Rabbi Yitzhak Saggi Nehor
רַבִּי יִצְחַק סַגִּי נְהוֹר, also known as Isaac the Blind
, (c. 1160-1235, Provence
Provence ; Provençal: Provença in classical norm or Prouvènço in Mistralian norm) is a region of south eastern France on the Mediterranean adjacent to Italy. It is part of the administrative région of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur...
, France) has the Aramaic epithet "Saggi Nehor" meaning "of Much Light" in the sense of having excellent eyesight, an ironic euphemism for being blind. He was a famous writer on Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...
(Jewish mysticism). Some historians suspect him to be the author of the Book of the Bahir
Bahir or Sefer Ha-Bahir סֵפֶר הַבָּהִיר is an anonymous mystical work, attributed to a 1st century rabbinic sage Nehunya ben ha-Kanah because it begins with the words, "R. Nehunya Ben Ha-Kanah said"...
, an important early text of Kabbalah. Others (especially Gershom Scholem
Gerhard Scholem who, after his immigration from Germany to Palestine, changed his name to Gershom Scholem , was a German-born Israeli Jewish philosopher and historian, born and raised in Germany...
, see his Origins of the Kabbalah, p. 253) characterize this view as an "erroneous and totally unfounded hypothesis".
He was the son of a famous talmudist Abraham ben David of Posquières (Raavad).
first appeared in the Middle Ages, around 1200 CE in France. It discusses a number of ideas that became important for Kabbalah, and even though the origins of the anonymous work are obscure, there were important Kabbalists who were writing at the same time in France. The most influential of these was Isaac the Blind.
Isaac the Blind's mystical concepts
He considered the sefirot as having their origins in a hidden and infinite level deep within the Ayn Sof, or Divine Being (lit. That Without End).
He believed that from the Ayn Sof emanated
Emanationism is an idea in the cosmology or cosmogony of certain religious or philosophical systems. Emanation, from the Latin emanare meaning "to flow from" or "to pour forth or out of", is the mode by which all things are derived from the First Reality, or Principle...
Mahshavah (Divine Thought), which was the first supernatural quality. The rest of the sefirot emanated from the Divine Thought. Individual beings in the world are material manifestation of the sefirot, albeit on a lower level of reality. Mystic experience aids in reascending the levels of emanations to unite with Divine Thought.
The most famous student of Isaac the Blind was Azriel
Azriel of Gerona, Azriel ben Menahem was one of the most important kabbalists in the Catalan town of Girona during the thirteenth century when it was an important center of Kabbalah...