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Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15Focusing on Jewish Religious Life, 1500-1900$
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Antony Polonsky and Antony Polonsky

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774716

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774716.001.0001

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Primordial Chaos and Creation in Gur Hasidism: The Sabbath that Preceded Creation

Primordial Chaos and Creation in Gur Hasidism: The Sabbath that Preceded Creation

(p.221) Primordial Chaos and Creation in Gur Hasidism: The Sabbath that Preceded Creation
Polin: Studies in Polish Jewry Volume 15

Yoram Jacobson

Liverpool University Press

This chapter deals with one of the central themes of the work Sefat emet, the collection of homilies by Rabbi Judah Arie Loeb Alter, the second teacher of the Gur dynasty, which is considered by Gur hasidism to be the canonical text of the school to this day. A wide variety of subjects is discussed in the thousands of teachings (torot) contained in this vast collection. Some of these are more concerned with historiosophical issues, while others present the mystical existentialism of the individual who seeks their spiritual redemption. Nevertheless, all of them, without exception, reflect different aspects of a unified system of thought that revolves around a fixed and steady axis. It is almost impossible to imagine a more monolithic approach — certainly within the framework of the homiletic writings of Beshtian hasidism — be it in terms of the interconnections and coordination among its theoretical aspects or in terms of the conceptual unity of its teachings and the homiletic motifs that serve as their expression, as these teachings were articulated by the rebbe of Gur for the thirty-five years of his leadership of this major hasidic movement.

Keywords:   Gur hasidism, Judah Arie Loeb Alter, primordial chaos, creation, Gur dynasty, homiletic writings, homiletic motifs

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