Sigmund Freud and the Jewish Mystical Tradition

By David Bakan | Go to book overview

12
The Chmielnicki Period

In the year 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain. From that time onward we see a growth in the concern with exile and redemption in the thought of the Jews. Owing largely to the influence of Isaac Luria ( 1522-1570) and his follower Hayim Vital ( 1543-1620), the Kabbalistic doctrines played an important role in the development of these ideas. After about 1630 the Lurianic doctrine spread widely. It was strongly supernaturalistic and superstitious in content. It promised redemption soon, and the coming of the Messiah. It became integrated into the thought, feeling, and religious rituals of practically all the Jews living in the diaspora.

The blackest part of the history of the Jews in Spain was the last decade of the fifteenth century. In the year 1648 the worst persecution of the Jews in history, excepting only that under Hitler in our own century, took place in eastern Europe. The mood of the Jew of the last three hundred years may be largely traced to the middle decade of the seventeenth century, the period of the Cossack pogroms under the leadership of the eminently talented and ruthless Bogdan Chmielnicki.1 The

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