Jonathan Garb


There is no time like the present for calling attention to the emergence of a new field of scholarship, that of the modernization of Kabbalah, which is in turn part of a wider reconsideration of the modern Jewish world taking place in recent years, especially amongst younger scholars. These convergent developments open diverse possibilities for profound change in the agenda of Jewish Studies as such. I wish to offer a textual case study, that of a kabbalist operating within the Italian Enlightenment, in order to propose a reevaluation of the place of modern Kabbalah within Jewish Studies, as part of a wider revision of traditional orientations of the field. These new theoretical and methodological horizons can best be appreciated through an introductory overview of the fate of the modern in the history of Jewish Studies in the twentieth century. This overview joins recent moves towards writing such a history [such as volume 74 (2009) of Zion, the organ of the Israel Historical Society, on the history of Jewish historical studies in Israel]. The classical paradigm of twentieth century Jewish studies, as exemplified in the work of luminaries such as Isaac Baer, Julius Guttmann, Saul Lieberman, Shlomo Pines, Gershom Scholem, Ephraim Urbach and Harry Wolfson, was founded on intensive study of texts ranging from later antiquity to the medieval period. The only one of the above to dedicate a significant degree of inquiry to the modern period was of course Gershom Scholem. Yet, the latter deeply believed in the primacy of origins in scholarly investigation and devoted only one book-length study to the modern period: Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, 1626-1676.1 Precisely through this exquisitely researched exception, which was limited to half a century (as its title demonstrates), we can see how central sabbateanism and especially one figure, Sabbetai Tsevi, were for Scholem’s understanding of modernity.2 As a result, from Scholem’s time onwards, numerous giants of Jewish modernity, such as R. Yonathan Eybeschutz, R. Moshe
doi:10.1093/mj/kjp022 Advance Access publication February 3, 2010 ß The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


Jonathan Garb

Eayyim Luzzatto and even R. Elijah (the Gaon) of Vilna, have been researched mostly with respect to one question: If and how sabbatean they were. Of course, one might argue that an influential figure in twentieth century Jewish Studies, Martin Buber, foregrounded a modern movement: Hasidism. As this is not the place to address this issue, I shall merely confess to sharing Scholem’s own opinion (which profoundly affected Buber’s reception in Jewish Studies in Israel), namely that the latter’s writing on this topic was that of a public intellectual rather than research in the classic sense. As a result, entire mystical worlds, such as the circle of Luzzatto, the center in Prague, the Oriental school of R. Shalom Shar6abi and Lithuanian Kabbalah—not to mention many schools of nineteenth century Hasidism and twentieth century Kabbalah, are absent in Scholem’s Sabbato-centric scheme, which was largely upheld by his students.3 One can note similar choices with regards to Mussar literature, surely one of the most widely disseminated forms of Jewish writing in the modern period: The focus of Scholem’s followers, especially Joseph Dan, was mostly on medieval works in this genre, and again modern classics, such as R. Eliyahu Itamari’s Shevet Mussar or the anonymous Hemdat Ha-Yamim were examined only with regard to their possible connection to Sabbateanism. As opposed to dramatic developments in other areas, this picture was not changed by the new directions that emerged in Kabbalah scholarship in the late twentieth century. Moshe Idel did write of the modern move from esotericism to exotericism in his earlier opus Kabbalah—New Perspectives, however his focus there was more on the connection between Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages as well as on the influence of thirteenth century ecstatic Kabbalah.4 As a result, relatively speaking, Idel did not especially address the above mentioned schools and works in his other writings. This state of affairs changed somewhat in the course of the 1990s. Yehuda Liebes devoted important studies to central modern figures such as R. Naftali Bakhrakh, R. Shimson of Ostropolye, R. Naftali Katz and R. Elijah of Vilna. Charles Mopsik introduced modern texts throughout his extensive overview of kabbalistic theurgy, suitably entitled Les grands textes de la cabbale. Besides his detailed studies of Sabbateanism, Elliot Wolfson devoted an article to gender and messianism in Luzzatto, discussed R. Isaiah Horowitz of Prague and also analyzed the hermeneutics of R. Elijah of Vilna, drawing on contemporary theories of writing. As a result, at the turn of the century an increasing number of studies were devoted to some of the neglected modern schools, including book-length treatments of R. Sabbetai Sheftel Horowitz of Prague, Luzzatto, Lithuanian Kabbalah, the school of Shar6abi, and twentieth

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century Kabbalah (by Bracha Sack, Joelle Hansel, Raphael Shuchat, ¨ Pinchas Giller and Jonathan Garb). Shaul Magid has recently analyzed the beginnings of modern Kabbalah utilizing the tools of the school of New Historicism. Finally, Haviva Pedaya has included important theoretical comments on the modernization of Kabbalah in several thematic articles.5 At the same time, we are far from a comprehensive picture of modern Kabbalah, even on the basic textual level. One need but consult Scholem’s encyclopedic survey of this period, which is itself far from exhaustive, in order to observe how many key texts and figures, including such luminaries as R. Emanuel Eai Ricci, have hardly been discussed.6 It is of interest to compare the state of academic textual scholarship with the recent awakening of interest in early modern Kabbalah in the kabbalistic circles in Jerusalem, which has led, to cite but two instances, to the publication of numerous earlier and contemporary commentaries on Ricci’s Mishnat Hasidim and editions of several works from the Kloiz fellowship in Brody. More significantly, we do not yet have a full integrative account of the unique nature of modern Kabbalah, its response to broader cultural and historical developments and the various stages of its development in various cultural contexts, European and Oriental. Such an account would in turn require a far more advanced state of research into other areas of modern Jewish religiosity, such as custom, liturgy, Halacha, Talmudic methodology, and Mussar, which like Kabbalah, have suffered from the pre-modern focus of classical Jewish studies. At the same time, we should be encouraged from recent and forthcoming work by mostly younger scholars such as Ze’ev Gries, Maoz Kahana, Haviva Pedaya, David Sorotzkin, and Roni Weinstein, who provide useful tools and insights for a new understanding of modern Jewish religiosity.7


The neglect of the modern in Jewish studies is one case of many in which one can see how the modernistic attempt to differentiate academic scholarship from traditional learning created a gap between the agenda of the universities (as well as those institutions influenced by the university, such as the contemporary Batei Midrash in Israel and rabbinical schools in the United States) and that of the Yeshiva world, whose very development was greatly accelerated by modernity. For contemporary kabbalists in Yeshiva circles, the classics are not Sefer Ha-Bahir, nor the writings of the Gerona circle, nor somewhat later


