and acts with all his authority and power. When the shaliach obligates the one that empowered him, the one that empowered him is fully responsible to fulfill the commitments made by the shaliach.

This idea is also brought by Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin in Sefer Nefesh HaChaim in relation to the idea that the Shechina spoke from the midst of Moshe's throat. See Nefesh HaChaim, Sha'ar 3, Perek 13 and Likutei Ma'amarim, Ma'amarim 14.

In the same way, HaKadosh is the also one of the upper levels of prophecy as taught by Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair in Avodah Zara 20a beginning with the words, "Torah brings one to watchfulness...". The level just before "Ruach HaKodesh" is called "Kedusha". One who has attained this level is called "HaKadosh".

This is also explained by Rabbeinu Bachai in his commentary to Devarim, parshat v'Zot HaBracha 33:8.

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    The question sought others with the appellation eloki or kadosh. I don't see how this answers the question.
    – msh210
    Sep 9, 2015 at 4:51
  • 1
    @msh210 He is asking are there others and what these titles mean. He questions whether it means someone is Moshiach. The appellation "Eloki" or "Elokah" is referring to a level of prophecy. The first use I am familiar with is referring to Moshe specifically in the written Torah. So too, "Kadosh" or "HaKadosh" is a different level on the path of prophecy as taught in the Torah. If you look at the citations referenced, they are self explanatory. Sep 9, 2015 at 5:24
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    "He is asking are there others and what these titles mean. He questions whether it means someone is Moshiach." Only the first of those three questions was asked above AFAICT.
    – msh210
    Sep 9, 2015 at 11:25
  • @msh210 Paraphrasing the title is, "Are the titles of the Ari unique?" In the body of the question he asks, "Have there been any other individuals with these unusual titles?" The third question is inferred from his comment that someone told him these titles were used because they thought Rabbi Isaac Luria was Moshiach ben Yosef. But he, the questioner, wasn't satisfied with this answer. This implies that he also wants to know what the titles mean, AFAICT. Sep 9, 2015 at 15:14

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