Rabbi Abraham Abulafia
Spain (1240 - 1295?) Timeline

Poems by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia
Books - Links

Rabbi Abraham (or Avraham) Abulafia was an important figure in Spanish Kabbalah mysticism, founder of "prophetic Kabbalah." He was born in Zaragosa, Spain.

His father was his first teacher, instructing him in knowledge of the Torah and Talmud.

His father died when he was Rabbi Abulafia was 18. He then began to travel. He went to Palestine, but in the chaos following the Crusades, he found it too dangerous. He then traveled through Greece and into Italy, where he settled for a while and studied philosophy, including Kabbalah and the works of Maimonides. During this time he also gained notoriety as a teacher.

Rabbi Abulafia eventually returned to Spain, where he deepened his esoteric study. He delved deeply into important Kabbalistic texts, like the Sefer Yetzirah, as well as the writings of other Jewish mystics.

Rabbi Abulafia is especially associated with the Kabbalistic tradition of meditating on sacred words. Because each act of creation in the Torah begins with the phrase, "And God said...," he understood words both as keys to manifestation, but also signposts pointing the way back to the Divine Source. Rabbi Abulafia taught a meditation practice in which the letters of sacred words are manipulated and rearranged as a way to gain deep insight into the true nature of creation and oneself and, ultimately, to reconnect with God.

He continued his travels, returning to Greece and Italy, teaching and writing. While teaching in Italy, he was condemned by some of the local Jewish communities for his unorthodox views. When important rabbis in Spain heard of the controversy, it became clear he was no longer welcome in Spain. He spent his remaining years traveling and writing in exile.

Poems by Rabbi Abraham Abulafia

Recommended Books: Rabbi Abraham Abulafia

A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, 950-1492 Meditation and Kabbalah

Related Links

Rabbi Avraham Abulafia

Very brief bio note about Rabbi Abulafia and his philosophy.

Abraham Abulafia - Wikipedia

A relatively detailed biography of Rabbi Abulafia.

JewishEncyclopedia.com - Abulafia, Abraham ben Samuel

Online biography.
Rabbi Abraham Abulafia