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Unlike the Rambam's now-conventional ideas against anthropomorphizing God, there are kabbalistic texts studied today which seem to espouse completely antithetical ideas.

I am familiar with the historical dispute in Jewish theology on this issue (as laid out in Marc Shapiro's The Limits of Orthodox Theology). My question is with how we reconcile anti-Maimonidean accounts as we encounter them today.

For example, a central text to the tikkun leil Shavuot studied by many is the Idra Rabba, a section from the Zohar that discusses God's "parts" in human terms (with skull, ears, nose, beard, etc). I've always been disturbed when reading this on Shavuot night, but continue to wrestle with it as it serves as part of the Arizal's set order for tikkun study.

Can someone more familiar with these Zoharic concepts explain how they comport with Judaism? Are all of these depictions meant to be figurative, despite their graphic content?

  • Note that later Maimonideans, DID reject the Zohar, such as the Milhemet Mitsvah in Provence and Milhamot Hashem in Yemen. – mevaqesh May 4 '17 at 0:24
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    The Torah also writes about God's hand and arm and eyes etc. What's the big deal? – Double AA May 4 '17 at 0:49
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    @DoubleAA: I understand the Torah's anthropomorphisms as "smilies and riddles" for metaphysical concepts, as taught by Rambam. I have not learned, however, what the Zohar is up to. I do not know if the Zohar considers God as a corporal being and am asking for elaboration specific to this text. mevaqesh: I am asking how contemporary, not historical, authorities understand the seeming problems of this text since it is commonly accepted as holy. Not that it must agree with the Rambam; I am simply seeking sources that explain this anthropomorphism. – Aryeh May 4 '17 at 1:16
  • @mevaqesh en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_ibn_Seneh_Zarza Sefer Meqor Ḥayyim (Mantua 1559), fol. 118b (Parašat Ki Teṣe). denied the authenticity of the zohar hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=6145&st=&pgnum=239 – MoriDowidhYa3aqov May 4 '17 at 1:43
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/q/773 – msh210 May 5 '17 at 8:53

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