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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 Broad Dissemination of Torah

The Broad Dissemination of Torah

“The Torah is not the heritage of only one place”

(p.155) Chapter 5 The Broad Dissemination of Torah
Roads to Utopia

David Greenstein

Stanford University Press

Analysis of an extensive walking story shows the Zohar's awareness of the controversial nature of its commitment to walking. Rabbi Abba encounters the mystical devotees of Kfar Tarsha. Unlike Rashbi's disciples, they insist upon remaining in their “nest,” loyally following their forefathers. Exchanging teachings regarding circumcision, a ritual that literally transfers a sacred text to the human body of one's son, they achieve states of mystical union that are more intense than those usually achieved by the walking Companions. R. Abba is enchanted. Issues of filiation arise when Rashbi hears R. Abba's story. He punishes his unfaithful “son” and decrees exile for the villagers. In their refusal to disperse and wander beyond their space, they have apparently been guilty of the same sin as those who built the Tower of Babel. The sacrifice entailed by walking into mundane space must be borne with gnostic good humor.

Keywords:   Kfar Tarsha, circumcision, union, Tower of Babel, filiation, nest, humor

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