Jonathan Garb

classics such as Sefer Ha-Temuna and Ma6arekhet Elohut. Even the zoharic literature, in and of itself, is not the classic that contemporary Kabbalah links to or, at times breaks with. One major reason for this choice is that all of the above works were anonymous or pseudo epigraphic. Contemporary Kabbalah, and indeed modern Kabbalah in general, is first and foremost a cult of the exceptional individual and his mystical biography, so that non-personal writings cannot serve as a model.8 Rather, the classics for contemporary Kabbalah are the works composed by the great figures of modern Kabbalah, namely R. Isaac Luria, R. Moshe Cordovero, R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, R. Elijah of Vilna, the Ba6al Shem Tov, R. Shalom Shar6abi, and R. Shneur Zalman of Lyady. It is no coincidence that amongst the most widely circulated texts in contemporary circles one must count the hagiographies depicting some of these figures. For this reason, the one medieval figure that is central for almost all branches of contemporary Kabbalah is the most autobiographical and self-conscious of medieval kabbalists, R. Abraham Abulafia.9 Actually, this general observation largely holds for other realms in Jewish discourse. For halachists and advocates of Mussar, the classics are also modern works. Thus, just as the Zohar is mediated for contemporary kabbalists through the commentaries of Luria, Cordovero ´ and Luzzatto, the medieval halachic classics, such as the ‘Arbah Turim and the Yad Ha-Hazaka are mediated through later works, and especially the triad of Karo’s works: Sulhan ‘Arukh, its main source, Beit ´ Yosef on the ‘Arbah Turim, and Kesef Mishne on the Yad Ha-Eazaka. Even in pure Talmudic study, the focus (despite constant critiques of this tendency), is on the Ahronim, or later authorities, especially the products of the renaissance of Talmudics in early twentieth century Lithuania. Likewise, although the modern Mussar movement values the medieval works of R. BaAya ibn Paquda and especially those of R. Yonah Gerundi, its major sourcebook is of course Luzzatto’s Mesilat Yesharim. Above all, due to the effect of the Gutenberg revolution, coupled with the staggering demographic explosion in the modern Jewish world, most Jewish texts (at least those available to us) were composed after the sixteenth century, so that the traditional choice of study material makes perfect bibliographical sense. For this reason, a scholarly orientation which is more in synch with the subject matter studied and its ‘‘emic’’ view can afford to break with the classic orientation of Jewish studies and build modern Jewish discourse as a self-contained area of study. However, there is a far more compelling motivation for such a strong move: Weinstein’s recently completed manuscript on Kabbalah and Jewish modernity demonstrates that the transition to modernity, especially in the Golden Age of Safed, affected a vast sea change in kabbalistic

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discourse and indeed in Jewish religiosity as a whole. Just as I have also suggested above, the cult of the exceptional individual is suggested by Weinstein as a central aspect of this change. However, one needs to take Weinstein’s analysis still further, in both period and scope, as I shall proceed to do in the following section.


There is a prevalent belief that the Middle Ages represent the era of faith and the modern is the Age of Reason. However, in many ways, it is equally plausible to argue that rationalistic philosophy, as well as rational forms of mysticism, was the common language of religious intellectuals, as evidenced by the phenomenon of Averroism. The recent work of two young scholars, Adam Afterman and Sandra Valabregue-Perry, demonstrates the deep connections between Kabbalah and philosophy in the middle ages. This move is reinforced from the other direction by David Blumenthal’s study of the philosophical mysticism of figures such as Maimonides.10 In fact, one possible way of understanding the dramatic rise of Kabbalah from the sixteenth century onwards is place it against the background of the decline of philosophy, which had reached an advanced stage by this time. R. Isaac Luria’s famous rejection of kabbalistic knowledge derived from the intellect, as opposed to revelation, or in other words of much of medieval Kabbalah, exemplifies this shift, as this stance was then adopted by numerous modern kabbalists faithful to Luria. Another striking example is that of R. Yehuda Loewe, or Maharal, of Prague, whose influence in the contemporary Jewish world cannot be overstated.11 Although Loewe took part in broad intellectual center in central Europe, he sharply critiqued philosophical approaches and created a new form of writing which then became emblematic for modern Kabbalah. This new genre in turns demonstrates a second major departure from medieval Jewish mysticism—the merger of Kabbalah with other forms of Jewish discourse and religious life. It is this strategy which largely accounts for the prominence of Kabbalah in the modern period, described somewhat misleadingly by Scholem as the transformation of Kabbalah into ‘‘authoritative Jewish theology’’, but actually a process that was most evident in areas such as custom, Halachah, liturgy and poetry.12 It must be added that the plain fact that is was only in the modern period when Kabbalah truly came into its own renders the relative neglect of this period in existing overviews of its history all the more striking.


Jonathan Garb

It was Loewe who in effect translated Kabbalah from technical language into a broader discourse, a move which intriguingly combines esotericism, in the concealment of the kabbalistic language and exotericism, in the proliferation of the kabbalistic concepts, which were rendered accessible precisely by the removal of technical terms. The transition to exotericism, itself intrinsically dialectical (as argued eloquently in Wolfson’s Open Secret), triumphed in the twentieth century but began in the late sixteenth century at the very latest.13 The new discursive form inaugurated by Loewe partakes of Mussar, as in his Netivot Olam and Derekh Hayyim, commentary on canonical texts, as in his sets on the Bible and Aggadah, Gur Aryeh and Hiddushei Aggadot, semi-halachic argumentation—as in large sections of his Ner Mitzvah—and homiletics. Loewe marks a transition from the figure of the kabbalistic specialist, which characterized the Lurianic world and its Sephardic reception, towards that of the global intellectual, to borrow Michel Foucault’s felicitous phrase. He exemplified the merger of Kabbalah within a wider discourse which included not only other branches of Jewish learning, but also responses to broader cultural and political developments, as evidenced in the scientific interests of his student David Gans. The origins of this discursive transition may be found in the main alternatives to Luria in sixteenth century Safed, most prominently in the writings of R. Joseph Karo. His diary Magid Mesharim bridged Kabbalah, Mussar, exegesis and Halachah. All this as part of a broader project which explicitly placed Kabbalah within a successful drive, a la Maimonides, to become the major Jewish authority of his time, thus relating to the Jewish world as a whole rather than to a closed fraternity such as Luria’s group. Karo’s understudied book of responsa, Avkat Rokhel, which merges Halachah and Kabbalah, is a key text for understanding this project. Secondly, in the school of Cordovero, which indeed enjoyed much influence in Loewe’s Prague, we find a merger of Kabbalah and Mussar, as in the influential Tomer Devorah by Cordovero himself and other works, whose nature and ongoing influence were described by Mordechai Pachter and Sack. It might be argued that the medieval classic, the Zohar, already integrated Mussar, Halachah, and Kabbalah to some degree. My response is that the Zohar itself, as a canonical book, is largely a making of the sixteenth century, fueled by the veneration of its supposed author, R. Shimeon Bar YoAai, in the new cult of the exceptional individual.14 Furthermore, the place of Mussar in the Zohar is unclear, eliciting comments ranging from Isaiah Tishby’s surprising denial of its presence to Ronit Meroz’s interesting suggestion that the proponents of Mussar in the Zohar constituted a separate circle.

