The Mystical Dance: A Rendezvous of Levinas, Jewish Mysticism and Genesis 1 from a Hebrew Catholic Perspective

The Mystical Dance: A Rendezvous of Levinas, Jewish Mysticism and Genesis 1 from a Hebrew Catholic Perspective
Brother Gilbert Bloomer

Sergei Khudekov often told his Ballet students: "We have forgotten to pray to God with our feet. We have forgotten that once in the great past a divine being touched us and we were nearer to God."[1]  Jacob Meskin, in an article about the great French Jewish philosopher and thinker Emmanuel Levinas, writes about philosophical thought as “the choreography of the dance of real life” to which Levinas makes an important contribution in a post-Shoah world.[2] This ‘choreography of thought’ transcends the reality of the dance and links the dancer to the tracings (reshimu) of the ‘beyond’ from where inspiration flows. This ‘beyond’ is at the same time primordial and eschatological. Levinas links it to the terms ‘immemorial past’ and ‘ethical transcendence’[3]. Levinas’ concepts are enriching all areas of post-modern Christian theology. This article seeks to read Genesis 1 mystically using the concepts of Jewish mystical thought and the philosophical concepts of Levinas. I do this in order to demonstrate that the Jewish source of Levinas’ major ideas also find their origin in a mystical Jewish reading of the ‘immemorial past’ of Genesis 1 which may aid in the development of a distinct Hebrew Catholic theology and spirituality. Using Levinas and Jewish thought I ‘wrestle’ with the text for a deeper ‘Hebrew Catholic’ encounter with the text of Genesis 1 through the paradigm of a mystical Dance or Tango, in order to bring forth new insights and understandings that will enrich this Hebrew Catholic endeavour or dance in the spirit.[4]

The Mystical Dance of the Cherubim
            This essay will not outline a systematic and ontological explanation of the philosophical thought of Levinas. To do so would be to totally misunderstand Levinas who disliked ‘totalities’ and the ontological priority in Western/Greek philosophy. Levinas can only be truly understood by those who are able to think mystically, intuitively and laterally. Like the Stag leaping across the mountains, in the Song of Songs,[5] one must leap intuitively from concept to concept to glimpse a trace of that’ knowing’ (daat) which is beyond all knowing.[6]  At the heart of Levinas’ thought is the encounter with the face of the mysterious ‘other’. The concept of the face is also important in both Biblical and Jewish thought from which Levinas draws his concepts. The face is also important in many forms of dance such as the Ballet and the Tango. The cherubim atop the Ark of the Covenant allude to Levinas’ ethical focus.[7]  The space between the two faces of the cherubim (and their embracing wings), when they are facing each other, is considered in Judaism the holiest space on earth.[8] This is the mystical dance space. When the Jewish people practiced loving kindness (chesed) then the angels faced one another and Israel was blessed and the Divine Voice spoke between the faces of the cherubim [9] (one face is male and one face is female according to Jewish teaching [see Rashi]). When Israel sinned the cherubim would look away from each other and their purifying gaze would fall upon the people. This movement of faces and wings is seen as a form of mystical dance. This face to face contact and rendezvous reminds one of the Latin American dance, the Tango, in which the dancers demonstrate an intensity as much through the face to face encounter as to the dance steps.

The Hebrew Catholic dimension
            The Messiah Jesus who is the Jewish Lord of the Dance[10] also stressed the priority of love and mercy in his parables and teachings, and this compassionate mercy must be central for any development of a Hebrew Catholic theology or spirituality. Levinas would seem to provide a dance –like post –modernist way of philosophising that leads one back to the biblical and ethical priority of loving kindness and mercy, which is important for all believers- Jews and Christians. His concepts can also be used in a Hebrew Catholic theology as part of a philosophical choreography for encountering the truths of faith that is relevant to the post-Shoah and post-modernist generations. Those who are locked into a systematic, vertical, argumentative and modernist mindset will become lost and dizzy in the twirls and leaps of this mystical and Levinasian approach.
            Hebrew Catholics are also known as Catholic Jews, Jewish Catholics or Jews in the Church. They are Catholics of Jewish background/ancestry who desire to preserve their personal and corporate religious-ethnic-identity as Jews and Catholics. Father Aidan Nichols a leading British Catholic theologian speaks of the role of the Jews in the Church:“Since Judaism is not in the fullest sense a different religion from Christianity, there can be and are such a thing as Hebrew Catholics, Jews who have entered the Church but with every intention of maintaining their Jewish heritage intact…Hebrew Catholics…have a special place in the Church; their association enables them to experience a common identity as the prototype of the Israel of the end, and not merely a random collection of assimilated Jews…”.[11]  Father Aidan holds that “Judaism’s distinctive continuing light can add to the Church an orthopractic concern with mitzvoth, the divine precepts, whose actualization is a sign that makes present the Creator’s reign... and so consecrating it to God through human agency.”[12] Cardinal Leo Burke, the President of the Apostolic Signatura (High Court of the Vatican), stated in an interview in 2010 to the Association of Hebrew Catholics:
 ...There should not be anything in Jewish practice which is in itself a denial of the Catholic faith because everything that our Lord revealed to His chosen people was in view of the coming of the Messiah. So all of those rituals and practices understood properly are going to be able to be carried out and practiced by Hebrew Catholics, once again, with a fully Catholic faith...[13]
Another leading Catholic theologian and liturgist was Father Louis Bouyer who wrote:
...Judeo-Christianity cannot be considered a transitory phase of abolished Christianity, forever surpassed by pagano-Christianity, which would have triumphed over it. The Christian synthesis must always be renewed by renewing its contact with the primary and, in a sense, definitive expression of the Gospel, in the categories and forms of Judaism.
            Judeo-Christianity, as Paul and Peter recognized and proclaimed, remains forever the mother form of Christianity, to which all other forms must always have recourse. It is therefore a weakness for the Church that Judeo-Christianity, from which it was born and from which it cannot free itself, no longer subsists in her except in tracings. It can be believed that she will not reach the ultimate stage of her development except by rediscovering it – fully living in her....[14]
Glenn Morrison’s concept of a ‘Trinitarian praxis’, based on an encounter of Levinas and Catholic theology,[15] would be another stage in this mystical dance. Morrison endeavours to use the philosophical ideas and concepts of Levinas as a launching pad in order to leap like a mystical ballet dancer and go beyond Levinas into the heart of Christian Trinitarian theology.[16] Morrison writes: “Practically doing theology with Levinas will mean that we have to go beyond his thinking into other contexts...Theology needs to make a radical move with philosophy – to utilize it but not to be finally constricted by it...the spirit of Levinas’ philosophy invites us to use its language and unique ideas in new contexts...”.[17] Morrison using the ethical focused concepts of Levinas leaps into the ‘beyond’ of his Trinitarian praxis of ethical transcendence, eschatology and Eucharistic life. A Hebrew Catholic theological use of Morrison’s Trinitarian praxis united with a mystical understanding of Genesis 1 could provide philosophical/ theological paradigm for a Eucharistic –centred Hebrew Catholic spirituality. This intimate mystical dance or struggle between Philosophia and Theologica, oral and written, male and female, faith and reason, Judaism and Catholicism, ethical transcendence and eschatology begets its Eucharistic fruit of Adoratio (Eucharistic adoration) which leads to new mystical and Torah insights that for the Hebrew Catholic leads to a deeper and richer Eucharistic-centred Torah-observant way of life.
In a sense the mystical Tango is also the dance and encounter of Second Temple Judaism and Gentile (Greek) philosophy which eventually brought forth two children, post- Second Temple Rabbinic and Talmudic Judaism and Gentile Christianity. The modern Hebrew Catholic movements bud forth from this Tango-like mystical encounter or struggle of Rabbinic Judaism and Gentile-dominated Catholicism. Most Jewish people who become Catholics, in my experience, have a dance-like mystical struggle and encounter first and only after this do they begin the encounter and struggle with the text of Scripture, which in turn strengthens their new found faith in the Messiah.[18] It is only later that one realises that it was all part of a bigger mystical and divine choreography of the eternal and infinite dance of life.

