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Jewish Mysticism

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Schafer (2009) contends that there is no universal way of defining mysticism due to its variation from one cultural community to another. However, the term “mysticism” was coined by scholars for the purpose of defining a number of religious activities that are associated with secrecy or mystery. Gershon (2006) asserts that the origin of Jewish mysticism can be retraced back to the dawn of biblical times though some new forms of mysticism such as Kaballah came to be in existence from the 13 century in Spain. It is believed that mysticism often starts with the classical stage of a given religion and for the Jewish mysticism, it started “with the Talmudic” times and continued with little variation to the present day Schafer, 2009, p. 9).


The Jewish mysticism has evolved through a number of phases with the first being the Merkavah mysticism which is a peculiar movement centered on the divine throne in heaven. From its start to the present time, Jewish mysticism has undergone transformation and is presently referred to as Kaballah which is but a generic term. The Jewish mysticism was one a very influential spiritual power that was experienced during the 14th to 16th century and was regarded by it devotees as a mysterious secretive tradition. Presently, this mysticism has become popular and widely circulated (Gershon, 2009).


From the Jewish mysticism, it cann be learnt that God is the universe and at the same time all that exist in the universe is God. The Jewish mystic teaches that God is the force, the energy and the process. This energy is the light that controls the world and its continuing evolution. Additionally, this mystic teaches that God, “as the innermost heart of reality,” thus removing any definition of God as a person for such a definition will prove deficient (Messinger & Schwarz, 2008). The Jewish mysticism also teaches that God is nearer to the people than they think and that no wide chasm exists between God and man as thought. With the Jewish mysticism teaching that mankind is part of God and not separated, it is clear as to why this mysticism is popular.

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