A clear and penetrating account of the basis of Hasidic mysticism. Includes translations of many texts never before available in English. Uniter of Heaven and Earth explores an important stage in the development of Hasidism, the eighteenth-century Jewish mystical movement. The author presents a clear and penetrating account of the basis of Hasidic mysticism, clarifying its basic beliefs and contemplative practices. The underlying teachings of Hasidism are elucidated through translations of many authentic Hasidic texts previously unavailable in English.
Including a wide-range of Hasidic texts, the book focuses on the writings of a seminal figure in early Hasidic history, Rabbi Meshullam Feibush Heller. A disciple of Rabbi Yehiel Mikhel, the Maggid of Zlotchov, perhaps the prototype of the Hasidic Rebbe, Heller formulated a version of Hasidic teachings that highly influenced later stages and schools of the movement, including HaBaD Hasidism. Central to these writings are an argument for faith in Hasidic masters and an account of radical spiritual approaches that enable the masters to transform negative thoughts and emotions into means of discovering God.
This book clearly explains Hasidic mysticism’s use of the Kabbalah, discusses the meaning of Jewish holidays in early Hasidism, and provides an edifying and insightful account of the ethical basis upon which Hasidism’s mystical aspirations depend. What emerges is an essential understanding of the mystical experience and distinctiveness of the Hasidic Zaddiq, and the controversial spiritual practices which he alone could safely employ.