Tract on Ecstasy. By Dobh Baer of Lubavitch. Translated from the Hebrew with an introduction and notes by Louis Jacobs. Vallentine, Mitchell. 25s. Ecstasy, like death, is a private experience, whatever its company, and to communicate its nature by an intellectual process is impossible. Poetry, described, becomes prose, and transcendent joy, once defined, becomes a tract—even when it deals with the infinite. “The meddling intellect misshapes ... Continue Reading ➨
Tract on Ecstasy
Dobh Bear of Lubavitch (1773-1827) assumed the leadership of the Habad on the death of Schneor Zalman of Liady. The tract is in the form of a letter he sent to his followers, advising them on the role of ecstasy in the religious life. He argues that there is no such thing as a depersonalised state of contemplation. Rather, the power and validity of contemplation is to be observed in the degree of ecstasy it induces. Dobh Baer refutes the charge that because ecstasy involves self-awareness it is a betrayal of Habad teaching, and provides a penetrating analysis of the degrees of true ecstasy.
Originally published in Zionist Record and S.A. Jewish Chronicle, 10th January 1964. TRACT ON ECSTACY: By Dobh Baer of Lubavitch: Translated from the Hebrew with an introduction and notes; by Louis Jacobs. Vallentine Mitchell, London: 25/-. The current interest in Jewish mysticism today urgently calls for an adequate supply of basic textual matter which is presented in such a manner as to lessen rather than increase the confusion which ... Continue Reading ➨
Originally published in World Jewry 45:6, January 1964. Tract on Ecstasy. By Dobh Baer of Lubavitch. Translated from the Hebrew by Louis Jacobs. Vallentine, Mitchell. London. 25s. This remarkable Sefer by the son and disciple the founder of the Habad Movement, written at the beginning of the nineteenth century, is about as difficult to render into English as anything you can think of. The problem is to convey the mood and not only the ... Continue Reading ➨
Originally published in Jewish Affairs, November 1964. While Charles Wesley was teaching Methodists in eighteenth-century England to sing of “love’s ecstatic height,” of “the glorious joy of unspeakable” and “the beatific sight,” which for him were gifts of the Holy Spirit, the followers of the Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic movement among Jews in Eastern Europe, were exploring the meaning of very much the same terms in relation to ... Continue Reading ➨
Originally published in The Times - Literary Supplement, 14th May 1964. Dobh Baer of Lubavitch: Tract on Ecstasy. Translated by Louis Jacobs. 195pp. Vallentine, Mitchell. 25s. Dr. Jacobs here translates for the first time into any European language a work of Jewish mysticism described by Dr. Scholern, the greatest living authority on the subject, as “a penetrating analysis of various forms and stages of mystical rapture and ecstasy”". The ... Continue Reading ➨