Modernization of Kabbalah


As for Halachah, following up the most important study of its place in the Zohar, Israel Ta-Shma’s Ha-Nigle She-Banistar may reveal that we are speaking mostly of the integration of customs rather than the profound talmudics characteristic of thirteenth century Spanish Jewry, or the professional Halachic argumentation characteristic of the responsa literature. Finally, the major Spanish alternative to zoharic Kabbalah, the school of Nahmanides, maintained a rather strict separation of Kabbalah and Halachah, as shown in Moshe Halbertal’s (Hebrew) book By Way of Truth: Nachmanides and the Creation of Tradition. Our rebuttal to this counter-argument returns us to the thesis that the true integration of Kabbalah with Jewish discourse as a whole was part of the encyclopedic drive of the modern. This integrative effort became rather common amongst modern Central European Jewish intellectuals: R. Isaiah Horowitz of Prague wrote a massive and hugely influential book, Shnei Luhot Ha-Brit, in q which it is hard to differentiate halakahah, exegesis, kabbalah, mussar and homiletics. R. Jonathan Eybeschutz’s kabbalistic world was rather esoteric, yet the numerous works of mussar and homiletics penned by this greatly influential halachist are clearly infused with Kabbalah. Kahana has made a valuable contribution by showing that the halachic verdicts of the hugely influential halachist Moshe Sofer, author of the Hatam Sofer series, were evoked by mystical experiences, and similar moves can be made with regard to his commentary on the Bible. Likewise, Kahana has lately begun to bridge the gap between the current interest in the intense and venerated Talmudic and mystical world of the Kloiz of Brody within the Yeshiva world, and its neglect by scholars, with the important exception of Elhanan Reiner.15 A center much influenced by Prague and traditionally inclined to view Kabbalah in broader horizons was that of Italy. Perhaps the single most influential modern kabbalist, R. Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, or RamAal, emulated Loewe in presenting kabbalistic concepts in non-specialized language, as in his later works: Derekh Hashem, Da6at Tevunot, and Mesilat Yesharim. Indeed, Luzzatto wrote in a markedly wide range of genres, including rhetoric, Talmudic methodology, theatre, logic, and grammar. Both Loewe and Luzzzato were emulated in turn by the most striking kabbalist of the twentieth century, R. Abraham Isaac Kook, partly in the wake of late nineteenth century Hasidic schools, such as Ger, but far more as a result of his adherence to the school of R. Elijah of Vilna, to which he essentially belonged. The latter circle, though not truly translating Kabbalah into other terms, due to its strongly elitist inclination, nonetheless substantially contributed to reflections on the relationship between mysticism, history, and even science. These may be found especially in the


Jonathan Garb

voluminous works of the disciple of R. Elijah’s disciples, R. ItzAaq Haver (yet to be addressed at any length in academic writing) as well as in the encyclopedic Sefer Ha-Berit, by R. Pinchas Elijah, also of Vilna. R. Kook, who rendered Kabbalah into political, poetic and psychological terms, was joined by some of his contemporaries from the modern Mussar movement, for whom Luzzatto was a towering presence. The influence of Luzzatto, not only on these figures but also on another hugely influential twentieth century kabbalist, R. Yehuda Leib Ashlag, who mixed more technical works with political essays, is far from universally recognized. Indeed, it is from the perspective of the twentieth and current centuries that Luzzatto can be most easily described as the most influential of modern kabbalists. Waves of publication of his works began already in the early twentieth century, propelled, amongst others, by the prominent Lithuanian kabbalist and R. Kook’s erstwhile teacher, R. Shlomo Elyashiv, known as Ba6al Ha-Leshem. In recent decades, this project was continued by the influential Israeli Mussar teacher, R. Eayyim Freidlander and currently by an institute devoted to propagating his works and ideas, the Francophonic Institut Ramhal in Jerusalem. One should also note the activity of a figure on the border-lands of research and kabbalism, Joseph Avivi, as well as more popular commentaries on Luzzatto’s works (by Itamar Schwartz, in his Bi-Lvavi Miskhan Evne series, and Alexander Mandelbaum’s Be-Mesila N6ale). Luzzatto’s wide contemporary appeal is facilitated by his eloquent synthesis between the two major theoretical moves of European modern Kabbalah: The psychological and the political.16 This re-interpretation of classical kabbalistic concepts in this-worldly terms of psychic and political powers and processes began already in the sixteenth century and has peaked in recent decades. Here I shall not go into the psychological move, which is famously associated with Hasidism, but in my view should be seen against the wider Western background of the rise of the ‘‘religion of the heart’’ in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I am currently preparing a book on the psychological theory of modern Kabbalah, where I hope to show that the importance of the heart and soul within the overall economy of kabbalistic discourse profoundly increased with the transition to modernity, as part of the wider process of development of new forms of modern selfhood. Here, I shall stress the political move, glimmerings of which are found already in Luria’s writings and truly developed in the seventeenth century by Loewe, R. Isaiah Horowitz and R. Naftali Bakhrah, peaking later with Luzzatto and the circle of R. Elijah of Vilna and triumphing in twentieth century circles, especially that of R. Kook.

Modernization of Kabbalah


As a case study for the development of kabalistic thought on the political, as epitomizing the modernization of Kabbalah, I have selected the first Jewish mystic to employ the very category of the political, Luzzatto’s close associate R. Moshe David Valle (1696–1777), whose works are crucial for understanding the formers Italian period. The virtual neglect of this figure by academic writing, with the exception of the preliminary mapping curtailed by Isaiah Tishby’s death, exemplifies the chasm between academic and traditional scholarship with regard to modern kabbalistic writing. One of the most striking literary developments of recent years is the publication and dating of more than twenty volumes (averaging four hundred pages each) of Valle’s works by R. Joseph Spiner of Sha6ar Ha-Shamayim, the most central Ashkenazi kabbalistic Yeshiva of the twentieth century. A study of this treasury of complex and innovatory texts reveals a constant response to a vast range of modern phenomena, including travel and discovery, anatomy and contemporary medicine, new military technology, Baroque aesthetics, harmonics and poetics, pollution, youth culture (especially smoking and gambling), work, secularization, and again the political. This broad range of concern exemplifies both the openness of early modern Italian kabbalists, as described at length in various studies by David Ruderman, as well as the general nature of ´ intellectual life in the age of the encyclopedie. As we shall see, Valle’s texts reveal a particular concern with various Italian phenomena, such as carnivals, but here I shall focus mainly on his theory of the political.17 The key text for understanding R. Moshe David Valle’s political thought is a passage in his commentary on Psalms, where he opposes the counsel of the Torah, taken by the ‘‘Hasid-King’’ David (his own personal model), to the false counsels of ‘‘human politica,’’ which are based on flattery.18 As we shall see, the reference to flattery may have a specific context rather than just being a general observation. In this political realm, rife with strife, those originating in a blemished soul root rule over those of an ‘‘important’’ root, so that public position is shunned by all.19 Elsewhere, Valle exclaims that ‘‘there is nothing as hateful before God as wars and quarrels.’’20 It may well be that Valle’s experience of public life was colored by the persecution of Luzzatto’s circle by the Jewish authorities, as well as by his negative view of the citizens of his city of Padua, as described below. For Valle, as for his associate Luzzatto as well as Italian thinkers ranging from Machiavelli to Valle’s contemporary Giambattisa Vico, the political is deeply intertwined with the concept of power,


