Presentation on theme: "Class Three: Kabbalah and Eastern Europe “Rothchild, the mouse in its hole, the bedbug on the wall, and the corpse in the grave were identical in every."— Presentation transcript:
Class Three: Kabbalah and Eastern Europe “Rothchild, the mouse in its hole, the bedbug on the wall, and the corpse in the grave were identical in every sense, as were dream and reality.” Isaac Bashevis Singer
Class Three (1)Review: Creation, Revelation, and Redemption (10mn.) (2)Context (5mn.) (3)Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (10mn.) (4)The Rise of Jewish Messianism (10mn.) (5)Introduction to Hasidism (10mn.) (6)Yesh and Ayin (5mn.) (7)The Zaddik (5mn.) (8)Text Study at Tables (20mn.) (9)Plenary (20mn.) (10) Niggunim (10mn.) (11)Conclusion: Moving Forward
Creation, Revelation, Redemption, Part 3: Aleph They asked Rabbi Levi Yitzhak: “Why is the first page number missing in all the tractates of the Babylonian Talmud? Why does each begin with the second?” He replied: “However much a person may learn, he should always remember that he has not even gotten to the first page.”
Context One: Sharing Secrets (1)Printing of the Zohar in the 1550s in Cremona and Mantua. (2) The printing of Moshe Cordovero’s works. (3)Even Isaac Luria wrote little, and his disciple R. Hayyim Vital (1542- 1620) was chary about sharing Luranic secrets, manuscripts containing elements of Luria’s teachings made their way to Italy, then to Poland by the 1590s.
Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (1565-1630) (1)Known as the “Holy Shel’ah” (2)Composed the Sheney Luhot ha- Brit (A very popular book) (3)Argued that the esoteric and the exoteric dimensions of Judaism overlap. There is perfect harmony between legalism and mysticism. (4)His work was not only instrumental in popularizing Kabbalah, but also influenced the movement of Beshtian Hasidism.
Sheney Luhot ha-Brit (1)In the Introduction to his worked, entitled Toledot Adam (Gen. 5.1, “The Generations of Adam”), he provides an exhaustive reflection on an oft- cited passage in the Zohar that God, Torah, and Israel are one. (2)This ontic identification is rooted in the fact that the word “Adam” semantically refers to each of these three realities. (3)The anthropomorphization of God, Torah, and Israel as the Primal Adam is a hallmark of the Kabbalastic worldview.
Messanic Fervor Shabbatai Zvi (1626-1676)Jacob Frank (1726-1791)
Rise of Hasidism Isaac Luria’s enduring influence The Dialectical Processes Above and Below (1)The Maggid of Mezhriech was primarily concerned with the mutual transformations of yesh and ayin. (2)Bretslov Hasidim expressed the tragic dimension of the paradox (Lurianic cosmology). (3)Habad is more concerned with the dialectical movement between yesh and ayin. (4)Polish Hasidim highlighted the embodiment of the opposites in the figure of the Zaddik A core of Hasidic thought lies the idea of the dual nature of reality. The two contradictory aspects of all existence are bound to one another dialectically. This duality applies to all dimensions of reality and mirrors the perception of the deity as a dialectic unity of oppositions. Whether the influence was placed on the Cordoverian tension between revelation and concealment or the Lurianic dichotomy of transcendence and immanence, many Hasidic authors grappled with the ambivalence of divine dialectics: most addressed the contradiction of Yesh and Ayin.
Yesh and Ayin “One should think of one’s self as Ayin, and that ‘absolute all’ and ‘absolute nothingness’ are the same. The person who learns to think about himself as Ayin will ascend to a spiritual world, where everything is the same and everything is equal: “life and death, ocean and dry land” Dov Ber of Mezeritch
Baal Shem Tov (1700-1760) …it is told that the Baal Shem Tov abruptly paused in prayer during a Yom Kippur service. This pause did not convey a meditative move, or a moment for reflection, but rather it reflected a startled and distraught face. After some time, his congregation grew anxious. After some more time, they grew fearful. In the back of the room sat a young shepherd boy. He was illiterate and thus was unable to follow the liturgy. He also was unaware the congregations’ anxiety over their rebbi. He was lost in thought and, in his own way, prayer. His soul longed to connect to his divine creator and during this unsettling moment in the service he pulled out some sort of whistle, or flute, or some other wind instrument or tool and opened up his heart through this particular device. He blew into it with an impassionate, prayerful plea. At that moment, the Baal Shem Tov continued his prayer.
The Zaddik “Zaddik is the foundation of the world. Now it is known that Yesod has the power to ascend and draw abundance from above, because it includes everything. The same is true of the earthly Zaddik: He is the cahnnel who allows the abundance to flow down for his entire generation. Thus the rabbis said: ‘the whole world is sustained for the sake of Hanina, my son.’ This means that Hanina brought the divine flow forth for all of them, like a pathway through which all can pass; R. Hanina himslef became the channel for that overflow.” The Maggid, Or Torah