Monday, August 08, 2005

Suffis vs. Kabbalists

Sufism, quite possibly has some connections to Kabbalus... but who knows for sure ..could there be something to Rabbi Yishmael ben Elisha being the one to put into writing the Sefer Bahir and the Pirkei Heichalos, him being called Yishmael maybe because he was in touch with mystic Suffis (or pre-suffis?)? Or maybe it was the other way around.... maybe we were the ones to "enlighten" those 'other' semites. I mean it could be that the Gemara in Gittin that refers to Rav Yishmael ben Elisha as a child in Roman captivity, is alluding to the idea of a 'tinok shenishba', that he was not in fact a child but rather is considered to be similar to one, in the sense that he was robbed of his Yiddishkeit, and was placed in a situation where it was replaced with another theology/philosophy. Or maybe we should take a second look into the pasuk in Bareishis 25:6 "but to the concubine-children who were Avraham's, Avraham gave gifts; then he sent them away from Yitzchak his son, while he was still alive, eastward to the land of the east."I have heard that some say these 'gifts' refer to spirituality, metaphysics, theosophy and things of that nature, that these concepts thrived in the east however they failed to keep it rooted in ethos and more basic forms of truth, which would be preliminary steps towards attaining the 'ultimate truth'. Perhaps this too is part of their problem.... we believe in Ein Sof, that God's knowledge is limitless, where as they believe it is finite (Sof, Suf, Sufi ?) and entirely attainable by mere mortal men. Anyway this is all conjecture, I suppose there is no way of knowing entirely wether both traditions come from the same source back during Avraham Avinus time, and that they simply developed on somewhat parallel paths, or wether Suffism was an entirely new innovation, or it arose as having been in direct contact with Kabbalus and adapted for Islam at some point. Guess we will never know for sure, but its fun to wonder.

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