Author: Maciej Tomal
Institution: Uniwersytet Jagielloński
Year of publication: 2017
Source: Show
Pages: 29-46
DOI Address:
PDF: tpom/26/tpom2602.pdf

The notion of brightness (Heb. nogah) in the Hasidic Biblical interpretation (Karlin-Stolin tradition) and its literary sources

The scope of the present study is to trace the meaning of the Hebrew term nogah „brightness”, “bright light” in the Hasidic commentary to the Book of Genesis. As a starting point we assume the work of Aharon ben Asher of Karlin, Beth Aharon. It turns out that in the center of the Creations stands the light of brightness. On the one hand, it is hidden in the middle of the darkness, i.e. non-existence interwoven into this world. On the other hand, we learn that the shells of the brightness must fall down to let the light of Creation shine. This rather complex bulk of ideas may be untied when literary sources that may shed a light on this motive are found. As in many cases the roots of the Hasidic ideas may be traced back to the Kabbalistic literature; therefore, we quote the Zoharistic interpretation of the “brightness” nogah motive, especially in Ezekiel 1: 4. Further, the interpretation of the aforementioned motive in the Lurianic Kabbalah – represented by the “Three of Life” of Haim Vital – is focused on. Finally, the same motive elaborated by the prolific Hasidic leader, Shneur Zalman of Liady will be discussed on the basis of his most popular work, Liqqute amarim Tanya.

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