On Friday night Dr. Heschel will present a drash on “Bo el Paroh: How Hasidic Thought Helps Us Understand and Overcome the Void of Despair.”
Hasidic teaching explores a remarkable statement in the Zohar, the classic medieval work of Jewish mysticism: “A person is only whole when their heart is broken.” There are many ways to understand the experience of broken-heartedness, and one of the most striking is in a commentary by a 19th-century Hasidic master, Nahman of Bratzlav (Ukraine; 1772-1810), on the verse in Exodus 9:1: “Bo el Paroh, Come to Pharaoh.”
What Pharaoh represents, in spiritual terms, is a place of potential entrapment of the human spirit: despair. The experience of despair is known to all human beings, and we have all struggled in different ways to emerge from despair. Nahman’s discussion of Exodus 9:1 examines the experience of despair, which he likens to the experience of God at the time of creation. He also discusses how a rebbe can lift another person out of despair. Finally, he offers suggestions regarding how despair might become a positive experience that can enhance a person’s piety, humanity, prayer and relationship with God.
A social oneg will follow the Friday night service. For more information about the scholar-in-residence weekend with Dr. Heschel, please click here.+ More... - Less...
133 Prospect St
Acton, MA 01720
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