A report on Hasidic philosophy and Ein Sof

Rebuilt synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov in Medzhybizh, Ukraine
The sefirot consist of lights invested in vessels, similar to water poured into a glass. While taking on the shape of the glass, the water is essentially unchanged.
Grave of Elimelech of Lizhensk, leading disseminator of Hasidism in Poland-Galicia
Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, successor to The Holy Jew, who continued the Peshischa School of Hasidism
Shneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad, the intellectual school in Hasidism
Pilgrimage gathering at Nachman of Breslov's burial place in Uman, Ukraine
Plaque on the mausoleum of Mordechai Yosef Leiner of Ishbitz, author of the antinomian Mei Hashiloach
Title page of Toldot Yaakov Yosef, 1867 edition. This work was the first published Hasidic text.
Title page of Maggid Devarav L'Yaakov (Koretz, 1781 edition).

This explanation was accepted and expanded upon in later works of Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy.

- Ein Sof

In the beginning, God had to contract (Tzimtzum) His omnipresence or infinity, the Ein Sof.

- Hasidic philosophy
Rebuilt synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov in Medzhybizh, Ukraine

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Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.

Kabbalah

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Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Esoteric method, discipline and school of thought in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Kabbalists portrayed in 1641; woodcut on paper. Saxon University Library, Dresden.
Kabbalistic prayer book from Italy, 1803. Jewish Museum of Switzerland, Basel.
Latin translation of Gikatilla's Shaarei Ora
The Ark of the Covenant in Solomon's Temple was the seat for God's presence. Ezekiel and Isaiah had prophetic visions of the angelic heavenly Chariot and Divine Throne
Grave of Rabbi Akiva in Tiberias. He features in Hekhalot mystical literature, and as one of the four who entered the Pardes
The grave of Shimon bar Yochai in Meron before 1899. A Talmudic Tanna, he is the mystical teacher in the central Kabbalistic work, the Zohar
The 13th-century eminence of Nachmanides, a classic rabbinic figure, gave Kabbalah mainstream acceptance through his Torah commentary
The leading scholars of Safed in 16th-century invigorated mainstream Judaism through new legal, liturgical, exegetical and Lurianic-mythological developments.
Synagogue Beit El Jerusalem. Oriental Judaism has its own chain of Kabbalah
The 16th-century Maharal of Prague articulated a mystical exegesis in philosophical language
Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, a leading Italian kabbalist, also wrote secular works, which the Haskalah see as the start of modern Hebrew literature
The Vilna Gaon, 18th-century leader of rabbinic opposition to Hasidism—a Kabbalist who opposed Hasidic doctrinal and practical innovations
Synagogue of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidism, in Medzhybizh (Ukraine). It gave a new phase to Jewish mysticism, seeking its popularisation through internal correspondence.
The Kabbalist (c. 1910–1920), portrait of an Hasidic man in Jewish religious clothing performed by the Austro-Hungarian Jewish painter Isidor Kaufmann (Jewish Museum, New York)
Metaphorical scheme of emanated spiritual worlds within the Ein Sof
Scheme of descending Sephirot in three columns, as a tree with roots above and branches below
In the 16–17th centuries Kabbalah was popularised through a new genre of ethical literature, related to Kabbalistic meditation
Amulet from the 15th century. Theosophical kabbalists, especially Luria, censored contemporary Practical Kabbalah, but allowed amulets by Sages
Joseph Karo's role as both legalist and mystic underscores Kabbalah's spiritualisation of normative Jewish observance
Building on Kabbalah's conception of the soul, Abraham Abulafia's meditations included the "inner illumination of" the human form
16th-century graves of Safed, Galilee. The messianic focus of its mystical renaissance culminated in Lurianic thought.
Title page of first printed edition of the Zohar, main sourcebook of Kabbalah, from Mantua, Italy in 1558
Golden age of Spanish Judaism on the Knesset Menorah, Maimonides holding Aristotle's work
Kabbalah mysticism on the Knesset Menorah, which shared some similarities of theory with Jewish Neoplatonists
Tikkun for reading through the night of Shavuot, a popular Jewish custom from the Safed Kabbalists
A version of Lekhah Dodi song to welcome the Shabbat, a cross denomination Jewish custom from Kabbalah

Jewish Kabbalah is a set of esoteric teachings meant to explain the relationship between the unchanging, eternal God—the mysterious Ein Sof (, "The Infinite") —and the mortal, finite universe (God's creation).

