Isaac Luria – ARI – ARIZAL
Rabbi Isaac Luria is commonly known as Ari, an acronym standing for Elohi Rabbi Isaac – the Godly Rabbi Isaac. No other master or sage ever had this extra letter, standing for Elohi – Godly – prefaced to his name. This was a sign of what contemporaries thought of him.
The Ari was born in Jerusalem in 1534 and it is said that Elijah himself attended his circumcision ceremony. By the time he was eight, he was recognized as wonder child, a prodigy who already outshone the greatest minds of Jerusalem. At this tender age, when most children just begin to read, he had commited dozens of volumes to memory.
Having thoroughly mastered the maze of Talmudic thought, the Ari discovered the Zohar when he was seventeen, obtaining his own manuscript copy.
In 1569 Arizal moved to the Land of Israel; and after a short sojourn in Jerusalem, where his new kabalistic system seems to have met with little success, he settled in Safed. There he formed a circle of kabbalists to whom he imparted the doctrines by means of which he hoped to establish a new basis for the moral system of the world. To this circle belonged Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Cordovero, Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz, Rabbi Joseph Caro, Rabbi Moses Alshech, Rabbi Eliyahu de Vidas, Rabbi Joseph Hagiz, Rabbi Elisha Galadoa, and Rabbi Moses Bassola. They met every Friday, and each confessed to another his sins. Soon Arizal had two classes of disciples: (1) novices, to whom he expounded the elementary Kabbalah, and (2) initiates, who became the depositaries of his secret teachings and his formulas of invocation and conjuration.
However, the most renowned of the initiates was Rabbi Chaim Vital of Calabria, who, according to his master, possessed a soul which had not been soiled by Adam’s sin. In his company Luria visited the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and of other eminent teachers, it is said that these graves were unmarked — the identity of each grave was unknown — and through Elijah each grave was recognized. Arizal’s kabbalistic circle gradually widened and became a separate congregation, in which his mystic doctrines were supreme, influencing all the religious ceremonies.
Key works of Arizal were documented by his deciple – Rabbi Chaim Vital. Baal HaSulam incorporated them into coheseve methodology which provide structured approach to learning Kabbalah based on ARIZAL teachings. Our key study book is Talmud Eser HaSefiros that is based on key works of ARI and contains everything one needs to ascend on spiritual ledder.