Shagar’s mystical space: moving between the languages of Kabbalah, Hasidism, and Rav Kook

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This paper presents an analysis of the conflictual relationship between Shagar’s [Shimon Gershon Rosenberg] use of kabbalistic and Hasidic traditions and his search for mysticism via psychoanalysis and Continental philosophy. The study will shed light upon the tension between how Shagar defined and understood mysticism and how he defined kabbalistic language and the gap between his explicit and his implicit attitudes towards Kabbalah. I propose that mysticism was the central religious space that Shagar sought to create from his conflicting stance. Nonetheless, despite Shagar’s attempt to present himself as a direct theological descendant of the kabbalistic tradition, by way of his use of terms such as “the shattering of the vessels”, “Nothingness”, and “silence”, I will attempt to expose the dissonance between his yearning for this language and his rejection of it. My main analysis, at the heart of the article, will be based on the not-yet-released recording of his introductory lecture on Da’at Tevunot. It will be accompanied by a variety of sources from his books (edited by his pupils) to complete the picture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

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  • Hasidism
  • Jewish mysticism
  • Kabbalah
  • Postmodernism
  • Zionism


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