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Mysticism, Kabbalah, And Hasidism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter deals with the attitude of Halakhic Man to mysticism in general, and to Kabbalah and Hasidism in particular. Its claim is that Halakhic Man utterly rejects mysticism in all its manifestations, through disregard, indifference, and suggestions of misgivings and reservations. Strong opposition to Jewish mysticism and a perception of it as potentially dangerous surface between the lines of Halakhic Man. Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik's attitude to mysticism sheds light on the tense relationship (or, more precisely, on the absence of a relationship) between Halakhic Man and homo religious. For R. Soloveitchik, the exclusive focus on finitude and temporal life is an expression of secularism that the religious outlook finds intolerable. For a religious person, finitude is a threat that religious existentialism tries to overcome through faith. The chapter deals with the rejection of religious esotericism, and explores the exoteric description of Halakhic Man.

Keywords: Halakhic Man; hasidism; Jewish mysticism; kabbalah; mysticism; Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchik



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