How Kabbalists Reinterpreted the Menorah as the Perfect Metaphor for Their Cosmology

In many prayerbooks that follow the traditions of Middle Eastern Jewry, as well as of some Ḥasidim, it is common to find a diagram of a seven-branch menorah (like the one found in the two temples) inscribed with biblical or liturgical verses. Such pictures go back to the Middle Ages, when early Jewish mystics began to ascribe kabbalistic significance to one of the oldest and most enduring Jewish symbols. Naturally, as Chen Malul explains, many focused on the mystically meaningful number seven and its relation to the s’firot, or divine emanations connecting God’s essence to the world:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Librarians

More about: Judaism, Kabbalah, Menorah

The Moral Decadence of a Group of Rabbinical Students’ Anti-Israel Appeal

As terrorists were launching thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians, mobs were destroying Israeli cities, and Jews were being harassed and attacked on the streets of the U.S. and Europe, a group of nearly 100 American rabbinic and cantorial students signed an “appeal to the heart of the Jewish community.” The document, which was circulated online and then published in the Forward, echoed the anti-Israel rhetoric that was then pouring forth from the halls of the academy, major newspapers and television stations, and various celebrities and activists. Alvin Rosenfeld comments:

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: American Jewry, American Judaism, Hamas, Idiocy, Rabbis