Concept - Merkava
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Beginning Kabbalah > Concepts of Kabbalah > Merkava

The Merkaba
The hebrew word Merkabah comes from the root "ride" and reders in Esekiel to the thronechariot of G'd with 4 wheels. It is driven by 4 animals who each have 4 faces and 4 wings with faces of man, lion, ox and eagle. Some movements in the jewish mysticism focused on the passages of ezekiel to find the underlying meaning and the secrets of creation. Out of concern that it could lead to misunderstanding or idolatry the topic found opponents amongst the scholars. The merkaba is showing ways that G'd reveals himself.The parts of the Merkaba are written on Shavuot. The Biblical Merkabah Since there are four angels and each has four faces, there are a total of sixteen faces. Each animal angel has four wings. Two of these wings spread across the length of the chariot and connect with the one on the other side. Below are angels that have a shape of a wheel. They are called Ofanim.

These wheels are not directly under the chariot, but are nearby and along its perimeter. The angel with the face of man is always on the east side and looks up at the man that drives the merkaba. Its driver sits in a throne of Sapphire. In the Bible is a third type of angels called Serafim. They always ascend and descend. Their task is to power the chariot. Regarding to the angels of the Merkaba is to mention that Serafim stand on highest level and closest to G'd. A Hasidic explanation The Merkaba is an analogy that offers insight into the nature of man, the ecosystem, the world, and teaches us how to become better people. Ofanim means "ways" Some compare the four angels to the 4 seasons. G'd is the man on the Throne controlling everything.When we observe G'ds creation in all its ways we can gain a glimpse at the one controlling the Merkava. Still, it is distinctive from both Qumran literature and Apocalyptic writings for several reasons, chief among them being that Hekhalot literature is not at all interested in eschatology, largely ignores the unique status of the priesthood, has little interest in fallen angels or demonology, and it "democratizes" the possibility of divine ascent. It may represent a "rabbinization" of these earlier priestly ideologies.



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