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Touching God: Vertigo, Exactitude, and Degrees of Devekut in the Contemporary Nondual Jewish Mysticism of R. Yitzhaq Maier Morgenstern

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Abstract Whether extrovertive, introvertive, or some further hybrid, the process of the soul touching the fullness of its divine origins is itself undergoing transformation in the twenty-first-century cultural matrices of Israel. A remarkable exemplar of devotional Hebrew cultures can be found within the hybrid networks of haredi worlds in Israel today. R. Yitzhaq Maier Morgenstern, author of Yam ha-okhmah, Netiv ayyim, and De’i okhmah le-nafshekha, is arguably the most innovative mystical voice in Israel. Why are his works resonating so strongly both inside and outside their haredi communities of origin? How is his innovative thinking affecting the devotional praxis of devekut both inside and outside the unfolding Hasidic networks? This exploration of mystical apperception through devekut builds upon studies of Garb, Huss, and Meir, while challenging the idea that Morgenstern’s expanding impact is solely a function of his mystical-magical charisma and hypernomian spiritual practice. This study argues that it is Morgenstern’s hybridized thinking through key theoretical issues in Kabbalah and Hasidism as they apply to the lived practice of a devotional life of devekut that will likely remain his strongest innovation and contribution to contemporary Jewish mysticism.


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