Jonathan Garb

understood in turn in vitalistic terms, as seen clearly in the following text from Valle’s early period:
God gave power and spirit of life to man according to his place and time and government. To the individual he gave little spirit, enough to govern himself. To the head of the household somewhat more, so as to govern his house. To the head of the city or the state more, enough for all men of the state. And to the king most of all, so that he may be worthy of governing all matters of the kingdom with good taste and reason. And this is what Samuel told Saul when he became king: ‘‘and you shall be turned into a new man’’ [1 Sam, 10:6] for he literally received a new spirit when he transformed from a commoner to a king . . . and all the more so for the king, the Messiah, who will rule the entire world, who needs a great spirit which encompasses all matters of governance.21

Here, the figure of the Messiah, which Tishby almost exclusively focused on, is subsumed within a wider reflection on the ratio between power, as vitality, and government (hanhaga), perhaps the most central term in Luzzatto’s thought. Indeed, in his commentary on the proof text from Samuel (and on the chapter in which it is embedded), Valle describes the added pneumatic power and adherence (dvekut) of the king’s soul to the upper world which accompany his necessary transformation upon assuming the royal role. It appears that this description echoes Valle’s own self-perception as a mystical Messiah.22 However, one should not only read this text merely in terms of individual self-perception, but also in the broader cultural frame offered here: The paternalistic move from the head of the household to the king echoes other religious–political Italian thinkers of his time, such as Ludovico Antonio Muratori (1672–1750) of Modena.23 In further reflecting on this text, one should especially note the place of the city at the center of this set of concentric circles of empowerment and transformation. Indeed, Valle’s reflections on public life are closely related to his thought on the urban, as well as to political economy, the centerpiece of political thought in eighteenth century Italy. In another early text, Valle describes the public in organic terms as a facial configuration (partzuf)—in Lurianic terms— and a body comprised of limbs: ‘‘The wise and the leaders are the aspect of the head, those who carry the burden are the aspect of the shoulders, all artisans are the aspect of the hands and all those who travel in service of the public (tsorkhei tsibur) are the aspect of the feet.’’ Valle then moves from the concept of the public as corporate body, a commonplace of political thought of his time, to the makeup of urban life: ‘‘Observe again and note His general and individual Providence: That he directed the hearts of all men to take up

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different trades, so that each city will be comprised of all that is of general need, and thus with goods and food. For you see that the peasants who work the land enter the city, one bringing with him one item and one another . . . and their intention is undoubtedly only for their own benefit, and God has calculated this for the general good.’’24 The Lurianic model of interconnected structures is translated here into a theory of the general good emerging through the hidden hand of providence from the free operations of the market and from division of labor. Several decades before Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, a Jewish contemporary of prominent pro-regulation thinkers such as Antonio Genovesi and Ferdinando Galiani enlisted a metaphysical theory against the prevalent Mercantilist critique of the free market and its assumption of a zero sum game of conflicting interests. One should situate Valle, as marking the beginnings of the Golden Age of economic theory in eighteenth century Italy, in which public hap` piness (pubblica felicita), and the reciprocal nature of the market were key concepts. His specific mention of agriculture could hint at a connection (somewhat rare in the Italian context) to the Physiocrats, who ` joined a lascera-fare approach with an insistence on agriculture as the sole source of wealth (as opposed to the mercantilist privileging of trade over agriculture).25 Indeed, elsewhere Valle identifies agricultural labor with the rectification of the Sekhinah, the main theurgical project of Luzzatto’s circle, as shown by Elliot Wolfson.26 At this point, a methodological clarification is called for: My approach, though far from narrow positivism, differs somewhat from that of New Historicism, despite my sympathy for the later approach (and especially its application to Kabbalah research on the part of Magid). I assume the influence of surrounding cultural, social and economic trends only where the text itself makes an explicit or virtually explicit allusion to them. Furthermore, as we shall see towards the end of our case study, I do not assume that Jewish discourse operates in the precise time frame of general trends, and thus seek to distance myself from the ‘‘proximist’’ approach, as Idel has termed it. In my concluding remarks, I shall further address the complex question of the relationship between extra-Jewish influence and internal Jewish developments. This method of adhering to the text can be further exemplified through a slightly later discussion devoted specifically to the city, where Valle extends and embellishes the midrashic–kabbalistic model of the two cities of Jerusalem, supernal and temporal (which has famous parallels in early Christian thought). In including all cities in this model, he posits that the supernal is literally the soul of the temporal, so that ‘‘all towns in the world have a supernal counterpart.’’27