Wrestling with the Text and the Enigma
            Levinas writes of the continual ‘struggle’ by Jewish students and thinkers with the letter of the text to bring out the living dimension of the text[19]. This alludes to the story of Jacob wrestling with the angel in a face to face encounter (panim l’panim)[20] and to Moses striking the Rock which is the Well (be’er) of Miriam[21] in order to bring forth new Torah insights and understandings (biur).[22] This wrestling dynamic or dance is reflected in the Jewish Yeshivah methodology of two students wrestling with the text of the Talmud together. Leonard Cohen’s famous song speaks of dancing to the end of love (an eschatological focus) and ‘Enigma’ (an 80’s Pop Group) sings of the ‘Return to Innocence’ (in the immemorial past or primordial time). Here I also wrestle with the text in order to understand Genesis 1 in its deeper hidden dimensions, in order to attain its inner light and to return to the innocence, goodness and ethical transcendence of the beginning.
            Levinas speaks of “a wisdom older than the patent presence of a meaning in the writing. A wisdom without which the message buried deep within the enigma of the text cannot be grasped.”[23] The Rabbis often translate ‘Bereshit’ (In the Beginning) as ‘In or With Wisdom’ linking it to the verse “the beginning of wisdom is fear of the Lord”[24]. Levinas sees that concept of the Enigma (Mystery/ Raza) as beyond knowing “because it is already too old for the game of cognition, because it does not lend itself to the contemporaneousness that constitutes the force of time tied in the present, because it imposes a completely different version of time.”[25] He links this with the concept of ethical transcendence when he states that “morality is the Enigma’s way”.[26]

The Light and the Vessel
            Genesis1:3 begins: “And God said (saying), Let there be light”. Levinas also speaks of the concepts of ‘the said’ (amar) and ‘saying’ (yomer).[27] This is similar to the idea in the Jewish mystical book of “Bahir” of the ‘blessed’ (barukh) and ‘blessing’ (bereikah), and the ‘filling’ (malei) and ‘full’ (meleat). The ‘said’, ‘blessed’ and ‘full’ being the vessels that receive the light. The light itself is ‘saying’, ‘blessing’ and ‘filling’.[28] We can extend this to ‘song’ and ‘singing’, ‘dance’ and ‘dancing’. This is the light of the first day of darkness in Genesis 1 that was hidden away in Miriam’s well, in the under text of the Hebrew text[29], at twilight. This vessel, dancing with the light that is Miriam’s Well, is the “Face upon the Waters”- the primordial waters of the well. The light she receives is the light of the Messiah.[30] This mystical or primordial ‘twilight’ (two lights as one) represent the mystery of the Incarnation and Annunciation in the ‘immemorial past’ at the beginning (bereshit). This is the light and spirit of the Messiah blazing forth as the conceptual “face upon the deep” who hovers or interacts with Miriam the conceptual “face upon the waters” and is encompassed in the darkness of the primordial mystical womb of Miriam’s well. Levinas in his work “Totality and Infinity” seems to allude to these two lights in the concept of the ‘face’ (panim) when he writes that the face spreads light in which the light is seen. Ephraim Meir believes that Levinas is referring to Psalm 36:10- “In Thy light do we see light”.[31] Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran teaches:
The days of the Messiah will be accompanied by the light of the Messiah. This will materialize from the place where God “concealed” it on the very first day of Creation “for the sake of those who devote their energies to the torah” (by studying it deeply and observing its mitzvot, in fear and love of God who ordained them), for the sake of the Tzaddikim, the “righteous”. The light of the First Day was intended to unite with the light of That Day, of the End of Days. It is the light of the first day of creation, the “light of the Torah”, which reveals the Creator’s “intention” in creating the world, and the objective to which he is directing his creation...[32]
For the Hebrew Catholic this has Messianic, Eucharistic and Marian applications.  The ‘light of the Torah’ is Messianic or eschatological, the ‘Creator’s intention’ is Marian or ethical transcendence and the ‘objective to which creation is directed’ is Eucharistic. Even Gen 1:3 by itself has this Triune pattern. “Let there be (yehi/ fiat)” is Marian (ethical transcendence or trace-like bluepint in the immemorial past), “light” (or/lux) is Messianic (eschatology or the future hidden light) and “and there was light” (vayhi or/ et facta est lux) is Eucharistic life (in the present here and now).

