My flurry of emails this morning is starting to pay off. A scholar of Jewish philosophy from Bar Ilan University named Isaac Hershkowitz wrote me back and had TONS of useful information. Here's some of what I've learned:
Early kabbalists recommend meditating on the name ARARITA while praying the middle section of the Amidah. The section in question goes, basically, "Hear our voice, Lord our G‑d; merciful Father, have compassion upon us and accept our prayers in mercy and favor, for You are G‑d who hears prayers and supplications; do not turn us away empty-handed from You, our King, for You hear the prayer of everyone. Blessed are You Lord, who hears prayer. Look with favor, Lord our G‑d, on Your people Israel and pay heed to their prayer; restore the service to Your Sanctuary and accept with love and favor Israel's fire-offerings and prayer; and may the service of Your people Israel always find favor."
The second is that our knowledge of the name comes mostly from Hayim Vital's school, and from the Pardes Rimonim. You guys have heard me talk about Pardes Rimonim before (in conjunction with counting the omer). I don't remember ARARITA being in it, but I'm sure it is. I'm out of town (in Pittsburgh) all this week. I'll look it up when I get home.
He also mentions a book called Sepher Ha Iyyun (The Book of Contemplation) that I am completely unfamiliar with. Apparently, in that book are described two divine rings on which the names ARARITA and AHYA are inscribed. I only know a little bit about that second name, but I'll try to learn more and write about it over the next week (but I'll be back at work, so my time is quite limited). Here's what I know: Originally, G-d's name was aleph-heh-vuv-yod, but some stuff happened and the world got made and Torah came down to earth and blah, blah, blah and the name got split into two pieces HaShem (yod-heh-vuv-heh) and Eheyeh (aleph-heh-yod-heh). That's really all I know.
Here's the part I love best... Apparently the function of the name ARARITA is to activate/facilitate a kind of shamanic journeying called hekhalot. That's exactly what drove me crazy when I was in college, so I don't want to write too explicitly about it here. If you actually know me, give me a call and we'll talk shop). It's also used in conjunction with fertility.
He goes on to explain that Chayim Vital associates the name with Keter. More tomorrow.