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This move enables him to merge this reflection with his apocalyptic-messianic vision of the fall of the power of government of the forces of evil, which he discussed in an adjacent passage: ‘‘At the time when God desires to subjugate the Other Side, He then also wishes to destroy their locales both above and below and all the more so the places which are the metropolii (metropolin) of impurity, both above and below, such as Rome above and Rome below, Constantinople above and Constantinople below.’’28 The general notion of the supernal as the soul of the temporal is also the key to understanding Valle’s views on the soul of countries, and especially the Holy Land. Generally speaking, Valle devoted far lengthier discussions to this topic than Luzzatto, despite the influence of the latter on topocentric schools such as R. Kook’s. This important issue will be touched on below, yet cannot be discussed in depth in this study. However, one should note Valle’s innovative claim that the soul of the Holy Land resides on the Jews in Exile, and it is this connection which ensures that the body of the land will remain barren while under foreign rule and will eventually return to the Jews in the messianic era.29 Valle’s interest in cities was not restricted to metropolii. He devoted two pages of an early text to the northern Italian cities, and especially to his own Padua: The latter is demonized as the powerful aspect of the wisdom of the husks (hokhmat ha-qelipah), associated with the archetypical arch-enemy of Amalek. This power explains the far-reaching reputation of the city, which was used to lure many peoples with ‘‘harlotry,’’ as well as the cruelty of its masses, and especially its leaders. Indeed ‘‘there is no kingdom as cruel and exceedingly proud.’’30 Delving knowledgably into the earlier history of the town, Valle writes that ‘‘generations ago the fierce dogs were greatly exalted, and above all Ezzelino [de Romano, 1194-1259] the cruel, most wicked of them all’’ (and described in many accounts as a ‘‘rabid dog’’ or ‘‘the dog Ezzelino’’). However, this situation improved greatly once Padua came under Venetian rule (1405), as Venice, the ‘‘princes of Edom,’’ corresponds to a more ‘‘sweetened’’ (in kabbalistic terms) and exalted aspect of Amalek, so that peace was restored. One should not regard this discussion of the aspect of Amalek as purely theoretical, as in a later text Valle describes the biblical command to erase the memory of Amalek as a prophetic promise, which is fulfilled gradually. According to this text, ‘‘The matter of the promise of the erasure of Amalek is not performed at once, but again and again throughout the generations . . . for in one year one of its aspects is erased and in another year a different aspect, until the year of the redemption in which the erasure of all levels shall

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be completed.’’ It is likely that Valle viewed the transition of power from one Italian city to another in these terms. As he puts it there, Amalek is the fiercest enemy of God’s kingdom, so that it would only be logical for a circle of messianic kabbalists to be located in the cities which represent its highest aspects.31 This reading is also apparent in Valle’s treatment of Venice, identified with the aspect of Understanding (binah) of impurity. This positioning, described as closer to the realm of holiness, renders the leaders of the city wise and its ‘‘judgments’’ or negative aspects, ‘‘sweetened.’’ As a result, it will be the first city to submit itself to the rule of the Messiah, with whom Valle himself identified, as shown already by Tishby. The reason for this positioning in his spatial model of the metaphysical realm is the coastal location and naval power of the city, as an image and reincarnation of the trading port of Tyre near the Land of Israel, a city whose pleasures Valle compares to those of the Elysian Fields (Campi Elisi). Based on this parallel, one can deduce that Valle did not predict that the ‘‘sweetness’’ of the negativity of Venice will be long-lasting, for as he writes in a lengthy text devoted to Tyre, Ezekiel prophesized that in the redemptive process God will remove the sweet aspects of the city, leaving only the harsh, unsweetened judgments. In political terms, the details of Valle’s interpretation of this prophecy entail a transition from wise leaders (similar to the current rulers of Venice) to proud and foolish ones. As a result of their errors, rather than being a hub for maritime traders and dignitaries, Tyre will be despoiled by a coalition of the very same nations who contributed in the city’s success. The reason for this harsh judgment is that God is especially rigorous with the powers that are closer to the Jews, just as Tyre was close to the Holy Land.32 Here we see that as cities have souls, they can also be reincarnated, and I know of no parallel to such a concept in Jewish mystical literature on the soul. Indeed, this text is cross-referenced by Valle in his previous theoretical exposition on the soul of the city, and in an adjacent discussion he writes that the individual soul resides in the Hereafter in the supernal counterpart of the city in which it dwelled. One should also mention the gendered dimension of Valle’s reading of both Venice and Tyre, which rests on Valle’s general inclination to describe nations in feminine terms. Even more than in Padua, prostitution is described as rife in Venice, the ‘‘ruling harlot’’ of cities (just as Tyre was ‘‘the whoring woman’’).33 In an adjacent discussion of north Italian cities, Valle bemoans the lure of prostitution for the Jews of the town, who are ‘‘exiled in this husk.’’ Venice, has ‘‘taken the secret of the evil kisses,’’ so that its conduct is that of flattery, which forms part of his definition of the


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false nature of human politics, as we have seen in the beginning of our case study. On the other hand, the foulmouthed and evil-hearted residents of Padua cannot speak peacefully to each other, their visage is that of dogs, and thus they have taken ‘‘the secret of the bite.’’ The description of the Paduans as dogs may echo his description elsewhere of the demonic nature of rebels with similar canine images, in turn a possible allusion to the revolt of 1509 against Venice.34 Valle’s interest in history is predictable in the age of Gibbon, Vico, and Voltaire, yet he retains metaphysical interpretations which were already of decreasing popularity in his time and which would more properly belong to the Baroque.35 In other words, despite the clear signs of influence of extra-Jewish cultural trends in Valle’s writing, one should not expect Jewish circles to be entirely synchronized with the time-frame of their surroundings. The image of the ‘‘Cortezan of Venice,’’ though actually more relevant for slightly earlier periods, was a commonplace in European discourse, as was the trope of flattery, prominent famously in a late sixteenth century portrayal—The Merchant of Venice. However, it is important to observe how Valle blends it with his attempt to preserve a demonic image of even this relatively benign Gentile center. Valle’s extensive discussions of gender and sexuality cannot detain us here, yet their place in the overall economy of his discourse must be underlined. The constant employment of metaphysical models to describe specific locations and structures in his own world, especially Italy, is a trademark of Valle’s writing, and exemplifies the conflation of other-worldly and this-worldly discourse in modern Kabbalah. I am not familiar with any previous kabbalistic text which reveals such interest in local history. One should also note the fierce demonization of the Gentile world, described at times as animals. Valle’s views on the latter can be best appreciated by recalling that in a text cited above, he wrote of Rome and Constantinople as the two centers of impurity which will be destroyed in the future. Of course, at the time of his writing, the latter city had been in Muslim hands for over 250 years, and re-named variously as Konstantiniye and Stamboul. However, what was important for Valle was the traditional dual structure of Esau and Ishmael as the main representatives of the forces of impurity. In a later discussion devoted to the precise place of Ishmael in this scheme, Valle opens with the animal imagery that we have seen in our text: ‘‘the husk (qelipah) is considered only as an animal, for holiness alone is the secret of Man, and Ishmael on the mother’s side was of the root of the husk, and on the father’s side of the root of holiness, so that he had an admixture of Man and beast.’’36 Ishmael’s median status accounts for Ishmael’s limited adherence to holiness, as exemplified in a gendered manner through his