Naphtali, the Bride and the Dance
The ‘face upon the waters’ circling[33] the ‘face upon the deep (tahom)’ in Genesis 1:2 represents this wrestling or struggle or circle dance, that brings forth the hidden light or blessing. The concept of the spiral circle dance is also associated with Miriam dancing with the women at the Red Sea.[34] It also alludes to the Jewish bride (kallah) circling her bridegroom (khatan) in the Jewish wedding ceremony.[35] This is part of the mystery of “a woman shall encompass a man”[36] as a mystical besieging or wrestling in prayer by the Mother (Woman) (symbolised by Rachel) that produces a ‘son’[37] who will continue the dance of life.
            The Bahir[38] discusses this in the context of the mystery of Naphtali in Genesis 30:7-8, Deuteronomy 33:23 and Genesis 49:21.  The phrase ‘naftuley elohim niftalti im-akhoti’ in Genesis 30:7-8 means “I influenced (or wrestled) with God, I influenced with my sister”.   Deuteronomy 33: 23 states: “And to Naphtali saying Naphtali satiated with Divine Will and Filling is the blessing of YHVH ” [naftali s’ba ratzon u-maley birkat YHVH]. Genesis 49: 21 refers to Naphtali as a female deer (Hind), “Naphtali is a hind let loose delivering beautiful sayings”.   The male Naphtali (male concept of written Torah) through a dance-like wrestling process (naftuley) becomes the liberated or freed female Naphtali (represented by the joyful leaping circle dance of Miriam and the leaping of the Hind ) who delivers beautiful sayings (the oral Torah as feminine). This is linked to the concept of Israel (Jacob) wrestling with God for the blessing that will be the feminine ‘Kneset Yisrael’ (Community or Lady of Israel) as God’s Bride. The Hebrew Catholic goes ‘beyond’ the Rabbinic understandings of this conceptual and mystical feminine ‘Presence’ to a Marian and Sophiological understanding and application that is both Messianic and Eucharistic. 
            This mystery of the female face (over/upon the waters) circling the male face (over/upon the deep) is the ever new mystery (enigma) in the immemorial or primordial time (charos time) that seeks to interface with this world (in chronos time).  In Judaism ‘chronos time’ only begins with the creation of Adam and Eve on day six.[39] This dance-like wrestling process is also associated with virginal and mystical nuptial union or coupling that is divine intimacy. The dance of the Cherubim is also perceived in nuptial imagery. Chief Rabbi Safran writes of this wrestling or struggling dance process in the context of Devekut (Cleaving).[40] Levinas often stresses that the mystical union where one is totally dissolved in the other (nirvana and other eastern concepts) is not the Jewish understanding (nor indeed the Catholic).  Safran writes:
... In truth, the supreme goal of the Hasid is Devekut; he yearns to “cleave” to God, to be near to Him, he longs to be with the study of Torah he seeks to “cleave” to Him...the Hasid observes the mitzvoth not to gain advantage from them, but to be be-zavta, “together with”, to be an associate with Him who has given them...The Hasid mitpallell, “prays” “cleave” to Him, for prayer is Devekut: “naftulei Elokim niftalti” (cf. Targum Onkelos to Gen. 30:8: “I struggled in prayer with God”)...[41]

The Womb before the Dawn and the Man of Knowledge
            The female ‘face upon the waters’ is also the ‘Womb from before the Dawn’[42] and the male ‘face upon the deep’ is the Yesod or Foundation (represented by the male phallus) mentioned in Proverbs 10:25 as the “Tzadik is the foundation (yesod) of the World”.[43]  The nuptial act in this world is a form of this wrestling dance in which the man (ish) encompasses the woman (isha). In this world of the fallen senses if a woman encompasses a man (dominates him) in a physical sense then it is perversion and the sin of Lilith, but in the mystical and immemorial time the woman spiritually and virginally encompasses the man (male) to produce spiritual and immaculate seed (or beautiful sayings[44]).[45]  Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, writing in a manner that Levinas would have approved, states: “You must know that time does not exist of itself, and that days are made only of good deeds. It is through men who perform good deeds [for the sake of others] that days are born, and so time is born.”[46]
            This is linked to the proto-evangelium of Genesis 3:15 about the “seed” and the woman (isha) who will crush the head of the serpent. The seed (zera) is the man (ish) who will come as the Messiah[47]  and Jewish Lord of the Dance[48]. Kabbalah calls the Messiah “ish ha-daat” (the man of knowledge) and he personifies the “sod ha-daat” (the secret or mystery of knowledge).[49] Daat is the so-called 11th Hidden Sefirah (Emanation/Attribute). This, for the Catholic Jew, alludes to the Hidden Messiah of the House of Bread (Beit-lechem). This ‘mystery of knowledge’ alludes to the ‘mystery of the Divine Will’ mentioned by St Paul in Ephesians[50]. Safran tells us that it is through ‘daat’ that the Messiah will obtain the revelation (gillui) of this hidden mystery.  This Messianic ‘gillui sod ha-daat’ (revelation or manifestation of the mystery of knowledge) will lead to the ‘gillui Shekhinah[51] (manifestation of God’s Presence through the female (isha)). Safran writes: “Then the “Mystery of Mysteries”, God himself, will be seen and heard through his Torah, with which He is One...Then we shall see the “Words” of God illuminated in all their depths”.[52] 
            Mystery of Mysteries is ‘Sod haSodot’ in Hebrew and ‘Raza de Razin’ in Aramaic. The Syriac churches refer to the Catholic concept of sacrament as ‘Raza’ and the Eucharist as ‘Razin’ (the plural of Raza).[53]  In order to comprehend these ‘mysteries’ (Enigmas/ Razin) more fully it is necessary to return to what Levinas calls the immemorial past (bereshit) in Genesis. The Zohar’s section on “Raza d’Razin” speaks of the wisdom of the faces (panim) and the wisdom of the hand (yad) that are both alluded to in Genesis 1, when read according to the mystical or anagogical level (Raza/ Sod). The Jewish Church applied these concepts to one’s personal face encountering the face of the Hidden Messiah in the Eucharist that was made present through the hand/hands of the priest. This was the priestly lifted offering (terumah) of the New Covenant. Safran perhaps unwittingly reveals that this ‘Raza de Razin’ (Sacrament of the Eucharist) is God Himself. The Mother of the Messiah encompasses the Messiah, who is ‘ish ha-daat’ and ‘Adam Kadmon’ (Primordial Man), with her own flesh or humanity. As the Isha (Woman)[54] she also encompasses him with the mystical dark waters of her womb at the foot of the Cross (tav) that manifests as darkness upon the earth.[55]  At the Cross he is the ‘Ish Makhovot’ (Man of Sorrows).[56]

