This website produces religious jewelery, one of whose pieces is described as the Etz Chayim as envisaged by Abraham Abulafia, founder of the prophetic-ecstatic school of Kabbalah. Is shows a very different conceptual arrangement of Sephirot to the commonly used Tree design as developed by Rav Yitzak the Blind.

Is this design (image below) an accurate representation of Abulafia's concept of the Tree? The Sephirot appear to be ordered into four 'branches' along a series of expanding spheres; Abulafia (basing himself on the cosmology of Rambam's Moreh) did write about the cosmic spheres, however, I've yet to find anything in his writings that describes his particular conception of the Tree in detail.

the Tree of Life

  • Be aware that Abulafia was somewhat controversial in his time. His contemporary R. Solomon ben Abraham Adret denounced him as a false Messiah. – mevaqesh Oct 18 '15 at 3:16
  • @Mevaqesh However, the Chida writes that although the Rashba and the Yashar miKandia wrote him off, he has seen Gedolim quote him. And it seems he is referring to Reb Chsim Vittal. – HaLeiVi Oct 18 '15 at 5:21
  • Both the Ramak and R. Vital quote him extensively (though anonymously) in the Pardes Rimonim and Shaarei Kedushah respectively, and refer to prophetic kabbalah as an 'advanced' form of kabbalah – Meir Illumination Oct 18 '15 at 9:13
  • I know that he became popular in later times. This often happens. Indeed, the realm of kabbalistic literature is littered with works of extremely dubious origins, such as the Shiur Komah which Rambam said should be burned, Kitzur Shelah a Sabbatean work, and Chemdas HaYamim which was probably written by Nathan of Gaza (Sabbetai Tzvi's prophet) himself. When discussing these works it seems worthwhile to know their histories. I suppose whether one trusts the Rashba; the undisputed gadol Hador to whom thw world addressed its quesries of all kinds, or a writer who lived many centuries later... – mevaqesh Oct 18 '15 at 13:06
  • About the nature of the Rashba's contemporary depends on one's personal proclivities. – mevaqesh Oct 18 '15 at 13:08

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