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imperfect circumcision, which grants his descendants kingdom and dominion in this world, or as Valle put it elsewhere, ‘‘all forms of success’’ in worldly matters.37 One should recall that at the time of the composition of Valle’s later works, in the mid-eighteenth century, the Ottoman Empire, though no longer at the height of its power, was not yet ‘‘the sick man’’ of Europe, being quite strong in economic terms, recently defeating Russia and gaining Belgrade from Austria. An alternative formulation offered there, echoing the text on the soul of cities that we saw above, is that while Esau resides in the most degraded realm of the external aspect of the world of souls, Ishmael resides in its higher aspect and thus merits domination of the Land of Israel, albeit in a state of infertility and ruin, as we have also seen above. However, Ishmael, contaminated as he is with ‘‘filth,’’ has not access to the interior aspect, which is reserved for the Jews. Valle repeatedly wrote that true adherence to the divine is restricted to the Jews, who are perfectly circumcised, so that the kingdom of the uncircumcised is a sham.38 While similar locutions, on Esau and Ishmael, and on the Gentiles in general, are frequent, especially in the gendered mode, in various periods of kabbalistic writing (as described at length by Elliot Wolfson), they intensified in the modern period.39 Our case study demonstrates, to conclude, that kabbalistic discourse cannot be disengaged from the extra-Jewish context. One such context is local—the Italian Illuminismo. Although this intellectual renaissance took place mainly in the Neapolitan area, nonetheless a northern thinker like Valle was clearly influenced by it, if only by way of osmosis. However, some scholars have insisted that the Italian Enlightenment must be viewed within a broader European context.40 Indeed, the circle of Luzatto can be seen as an international network, as it included his close student R. Yekutiel Gordon of Vilna, whose correspondence with Vienna provoked the famous polemic surrounding Luzzatto and his works, which in turn involved figures from various centers in Europe. In this debate, Luzzatto was supported by R. Raphael KimAi, the emissary from Safed. Luzatto’s later trajectory, which included Germany, Holland and Palestine, also expressed the international nature of his career, as did the eventual reception of his works in Eastern Europe, which was facilitated by Gordon. It is also interesting to note that this broader orientation, as expressed in the connection with Gordon, was criticized by R. Isaiah Bass6an, whom some, perhaps incorrectly, have described as Luzzatto’s teacher. 41 As Randal Collins has noted in his pioneering study of intellectual networks, the development of such networks, or ‘‘philosophical meta-territoriality,’’ was a characteristic of early modernity. However, Collins, like many others, ignores Italy, as well as missing the specific


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intensification of trans-regional networks during what Franco Venturi has termed the cosmopolitan century.42 Valle’s mystical experience, such as his identification with the soul of King David (which I hope to discuss at length elsewhere) cannot be divorced from his reflections on politics and public life in general. Although I cannot describe Valle’s mystical biography in detail here, it must be noted that it was precisely in the formative early period (of collaboration with Luzzatto), in which he intensively developed his mystical-messianic self-perception, when he composed most of the political reflections cited above. Thus, alongside with the specific implications of such contextualizing moves for the study of modern Kabbalah (which are virtually absent in existing studies of Luzzatto’s circle), Valle’s example weighs in favor of the contextualistic approach to the study of mystical life and experience, as developed mainly by Steven Katz.43 Valle’s tendency to refer to specific local details is especially valuable when compared to the anonymous medieval texts mentioned above, which lend themselves far more easily to decontextualized readings. Indeed, it is regrettable that despite the far greater historical and cultural detail available for the modern period, most researchers writing on modern Kabbalah, especially in Israel, tend to place their studies within an exclusively Jewish framework.


By way of conclusion, I wish to return to the state of research on modern Jewish discourse and especially to the simple bibliographical fact mentioned above: The majority of Jewish writings and specifically kabbalistic writings are modern.44 If one peruses the Gershom Scholem Library catalogue, which quite accurately reflects the state of research up to 1997, one finds a striking inversion: Most primary texts are modern, and most secondary texts deal with the pre-modern. Gries has accurately placed this literary explosion within the broader context of the history of Jewish writing, as opposed to the approach of Scholem, who separated Kabbalah from other branches of Jewish discourse, especially through his intense focus on Sabbateanism and other antinomian phenomena. Doing justice to the vast literature of modern Kabbalah thus requires several convergent moves. Modern Kabbalah should be studied as an independent area of investigation, which should not be detached from earlier forms of Jewish mysticism, yet must be appreciated within the broader contexts of modern Jewish discourse

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and of modernity in general. One result of this program would be to end the prevalent enclosure of Hasidism as a semi-autonomous domain of study, a practice which has no real textual or historical justification. Understanding kabbalistic literature within the modern context brings us to the broader question of the relationship between the development of mystical expressions and the background of modernization, which is often equated with secularization. This was indeed the direction initiated by the historian Jacob Katz, who should be credited with rebelling against the classic approach of Jewish studies by promoting a sociological approach focused, predictably, on modernity. Another highly significant move on the part of Katz was to conjoin the study of Kabbalah and Halachah, as in his monograph bearing this title. However, my sense is that we are entering a post-Katzian epoch in scholarship, as signaled by a recent critical collection of essays on his historiography.45 I wish to relate this critique to the topic at hand. Sorotzkin and myself (especially in my recently submitted manuscript, Shamanic Trance in Modern Kabbalah), have questioned the Katzian assumption that Jewish modernity is essentially a process of secularization, instigated by extra-Jewish influences, cultural and social. We have also questioned the accompanying assumption that so-called Orthodox discourse, or in other words most of modern Jewish writing, is a response to secularization. The current Katzian orthodoxy actually goes so far as to describe parts of modern Kabbalah as conservative, reactionary and declining.46 In contradistinction, Sorotzkin and I have followed the model of multiple modernities, developed by a giant of Israeli social science, Shmuel N. Eisenstadt.47 I believe that this emerging scholarly vision is also supported by Kahana’s work on radical and mystical elements in the halachic works of R. Moshe Sofer, supposedly a stalwart of Orthodox reaction. Based on this model, one can see Jewish modernity as an independent variant of modernization, which is not at all bound to follow the general trajectory of modernity. Although of course there are responsive elements in this process, these are far from exhausting the creative aspects of modern Jewish discourse, which have also influenced non-Jewish modern thought at times. The model of multiplicity should be extended, so as to differentiate between various forms of Jewish modernization. Thus, secularization is but one vector, while mystical revitalization, as exemplified in the proliferation of modern Kabbalah, is another.48 Furthermore, one should distinguish between various regions and periods, rather than assuming an uniform pattern. Actually, appreciating mystical modernity does not at all preclude recognition of extra-Jewish influences, which we have foregrounded here,


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as there were similar forms of mystical modernization in other cultural worlds, including the above-mentioned religion of the heart, the varied texts assembled by Michael De Certeau (whose analysis is essentially similar to that offered here), various Russian developments and parallel Sufi trends.49 To opt for a far-ranging comparison, the nineteenth ´ century Rime movement in Tibet can likewise be understood as a modern re-organization of mystical life.50 In these terms, the current mystical revival should be seen not merely as a response to late capitalism, though this is of course a factor, nor as somehow skipping centuries and going back to the Renaissance, nor again as merely reflecting the Romantic stream in modern culture.51 Rather it can be viewed, as in the Jewish context, in terms of the ongoing development of mystical modernities, or to use a phrase current already in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, Devotio moderna.52


