Descent to the Chariot

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Descent to the Chariot is a Kabbalah term syncretic with Ascension.

Syncretic Terms

Ascension > Descent to the Chariot, Divine Union, It

Related LP Terms

Kabbalah >

Non-LP Related Terms

Kabbalah > Age of Redemption, Ain Soph, Ain Soph Aur, Breaking of the Vessels, Descent to the Chariot, Messiah, Mitzvah, Nejuda Reshima, Sefirot, Shekhinah, The Correction, The Withdrawal, Tikkun, Treatise on the Emanations on the Left


"The fourth subject—found only in about five of these treatises—is meaningfully different from the others: it describes an active procedure by which a person can ascend to the divine realms and reach the highest level, and even “face God in his glory.” This process of ascension is called in these texts, paradoxically, “descent to the chariot,” and the sages who do it are called yordey ha-merkavah (the descenders to the chariot). This practice is attributed in these texts to the two great sages of the early talmudic period, Rabbi Akibah and Rabbi Ishmael. Unlike the vast talmudic-midrashic literature and most of the Hekhalot and Merkavah treatises, these texts do not rely on expounding biblical verses (midrash), but relate direct, personal spiritual experiences. The claim for veracity does not rely on “the verse said,” as is usual in most Hebrew postbiblical literature, but on personal experience—“I saw,” “I heard,” “I envisioned.” They used terminology that is not found anywhere else, such as the term “hekhalot” in the plural, indicating the seven palaces or temples that are situated, one above the other and one inside the other in the seventh, highest heaven. The sages who overcome the many dangers on the elaborate way of ascension join with the angels in the celestial rituals of praise to God."[1]


  1. Dan, Joseph. Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. (Kindle Locations 265-274). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.