David Solomon examines major works and ideas in Kabbalah over the past five centuries in this final part of his lecture series, A Kabbalistic Journey Through Time.
The talk explores the contributions of:
The GR”A, the Vilna Gaon
Rabbi Chaim Luzzatto, the Ramchal
Rabbi Naphtali Bacharach.
It also discusses the ideas of the following rabbis:
Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov
Dov Ber ben Avraham of Mezeritch, the Maggid
Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, the Gramam
Schneur Zalman of Liadi
Nachman of Breslov
Yitzchak Izaak Chaver
Shalom Sharabi, the Rashash
Yehuda Ashlag, the Baal Hasulam
Shlomo Elyashiv, the Leshem.
Some of the concepts covered in the lecture include:
Lurianic kabbalah is an extended allegory
Revelation and concealment in relation to creation
The people of Israel in cosmic and world history
The revelation of esoteric knowledge, the secret level of Torah
The Torah is light
Darkness is a reality, not merely an absence
The role of Sabbateanism
The intersection of Kabbalah and Chassidut.
In addition to providing an overview of the development of Jewish mystical ideas since the AR”Y (Rabbi Isaac Luria), David explains the context of the examined thinkers and their work and provides historical background to their contributions.
This week David examines the beginnings of Chassidism, one of the most influential Jewish spiritual movements to emerge in the modern Jewish world. He discusses key individuals who launched – and developed – this extraordinary revolution and explores the central ideas and contributions of Chassidism to Jewish history, practice, religion, and life. As part of this fascinating Jewish history lecture, David focuses on the lives and ideas of:
The Baal Shem Tov – Shivchei HaBesht
Avraham Gershon of Kitov
Maggid of Mezeritch
Yaakov Yosef of Polnoyye
Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev
Shneur Zalman of Liadi
Nachman of Breslov.
He examines remarkable concepts developed by early Chassidic leaders, including:
the sparks of love
the light of the intellect
conversations with G-d.
as well ideas like:
exile of the soul and raising the sparks
prayer over study
the ecstatic service of the heart
the spiritual importance of joy
love of every Jew
the idea of the tzaddiq.
David also maps out the historical context of this remarkable phenomenon. He discusses opposition that emerged in large parts of the Jewish world to Chassidic ideas and practice and the destructive nature of some of these conflicts. He also considers a number of interesting developments that resulted in Jewish history in the wake of Chassidism.
The revelation of the Zohar saw an enormous shift in the landscape of Jewish mystical thinking, including in the techniques and ideas focused on the quest to engage with the Divine. In this podcast episode, David examines the ideas, practices, and approaches to encounters with Gd as explored in the Zohar, Lurianic Kabbalah, and Hassidism. This final instalment of David’s four-part series, A History of Mystical Encounters, also includes discussions on Maggidic revelation and Jewish mystical meditation.
The illustration below is a rendition of Tzimtzum, a concept discussed in this podcast episode. For a reminder about the sefirot illustration provided last week, please click here.
Arising in the wake of a number of dramatic historical events of the 17th century, the Chassidic movement emerged in the first half of the 18th century under the charismatic leadership of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer, the Baal Shem Tov, with profound effect on European Jewry. In this podcast episode, David Solomon provides an introduction and overview of Chassidism, looking at its early leaders and their ideas. David also examines the impact of the movement, how it has evolved, and the form it has come to take in the current age.
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