The Sayings and the Sefirot
            The idea of the written Torah (the Word) as male and the oral Torah as female (the Voice) that precedes, accompanies and proceeds, like an intricate and choreographed dance, is common in Jewish thought.[57]  The Voice (Bat Kol) is the feminine vessel for the ‘sound’(tz’lil) just as the song (shirah) is a vessel for the melody (niggun). Meskin writes:
...the said always tries to capture the saying, even though this very saying, by virtue of its transpiring in what Levinas calls an immemorially different time, cannot ever be fully recuperated within the said. Moreover, it is after all the saying which launches the said and puts it into circulation-even if by writing this very said right now, I have necessarily left the dimension of saying behind. Indeed, the dimension of the saying is not a "place in which" one can ever "be." The saying resounds or echoes outside of place and outside of time, in a way that destabilizes the secure position we take up in the said, in our conceptual truths, in our knowledge. Yet this very destabilizing may inject a certain ethical, outward directedness into the said, perhaps sensitizing us to the other, and allowing us to use our position, our placement on the earth for his or her sake...[58]  
The Jewish mystical writings, based on the Jewish mystical book called ‘Sefer Yetzirah’, refer to the Sefirot as ‘sayings’ (ma’amarot).[59] These ‘beautiful sayings’ were sung forth at Creation (Bereshit) and are associated in Kabbalah as the ten sayings of Genesis 1. These ten can also be seen as ten ‘dance steps’ that are the one Divine Dance. 
            The 32 mentions of ‘Elohim’ (God) in Genesis 1 is linked to the ten sefirot or sayings and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. In the Sefirotic array the Sefirot are connected with these 22 paths (Netivot).[60]  The soul, drawn by the hidden melody and song, dances its way through the paths of the divine Heart. There are a number of different ways of presenting this in Jewish sources. There is the Tree of Life, Adam Kadmon (Divine or Primordial Man), the divine Heart, the Menorah, Lightning Flash, Nehushtan (Bronze Serpent), Mystical Rose, Divine Face, Mystical Diamond or Crystal, the Horns of the Stag, Hannukiot and the steps of the Divine Dance.  In the sefirotic array the diagonal lines are made up of the 12 elemental letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The horizontal lines in the array of the Divine Heart are the 7 double letters and the three vertical letters and called the mother letters.[61] The gematria of Heart (Leb) is thirty two[62] and the gematria of Glory (Kabod) is thirty two. The first letter of the Torah is Beth (2) and the last letter is Lamed (30)- together they reveal that the Torah is the divine Heart (LB).[63] And this Heart leaps with joy in the Divine Dance with his Hasidim like the Stag of the “Song of Songs” leaping upon the mountains[64].

The Levinasian Trace and Totality
            The Levinasian concept of ‘immemorial past’ is connected to the concept of ‘trace’. Levinas associates the idea of the trace with his concept of the encounter with the face of the ‘Other’. He also links this with the concept of the “He”.[65]  In the Jewish understanding of the Primordial mysteries the trace is called ‘reshimu’ . The ‘reshimu’ is the impression or trace of the Divine Light that withdrew from the Creation in order to allow the Creation to exist.[66] The Hasidic tradition stresses that this idea is a metaphorical concept and not to be taken in a literalistic manner. This trace is encountered in all things for it is the hidden Divine Will in all.  This trace is like an empty bottle of scent which still retains a hint of its former fragrance.  This is the forgotten dance steps from the great past which we almost remember but never quite attain.
            In a sense, in the immemorial past, the uncreated Divine Light blazed and danced forth as the “Let there be Light” and created “and there was light” which encompassed and hid this created light in the darkness of Miriam’s Well. A trace of this light (the reshimu) remained and allowed free will and the possibility of choosing for good or evil on the second day of darkness[67] of the Creation week in Genesis 1. [68]  Rabbi Ginsburgh of the Gal Einai Institute writes:
...The reshimu is the consciousness of knowing that one has "forgotten." It is the consciousness which arouses one to search for that which he has lost, the awareness that God is "playing" with His creation, as it were, a Divine game of "hide and seek." A forgotten melody lingers in the back of one's mind, and although he is unable to remember it he continuously searches for it, and whenever he hears a new melody (that might be it) it is the reshimu which tells him that it is not... [69].
Most likely, due to Levinas’ experience of the Shoah, he perceives any philosophy based on power, force or ‘totality’ as dangerous. Safran speaks of the light that blazed forth on the first day of creation, withdrawing, as God’s power became manifest.[70] The ‘withdrawing’ left the ‘reshimu’, in which God’s power and glory were hidden. This veiling or hiddenness allowed for freedom of choice and the uniqueness of each person.[71]  Each one has the right to choose one’s own unique choreography and dance style. Levinas believes that the revelation, word or saying received in the interiority of the person urges one to leave his natural egoistical self and embrace one’s uniqueness.[72]       
            One should not confuse ‘fullness’ (malei) with ‘totality’. ‘Fullness’ is about depth (deep calling to deep) and interiority (pnimi) whereas ‘totality’ (Kolal) is about breadth and exteriority (makif). Pnimi (inner face or interiority) is similar to the word panim (face).  A ‘totality’ leads to an oppressive uniformity and conformity, whereas ‘fullness’ leads to unity and uniqueness. When any institution claims a ‘totality of truth’ then oppression and lack of freedom follows. Nazism and Communism are examples of such ‘totalities’. The beauty of the Dance and its unique dancers then becomes ugly goose-stepping in the unison of totalitarianism.

The Levinasian Concept of Illeity
            Levinas speaks of Traces and Illeity[73] in regards to this hidden trace in all creation. Illeity is the concept of He-ness (from the French word Il for He) which is closely connected to the idea of trace (reshimu). Levinas writes on the “Trace of the Other”:
...If the signifyingness of a trace consists in signifying without making appear, if it establishes a relationship with illeity, a relationship which is personal and ethical- is an obligation and does not disclose, and if, consequently, a trace does not belong to phenomenology, to the comprehension of the “appearing” and the “self-dissimulating”, we can at least approach this signifyingness in another way by situating it with respect to the phenomenology it interrupts....[74]
Levinas uses the term ‘He’ (Il or Illeity) which in Hebrew is ‘Hu’. This concept of ‘Hu’ represents God’s transcendence and its trace or reshimu of the Divine Will in the commandments. In many Jewish Blessings the second part sees a switch to the third person ‘His’ from the second person ‘thou’ for addressing God. For example: “Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments...”.[75]  Jewish prayer often uses the exclamation Barukh Hu (Blessed is He). The Bahir teaches that the term for “without form” bohu is the primordial source for bo hu (‘He is in it’ or ‘In (with) it is he’). From formlessness comes form.[76] 
            Jesus referred to himself as “Ani Hu” (I am He) in John’s Gospel. Tohu (void/ chaos) could be read as Tav Hu. The ‘tav’ in the ancient Hebrew-Phoenician alphabet was in the cruciform like our English letter ‘t’. It is this tav (cross) that will stand in the void and confront the ideology of the void with the mark (tav) or sign (ot) of the Cross (Tzelab) that brings salvation (a turning of evil into good).[77]  This concept of the ‘tav’ as ‘terumah’ (priestly offering of first tithes) is hidden in the darkness of the first well of the text beginning with the ‘tav’ of Bereshit (In the Beginning) and counting 26 letters 5 times. 26 is the number of YHVH in gematria. In the ‘return to innocence’ (tam) one has to pass by the evil and faceless darkness of the void of the second day by beholding (hineni) the ‘Tav’ and re-entering the ethical light of the first day hidden in the darkness of Miriam’s Well.

