Thou art One, the beginning of all computation, the base of all construction.
Thou art One, and in the mystery of Thy Oneness the wise of heart are astonished, for they know not what it is.
Thou art One, and Thy Oneness neither diminishes nor increases, neither lacks nor exceeds.
Thou art One, but not as the One that is counted or owned, for number and change cannot reach Thee, nor attribute, nor form.
Thou art One, but my mind is too feeble to set Thee a law or a limit, and therefore I say: "I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue."
Thou art One, and Thou art exalted high above abasement and falling -- not like a man, who falls when he is alone.
(Solomon ibn Gabirol)
'The Heart and the Fountain: An Anthology of Jewish Mystical Experiences'
By Joseph Dan (Editor)
From its very first page, it's obvious that this lucid, authentically Jewish and scholarly work is different from the numerous recent titles that have jumped on the kabbalistic bandwagon. Dan, an expert on Jewish mysticism and winner of the 1997 Israel Prize, carefully explodes several misconceptions. He begins by separating religion from mysticism. In current usage, he says, "someone who prays is religious; someone who really means it is a mystic." But the basic attitudes of mysticism often contradict those of established religion: the mystic distrusts language, logic and thought, certain that those vehicles cannot lead to the revelation of God's nature. "Mysticism is that which cannot be expressed in words, period," states Dan succinctly. He further distinguishes between mysticism and Kabbalah, noting that though many mystics were Kabbalists, Jewish mysticism began a thousand years before Kabbalah. Mysticism, he stresses, is a Christian term that has no parallel in Judaism; Jewish mysticism is the "invention of contemporary scholars dealing with comparative study of religion." A comprehensive introduction explains the historical development of mysticism from antiquity to modern times, and delineates its leaders, texts and theology. Over 25 selections reflect the remarkable scope of Jewish mysticism, from the visions of Rabbi Akiba and Rabbi Ishmael to the secrets of the Zohar; from apocalyptic, messianic and magical texts to the vibrant writing of four contemporary Israeli poets an unconventional inclusion. This volume will appeal to any serious reader of mysticism.