Botzina D’Qardinuta; Alma D’Ahtay

So you are interested in learning about the Zohar?  A great introduction to the Kabbalah comes in the form of Rabbi Larry Kushner’s first fictional novel, Kabbalah: A Love Story. I just finished it and recommend it highly.  The story weaves its characters together with important elements of religious philosophy and Iberian Jewish history.  It also successfully links Jewish mysticism with the rationalist cosmology of Einstein’s concepts of space-time.  I was drawn into the dual love stories whose temporal juxtaposition is at the core of the mystical thesis of the novel, and also a central tenet of the mystical unity of Kabbalah.

I know Rabbi Kushner from our synagogue because he is the Emanu-El Scholar in-residence at the Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco.  We have been fortunate to have him with us for several years, and I was delighted to discover in the novel some personal touches that other congregants who have worshipped with Rabbi Kushner will also recognize.   

Excerpts from two of my favorite passages are below:


I understand now.  The botzina d’qardinuta is the seed point of beginning,and the alma d’ahtay is the mother-womb of being.  Botzina d’qardinuta, it is the flash of light.  Alma d’ahtay, it is the unattainable and ultimate womb.  But these two must become one.  You are the darkness; I am the spark.  Botzina d’qardinuta and alma d’ahtay.   

"Then what do you mean when you talk about God?"

"There are two ways to understand our relationship with God.  The first is classic theism . . .  In that model, God can be represented as a big circle.  . . . And you a little circle below it. . . . there is another model.  It has a more Eastern ring, but it has been around in Western religion, too.  In this model God is still a big circle. . . . The little circle . . . still represents you, but . . . it is within the big circle of God.  You would call this mystical monism.  It’s all one and it’s all God.  God is simply all there is.  And therefore, the separateness of anyone or anything is illusory because everything is a manifestation of God!  God is the ocean, and we are the waves."

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