The Deep and the Void
            The concept of passivity in Levinas may represent the face over the abyss or deep (tahom) which is ‘within’ and ‘beyond’ the darkness of Miriam’s Well. This ‘tahom’ (deep) which transcends or is beyond even the light of the first day of Creation (but is in a sense present in its reshimu) should not be confused with tohu (the void or Avadon).  However the withdrawing that leaves the ‘reshimu’ also opened the possibility for the creation of Hell in the void on the second primordial day. One of the rabbis of the Talmud asks; “...Why was the expression ‘that it was good’ not said concerning the second day of Creation? Because on that day the fire of hell was created.”[78] The Jewish mystical book of the “Zohar” tell us “Out of the conflict [of the second day] aroused by the left [sitra ahra or the evil side], emerged Hell. Hell aroused on the left and clung.”[79] This void becomes the void of Hell of the fallen angels (klippot of the breaking of vessels). Sometimes I think that Levinas and some other Jewish writers do indeed confuse the two and this may be why he is so fixated on the fear of death in the face of the ‘other’. When he encounters the face of the ‘other’ he perceives the ‘void’ (tohu) rather than the ‘deep’ (tohom).
             At the heart of the mystical call to radical joy is the concept of ‘deep calling to deep’ [tehom el tehom kore][80] like a divine Tango.  This same Psalm 42 also speaks of the ‘face of God’ (p’nai Elohim)[81] and the ‘salvations of his face’ (y’shuot panaiv)[82] and the “salvation of my face” (yeshuot p’nai). The first yeshuot contains a ‘vav’ which represents the male and the second one is missing the ‘vav’ representing the female. These two faces may refer to the second set of two faces in Genesis 1 –the ‘face over the rakia (expanse)’[83] and the “face over all the earth”[84]. These two appear after the hidden “Yeshua” in the well of the text beginning with the yod in Elohim in Genesis 1:17.

A Stranger in a Strange Land and the One Act of Creation
            The Jewish concept of exile (galut) also seems to play a place in Levinas thought. In the face to face encounter and the encounter with the Other (transcendent God) one is taken out of the comfort of one’s narcissistic “home” into exile from the self.[85] This is of course once again rooted in the idea of ‘the light that withdrew’ and the ‘reshimu’ or trace. In a metaphorical sense God as the Infinite Light went into ‘exile’ but at the same time remained hidden in the world as the concealed light in all things. Already the concept of being a stranger in a strange land and the journey into galut is reflected in the three wells (based on one 26x5 and two 26 x4) of the text, of Terumah, Miriam and Yeshua. The light of the three fiats (yehiot) of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification are exiled or hidden in these wells until the world is able to receive their light. In ‘chronos time’ these are the exiles of Egypt, Babylon and Rome (Edom).
            Levinas stressed the importance of command and the commandments (mitzvoth) which one beholds in the encounter with the face of the ‘Other’ as an ethical imperative.[86] The Jewish mystical traditions associate the ten ‘sayings’ of Genesis 1 with the ten ‘words’ or commandments of Sinai. Safran writes that the Torah is a “mitzvah” (commandment) of God. This divine commandment transcends human reason. The Jewish mystical tradition seeks to penetrate deeply into the depths of its meaning (sound its depth).[87] Luisa Piccarreta, a Catholic mystic, calls this primordial ‘mitzvah’ the ‘one act’ of Creation that contains all acts.

Beholding, Goodness and the Passion
            Hilary Putnam discusses the Levinas’ French term “me voici” as an equivalent to the Hebrew term “hineni” (behold). Putnam writes that it is very difficult to comprehend what Levinas means by ‘me voici’.  Nevertheless, if one translates the French word into the Hebrew concept of ‘hineni’ (behold) it becomes clearer. Putnam believes that it is from the story of the Akeidah (or Binding) of Isaac that Levinas draws this concept.[88] As an observant Orthodox Jew, Levinas would have read the account of the Akeidah each day in his morning prayer. While using the Akeidah as a prism we can follow the dance of light back to Genesis 1 to the expression “God Saw” (literally ‘God shall see’) as the concept of Hineni (Behold) has a visual element. These primordial ‘beholdings’ are closely associated with “goodness”. However the second day is missing this ‘beholding’ and ‘goodness’. This is the time of the breaking of the vessels and the fall of the angels. Hidden in the secret of the second day is the void which will manifest itself in the 20th century as the Shoah. It was here before the void that God chose (bachar) Israel. One meaning of ‘bachar’ is connected with the concepts of dividing and examining which links it to the second day when separations and divisions occurred in the primordial and immemorial past. In a sense God foresaw the passion or sufferings of Israel and its Messiah in the midst of the void’s infestations within history. Levinas writes:
...but which marks the religiosity of Israel: the feeling that its destiny, the Passion of Israel, from bondage in the land of Egypt to Auschwitz in Poland, its holy History, is not only that of a meeting between man and the absolute, and of a faithfulness; but that, if one dare say so, it is constitutive of the very existence of God...[89]
God delighted in his choice of Israel (and its Messiah and his Mother) and Israel was to be the elect or chosen people. Ephraim Meir writes:
...Connected to Levinas's idea of election is the "passion" of Israel and of all the elected ones, who bear the suffering of other beings and whose tears are counted by God. In his religious-ethical thought, Levinas highlights that "all the heavenly gates are closed except those through which the tears of the sufferers may pass" (Babylonian Talmud Berakhot 32b and Babylonian Talmud Baba Metzia 59b). Suffering is of course not the aim of a lofty life, but suffering on behalf of the suffering of the Other is the hallmark of a life worthy of being lived...[90].
The Sages of Israel such as Rebbe Nachman refers to the “Suffering soul of all Israel” as Miriam (bitter seas). This Mother of Sorrows is the Shekhinah who regularly appears weeping and wailing for her son Israel at the Kotel (Wailing or Western Wall). Every Jewish son receives his election (bachar) as an Israelite through the tears of his Mother giving birth. This weeping Kneset Yisrael is first alluded to in the primordial and immemorial time in Genesis 1:10 where the Aramaic text calls the ‘gathering of the waters’ ‘kneset maya’ and the Latin ‘congegationesque aqarum’ called ‘maria’.  This gathering (kneset or mikveh) of waters alludes to Miriam’s Well which the Latin Vulgate connects to the concept of Maria (Mary) as the Seas of Wisdom (Sophia). In a sense every Jewish Mother is a type of Miriam. The Messiah Jesus (Yeshua) received not only his election and identity as a Jew through his mother Miriam (Mary) but also his humanity. Israel is chosen for ethical service to others and to proclaim God’s glory.[91]

