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The Cabalistic teaching of emanation is best understood by an examination of the doctrine of the Sephiroth.The Supreme Being, say the Cabalists, is an absolute and inscrutable unity, having nothing without him and everything within him. In this infinitude he cannot be comprehended by the intellect, nor described in words intelligible by human minds, so as to make his existence perceptible.It was in this way that the Egyptians obtained some knowledge of it, and the other Eastern nations could introduce it into their philosophical systems.Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into it in the land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in it from one of the angels.The Literal Cabala is the science which teaches a mystical mode of explaining sacred things by a peculiar use of the letters of words, and a reference to their value.Each of these divisions demands a separate attention.
" His son, Rabbi Eliezer, and his secretary, Rabbi Abba, as well as his disciples, then collated Rabbi Simon ben Jochai's treatises, and out of these composed the celebrated work called Sohar, that is, Splendor, which is the grand storehouse of Cabalism.
As they were preparing for his obsequies, a voice was heard from heaven, saying, " Come ye to the marriage of Simon ben Jochai; he is entering into peace, and shall rest in his chamber!
" A flame preceded the coffin, which seemed enveloped by and burning like fire.
After the Fall, the angels most graciously communicated this heavenly doctrine to the disobedient child of earth, to furnish the protoplasts With the means of returning to their pristine nobility and felicity.
From Adam it passed over to Noah, and then to Abraham, the friend of God, who emigrated with it to Egypt, where the patriarch allowed a portion of this mysterious doctrine to ooze out.