This is bone simple notebooking, but I want to keep track of this anyway. One of the things I have been trying to keep in mind as I read the Kabbalistic material is that there are going to be parts that are less intuitive for me because they reference, implicitly, daily practices and everyday concepts from Judaism.
One of the things I have been doing to rectify that a little is read through the Amidah. Besides being core liturgical material, it has likely been recited in close to its contemporary form for nearly two millenia (and probably recited in recognizable form for centuries before that).
I have to muddle through this sort of thing pretty slowly, looking at Hebrew text and some translations of them, then digging around to verify and expand upon details. I welcome the input of folks with Hebrew fluency (because I effectively have none).
Still, even at the muddle, there are two things that seem worthwhile to point out at this juncture. Gevurah and Da’at both appear as subsections of the Amidah. Gevurah appears as the title of the second verse of praise and singles out God’s capacity to raise the dead (and to bring rain, though it seems like commentary suggests this was added later than the rest and reflects a sense of rain and resurrection being intertwined).
Second in line, suggests it is a bit important. It is intriguing that it follows the section praising the ancestors, suggesting that there is something going on here about the spiritual revivification of those ancestors, a foretaste of the true resurrection.
It provides me with some material for appreciating why Lurianic Kabbalah might position Gevurah as a point of fracture. If the powers of Gevurah are joined to the resurrection, then the breakdown of Gevurah indicates a breakdown in the resurrection. To know death and suffering, right? Looking to the Sabbatian heresies, and their probable influence on the grimoires, the connections between demonology and necromancy appears, too, with the demons occupying a disruption in the continuity of ancestral reverence and resurrection.
The blessing of Da’at is interesting, in part because it appears the the Wikipedia page has (mis)identified it as ‘Binah’ (alternate naming, or just error?). Though binah is invoked within the blessing, the Hebrew title appears to be Da’at, which links it to the tree of knowledge (da’at) in Genesis. The tree of distinctions.
I am really wondering if it might make sense to talk about ‘da’at’ as something of a conceptual homonym for what Hegel called ‘geist.’ Tracing the genealogy of such ontological epistemologies, major players like Spinoza are to be found, so too are the unsung early Christan Kabbalists. Probably over-reaching to precisely locate them as a source, but as a steady influence?
Anyway, notice the cycle in action here. Da’at, then repentance, then forgiveness, then redemption. Knowledge as separation, but also knowledge as the first step toward reunion. I wonder, too, at the distinction between knowledge of good and evil (the pillars of mercy and severity) and knowledge of things as they are without moral judgment (the axis of malkuth-keter).