Isaac Shalom Cohen 1593 — Judah Segre
Assis Rimonim (Essence of Pomegranates) was composed by the Italian kabbalist Samuel Gallico in the second half of the sixteenth century as an abridged version of Moses Cordovero’s magnum opus Pardes Rimonim (Orchard of Pomegrantes). Cordovero’s writings were an attempt to synthesize earlier kabbalistic trends and to reconcile the divergent and sometimes contradictory concepts that had prevailed since the dissemination of the Zohar at the end of the thirteenth century. Particularly vexing was the question of whether the Sefirot were in fact a continuation of the essence of the Divine or, alternatively, instruments (“vessels” in kabbalistic terms) used by God to achieve his earthly purposes. Cordovero’s solution is a nuanced compromise which sees the Sefirot both as divine substance and as divine vessels, the bridge between God and the world. Gallico's abridgement was widely disseminated as a means of rendering accesible Cordovero's text. Gallico, a pupil of Cordovero was also the teacher of Menahem Azariah di Fano who later revised the text of Assis Rimmonim and has ocasionally been miscredited with its authorship.
The present manuscript was completed in 1575, in the author's lifetime predating the appearance of the earliest printed edition (Venice, 1601) by a quarter century. The commentary of Mordecai Dato on the first twenty-one chapters runs from fols. 3–43. The signature of the censor, Domenico Caretto dated 1607 appears on the final page of the manuscript.
Kabbalah: Mysticism in Jewish Life; Temple Emanu-El, New York, 2003-4.
Volvelles: The Magnificent Art of Circular Charting; The Grolier Club, New York. 2004.
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