March 18, 2009


From Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, “Meditation and the Bible” (Samuel Weiser or Jason Aronson edition), p. 89. By “conceptual,” the commentator means the plane of the “absolute,” or the “noumenon” – i.e., a reality that cannot be grasped the senses.

Moses and Seclusion

Rabbi Simon ben Tzemach Duran (1361-1444), Commentary on I Samuel 10:5

With his keen mind, [Moses] was able to understand what was required to attain enlightenment, realizing that the path was through meditation (hitbodedut). He therefore chose to separate himself from all who would disturb him and to reject all physical desires, choosing to be a shepherd in the desert, where no people are to be found. While he was there he unquestionably attained a great attachment to the conceptual, divesting himself of all bodily desires, until he was able to remain for forty days and nights without eating or drinking.