Azriel (Jewish mystic)
Azriel of Gerona, also known as Azriel ben Menahem (Heb. עזריאל בן מנחם) (c. 1160 – c. 1238), was one of the most important kabbalists in the Catalan town of Girona (north of Barcelona) during the thirteenth century when it was an important center of Kabbalah. He is the teacher of the most important figure from the kabbalist community of Girona, Nahmanides.
Azriel was the most important student of the mystic Isaac the Blind. His writings covered subjects pertaining to the sefirot and included his mystical interpretation of Jewish liturgy and of the aggadah. He took on Gabirol's philosophical work to integrate it into the ten sefirot.
While his teacher Isaac the Blind considered Divine Thought to be the first supernatural quality to emanate from the Ayn Sof (or Eternal Being), Azriel argued that Divine Will was the first emanation. Therefore, it was the act of the will rather than the act of the intellect that was the first manifestation of God’s Eternal Being.