Kabbalistic and Hasidic texts are concerned to apply themselves from exegesis and theory to spiritual practice, including prophetic drawing of new mystical revelations in Torah.

Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed. The 1538 Safed attempt by Jacob Berab to restore traditional Semikhah (Rabbinic organisation), reelected the community's Messianic focus. Karo, author of the normative Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Law) was one appointed

Lurianic Kabbalah

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School of kabbalah named after Isaac Luria , the Jewish rabbi who developed it.

School of kabbalah named after Isaac Luria , the Jewish rabbi who developed it.

Joseph Karo synagogue in Safed. The 1538 Safed attempt by Jacob Berab to restore traditional Semikhah (Rabbinic organisation), reelected the community's Messianic focus. Karo, author of the normative Shulkhan Arukh (Code of Law) was one appointed
The old cemetery in Safed where its pre-eminent 16th century mystical and legal figures are buried, including Yosef Karo, Shlomo Alkabetz, Moshe Alshich, Moshe Cordovero and the Ari. After the Expulsion from Spain the Safed circle held a national Messianic responsibility, mirrored in Lurianic scheme
Scheme of the Five Worlds forming within the Khalal Vacuum (Outer Circle) through the illumination of the Kav Ray (Vertical Line). Concepts are non-spatial. Sephirot shown in the scheme of Iggulim ("Circles")
The sephirot in the scheme of Yosher ("Upright"), from which the partzufim develop
The soul of Adam included all future human souls, while the 613 Mitzvot relate to 613 spiritual "limbs" in the configuration of the soul
Kabbalistic chart of Divine names in Ari synagogue. Traditional Lurianic prayer method involved esoteric kavanot meditations on specific Divine letter permutations related to each prayer
Mikveh of Isaac Luria on the hillside below Safed in the Galilee, fed by a cold spring

The Medieval-Cordoverian scheme describes in detail a linear, hierarchical process where finite Creation evolves ("Hishtalshelut") sequentially from God's Infinite Being.

Rather, to Hasidic thought, especially in its Chabad systemisation, the Atzmus ultimate Divine essence is expressed only in finitude, emphasising Hasidic Immanence.

The Zohar states "Israel, the Torah and the Holy One Blessed Be He are One". God: At Sinai, in Rabbinic commentary, all the People heard the revelation "I-Anochi am the Lord-Tetragrammaton your God-Elokecha.." The "Lord spoke to Moses.." is God's essential infinite name. "Your God" is the concealed Divinity within finite Creation. "I" is the Atzmus narrator of the Torah, revealed at Sinai, uniting the opposites of Spiritual and Physical in Mitzvot and the ultimate future

Atzmus

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The Zohar states "Israel, the Torah and the Holy One Blessed Be He are One". God: At Sinai, in Rabbinic commentary, all the People heard the revelation "I-Anochi am the Lord-Tetragrammaton your God-Elokecha.." The "Lord spoke to Moses.." is God's essential infinite name. "Your God" is the concealed Divinity within finite Creation. "I" is the Atzmus narrator of the Torah, revealed at Sinai, uniting the opposites of Spiritual and Physical in Mitzvot and the ultimate future
Israel: The Besht, founder of Hasidism, related transcendent Kabbalah to internal correspondence in Jewish spiritual experience. The elite could learn scholarly lessons from the common folk, as the "simple faith of the simple Jew reflects" the soul's innate essence in "the simple unity of God's Atzmus"
Torah: Habad discourse from 2nd generation. Habad differed from emotional emphasis of Mainstream Hasidism, seeking philosophical investigation of Hasidic thought. The interconnection of previous Habad thought with other aspects of Torah, relation to Messianism, and ultimate Atzmus, emerges in the discourses and talks of the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe Heaven On Earth: Reflections on the Theology of Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Faitel Levin, Kehot pub. The book compares the Atzmus-Dirah BeTachtonim theology of the 7th Rebbe with the previous views of Habad Hasidic thought. It sees the sources for this new edifice in the preceding 6 generations of Habad teaching.
In The Lubavitcher Rebbes Holiday Maamarim 2 Vol Set, translated by David Rothschild, published by Collel Tzemach Tzedek Tzfat, distributed through Kehot, introduction to Vol 1, Yitzchak Ginsburgh also reviews the generational development of Habad thought. He sees Kabbalistic significance in the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th leaders' teaching, representing new outward development of Being, while the 2nd, 4th and 6th leaders clarified inward Non-Being. Based on the advancing progression of a seminal idea from "point to line to area", he summarises the cumulative generational advance in teaching, according to the Habad conception that in each generation the teachings of Jewish mysticism ascend in depth, progressively drawing down from a higher source in Divinity to prepare for the Messianic era. In general: Cordoverian Kabbalah-Evolution, Lurianic Kabbalah-Enclothement, Hasidic thought-Omnipresence. In particular, in the subsequent 7 generations of Habad leaders' teaching:
The discourses of the 7th Rebbe involve Kabbalistic exegesis, while the more informal analytical talks, the main vehicle of the 7th Rebbe's teaching, tend to avoid esoteric Kabbalistic terminology. The main development of the theme of Atzmus is found in the discourses, such as the translated volumes on the eschatological eras of the Messiah and World-to-Come: Anticipating The Redemption: Maamarim of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson Concerning the Era of Redemption Vol 1 and 2, Kehot publications

