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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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Zoharic Geographics

Zoharic Geographics

(p.187) Chapter 6 Zoharic Geographics
Roads to Utopia

David Greenstein

Stanford University Press

The Zohar's sense of space recognizes various geographic regions and qualities. It situates the Companions in Israel, the Holy Land. By contrast, Babylonia is defined as the region of the Other Side. But Babylonia cannot serve exclusively as a signifier for the non-Jewish world, for it was also the cradle of the Jewish community that produced the Talmud. The Zohar polemicizes against the locative approach to Torah study represented by Babylonia. Babylonians, like the villagers of Kfar Tarsha, are fearful and do not accept the necessity to embrace dislocation and movement. Nor should one seek to settle the Torah either in the wilderness, the Serpent's realm, or in Luz, the place of eternal life. Rather, their mortal master, Rashbi, has taught the Companions that fear must be overcome and immortality abandoned. The righteous must engage the mundane world in their walking and their speech.

Keywords:   Babylonia, Luz, Serpent, Other Side, fear, wilderness, speech, Rashbi

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