Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Apophatic Aanim Zmiros

I think this is a good way to conclude our  series on apophaticism. Check beck later for new material on a new subject.

אֲסַפְּרָה כְבוֹדְךָ וְלֹא רְאִיתִיךָ אֲדַמְּךָ אֲכַנְּךָ וְלֹא יְדַעְתִּיךָ

בְּיַד נְבִיאֶיךָ בְּסוֹד עֲבָדֶיךָ
דִּמִּיתָ הֲדַר כְּבוֹד הוֹדֶךָ

גְּדֻלָּתְךָ וּגְבוּרָתֶךָ כִּנּוּ לְתֹקֶף פְּעֻלָּתֶךָ

דִּמּוּ אוֹתְךָ וְלֹא כְפִי יֶשְׁךָ
וַיְשַׁוּוּךָ לְפִי מַעֲשֶׂיךָ

הִמְשִׁילוּךָ בְּרֹב חֶזְיוֹנוֹת
הִנְּךָ אֶחָד בְּכָל דִּמְיוֹנוֹת

I'll tell of Your glory, though I have never seen You. I’ll give people images for You and names for You, though I do not know You.

By the hand of Your prophets or through private counsel with Your worshipers, You provided images of the beauty and glory of Your power.

They named Your powerful deeds: "Your greatness," "Your strength."

They imagined You, but not as You really are. They tried to describe You according to Your deeds.

They made parables about You and provided a myriad of visions of You, yet here You are, One in all the different forms.

רֹאשׁ דְּבָרְךָ אֱמֶת קוֹרֵא מֵרֹאשׁ דּוֹר וָדוֹר עַם דּוֹרֶשְׁךָ דְּרֹשׁ

Your chief word is "truth"; You've called it out since the beginning. In each generation people interpret You [for themselves] and find [their own] meaning.

As you can see, this piyut  suggests that knowledge of God is unknowable and that all descriptions of God - even those  acquired via prophecy - are parables, allegories and figures of speech.

Now will you accuse the mystical school that produced it of skepticism? Will you say they were dry, and brittle and lacking in spiritually?

- ad kan.-

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