The Nearness of God and Transcendence
            The concept of Devekut (Cleaving ), Korban (a sacrifice that brings God near) and atzilut (Nearness) in the Jewish understanding of the Divine intimacy of face to face encounter between the soul and God is at the heart of the Jewish understanding of mystical oneness with God. Ephraim Meir writes that for Levinas “nearnesss to the Other and the height of the Most High go together”[92]. Transcendence of God as the Ultimate Other that is beyond the human limits of understanding ‘being’ (yesh) is important in Levinas’ thought. This transcendent God who is the Ayin Sof (Infinite) is encountered in Genesis 1 in the ‘reshimu’  left in the story and text. This ‘reshimu’ is the vehicle which allows the Presence (shekhen) of God to manifest in his Creation without destroying it.
            The Presence or Immanence (Nearness) of God is the ‘fullness of God” but not the ‘totality of God’. For Levinas this transcendent face of the Other is not the Incarnation of God.[93] He is speaking here of the higher transcendent face of the Kabbalah called ‘Arikh Anpin[94]- the long or distant face before its descending and becoming a vehicle for man as ‘Zeir Anpin’ (the short or near face). ‘Arikh Anpin’ as the transcendent face is the disincarnate[95] or preincarnate only found in Creation through the trace (the divine will in all things). All manifestations (gillui) and dwellings (shekhen) of God are through the Zeir Anpin as the immanent face of God-this is the mystery of the Incarnation and the Korban[96]. This incarnate face we perceive (behold) in the face of the ‘other’(our fellow human). When we ‘behold’ the ‘Other’ within the ‘other’ we are called to cry out “That’s Good!” (‘Ki-tov’).        This transcendent God in Judaism and in Genesis 1 is called Elohim. This reveals that Genesis 1 is not to be read as a description of the literal creation of the physical universe but as a trace of a description of the conceptual or metaphoric blueprint (umanuta) of the Divine Desire and Will to Create. This is the Primordial Torah and the Primordial Adam of the immemorial time. This is the primordial choreography of the dance of life. The Immanent God and the physical creation is described in Genesis 2 where God is referred to as YHVH Elohim who is the Zeir Anpin. YHVH represents in Kabbalah the God who descends as ‘blessing’, ‘filling’ and wisdom. Kabbalah presents him in the image and likeness of a man (Adam Kadmon/ Yosher) and Adam haRishon (the first Adam) was made in the likeness and image of this primordial Man. The yod (of YHVH) represents the Head, the first heh (of YHVH) the arms, the vav (of YHVH)the body or torso and the final heh (of YHVH) the legs. The letters are often drawn as flames of fire representing the dancing man (ish) of fire (aish). The dancing Hasid is a living image of this man (ish) who is fire (aish).  The Messiah as ‘Ish ha daat’  is ‘Aish ha Torah ‘(Fire of the Torah) and Sar ha Torah (Prince of the Torah) who gave the Torah to Moses with flaming letters hidden in the midst of fire, cloud and smoke on Mt Sinai. 
            Meir writes that: “...Judaism at its best and Levinas’s ethics as prima philosophia testify to an ethical space where height as well as nearness meet....”[97]. In the immemorial time (charos time) of Genesis 1 this ethical space is foreseen when ‘heaven and earth’ meet in the person of the Messiah who is the ‘Ish ha-daat’ (the man of the hidden messianic knowledge).[98] For the Catholic Jew this ethical space manifests or incarnates at Sinai with the giving of the Torah with its commandments and active ethics of concern for love of God (Other) and fellow man (other). Fresh from his Resurrection the Messiah (who is now outside chronos time and in Eternity) manifests at Sinai, in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, in the pillar of cloud and fire, in the cool of the evening in the Garden of Eden, in the Holy of Holies of the Temple and in all the Eucharistic hosts throughout history. These are all ethical spaces where height (transcendence) and nearness (immanence) meet in the person of the hidden and resurrected Messiah.  This Messiah in his person is the God-Man who is all Good. Levinas himself speaks of the term “Resurrection” in “Totality and Infinity”.[99] James Hatley writes: “Levinas surprisingly uses the term “Resurrection” to characterise how each succeeding generation lends time its very significance by revealing eternity- which is to say, the interruption of time’s continuity by the infinite - as time’s ‘principal event’.”[100]

Kabbalah and Levinasian Sources
            It is rather obvious to me that many of the ideas of Levinas do indeed draw, either directly or indirectly, from the Kabbalistic traditions of Judaism contrary to the opinion of some scholars.[101] Levinas obviously gives a priority to the Talmud and the Talmudic methodology from which he then understands other aspects of Jewish wisdom. It is not the mystical ideas of the Kabbalah that he doesn’t like but the priorities and actions of certain practitioners and students of Kabbalah and Hasidism. James Hatley writes: “...But how can one ignore the wealth of references to biblical, kabbalistic and Talmudic sources running through Levinas’ philosophical works?...”[102].
            Levinas according to Peperzak insists that ‘intimacy with God’ means obedience to his commandments (mitzvot).[103] There were many occultic kabbalists who focus their priority on the theosophic nature of Kabbalah which turns Kabbalah into a form of Gnosticism. Levinas is right to insist on the priority of Torah study and mitzvot.  Rebbe Nachman of Breslov himself warned against those who divorced Kabbalah and Hasidut from its foundation in Talmud Torah and mitzvot. He referred to them as Jewish Torah-scholar  demons who built fantasies in the air.[104] Unless mysticism is rooted in the interpretations of the written text and leads to an ethical priority on holiness and care and concern for others then it is dangerous.
            Levinas is concerned when he sees Kabbalah and Hasidut being used for religious thrills similar to the ancient pagan mystery religions, the recent Nazi revival of the Nordic gods and the outbreak of occultic and Gnostic new ageism both within and without the Jewish community. These religious systems or totalities are based on subjectivity of the human mind and Levinas seeks to base the existence of God and ethics and morality outside the subjective self. He perceives the dangers of a spirituality cut off from our humanness in the physical creation to follow the violent emotional and often irrational enthusiasms of those who turn religion into myth and magic[105]. His concern for orthopraxy leads to orthodoxy and true intimacy with the divine and others. In fact in Levinas book “Beyond Verse”, he discusses the Kabbalah of Rabbi Isaac Luria (the Ari) in a positive way as taught by Rabbi Chaim Volozhiner.[106]