1. Gershom Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah, 1626–1676 (Princeton, 1976). 2. For Scholem’s view on the last centuries of Kabbalah, see also Boaz Huss, ‘‘Ask No Questions: Gershom Scholem and the Study of Contemporary Jewish Mysticism,’’ Modern Judaism, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2005), pp. 141–158. 3. There were a few notable exceptions, such as Isaiah Tishby’s important but unfinished work on the circle of Luzzatto [Messianic Mysticism: Moses Hayyim Luzzatto and the Padua School, trans. M. Hoffman (Oxford, 2008)] and Rachel Elior’s study, ‘‘R. Nathan Adler and the Controversy Surrounding him,’’ In Mysticism, Magic and Kabbalah in Ashkenazi Judaism, (eds.), Karl E. Grozinger and Joseph Dan (Berlin, ¨ 1995), pp. 223–242. 4. See Moshe Idel, Kabbalah—New Perspectives (New Haven, 1988), pp. 256–260. 5. Shaul Magid, From Metaphysics to Midrash: Myth, History and the Interpretation of Scripture in Lurianic Kabbalah (Bloomington, 2008); Haviva Pedaya, ‘‘Two Types of Ecstatic Experience in Hasidism,’’ Da’at, No. 55 (2005), pp. 949–5 [Hebrew]; idem, ‘‘Some Notes on ‘The Latest Phase’ ’’ in The Latest Phase: Essays on Hasidism by Gershom Scholem, (eds.), David Assaf and Esther Liebes (Jerusalem, 2008) [Hebrew], pp. 25–29 (as well as below). 6. Scholem, Kabbalah (Jerusalem, 1974), pp. 74–86. 7. See Zeev Gries, The Book as an Agent of Culture, 1700–1900 (Tel Aviv, 2002) [Hebrew]; Maoz Kahana, ‘‘The Chatam Sofer: A Decisor in his

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Own Eyes,’’ Tarbiz No. 76 (2007), pp. 519–556 [Hebrew]; David _, Sorotzkin, ‘‘The Super-Temporal Community in an Age of Change: The Emergence of Conceptions of Time and the Collective as the Basis for the Development of Jewish Orthodoxy in Early and Late Modern Europe,’’ PhD diss., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2007. [Hebrew]; Roni Weinstein, Juvenile Sexuality, Kabbalah, and Catholic Religiosity among Jewish Italian Communities. ‘‘Glory of Youth’’ by Pinhas Baruch b. Pelatya Monselice (Ferrara, XVII Century (Leiden, 2009). 8. See Moshe Idel, ‘‘On Mobility, Individuals and Groups: Prolegomenon for a Sociological Approach to Sixteenth-Century Kabbalah,’’ Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts, No. 3 (1998), pp. 145–173; Jonathan Garb, ‘‘The Cult of the Saints in Lurianic Kabbalah,’’ Jewish Quarterly Review, No. 98 (2008), pp. 203–229; Pedaya, ‘‘Two Types of Ecstatic Experience in Hasidism," pp. 95–98. 9. See Boaz Huss, ‘‘The Formation of Jewish Mysticism and Its Impact on the Reception of Rabbi Abraham Abulafia in Contemporary Kabbalah,’’ in Religion and its Other, (eds.), Heike Bock and others (Frankfurt, 2008), pp. 142–162. 10. Adam Afterman, ‘‘Intimate Conjunction with God: The Concept of ‘Dvekut’ in the Early Kabbalah (Provence and Catalonia),’’ PhD diss., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008. [Hebrew]; Sandra ValabreguePerry, ‘‘Chapters on the Concept of Eyn Sof (Infinity) in Theosophical Kabbalah: From Isaac the Blind to Isaac of Acre,’’ PhD diss., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2008. [Hebrew]; and David Blumenthal, Philosophic Mysticism: Studies in Rational Religion (Ramat Gan, 2006). 11. See for now Jonathan Garb, ‘‘On the Kabbalists of Prague,’’ Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts, No. 14 (2006), pp. 347–383, [Hebrew] as well as below. 12. Gershom Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York, 1941), p. 38; Moshe Hallamish, Kabbalah in Liturgy, Halakhah and Customs (Ramat Gan, 2000). [Hebrew]; Meir Qadosh, ‘‘Kabbalistic Jewish Laws in Responsa from the 13th Century to the Early Years of the 17th Century,’’ Ph.D diss., Bar Ilan University. Ramat Gan, 2004. [Hebrew]; Komiko Yayama, ‘‘The Singing of the Baqqashot of the Aleppo Jewish Tradition in Jerusalem,’’ PhD diss., The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2003. [Hebrew] 13. See Elliot Wolfson, Open Secret: A Postmodern Reading of Menachem Mendel Schneerson (New York, 2009); Jonathan Garb, The Chosen will Become Herds: Studies in Twentieth Century Kabbalah (New Haven, 2009). 14. See Boaz Huss, Like the Radiance of the Sky: Chapters in the Reception History of the Zohar and the Construction of its Symbolic Value (Jerusalem, 2008). [Hebrew]; Daniel Abrams, ‘‘The Invention of the ‘Zohar’ as a Book: On the Assumptions and Expectations of the Kabbalists and Modern Scholars,’’ Kabbalah: Journal for the Study of Jewish Mystical Texts, No. 19 (2009), pp. 7–142.


