BARUCH


BARUCH
BARUCH, name of several kabbalists. BARUCH SHELI'AḤ ẒIBBUR TOGARMI. Baruch Sheli'aḥ ẓibbur Togarmi, as is suggested by his cognomen Togarmi, was a cantor of eastern origin. He wrote a treatise, extant in several manuscripts (Paris, Oxford, New York), called Mafteḥot ha-Kabbalah ("The Keys to Kabbalah"), which contains a short, factually complete commentary on the Sefer Yeẓirah , identical with the one described by abraham abulafia in his Oẓar Eden Ganuz as being by his master, Baruch (no surname). In the early 14th century, isaac b. samuel of Acre quotes a Baruch Togarmi in Me'irat Einayim in such a way as to suggest a scholar who lived at least one generation earlier. He says, "I saw written in the name of Baruch Togarmi" and ends with the eulogy for the dead. The three quotations display the same characteristic of short allusions to kabbalistic secrets through wordplay as the above-mentioned treatise, Mafteḥot. This is significant for the early history of the Abulafian current in the Kabbalah. The author already knows a distinct group of such kabbalists who are occupied with the (mystical) knowledge of the name of God. From his statements, it is to be understood that he belonged to a circle whose members believed themselves able to discover "by the three ways of the Kabbalah," i.e., gematria ("numerical value of words"), notarikon ("interpretation of each letter in a word as abbreviation of other words"), and temurah ("interchange of letters according to certain systematic rules") particularly profound mysteries of the mystic cosmology and theology. However, according to his testimony, he was not allowed either to divulge in public or even merely to set down in writing most of it. The treatise is full of obscure wordplay and peculiar gematriot. For example, the word "body" here means the evil principle, through the equation גוף רע (guf ra, "evil body" – 359) equals שטן (satan – 359). The work originates clearly from the same circle as the book Sod ha-Levanah (ed. by J. Klausner, in Madda'ei ha-Yahadut, 2 (1927), 240–1), which has survived in the name of Jacob Cohen (c. 1260–70, that is at the time of R. Baruch). According to this, Baruch would have lived in Spain. Thus, it is a plausible assumption that it was through him that Abulafia, during his stay in Barcelona in 1270–73, was introduced to the Kabbalah of this circle. -BARUCH THE KABBALIST Baruch the Kabbalist was author of the book Mafte'aḥ ha-Kabbalah ("Key to Kabbalah") which was in Carmoly's possession (Cod. 249 of the Kirchheim Catalogue of Carmoly's Mss. of 1876). This book has no connection with the work of the above-mentioned Baruch Sheli'aḥ-Ẓibbur Togarmi. It belongs to an entirely different literary environment and it dates from the 14th century. This author   already quotes the zohar and the tikkunim, and is familiar with the homily on Jeremiah 9:22 from the end of the 13th century and possibly later (preserved in the Berlin Hebr. Ms. 193, fol. 79–98 and dated by Steinschneider not before 1350; cf. also HB, 18 (1877), 20). He also copied several passages from shem tov ibn gaon 's work Baddei ha-Aron, which was completed in 1325. That is the origin of all the passages which are common to Baruch the Kabbalist's work, and that of Shem Tov's Sefer ha-Emunot. Since Baruch undoubtedly knew Shem Tov ibn Gaon's works, there is nothing to uphold Carmoly's assumption that Baruch's book was the one used in the Emunot. Mafte'aḥ ha-Kabbalah was not a comprehensive work (Carmoly's manuscript, which is incomplete, contains only 28 folios) and did not add anything novel to the doctrines of Kabbalah, only excerpts from other sources in defense of the Kabbalistic tradition. Moses Botarel relied apparently on this book when he quoted in length from a spurious work Ḥoshen ha-Mishpat in his Yeẓirah commentary (to ch. 4, mishnah 4). It is possible, however, that Botarel had in mind Baruch Togarmi as the author of a Yeẓirah commentary. Botarel also named Baruch among the authorities who dealt with the technique of She'elat Ḥalom ("Dream Queries") and, as a matter of fact, Baruch's exposition is still extant in manuscripts (Gaster 603, fol. 9 and in other manuscripts). Apart from this, an older kabbalist named Baruch, who could not have lived after 1400 since he is already mentioned in manuscripts from that period, is mentioned occasionally in manuscripts dealing with practical Kabbalah. In the old Paris manuscript no. 602, he is described as the "father-in-law of the kabbalist Menahem," who is himself unknown. In the Gaster manuscript no. 720, the theurgic use of the socalled shem ha-kanaf, i.e., of the mystic "name" Ẓemarkad, was transmitted "from the tradition of Baruch." In a work of similar character such as his Yeẓirah commentary (which is partly preserved in a Jerusalem manuscript), Botarel attributes a commentary on the Ḥagigah talmudic tract, particularly its second chapter, to a kabbalist called Baruch of Narbonne. It is to be assumed that he means by this the same person, who therefore belongs to the second half of the 14th century. S. Sachs, who mistakes this Baruch for the one mentioned above, ascribes Ma'amar ha-Sekhel (Cremona, 1557), which gives the 613 commandments a kabbalistic explanation, to him. -BARUCH ASHKENAZI Baruch Ashkenazi who is called by shem tov attia , in the introduction to his commentary on the Psalms, an "old kabbalist," is, as clearly shown by his surname, a third person. There are no further details about him. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Scholem, Mysticism, 127. (Gershom Scholem)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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