A report on Safed and Joseph Karo

Artistic conception of Karo's appearance. Painting of 19th century
The Red Mosque in Safed, 2001. It was originally built by the Mamluk sultan Baybars in 1275, and renovated or expanded by the Ottomans in 1671/72
Synagogue of Maran, R. Joseph Karo, in Safed
The Mamluk mausoleum of Zawiyat Banat Hamid, originally built in 1372
Karo's grave in Safed
The Red Mosque
Title page of Karo's Shulchan Aruch
Hebrew book printed by Eliezer Ashkenazi in 1579
Originally built as a caravanserai by the Ottomans in the mid-1700s, the "Saraya" (house of the governor) currently serves as a community centre
Safed in the 19th century
Muslim quarter of Safed circa 1908
Melkite Greek Catholic Church in Safed
Beit Knesset Abuhav, one of the city's historic synagogues
Street art in Safed
Beit Castel gallery in the artists' colony
Scottish church in Safed
Panorama Safed and Mount Meron
View to the east and Lake of Kinneret
Safad 1937
Mandate Police station at Mount Canaan, above Safed (1948)
Safed (1948)
Safed Citadel (1948)
Safad Municipal Police Station after the battle (1948)
Bussel House, Safad, 11 April 1948: Yiftach Brigade headquarters
View of Safed from Mount Canaan (1948)
Mandate administration building on the eastern outskirts of Safed (1948)
Yiftach Brigade, with their Hotchkiss machine guns, based at Bussel House, 1948
Druze parading in Safed after the Palmach victory in 1948
Monument to the Israeli soldiers who fought in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War
Safed in 2009
View of Safed
View of Safed
Houses in Safed
Doorway in Beit Castel gallery, Safed

He later settled in the city of Safed, Ottoman Galilee, where he arrived about 1535, having en route spent several years at Salonica (1533) and Istanbul.

- Joseph Karo

After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, many prominent rabbis found their way to Safed, among them the Kabbalists Isaac Luria and Moshe Kordovero; Joseph Caro, the author of the Shulchan Aruch and Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz, composer of the Sabbath hymn "Lecha Dodi".

- Safed

2 related topics with Alpha


Shulchan Aruch

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Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

Most widely consulted of the various legal codes in Judaism.

It was authored in Safed (today in Israel) by Joseph Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.


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Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

In the 16th century, the community of Safed in the Galilee became the centre of Jewish mystical, exegetical, legal and liturgical developments.

The author of the Shulkhan Arukh (the normative Jewish "Code of Law"), Yosef Karo (1488–1575), was also a scholar of Kabbalah who kept a personal mystical diary.