Download Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times by Justin Jaron Lewis PDF

By Justin Jaron Lewis

Hasidic stories as expressions of resistance to modernity, tensions with culture, and struggles among soul and physique.

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Extra info for Imagining Holiness: Classic Hasidic Tales in Modern Times (Mcgill-Queen's Studies in the History of Religion)

Sample text

60 Buber responded61 that he and Scholem were pursuing different tasks, necessarily involving different methodologies. Scholem aimed primarily “to advance the state of historical knowledge about” Hasidism. 62 Buber also insisted, however, on the historical accuracy of his key points. 64 Buber answered Scholem and Schatz-Uffenheimer’s argument that Hasidism does not affirm “life as it is” by distinguishing two trends in Hasidism. One, “the way of spiritualization,” he traces to the Maggid of Mezritsh, successor of the Baal Shem Tov, and the other, “the hallowing of all life,” to the Baal Shem Tov himself.

Then one of his disciples gave them the mill, with six millstones, in the neighbouring village. Another one said he was giving them a thousand Rhenish gulden as a wedding present. After that, they told the tavernkeeper that he should also give some present to the couple. But his mouth was filled with laughter as he said, “Isn’t it enough for you that I gave them food and drink today for nothing? ” Thereupon the Rebbe of Ropczyce said that he was giving them the tavern and its distillery as a wedding present.

59) This story highlights the hasidic concern for sexual restraint which extends to great anxiety (grounded in kabbalistic sources) over unconscious emission of semen. It depicts its protagonist, Rebbe Naphtali of Ropczyce (d. 1827), with unusual emotional complexity. The biblical verse which the rebbe quotes toward the end of the story, “If the anointed priest sins, for the guilt of the people …” implies in its original context that the people are held responsible for the sins of their leaders.

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