Atzmus/atzmut ( from the Hebrew etzem) is the descriptive term referred to in Kabbalah, and explored in Hasidic thought, for the divine essence.

Classical Kabbalah predominantly refers to the Godhead in Judaism with its designated term "Ein Sof" ("No end"-Infinite), as this distinguishes between the divine being beyond description and manifestation, and divine emanations within creation, which become the descriptive concern of systemised Kabbalistic categorisation.

Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds, with the 10 sefirot radiating in each, as successively smaller Iggulim "concentric circles"

Sefirot

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Metaphorical representation of the Five Worlds, with the 10 sefirot radiating in each, as successively smaller Iggulim "concentric circles"
The Yosher-Upright configuration of the 10 sefirot, arranged into 3 columns
Configuration of the body
Sefer Hakavanot from "Kisvei HaAri", disciples of the 16th century Lurianic Kabbalah. It moved the origin of perceived exile in the sefirot to Primordial Creation, before the influence of Man on supernal harmony, as in Medieval Kabbalah
The 10 sefirot, arranged into the 3 columns, with the 22 Paths of Connection of three types

Sefirot (סְפִירוֹת səp̄īrōṯ), meaning emanations, are the 10 attributes/emanations in Kabbalah, through which Ein Sof (The Infinite) reveals itself and continuously creates both the physical realm and the chain of higher metaphysical realms (Seder hishtalshelus).

In Hasidic philosophy, which has sought to internalise the experience of Jewish mysticism into daily inspiration (devekut), this inner life of the sefirot is explored, and the role they play in man's service of God in this world.

Kabbalah, the fourth level of Pardes Jewish exegesis, relating to the Sephirah Chochmah-Wisdom, focuses on the esoteric supernal emanations, defining them through anthropomorphisms and metaphors. Creation is seen as Yesh me-Ayin from "below" and Ayin me-Yesh from "above"

Ayin and Yesh

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Kabbalah, the fourth level of Pardes Jewish exegesis, relating to the Sephirah Chochmah-Wisdom, focuses on the esoteric supernal emanations, defining them through anthropomorphisms and metaphors. Creation is seen as Yesh me-Ayin from "below" and Ayin me-Yesh from "above"
Hasidim's founder Baal Shem Tov's shul restored. Hasidism related esoteric transcendent Kabbalah to internal perception in the soul, making devotion and Divine immanence of this material world its central values. Different Hasidic dynasties explored different aspects of Yesh-Ayin, from contemplative paradox in Chabad, existential faith in Breslav, and public embodiment in Mainstream "Practical" Hasidic charismatic doctrine of Tzadik leadership
In Hasidic interpretation, the revelation at Sinai began the union of descending Ayin spirituality and ascending Yesh physicality through the higher Divinity of Atzmut essence, equally beyond Finite-Infinite duality, reflected in the innermost Divine Will of the Mitzvot. This will be completed in this World's future Divine "dwelling place"

Ayin (אַיִן, meaning "nothingness", related to Ein-"not") is an important concept in Kabbalah and Hasidic philosophy.

In this context, the sephirah Keter, the Divine will, is the intermediary between the Divine Infinity (Ein Sof) and Chochmah.