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Maʿaseh Merkavah

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Chapter Summary

Maʿaseh Merkavah was published by Gershom Scholem as Appendix C in Jewish Gnosticism, Merkavah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition. The text is an interesting combination of two kinds of Merkavah traditions: heavenly ascents and adjurations of angels in connection with the Sar-Torah practices. The text begins with a question which Rabbi Yishmael asks Rabbi ʿAkiva about the prayer which one should 'do' (in Hebrew: ʿoseh), when ascending to the Merkavah". Maʿaseh Merkavah contains two types of hymns: The first type lacks the unique quality of the hymns we meet in Hekhalot Rabbati and thus resembles common religious poetry. The other type of hymn included in Maʿaseh Merkavah, referred to as "prayers", constitutes its concluding part. In the Sar-Torah practices of Maʿaseh Merkavah, special attention must be given to the things that the mystic has to do in order to guard himself against evil demons.

Keywords: Gershom Scholem; Hebrew; Hekhalot Rabbati; Maʿaseh Merkavah



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