RABBI JOSEPH KARO AS THE FOUNDER OF THE FIRST KABBALISTIC CIRCLE IN SALONICA
Issue 2018 N 3
Dr. Mor Altshuler
Abstract: The article describes the establishing of the first circle of Kabbalists in Salonica by two scholars who later laid the foundations of The Golden Age of Safed: R. Joseph Karo, whose Shulchan Aruch became the authoritative codification of Jewish law; and his companion, kabbalist and poet R. Solomon Halevi Elkabetz. While performing a mystical ceremony on the nights of Shevuot (Pentecost) of 1533, a prophetic voice was heard through R. J. Karo’s throat and mouth. The voice urged the companions to ascend immediately to the Land of Israel in order to redeem the Assembly of Israel and be redeemed from exile.
Special weight is given to the messianic enthusiasm of the circle, and to their interpretation of the triumphs of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent over the Christian coalition led by Emperor Charles V as an omen to the fall of the satanic realm of “Edom” and as an encouraging step towards redemption.
Keywords: Joseph Karo, Solomon Elkabetz, Jewish Millenarian, Mystical Repair, Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.