Friday, July 17, 2015

Initial Impression of Caleb's 1st Lecture on Kabbalah

Very interesting lecture by Caleb.  I've only got 2 minutes this morning to write and so I'm going to be quick.  Here's my impressions.

Caleb, in the first video, appears to be building a case against Hasidism, portraying it as obsessed with amulets and magic.  I could be wrong but that appears to be what he is doing.  And I'm sure he makes a lot of valid points.

In the origins story of Hasidism, lots of mistakes were made.  There does appear to have been some sanctioning of magical talismans and arts so esoteric that they are virtually indistinguishable from magic.

The Mitnagdim, followers of the Vilna Gaon, were opposed to the Hasidism of the Besht followers.  Caleb briefly went into the nature of the gripe that Vilna Gaon had with Besht followers:  he thought it was panentheistic to believe that G-d was in everything.

That said, the Besht has a good source text for this view:

"The whole world is full of his glory."

And, from what I recall of various books, the Mitnagdim believed the Besht took this verse out of context.

So really the big difference between the Mitnagdim and the Hasids was their interpretation of the Kabbalistic concept of tzitzum--although I don't think Caleb refers to tzitzum in the lecture.

Anyway, more to talk about.  Gotta run for now.



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