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Hasidism

(4,220 words)

Author(s): Loewenthal, Naftali
Hasidism, the spiritual revivalist movement that began in 18th-century Eastern Europe, drew on earlier kabbalistic perspectives for its conceptions of language. In particular, since Genesis describes divine ‘speech’ as the origin of creation, language as a tool of the divine creative process features in the ancient ספר יצירה s ep̄er yeṣira ‘The Book of Creation’. This opens by depicting “Thirty two wondrous paths of wisdom”, comprising the ten ספירות sep̄irot ‘divine attributes’ and the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Kabbala, in general, sought to…