Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic

By Moshe Idel | Go to book overview

6
Zaddiq as "Vessel" and "Channel" in
Hasidism

1. SOURCES OF HASIDIC VIEWS OF THE ẒADDIQ

The Hasidic views of the addiq have been explored in several studies; 1 this is understandable as the numerous concepts of addiq are undoubtedly a crucial topic in Hasidic thought and experience. It is both a mystical and magical ideal, playing a formative role both in the abstract formulations of the Hasidic teachings and in the practical life of Hasidic communities. As pointed out several times in this book, I do not propose to attempt a strong and systematic reading of the various Hasidic sources in general, but rather to present a more panoramic perspective that will encompass different nuances and even diverging strands, not only in the Hasidic literature in general, but even within the writings of a given Hasidic group. 2

In the specific case of concepts about the righteous, the variety of sources that nourished the Hasidic version of the addiq was duly recognized by modern scholars. G. Scholem has enumerated three major types of literary sources that informed the Hasidic masters: the older Rabbinic 3 and Kabbalistic concepts; the moralistic preachers known as Maggid and Mokhia, represented by a whole range of homiletical literature; 4 and last but not least, in the view of Scholem, the Sabbatean concepts. 5 Although the first two types of sources are openly referred to by the Hasidic masters, the impact of the third is much more difficult to demonstrate. The Hasidic masters do not refer, at least not openly, to the pertinent Sabbatean concepts, and Scholem's hypothesis still requires additional evidence. Such an attempt was made by Tishby's detailed analyses of the impact of the views of R. Moshe Ḥayyim Luzzatto on the Hasidic understanding of the addiq. 6

There can be no doubt that Scholem and Tishby have presented some interesting and specific correspondences between Sabbatean and Hasidic concepts of the addiq; however, not all of these affinities have withstood the subsequent examination of scholars. 7 For example, Piekarz has strongly argued in

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Hasidism: Between Ecstasy and Magic
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Hasidism - Between Ecstasy and Magic *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I Models in Kabbalah and Hasidism *
  • 1 - The Weakening of the Lurianic Kabbalah in the Eighteenth Century *
  • 2 - Models in Jewish Mysticism 45
  • 3 - The Mystico-Magical Model 103
  • Part II - Drawing Down *
  • 4 - Mystical and Magical Prayer in Hasidism 148
  • 5 - Mystical and Magical Study in Hasidism 171
  • 6 - Zaddiq as "Vessel" and "Channel" in Hasidism 189
  • Concluding Remarks *
  • Appendix A - Psychologization of Theosophy in Kabbalah and Hasidism 227
  • Appendix B - Rabbi Yisrael of Ryzhin Who Cries 239
  • Appendix C - On Intentional Transmission of Power 245
  • Abbreviations 249
  • Notes 251
  • Bibliography 393
  • Appendix of Hebrew Quotes 403
  • Subject Index 425
  • Index of Works Cited 429
  • Author Index 435
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