The rise of Halakhic religiosity of mystery and transcendence

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In the late Middle Ages, Jewish tradition saw the development of an outlook whereby the reasons for commandments [ta‘amei ha-mitsvot] are beyond human understanding. The outlook was not limited to particular commandments that were perceived as beyond comprehension, rather the true, deeper meaning of all commandments was seen to transcend human capacity. According to this outlook, the very nature of the commandments is defined by transcendence and mystery. The mysterious essence of the commandments is unconnected to their practical application; as instructions, commandments and laws are clear. Were this not the case, it would be impossible to fulfill the commandments and keep the laws. Rather, the mystery refers to the strata of reasons, i.e.,the purposes, for the commandments and laws.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1*-49*
Number of pages49
Journalדיני ישראל
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note


IHP Publications

  • ihp
  • Adret, Solomon ben Abraham -- 1235-1310
  • Cabala
  • Commandments (Judaism)
  • Jewish philosophy -- Middle Ages, 500-1500
  • Maimonides, Moses -- 1135-1204
  • Philosophy


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