The Joy and Discipline of the Dance
            Safran links this concern with the ethical nature of the mitzvot. He teaches that this life has to be linked with the “Beginning of Time” in Bereshit “when ‘the world was water in water’ and the ‘spirit of the Messiah moved on the waters’ and to lead it to the ‘end of time’, the messianic days... ”[107].  It is in fulfilling the commandments with pure devotion of heart (kevanah) that will make Israel worthy of the uniting of the primordial time with the messianic age of restoration. Safran also stressed the concept of joy in performing the mitzvot. Levinas seems to so stress one’s obligation to mitzvot that he forgets the importance of joy and even radical joy in their performance. This joy is linked by Safran to the transcendent face of God (Ayin Sof):
...‘Joy before God’ is sustained by the Ein Sof, the Infinite, who in His goodness, ‘each and every day renews the Primal Works’[108]... This joy is nourished by Him who each and every day radiates from the Torah which he revealed. Thus this joy is constant and ever is transformed from a joy, manifested ‘before God’ sustained and fed by the Ein Sof, into a joy felt “in God”...Thus, their joy becomes their rendezvous...”.[109]
This rendezvous or encounter with the faces of the ‘other’ leads us back to Bereshit where the ‘other’ received the image and likeness of the ‘Other’ (God). To ‘behold’ my fellow man is to ‘behold’ the primordial face of the ‘other’ in Eternity which reveals the face of the ‘Other’ (transcendent Infinite God). In the face of the ‘other’ I see my choreography of the wild cleaving dance of life- the mystical tango. For we all ‘know’ that it takes ‘two to tango’ and an intense focus on the ‘other’ dancer can lead us into a mystical and real encounter with the transcendent ‘Other’ in the dance of dances. As every ballet dancer knows, in order to dance well one needs discipline and joyful perseverance that transcends the pain. In the dance of the spirit the Torah is the choreography, the mitzvot are the discipline that leads to joyful perseverance. 

The Dance Continues
            This struggle or dance with the text of Genesis 1 from a mystical perspective has sought to demonstrate, using Levinas and his Jewish sources, the possibilities for a Hebrew Catholic theology and spirituality rooted in ethical transcendence. I could not go into too much detail about any one concept of Levinas, due to the wide range of material that needed to be included in this article. Levinas despised totalities and I don’t intend to provide a totality for Hebrew Catholic theologies or spiritualities. A vibrant Hebrew Catholic theology and spirituality would also need to draw on Hasidic Judaism especially the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. This would especially provide the musical ‘melody’ to the dance and the rich teaching of the Catholic mystics would help develop the ‘song’ that accompanies the melody for the Mystical Dance. This article has thus used the post –modernist concept of bricolage,[110] which is a gathering or gleaning from many sources in a lateral and mystical way for an encounter or rendezvous with the wisdom of the ‘other’. Rather than a vertical and argumentative discourse, this article seeks to be a circular and spiral dance in which the dancers encounter each other in the different aspects of the choreography. At times this mystical dance, like the Tango, seems like a struggle or a wrestling but in reality it is part of the transcendent choreography of the Divine Dance. Let the primordial and mystical dance go on!

Author: Brother Gilbert Bloomer is a ‘Little Eucharistic Brother of Divine Will’ with the ‘Apostles of Perpetual Adoration’ a public Association of Christ’s Faithful. He is presently studying his Master of Arts in Theology at Notre Dame University in Fremantle. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma of Education from the Australian Catholic University. As a Catholic of Jewish background and ancestry and a descendant of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, he is interested in the development of Hebrew Catholic spiritualities and theologies from a mystical perspective.

[1] This saying was attributed by my step-grandmother, Madame Nadine (Mirceva) Wulffius, to her teacher Sergei Khudekov the great historian and balletomane of the Russian Imperial Ballet.
[2] Jacob Meskin, “The Jewish transformation of modern thought: Levinas and Philosophy after the Holocaust” Cross Currents 47.4 (Winter 1997/1998), 505.
[3] Glenn Morrison, A Theology of Alterity: Levinas, von Balthasar and Trinitarian Praxis (Pittsburg: Duquesne University Press, 2013), 3.
[4] The purpose of this analysis is for theological reasons and an enrichment appropriate for Catholics and Hebrew Catholics not as an apologetical or argumentative approach to convince those of other religious traditions of the truths of Catholicism.
[5] Song of Songs 2:8
[6] This is a concept found in both Jewish Kabbalah and the Carmelite spirituality of St John of the Cross
[7] David Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker” Between Reason and Revelation: the Logic of the Semitic dimension in Philosophy (Apr.-Dec 2006), 603-4.
[8] Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker”, 603-4.
[9] Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker”, 604.
[10] Paul Bernier, Eucharist: Celebrating Its Rhythms in Our Lives (Notre Dame, Indiana; Ave Maria Press), 65.
[11] Aidan Nichols, Epiphany: a theological introduction to Catholicism (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 1996),
[12] Nichols, Epiphany: a theological introduction to Catholicism,
[13]An Interview With Archbishop Raymond L Burke” The Hebrew Catholic No. 88, (Winter 2010-2011), 34.
[14] Louis Bouyer, The Church of God: Body of Christ and Temple of the Spirit (USA: Fransican Herald Press, 1982), 568.
[15] Morrison, “A Theology of Alterity: Levinas, von Balthasar and Trinitarian Praxis”, 226-7.
[16] Morrison, “A Theology of Alterity: Levinas, von Balthasar and Trinitarian Praxis”, 213.
[17] Morrison, “A Theology of Alterity: Levinas, von Balthasar and Trinitarian Praxis”, 213.

