There are three distinct stages in the historical revelation of Kabbalah. Each represents a conceptual approach to understanding Kabbalistic tradition. Each is identified with a particular historical figure:
- Rabbi Moses Cordevero, also known as the Ramak
- Rabbi Yitzchak Luria, popularly referred to as the holy Ari, and
- Rabbi Yisrael, the Ba'al Shem Tov.
Each system of thought served to advance the evolution of Kabbalistic theory by providing new and more illuminating frameworks within which to organize the totality of Kabbalistic doctrine existing up to their time.
These three stages themselves correspond to three basic and recurring concepts found in Chassidic philosophy hishtalshelut (evolution), hitlavshut (enclothement) and hashra'ah (omnipresence).
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