The Mysteries of a Founding Text of Jewish Mysticism

April 8 2019

Sefer Y’tsirah (“The Book of Creation”) is one of the oldest works of Jewish mysticism, the first to introduce the doctrine of the ten emanations (in Hebrew, sfirot) of the godhead, and a major influence on all later kabbalistic works. Tradition attributes it to the biblical Abraham, and a book with the same title is mentioned in the Talmud. But among academic scholars there is no consensus about its authorship, except that it was composed no later than the 9th century CE. Reviewing a new book by Tzahi Weiss about Sefer Y’tsirah’s origins, Shai Secunda writes:

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Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: ancient Judaism, Babylonian Jewry, Kabbalah, Middle East Christianity

Despite Reasons for Worry, Jews Shouldn’t Lose Faith in the American Promise

Sept. 24 2021

From synagogue shootings, to attacks on Jews on the streets, to the gathering strength and viciousness of anti-Zionism, especially in the corridors of political power, American Jewry has ample reason for concern about its safety and wellbeing. But, surveying both the present situation and the deep roots of what has made America a welcoming home to Jews with “no analogue in the 2,000 years after the destruction of the Temple,” Josef Joffe argues that the U.S. remains exceptional. The bad news, however, is still bad:

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Read more at Commentary

More about: American exceptionalism, American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, Anti-Zionism, Chuck Schumer