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15. Elhanan Reiner, ‘‘Wealth, Social Position and the Study of Torah: The Status of the Kloiz in Eastern European Society in the Early Modern Period,’’ Zion, No. 58 (1993), pp. 287–328. 16. See Jonathan Garb, ‘‘Rabbi Kook and his Sources: From Kabbalistic Historiosophy to National Mysticism,’’ in Studies in Modern Religions, Religious Movements and the Babi-Bahai Faiths, (ed.), M. Sharon (Leiden, 2004), pp. 77–96, as well as Raphael Shuchat, A World Hidden in the Dimensions of Time: The Theory of Redemption in the Writings of the Vilna Gaon: Its Sources and Influence on Later Generations (Ramat Gan, 2008). [Hebrew]. This European modernization of Kabbalah was rejected by many Sephardi kabbalists, as can be observed in texts ranging from the attacks on Naftali Bakrakh in the seventeenth century to recent polemics by the prominent R. Ya6akov Moshe Hillel (in his Shorshei Ha-Yam series). 17. For the former, see, e.g., Moshe David Valle, Likutim, Vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 1998), pp. 64, 73–74, 85, 93. 18. Idem, Commentary on Psalms, Vol. 2 (Jerusalem, 2008), pp. 267–268. See also idem, Mosi6a Hosim: Commentary on Samuel (Jerusalem, 1998), p. 73. 19. Idem, Teshu6at ‘Olamim: Commentary on Isaiah (Jerusalem, 1999), p. 36. 20. Idem, Or ‘Olam: Commentary on Genesis, Vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 2001), p. 199. 21. Idem, Likutim, Vol. 1, p. 113. 22. Idem, Mosi6a Hosim, pp. 70–74. 23. See, e.g., Till Wahnbaeck, Luxury and Public Happiness: Political Economy in the Italian Enlightenment (Oxford, 2004), p. 57. 24. Valle, Likutim, Vol. 1, p. 442. 25. See Lars Magnusson, Mercantilism: The Shaping of an Economic Language (London, 1994), pp. 199–200; Wahnbaeck, Luxury and Public Happiness: Political Economy in the Italian Enlightenment; Ernesto Screpanti and Stefano Zamagni, An Outline of the History of Economic Thought, 2nd ed., trans. D. Field and L. Kirby (Oxford, 2005), pp. 58– 63; T. J. Hochstrasser, ‘‘Physiocracy and the Politics of Laissez-faire,’’ in The Cambridge History of Political Thought, (eds.), Mark Goldie and Robert Wokler (Cambridge, 2006), p. 439. 26. Valle, Teshu6at ‘Olamim, p. 26. 27. Compare to James Hillman, City and Soul (Dallas, 2006). 28. Valle, Teshu6at ‘Olamim, p. 31, and see also idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls (Jerusalem, 1988), p. 150. 29. Idem, Brit ‘Olam: Commentary on Exodus, Vol. 1 (Jerusalem, 2001), pp. 226–227. 30. Idem, Likutim, Vol. 1, pp. 386–387. For theoretical and political discussions of cruelty, see idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls, pp. 89, 167, 181–182, 186–187. 31. Idem, Brit ‘Olam, Vol. 1, p. 265. See also idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls, p. 140.

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32. Idem, Mamlekhet Kohanim: Commentary on Ezekiel (Jerusalem, 2008), pp. 212–233. Compare to idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls, p. 130. 33. Idem, Mamlekhet Kohanim, p. 215, and compare to p. 121. 34. Idem, Or ‘Olam, Vol. 1, pp. 200–201. 35. On the question of Luzzatto, the Baroque and the Englightenment, see Israel Bartal, ‘‘On Periodization, Mysticism and Enlightenment – The Case of Moses Hayyim Luzzatto,’’ Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, No. 6 (2007), pp. 201–214. On the central role of the supernatural in Baroque political thought, see Peter Rietbergen, Power and Religion in Baroque Rome: Barberini Cultural Policies (Leiden, 2006). 36. Moshe David Valle, Or ‘Olam, Vol. 1, pp. 225–226 and compare to idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls, pp. 94, 192, as well as the more general statement in idem, Commentary on the Minor Prophets (Jerusalem, 2009), p. 489. 37. Idem, Or ‘Olam, p. 242. 38. See, e.g., ibid, pp. 233, 236, 240–241, and compare to idem, Commentary on the Five Scrolls, pp. 192, 194. 39. See Elliot Wolfson, Venturing Beyond—Law and Morality in Kabbalistic Mysticism (Oxford, 2006), especially pp. 129–165. On Luzzatto and gender, see idem, ‘‘Tiqqun Ha-Sekhinah: Redemption and the Overcoming of Gender Diomorphism in the Messianic Kabbalah of Moses Hayyim Luzatto,’’ History of Religions, No. 36 (1997), pp. 289–332. 40. John Robertson, ‘‘The Enlightenment above National Context: Political Economy in Eighteenth-Century Scotland and Naples,’’ The Historical Journal, No. 40 (1997), pp. 667–697. Cf. Roy Porter and ´ Mikulas Teich, (eds.), The Enlightenment in National Context (Cambridge, 1981). 41. Mordekhai Chriqui, (ed.), Letters of Ramhal and his Generation (Jerusalem, 2001), p. 39 (Letter No. 13). 42. Randal Collins, The Sociology of Philosophies (Cambridge, MA, 1998), especially pp. 575–617; Franco Venturi, Italy and the Enlightenment: Studies in a Cosmopolitan Century, trans. S. Corsi (New York, 1972). See also Paul Korshin et al., (eds.), The Widening Circle: Essays on the Circulation of Literature in eighteenth-century Europe (Philadelphia, 1976). Compare to Haviva Pedaya, ‘‘The Ba6al Shem Tov’s Iggeret Ha-Kodesh: Towards A Critique of the Textual Version and an Exploration of the Convergence of the World Picture: Messianism, Revelation, Ecstasy and the Sabbatean Background,’’ Zion, No. 70 (2005), p. 343. [Hebrew] 43. For a comprehensive review and evaluation of the positions on this question, see Jesse Byron Hollenback, Mysticism: Experience, Response and Empowerment (Philadelphia, 1996), pp. 2–17, 75–93. 44. One can get a sense of the scope of material in just one textual domain—the Lurianic corpus and its later commentaries and rescissions— through the recent massive project of Joseph Avivi, Kabbala Luriana (Jerusalem, 2008), Vols 1–2. [Hebrew] 45. See Israel Bartal and Shmuel Feiner, (eds.), Historiography Reappraised: New Views of Jacob Katz’s Oeuvre (Jerusalem, 2008). [Hebrew]


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46. See, e.g., Mendel Piekraz, Between Ideology and Reality: Humility, Ayin, Self-Negation and Devekut in Hasidic Thought (Jerusalem, 1994). [Hebrew], pp. 142, 147. 47. Shmuel N. Eisenstadt, Comparative Civilizations and Multiple Modernities (Leiden, 2003). 48. See Philip Wexler, Mystical Interactions: Sociology, Jewish Mysticism and Education (Los Angeles, 2007), pp. 87–90. 49. Michel de Certeau, The Mystic Fable, Volume 1: The Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, trans. Michael Smith (Chicago, 1992). 50. See Geoffrey Samuel, Civilized Shamans: Buddhism in Tibetian Societies (Washington, DC, 1993), especially pp. 536–531. 51. See, e.g., Jeremy Carrette and Richard King, Selling Spirituality: The Silent Takeover of Religion (London, 2005); Walter Hanegraaff, New Age Religion and Western Culture: Esotericism in the Mirror of Secular Thought (Albany, 1998); and Paul Heelas, Spiritualities of Life: New Age Romanticism and Consumptive Capitalism (Oxford, 2008), pp. 25–46. 52. Hein Blommestijn, Charles Caspers and Rijcklof Hofman, (eds.), Spirituality Renewed: Studies on Significant Representatives of the Modern Devotion, (Leuven, 2003).

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