The Theurgic Power of Intellectual, Meditative, and Moralistic Engagement: Safrin’s Otsar haΗayim

Leore Sachs-Shmueli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In its rationalization of the commandments, Otsar haΗayim, by Yitshak Ayzik Yehuda Yehiel Safrin of Komarno, integrates Talmudic, halakhic, kabbalistic, and Hasidic traditions. Safrin’s theurgic system expands Lurianic traditions to include a multidimensional interiorized practice that can be traced to the Baal Shem Tov (the Besht), the legendary founder of Hasidism. This article argue that Safrin’s interiorization went hand in hand with stipulating a strict adherence to practical fulfillment of halakhic norms. Furthermore, in his writings, Safrin upheld all the dominant, traditional models regarding the kabbalistic efficacy of the commandments – theurgic, magical, and ecstatic – expanding them (not replacing them) to include not only their practical performance but also a variety of interiorized practices. Additionally, each of these performances encompasses a moralistic aspect – repairing sin, transgression, and encouraging a person to strive for self-perfection in divine worship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalReview of Rabbinic Judaism
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Brill Academic Publishers. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Baal Shem Tov
  • Hasidism
  • kabbalah
  • moral
  • theurgy
  • Yitshak Ayzik Yehuda Yehiel Safrin

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