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Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides) - Commentary on the Torah



Type of Spiritual Experience


Gershom Scholem  commentsIn view of this esoteric structure of the Torah, says Nahmanides, the Masoretic tradition concerning the writing of the Bible and especially the scrolls of the Torah must be observed with the utmost care. Every single letter counts, and a scroll of the Torah must be rejected for use in the synagogue if there is so much as a single letter too few or too many”.

A description of the experience

Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides)  - Commentary on the Torah as quoted in Gershom Scholem – On the Kabbalah and its symbolism

...an authentic tradition showing that the entire Torah consists of the names of God and that the words we read can be divided in a very different way, so as to form [esoteric] names. . . . The statement in the Aggadah to the effect that the Torah was originally written with black fire on white fire obviously confirms our opinion that the writing was continuous, without division into words, which made it possible to read it either as a sequence of [esoteric] names ('al derekh ha-shemoth) or in the traditional way as history and commandments.

Thus the Torah as given to Moses was divided into words in such a way as to be read as divine commandments. But at the same time he received the oral tradition, according to which it was to be read as a sequence of names.

The source of the experience

Judaism and Kabbalah

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps