Zohar Spinning Revolutions Looks Like (Shiva Nataraja)


Rabbi Yitzhak opened, “He revolves wheels by His devices, according to their deeds, whatever He command them on the face of the inhabited earth (Job 37:12). He revolves wheels –The blessed Holy One spins revolutions in the world, bringing cloaked dazzlers to carry out His acts, then turning and transforming them. How? By his devices, cunningly spinning revolutions to generate them anew.  –Zohar 1:109a, Pritzer translation

To be sure, the resemblance with which I’m playing is formal, but it runs deep. The two actual types of spinning are different. Shiva Nataraja’s spin is a dance, whereas God’s spin in the Zohar is the spinning act of the potter’s wheel. What brings the two figures together is the sense of revolving revolutions that dazzle, the never ending theo-cosmic force of repetition that creates, preserves, and destroys.


About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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