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The Esotericism of the Torah: But What Is It Really?

Greetings dear members of /Judaism,

I should start by saying that I am not Jewish but Catholic. Some time ago, I bought from a rabbi in Milan, my city, a highly detailed and commented edition of the Book of Genesis, containing Rashi’s commentary, some rabbinical writings, and many other beautiful things.

In the first pages, I found a very interesting part, but it raised great perplexity and curiosity. I didn’t find much information online, and I would like to know your opinion regarding these statements that I read (I have transcribed them in English here for you from Italian). I have highlighted some parts in bold and I would like to ask you what they really mean. What does it mean that “every word has seventy interpretations”? What does it mean that “it is possible to derive halakhot from the “crowns” of the letters”? They seem a bit like ravings to me, but I suppose these statements have practical implications. I would ask for further clarification, please. Thank you.

The text says:

“There are four general methods used in the study of the Khumash: peshat (simple meaning and explanation), remez (hint, such as acronyms and numerical values), derush (homiletic interpretation), and sod (kabbalistic secrets).

The term pardes (orchard) is used as an acronym for these four methods. The Zohar (Bereshit 47b) teaches: The Torah has seven faces, meaning there are seventy interpretations for every word and verse of the Khumash (Zohar III, page 83b).

The Talmud (Menakhot 29b) states that Rabbi Akiva derived many halakhot solely from the crowns on the letters in the Torah. Ramban and Rabbenu Bahya (Bereshit 12, 32) affirm that the form of the letters in the Torah, whether they are larger or smaller, deformed or inverted, serves to convey many halakhot and secrets. Furthermore, Rabbenu Bahya draws various teachings from a method applied to the Codes of the Torah, by which phrases and words are formed by combining the letters at fixed intervals.

In addition to the wealth of wisdom and secrets contained in the verses, words, and letters of the Torah, the Zohar (Yitro 87a) teaches that the entire Torah is constructed from the Names of God. The Names of Hashem are encoded through various configurations and groupings of the letters and words of the Torah; therefore, if a Torah scroll is missing a single letter, it is not kosher.

Through careful study of the Khumash, all the hidden mysteries of Creation and the universe can be understood. It is through this study that King Solomon, the wisest of men, attained knowledge of all disciplines.”

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Source: Reditt