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Collected EssaysVolume III$
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Haym Soloveitchik

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113997

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113997.001.0001

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Topics in the Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh

Topics in the Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh

(p.161) Chapter Seven Topics in the Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh
Collected Essays

Haym Soloveitchik

Liverpool University Press

This chapter focuses on Ibn 'Ezra's Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh. Conflicting reports are to be found in the Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh as to the origin of the soul. At times it is described as originating from the holy spirit via a process of inbreathing. On other occasions it is said to have been lit from the flames of the Kavod or of the heavenly throne. Other passages speak vaguely of its having been created from the place of the heavenly spirit. Whether any of these processes, or all of them, are genuine acts of creation or only emanations cannot be determined from the text. A prominent place in the Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh is occupied by demuyot, mirror-images of man fashioned at the beginning of Creation and which stand in endless array before the Kavod, drawing their sustenance from the absorption of the heavenly light that streams forth from the Kavod, and in turn transferring this vitality to their earthly counterparts. The demut is a counter-shape and plays no role in the religious experience of Ḥasidei Ashkenaz.

Keywords:   Ibn 'Ezra, Ḥokhmat ha-Nefesh, soul, Kavod, heavenly spirit, demuyot, Creation, demut, Ḥasidei Ashkenaz

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