Friday, September 07, 2007

Deyokna -Tzelem - Guf ha-Dak: The Astral Body

I recently received this question:

I spend a good deal of time studying with Rabbi Gershon Winkler.

[A diagram of the hands, revealing their supernal structures]

He has discussed deyokna, the concept of a holy garment that we all possess. I would like to know more about the deyokna. I've picked up your book and examined your blog and notice you don't discuss the concept of deyokna. Unfortunately I don't read hebrew and was hoping that you could further clarify and explain the idea of deyokna. Thank you for your incredible contributions to Jewish mysticism, myth and magic.

Thank you for your kind words. Rabbi Winkler is both a wonder and delight. His hiddush of aboriginal Judaism is both truly originally and true to the most ancient traditions of our people.
I do not have an entry for this term in the current edition of the EJMMM because it is covered under other entries, but I should have had a cross reference. Let me give you a full entry now -
Deyokna; Deyokan ("Form/Template/Portrait"). The ideal form of a person. This elusive term refers to an image, seemingly shared simultaneous by God and a person. It is philosophically related to the Platonic notion of "forms," of idealized templates of all existent things that dwell on high simultaneously with the realized object in the lower world. As the Zohar puts it, it is the "Likeness that includes all likenesses." Rashi uses the term, commenting on Gen. 1:27:

God as Judge, alone without the angels, created the human being, by hand, in a mold which was like the mold with which a seal is made or like the die from which a coin is produced, and which had been specially crafted for the human being. In a mold which was a tzelem deyokon of God, God created the human being. One being which was both male and female and which was subsequently divided into two beings, God created them.

In Zohar, it is described as something that is bonded to the body at birth. It appears to a couple in sexual union and, if the relationship worthy, imprints upon the seed of the child generated by that union (III:104b, Emor). Though invisible, the righteous can interact with their deyokna, even see through its "eyes," which gives the person the special sight of prophecy.
There are a number of cognate notions of an ethereal body or spiritual membrane that accompanies the material body which also appear in Kabbalah: Guf ha-Dak ("The sheer body") and/or the Tzelem ("image") [Zohar I:7a, I:224a-b; Miflaot Elohim 48:6; Nishmat Chayyim 1:13].[1]

If, God-willing, I get the opportunity to produce a 2nd edition of the EJMMM, I will include this information
Zal g'mor - Go learn more by reading the Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic, and Mysticism: http://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Jewish-Myth-Magic-Mysticism/dp/0738709050

[1] Scholem, Mystical Shape of the Godhead, pp. 251-270.


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