[18] Hebrew Catholics do not believe in proselytizism (manipulated or forced conversion) of non-Catholic Jewish people. Many including myself and Father Elias Friedman (founder of the Association of Hebrew Catholics) do not believe in any form of active evangelisation that targets Jewish people as a group at this stage of salvation history. Hebrew Catholics seek to provide a Jewish space in the Church for those Jewish people and their descendants who have freely already embraced the Catholic faith and who believe it is right to preserve their Jewish identity and election as individuals and as a group. 
[19] Meskin, “The Jewish transformation of modern thought: Levinas and Philosophy after the Holocaust”, 514.
[20] Gen 32:22-31.
[21] see Louis Ginzberg , The Legends of the Jews Volume 3 (Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).
[22] Moshe Shlomo Emanuel, Divine Design (New York: Targum Press, 2006), 200.
[23] Emmanuel Levinas, In the Time of the Nations (London, Athlone Press, 1994), 38.
[24] Prov 9:10.
[25] Emmanuel Levinas, Basic Philosophical Writings (USA: Indiana University Press, 1996), 75.
[26] Levinas, Basic Philosophical Writings, 76.
[27] See Zohar 2:131a
[28] Bahir 3 in Aryeh Kaplan, (trans), The Bahir (United States of America: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1979).
[29] There are three ‘wells’ in the Hebrew Text of Genesis 1 one formed by counting 26x5 and two formed by counting 26x4. YHVH has four letters and YHVH is 26 in Jewish gematria. The first subtext well begins with the last letter ‘tav’ of Bereshit (In the Beginning) the first word of Genesis 1 – it spells out TeRUMaH. The second subtext well begins with the last word of Gen1:2 hamayim (the waters) from the last letter ‘mem’- it spells out MiRYaM. The third subtext well begins in the word Elohim in Gen 1: 17 beginning with the ‘yod’ – it spells out YeShUaH.
[30] Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah (Jerusalem/New York: Feldheim Publishers, 1991), 84.
[31] Ephraim Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas” Modern Judaism, Vol. 30 #3 (Oxford University Press, October 2010), 350.
[32] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 84.
[33] Proverbs 8:26 ‘Circle over the face of the deep’, Job 26:10 “circle over the face of the waters’
[34] Rav Kalonymous Kalman HaLevi Epstein, Miryam’s Circle Dance
[35] Psalm 19:5-6
[36] Jer 31:22.
[37] Gen 30:7-8.
[38] Bahir 3.  In Aryeh Kaplan, (trans), The Bahir.
[39] Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker”, 604.
[40] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 49.
[41] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 49.
[42] Psalm 110:3 From the womb before the dawn I have begotten you (translation from the Catholic Breviary).
[43] Zohar 1:16b in Daniel C Matt (translator), The Zohar: Pritzker Edition Vol. 1 (California: Stanford University Press, 2004), 125.
[44] Gen 49:21.
[45] Milah in Hebrew refers to both circumcision (phallus) and word (tongue).
[46] Patterson, “Emmanuel Levinas: A Jewish thinker”, 604.
[47] Raphael Patai, The Messiah Texts: Jewish Legends of Three Thousand Years (Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press, 1979), 269.
[48] Bernier, Eucharist: Celebrating Its Rhythms in Our Lives, 65.
[49] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 86-87.
[50] Eph 1:9.
[51] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 86.
[52] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 86.
[53] Rev William Thoma “The Sacramental Theology of the Assyrian Church of the East”
[54] John 19:26-27.
[55] Luke 23:44-45.
[56] Isa 53:3.
[57] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 5-6.
[58] Meskin, “The Jewish transformation of modern thought: Levinas and Philosophy after the Holocaust”, 514.
[59] Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice, (San Francisco: Weiser Books, 1997), 5-7.
[60]Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice, 5-7, 10-13.
[61] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice, 26-32.
[62] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice, 9.
[63] Kaplan, Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice, 9.
[64] Song of Songs 2:8-9.
[65] Emmanuel Levinas, “The Trace of the Other”, Deconstruction in Context (1986), 355-357.
[66] Rabbi Yitzach Ginsburgh, Basics in Kabblah and Chassidut  Reshimu
[67] The first three days of Creation are three days of darkness as the light created on the first day is hidden away and the lights of the Sun, Moon and stars are revealed on the fourth day.
[68] Rabbi Yechiel Bar Lev, Song of the Soul: Introduction to Kabbalah,
[69]Ginsburgh, Basics in Kabblah and Chassidut
[70] Chief Rabbi Alexandre Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 88.
[71] Emmanuel Levinas, Entre Nous: Thinking of the Other, (New York: Columbia University Press,1989), 193-196.
[72] Ephraim Meir, Levinas’s Jewish Thought: Between Jerusalem and Athens  (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University Magnes Press, 2008), 185.
[73] Levinas, “The Trace of the Other”,356.
[74] Levinas, “The Trace of the Other”,356.
[75] Siddur. The Siddur is the Jewish Prayer Book.
[76] Bahir 2. In Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Bahir.
[77] The path between Malkut/ Shekinah (kingdom/ Presence) and Yesod/ Tzadik (Foundation/ Righteous) in the sefirotic array is called the path or way of the Tav.
[78] Babylonian Talmud, Pesakhim 54a.
[79] Zohar 1:17b in Matt (translator), The Zohar: Pritzker Edition Vol. 1, 128.
[80] Ps 42: 8.
[81] Ps 42:3.
[82] Ps 42:6,12.
[83] Gen 1:20
[84] Gen 1:29
[85] Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas”, 351.
[86] Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas”, 351.
[87]Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 11.
[88] Hilary Putnam Jewish Philosophy as a Guide to Life: Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, Wittgenstein (USA; Indiana University Press, 2008).
[89] Emmanuel Levinas, Beyond the Verse, (London: Continuum, 2007), 6.
[90] Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas”, 352.
[91] Adriaan T Peperzak, “Judaism and Philosophy in Levinas” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion Vol 40 #3 (Dec.1996), 133.
[92] Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas”, 357.
[93] Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity, (Netherlands: Kluwer Publishers,1991), 79.
[94] Ginsburgh, Basics in Kabbalah and Chassidut,  Arich Anpin
[95] Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 79.
[96] Rabbi Yitzach Ginsburgh, Basics in Kabbalah,  Yesod
[97] Meir, “Judaism and Philosophy: Each other’s Other in Levinas”, 357.
[98] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 86-87.
[99] Levinas, Totality and Infinity, 284.
[100] James Hatley, Generations: “Levinas in the Jewish Context” Philosophy and Rhetoric Vol. 38 #2 (2005), 185.
[101] Peperzak, “Judaism and Philosophy in Levinas”, 126.
[102] Hatley, Generations: “Levinas in the Jewish Context”, 174.
[103]Peperzak, “Judaism and Philosophy in Levinas” , 127.
[104] Likutey Moharan 1:28 in Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Likutey Moharan Vol 4 (Lessons 22-32), (Jerusalem/NewYork: Breslov Research Institute, 1993), 173-199.
[105] Peperzak, “Judaism and Philosophy in Levinas” , 129.
[106] Levinas, Beyond the Verse, 148-163.
[107] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 158-159.
[108] The ‘Primal Works’ are the Maaseh Bereshit (Works of Creation) described in Genesis 1.
[109] Safran, Wisdom of Kabbalah, 170-71.
[110] Liesbeth Korthals Altes, “A Theory of Ethical Reading” Theology and Literature: Rethinking Reader Responsibility (Palgrave Macmillan; Gordonsville VA, USA, 2006), 17.

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