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A Phenomenology of Hasidic Mysticism

A Phenomenology of Hasidic Mysticism

(p.116) Chapter Nine A Phenomenology of Hasidic Mysticism
Aesthetics of Renewal
University of Chicago Press

Buber regards hitlahavut as “the primal principle [Urprinzip] of Hasidic life.” Ekstase, Wonne (“bliss”), and Inbrunst (“fervor,” “ardor”) are synonyms employed to translate the term hitlahavut. Indeed, the words derived from the Hebrew root l-h-v (burning, flame, to be inflamed) evoke several of the central features attributed to Hasidic mysticism. Although hitlahavut “is the burning,” it is not to be confined to the ardor of ecstasy, but is the value denoting the enthusiasm that “unlocks the meaning of life.” For Buber, burning devotion rather than the peak experience of mystical communion (devequt) is at the core of Hasidic worship.

Keywords:   Martin Buber, hitlahavut, Hasidic life, ecstasy, spirituality, worship

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