Jewish Studies

Tzahi Weiss

Prayers to Angels and the Early Sefirotic Literature

Section: Articles
Jewish Studies Quarterly (JSQ)

Volume 27 () / Issue 1, pp. 22-35 (14)
Published 02.03.2020

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The issue of substituting direct worship of God with prayers addressed to angels has provoked debate in Jewish sources from the first centuries CE until the modern period. During the 12th and 13th centuries, this issue was the subject of vivid debate. The relationship between prayers to angels and prayers to the sefirot, as well as the relationship between sefirot and angels, during the period of the formation of the sefirotic literature has not yet been systematically examined in scholarship. In a preliminary attempt to address this lacuna, this article outlines and investigates the objections of the sefirotic theosophists to the worship of angels, from which it emerges that the sefirotic literature is not only a mystical and mythical response to medieval Jewish philosophy, but also evolved as a conservative rabbinic reaction to Jewish medieval mythical and magical beliefs that were suspected of being contradictory to monotheism.

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