David ben Abraham Ha-Lavan

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DAVID BEN ABRAHAM HA-LAVAN

DAVID BEN ABRAHAM HA-LAVAN (c. 1300), kabbalist who lived in France or Spain. His grandfather was rabbi in Coucy, France. David wrote Masoret ha-Berit, a kabbalistic-philosophic tract distinguished by its radical formulation of kabbalistic doctrines. His method of argumentation resembled that of the neoplatonic philosophers and his system was not far removed from pantheism. All things existed in the Creator's mind "in a spiritual actuality" and the difference between their state in the Creator's mind and their current state is only the fact that they have been materialized, i.e., "they took on a material form in time." All creation out of nothing is either creation out of the essence of the Glory of God or out of His word, and in any case out of the power of the first source of emanation; this ayin ("nothingness") is more real in its existence than any other reality. The process of emanation of all created beings by action of the Will, even the minerals, and their return to the origin of their existence in the divine Will, is called "the secret of the true transmigration."

bibliography:

Mekiẓe Nirdamim, Kobez al Jad, 1 (n.s. 1936); G. Scholem, in: Gaster Anniversary Volume (1936), 503–8.

[Gershom Scholem]