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Roads to UtopiaThe Walking Stories of the Zohar$
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David Greenstein

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804788335

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804788335.001.0001

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The Spatial Orientation of the Zohar

The Spatial Orientation of the Zohar

Chapter:
(p.56) Chapter 3 The Spatial Orientation of the Zohar
Source:
Roads to Utopia
Author(s):

David Greenstein

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804788335.003.0004

The Zohar, in its mystic quest, seeks to abolish space, to privilege the point or the vertical axis as spiritual dimensions. The horizontal dimension is given over to history and to the mundane, or worse. It is susceptible to the Other (Evil) Side, which trespasses across boundaries. This orientation influences its mythic portrayal of the Serpent, gender assignments for closed and open, interior and exterior spaces, and the sometimes tragic and sometimes joyous role of Shekhinah. But along with the ideal of unification or spatial collapse, the reality of the mundane sphere requires both the Divine and the mystic to engage in acts of spatial maintenance. Sacrifices are one form of such acts. Stories are another.

Keywords:   horizontal, vertical, Other Side, Serpent, gender, unification, Shekhinah, sacrifice, ‘uvda, maintenance

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