Talking the Talk: Drawing of the Cosmological Order

In this series we honor the contributions made on the Zooniverse Talk boards for our project, Scribes of the Cairo Geniza. Talk is a way for citizen scientists on Zooniverse to converse with one another and experts on the different material they are working on, ask questions, and explore new insights. Each week we will feature a talk conversation that we love. Thanks for the participation #genizascribes!

@Joke_Slayer: what is the drawing on the front side #asktheexperts #drawings

@odedzinger: This is beyond my expertise, but I think this is a drawing of the cosmological/creation order after the tzimtzum according to a Kabbalistic worldview. The outer circle is the primordial man (adam kadmon) which contains the rest of the worlds which were created after it. In the middle, passes the infinite line (qav ein sof). To know more, we need to get a kabbala expert.

@jlocke42: I’m also very interested in the reverse of this document. “דרוש” (“drash”) means a teaching. I can’t find אק in the BDB lexicon, although it occurs to me it might be a number. “ונבאר” has the root “באר” (“explain”) and, if I’m conjugating correctly, means “and/but we will explain”.

I’m also interested in the bold-lettered phrases on the bottom half of the page. I haven’t looked this up, but at a glance, it almost looks like the author was spelling out the Tetragrammaton in a few different places by spelling the letters themselves (“yod hey vav hey”). I would have to go through and look up all the words to make sure.

I have no idea what any of this means but it does strike me as being pretty Kabbalistic, especially combined with the diagram on the obverse.

@noamsienna: @jlocke42 as Dr. Zinger wrote, “א’’ק” stands for “אדם קדמון,” the Primordial Adam of Qabbalah. This page (there are four of them, ENA 2415.1–4) is from the introduction of the book Otzrot Hayyim (אוצרות חיים) by R. Hayyim Vital, one of the students of R. Isaac Luria (the AR”I). You’re right that the bold letters are permutations of the Tetragrammaton, a classic Qabbalistic technique.
You can read this in Hebrew here.

@jjlocke42: Very insightful, thank you!

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