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Chapter Summary

Music is universally recognised as fundamental to human life, and although manifestations of music vary from one culture to another, no society in the world exists without its music. The important role that music played in the life of the Jewish people from its inception is evident throughout its literature. The hasidic movement, which spread in Eastern Europe from the second half of the 18th century, adopted many kabbalistic traditions. This study concerns the theological and ontological dimensions of music. It attempts to explain Naḥman’s approach to music as a process that involves and transforms the spirit, understood as a force that originates in God, animating all life. According to Naḥman’, the spirit encompasses the emotional and imaginative dimensions of human existence, while at the same time having an impact on the cosmic domain.

Keywords: hasidic movement; kabbalistic traditions; Naḥman’; vocal music



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