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Alef, Mem, TauKabbalistic Musings on Time, Truth, and Death$
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Elliot Wolfson

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780520246195

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520246195.001.0001

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Before Alef/where Beginnings End

Before Alef/where Beginnings End

(p.118) 3 Before Alef/where Beginnings End
Alef, Mem, Tau

Elliot R. Wolfson

University of California Press

This chapter sheds light on the concept of beginning and explains the hermeneutical dilemma of the beginning. Beginning is the advent of something that begins at a discrete juncture in the past and will be brought to a conclusion at some time in the future. A pattern of causal sequentiality is presumed and grafted onto the aggregate of experiences believed to take shape on a horizontal plane of temporality. The beit is the fullness with which God took counsel at the beginning. The word for beginning is tehillah, the expression used in conjunction with the question of the whereabouts of the bayit that shelters and exposes the king, the beit that begins Torah, beginning of the opening that is the opening of beginning. The first word of Torah, bere'shit, alludes to the unity before the threefold othering of the one, a unity that technically is before there is one, for in being one there would be two and consequently one to divide.

Keywords:   beit, tehillah, bayit, bahiric text, gimmel

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