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Assaf Tamari public lecture at Paideia Jan 2014: Lurianic Kabbalah: Man’s Personal Responsibility for God’s Fate

loggaurwitz-265x300Lurianic Kabbalah: Man’s Personal Responsibility for God’s Fate

Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-1572), whose name became synonymous with Safed’s sixteenth century spiritual renaissance, is not only one of the most famous and influential figures in the history of Jewish thought, but also one of the most fascinating ones. His intricate and complex teachings, known as Lurianic Kabbalah, are deemed by many, kabbalists and scholars alike, as one of the crown jewels of kabbalistic thought, and their mark is deeply imprinted in a wide variety of Jewish religious currents ever since.

This lecture presents the Lurianic Kabbalah’s rich, graphic and highly dramatic myth about the God who fell apart, and created man so that he can complete God’s continuous process of restitution. A God who is dependent upon man for his own mending, and consequently for the restoration of harmony to the world. We shall discuss the different ways in which man is expected to perform his duties, the anthropological assumptions underlying them, and the unique messianic role Luria and his close disciple Rabbi Hayyim Vital believed they were to play in the redemptive process. Finally, we shall raise questions regarding the religious consciousness these views stem from and create.

Assaf Tamari is a doctoral student at the department for Jewish thought in Ben-Gurion University.

His main field of expertise is sixteenth-century Lurianic Kabbalah, and his research is focused on the Lurianic Body Discourse.