Faces of God: The Ilan of Rabbi Sasson ben Mordechai Shandukh

Eliezer Baumgarten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rabbi Sasson ben Mordechai Shandukh was one of the leaders of the renewed Jewish community in Baghdad in the second half of the eighteenth century and at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Among the literary heritage left by Rabbi Sasson Shandukh, which includes moral literature, liturgical poems, halakhic literature and prominent Kabbalistic literature, are the unique Kabbalistic ilanot (rotuli "trees") he created. The four long rotuli that he created that have reached us are the subject of this article. The kabbalistic ilanot of Shandukh are distinctive for their great length, their eclectic sources, for their interpretation of the Lurianic theory of emanation, and for their anthropomorphic representations of divine faces, drawn in accordance with the teachings of the famed Safed kabbalist R. Isaac Luria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-107
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History
  • Religious studies


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