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Self & Mystical Identity in Sixteenth Century Kabbalah

Hosted By: Valley Beit Midrash

In what would become the legendary kabbalistic hilltop town of Tzfat in the 1500s—the birthplace of such timeless texts as Lekha Dodi and Yedid Nefesh; a location whose larger-than-life figures included such luminaries as Rabbi Yosef Karo, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Rabbi Yitzhak Luria (the ARI), and many others— there unfolded one of the most remarkable chapters in the entire history of Judaism, and of Jewish mysticism in particular. Through a variety of concerns, ideas, and genres of writing, the mystics of this time and place expressed a pronounced focus on the nature of the human self and spiritual psychology: its essence and character, its fundamental state of relationship to Divinity. In the sessions of this course, we will explore a range of these issues and modes of creativity as they appeared in sixteenth-century Tzfat. We will explore such major topics as Soul, Body, and Reincarnation (Gilgul); The Ethics and Piety of Self-Transformation (Kabbalistic Musar); Mystical Autobiography; Emotion, Feeling, and Mind. Dive deeply into this fascinating and inspiring landscape of ideas, feelings, and spirituality!

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