1290 AD to 1310 AD, Psalm 112: Kabbalah

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alphabet hebreu shutterstock_177457862This generation is that of the 1290s and 1300s.

This generation sees the end of the last islands of Christian domination in the East, the last strongholds fall. Saint John of Acre, the last Crusader wall in the Holy Land falls to the Mamelukes in 1191. Tortosa, Beirut, Tire and Saïda also fall easily.
After two centuries of presence in the East, the record of the Christian presence in the East is rather bleak. Virtually no intellectual or artistic enrichment, whether in the East-West or the West-East direction, has been generated.
Similarly, from Byzantium, there are only a few enclaves that resist as they can to the Turkish pressure. Constantinople will fall later at the same time as Granada falls into the hands of Christians.
At the same time as the East definitely strengthens its Muslim identity, the West in turn strengthens its Christian identity.
While waiting for the Spanish reconquest to bring down in nearly two centuries Granada, the last Muslim enclave, the new Christian kingdoms take more and more measures against non-Christian religious minorities.
Thus the fate of the Jews in Europe is gradually deteriorating, the sixth millennium (according to the computation of the Hebrew calendar), that of the triumphant Christianity is really not a good omen for the Jews. If Christians are forced to abandon the East, the West is marked more and more deeply by the cross.

Miracle_des_billettes_Saint_etienne_du_Mont rogneTo the repetitive accusations of ritual crime is added the profanation of the host.

Ordonnance_du_roi_de_France_Philippe_IV_le_Bel_annonce_qu’il_est_obligé_d’altérer_la_monnaie_-_annote      Lettre_de_Philippe_IV_le_Bel_1_-_Archives_Nationales_-_J-427-15 annote

Philippe_IV_le_Bel 2 rogneIf this accusation is not new – a first case is recorded in Cologne in 1150 – this time the accusation turns into a theological demonstration, confirming canon 1 of the Lateran Council of 1215: transubstantiation. Thus from the beginning of this generation, in Paris in 1290, such a case appears known as the « miracle of Billettes ». This affair serves Philippe Le Bel (« The Fair ») as a complementary argument to the expulsion of the Jews in 1306.

This expulsion [1] was preceded in 1305/1306 by a depreciation of the currency of two-thirds, which mechanically multiplied the claims by three. It is legitimate to think that by expelling the Jews in 1306 main debt holders, Philip Le Bel drew a double financial advantage: he thus lightened the debts of his citizens and reduced the negative effect of his monetary reforms and also recovered from the seizure of Jewish property substantial amounts (but much lower than its forecasts) allowing him to partially restore the budget balance. Although using theological arguments to achieve its ends, the expulsion of the Jews has only a material purpose. Moreover, the Jews will soon be allowed to return, but the infernal mechanism is engaged.

The Billettes affair was replicated in Germany with far greater loss of life for Jewish communities.

This generation is the one that sees the rise of dissemination of Kabbalah in the wake of the emergence of the Zohar to the previous generation. The preliminaries of the Zohar, the part that initializes this book before the explanations of the first verses of Genesis, the first verses of the Torah, gives a large place to the role of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet relying nevertheless on the first verse of it.

 

Yetzirah_wheel_bwAll the letters succeed each other to justify that the creation of the world must be based on it, of the letter Tav (T), all were refused until the letter beit appears, it is then accepted, the Aleph s refraining from introducing himself. It is in compensation for this « modesty » that this letter became the first of the alphabet:

  • The Holy One [2], blessed be He, said to him: Aleph, Aleph, in spite of the fact that I will create the world with the letter beit (which initiates the Torah), you will be the first letter of all the letters of the alphabet, I will have unity only in you, and you will also be the beginning of all the calculations and works of the world. Any unification will rest in the letter aleph alone.
So if this psalm as the psalm that precedes it and the one that succeeds it, all associated with the diffusion of the Zohar is initialized by the same word: « Hallelujah », it is the succession of a series of verses which respects a rule well special. Every (half) verse indeed begins with a different letter of the alphabet in the order of the alphabet. Thus, as promised in the Zohar, the first verse begins with the letter aleph (A) and the last with the letter Tav (T).
Italy plays an important role in the awakening of Europe to the contributions of China following the trips of Marco Polo and later in the activation of the Renaissance. It also becomes a broadcasting center of Kabbalah and the Zohar.
So if the psalmist can not deny that again, the Jewish people in this generation is the heart of darkness, he does not fail to evoke the yearning Jewish mysticism, the Kabbalah and the Zohar often compared to light that allows the Jewish people to survive in a hostile Christian world in the hope of an immediate but future retribution.
This is summarized in the beginning of the psalm of this generation;

(extract of the psalm 112 associated to this generation, verses 1 to 4 )

 

  • Hallelujah. Praiseworthy is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly desires His commandments.
  • His seed will be mighty in the land, a generation of upright ones, which shall be blessed.
  • Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
  • He shone a light in the darkness for the upright, [for He is] gracious and merciful and righteous.

 

Recall that Zohar means « bright light ». Thus the « light » brought by Jewish mysticism to the Jewish people in the acceptance of evil is very necessary, because if the Jews had become accustomed to the « night », they approach the most profound period which justifies the term well. of « darkness » used by the psalmist.
The Jews could hope that the massacres of the first crusade in 1096 were an accident of history, an exceptional event. This is not the case, it happens again for the present generation and will be repeated in Europe until culminating in the Twentieth Century Shoah. These massacres made of Europe, which for many Jews could look like a second promised land, a « valley of tears » as had been announced in Psalm 84 whose generation saw the opening of trade routes to is and the establishment of many Jewish communities on these in Germany.
The continuation of the psalm reiterates the faith of the Jewish people despite the misfortunes that accumulate on it, confirming the same confidence expressed earlier in Psalm 84:

(extract of the psalm 112 associated to this generation, verses 5 to 7 )

  • Good is the man who is gracious and lends, who conducts his affairs with moderation.
  • For he will never falter; for an everlasting memorial will the righteous man be.
  • He will not fear bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Despite the harshness of the blows, the Jewish people cross generations to the dismay of his enemies who can only see the failure of their long-term action.
It is on this conclusion that the psalmist prefers to conclude this dark generation for the Jewish people:

(extract of the psalm 112 associated to this generation, verses 8 to 10 )

  • His heart is steadfast, he will not fear until he sees in his adversaries.
  • He distributed, he gave to the needy; his charity endures forever, his horn will be raised with glory.
  • A wicked man will see and become angry; he will gnash his teeth and melt; the desire of the wicked will be lost.
In particular, the last verse begins with the letter Tav, whose God, according to the Zohar, refused to create the world because:
  • You  [3] (the letter Tav) are the seal of death (mavet).
Thus this psalm, when it concludes that the « the desire of the wicked will be lost. » indicates that all the massacres that may be perpetrated by the enemies of Israel will not prevent the good of finally triumphed.

 

 

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[1] From: (collective): « The Capetians, History and dictionary, 987-1328). Chapter: « The reign of Philip IV Le Bel ». (French: « Les Capétiens, Histoire et dictionnaire, 987-1328). Chapitre : « Le règne de Philippe IV le Bel ».

[2] Based on the French version of The Zohar: The Zohar, Volume I, Preliminaries. (French: (Edition VERDIER, « Les Dix Paroles »). Le Zohar, Tome I, Préliminaires. (p. 40) )

[3] Based on the French version of The Zohar: The Zohar, Volume I, Preliminaries. (French: (Edition VERDIER, « Les Dix Paroles »). Le Zohar, Tome I, Préliminaires. (p. 36) )