#65 Kefitzat Haderech – Instant Travel

Kefitzat haderech, roughly translated as instant travel, is an idea in Judaism that a person can travel from one location to another in a moment – a type of Jewish teleportation. In this podcast episode, David discusses this fascinating concept and its place in Jewish life and texts. He explains four methods for achieving instant travel and the place teleportation will have in messianic times. David also describes several intriguing episodes in Jewish history in which this extraordinary mode of movement is said to have occurred.

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#64 Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th & 15th Centuries (Part Three)

The 1400s in Jewish history was a time of turbulence and uncertainty while also a period of tremendous Jewish intellectual and mystical exploration. In this podcast episode, the last of the three-part series ‘Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th and 15th Centuries’, David examines the lives of several fascinating figures and their contributions to Jewish and world thinking. However, it is the enormity of the historical events that shaped the Jewish experience of the time, particularly in Europe, that dominates much of the material discussed in this episode. David explores the impact of printing on Jewish life and learning; the increasing interest in Hebrew and Jewish texts among Christian scholars; and the devastating consequences arising from the union of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile, leading to the unrelenting cruelty of the Inquisition and the eventual cataclysmic expulsion of the Jews of Spain.

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#63 Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th & 15th Centuries (Part Two)

The second half of the 14th century saw tremendous economic and theological pressure placed on the Jews of Europe. In this podcast, David explores a series of compelling and poignant historical events that captured the trying circumstances of Jewish life in the Middle Ages in Europe. David also discusses the remarkable tenacity of Jewish communities and individuals during these dark days, revealing impressive achievements, innovation, resilience, and extraordinary demonstrations of hope.

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Jewish History in Six Parts online

Part One

 

When: Sunday 8, 15, 22, 29 November, 6 & 13 December
Time: 11AM Johannesburg; 8 PM Melbourne (find the time for you here)

THIS SERIES IS FREE

thanks to the generous sponsorship of Chabad South Africa and Daminyan Shule Melbourne.

You can register to join the Zoom class or you can watch a live stream here:
https://davidsolomon.online/watch/live/
https://www.facebook.com/davidsolomononline
https://www.facebook.com/davidsolomononline

#62 Hope in Darkness: Jewish History of the 14th & 15th Centuries (Part One)

In the wake of the global upheaval and transformation of the previous century, Jewish history of the 1300s unfolded as a mix of controversy, uncertainty, and innovation. In this podcast episode, David examines the early years of the 14th century for Jews in Europe and Asia with its many dark episodes – including expulsions, forced conversions, and plagues – occasionally offset by opportunity and reprieve, as well as remarkable intellectual and spiritual contribution. David also highlights an unexpected connection between this historical period and our own.

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#61 Kabbalah – History & Ideas Since the Ari (Part 3)

Chassidism marked a moment of revolutionary change in Jewish life and spiritual engagement of the 18th century. Heavily influenced by the teachings of the Ari, early Chassidic thinkers explored and contributed to the development of Jewish mysticism. In this podcast episode, David discusses the lives and work of several early influential Chassidic figures, including;

  • the Baal Shem Tov
  • the Maggid of Mezricth
  • Rebbe Nachman
  • the Alter Rebbe.

David places these figures and their contributions in historical context and unpacks some of their fascinating and complex mystical ideas.

Other concepts discussed in this episode:

  • Kabbalah & Jewish mysticism
  • Lurianic Kabbalah
  • the Zohar
  • chassidism
  • chochma
  • hitbonenut
  • hitlahavut
  • keter
  • otiot
  • tzimtzum
  • kli
  • sovev
  • bina

Listeners who find this material new or challenging may wish to refer to the glossary of kabbalistic terms (with illustrative graphics) provided here. 

Find part one of the series here

Find part two of the series here

Find more of David Solomon’s podcast, with dozens of lectures on Jewish history, the Bible, Jewish philosophy, and Kabbalah here.

Rebbe Yisroel Hopsztajn, a great promulgator of Hasidism in Poland and a student of the Maggid of Mezeritch, blessing acolytes c. 1800. Public Domain.

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#60 Kabbalah – History & Ideas Since the Ari (Part 2)

The teachings of Rabbi Isaac Luria, the Ari (AR”Y), have been profoundly influential on Jewish mystical thought of the past five hundred years. In this episode of the podcast, the second lecture in a series exploring post-Lurianic Kabbalah, David discusses the historical background, lives, and ideas of two iconic Jewish intellectual and spiritual figures – the Vilna Gaon and Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. In doing so, he examines their remarkable contributions to kabbalistic thought on G-d, the world, and Divine revelation.

Listeners who find this material new or challenging may wish to refer to the glossary of kabbalistic terms provided here. 

This lecture includes discussions on:

  • the Zohar and Lurianic Kabbalah
  • Jewish explorations of alchemy
  • revelation and redemption, the geula
  • the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment)
  • Shabtai Zvi and Nathan of Gaza
  • Jewish messianic movements
  • the Ramchal, Rabbi Chayim Luzzatto
  • the Maggid of Mezritch, Rabbi Dov Ber ben Avraham of Mezeritch
  • Rabbi Joseph Ergas
  • Rabbi Immanuel Hai Ricci
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
  • ein sof and marshal
  • the Khmelnytsky massacre

Find part one of the series here

Find part three of the series here.

Continue reading “#60 Kabbalah – History & Ideas Since the Ari (Part 2)”

#59 Kabbalah: History & Ideas Since the Ari (Part One – Revelation & Concealment)

While the roots of Jewish mysticism can be found in the Torah, the past millennia have contributed numerous extraordinary developments and revelations in the field of Kabbalah. In particular, the teachings and ideas of 16th century kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac Luria, also known as the Ari, have been profoundly influential on Jewish mystical thinking, literature, and life. In this podcast episode, David provides historical context to the emergence of the Kabbalah of the Ari and then explores the two primary paths that disseminated his monumental ideas, through the works of rabbis Chayim Vital and Israel Sarug.

David discusses many of the terms and concepts associated with Lurianic Kabbalah, including:

  • the sefirot
  • ein sof (the infinite)
  • the four worlds
  • adam kadmon (primordial man)
  • the writing of the name of G-d
  • tzimzum
  • shevirat hakelim (shattering of the vessels)
  • the male and female aspects of G-d
  • the concepts of tohu and tikkun (chaos and rectification).

Listeners who find this material new or challenging may wish to refer to the glossary of kabbalistic terms provided here

Find part two of the series here.

Find part three of the series here.

Find more of David Solomon’s podcast, with dozens of lectures on Jewish history, the Bible, Jewish philosophy, and Kabbalah here.

Continue reading “#59 Kabbalah: History & Ideas Since the Ari (Part One – Revelation & Concealment)”

#58 How to Convert the Pope: Successful and Failed Attempts to Bring the Messiah

The messianic idea has been part of Jewish thought since the writings of the prophets who developed the notion that a restored Israel, housing the presence of the Divine, could lead to a transformed world. In this podcast episode, David explores the idea and manifestation of messianism in Judaism and examines several fascinating examples of people who have claimed – or been proclaimed – to be the messiah. David discusses the circumstances, characters, and influence of these remarkable figures and their impact on Jewish life, doctrine, and history.

Image from an illuminated page from Abraham Abulafia’s Light of the Intellect (1285). Public Domain.

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