Hasidism as Mysticism: The Radical Teachings of Nachman of Breslov

The focus of this course is on Nachman of Breslov (1772-1810), one of the most celebrated masters of Jewish mysticism and Hasidism, whose radical writings —poised on the precipice of modernity— have attained the status of spiritual classics. The ongoing fascination with Nachman stems both from his singular (mercurial, multi-tiered, seeking) personality and from the profound and uncompromising nature of his theological vision. Together we will explore the existentialist Nachman confronting the absence of God (his Torah of the Void); the questing Nachman wrestling with depression and utopian grandeur; and the mystical Nachman, finding vivid manifestations of the divine in the realm of nature (in Forest and birds, the grasses of the field), in song and hitbodedut, and in interpersonal dialogue and spiritual practices that deconstruct (and reconstruct) the ordinary self. Mitzvah gedolah lihyot be-simcha!  This course fulfills the content of the Intensive Study of one Rebbe.

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