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Egypt (1534 - 1572) Timeline

Poems by Isaac Luria
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Rabbi Isaac Ben Solomon Luria was born in 1534 in Jerusalem to German parents. His father died when he was a boy, and he was raised by his mother and uncle. He went to Egypt to study Jewish law and traditions under Rabbi Bezalel Ashkenazi.

After studying for several years with Rabbi Ashkenazi, Luria moved with his wife to a small island on the Nile River. During this period he became intensely focused on Kabbalah and studied the Zohar and other early books of Jewish mysticism.

Through his deepening mystical practices, Rabbi Luria felt he came into contact with great mystics of the past, including the prophet Elijah. In this inspired state, he wrote his commentary on the Zohar.

In 1569, Luria moved back to Palestine and settled in Safed, where he studied with the famous Kabbalist Moses Cordovero.

Luria taught Kabbalah and periodically spoke in Ashkenazi synagogues.

Luria's Kabbalistic ideas were innovative and controversial. He brought forth the notion of zimzum, the idea that God "shrunk himself" in order to create the void which, in turn, gave birth to the world. Lurianic Kabbalah had a strong Messianic bent which opened the way to some of the heterodox Jewish Messianic movements that followed.

Luria died in 1572 during an epidemic.

Rabbi Luria was sometimes known as Isaac Ashkenazi. His followers referred to him as "HaAri," The Lion, an acronym for "haeloki Rabbi Yitzhak", the divine Rabbi Yitzhak (Isaac).

Poems by Isaac Luria

Recommended Books: Isaac Luria

A Big Jewish Book: Poems and Other Visions of the Jews from Tribal Times to the Present

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Isaac ben Solomon Luria

A good brief biography of Isaac Luria.
Isaac Luria