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Hasidism IncarnateHasidism, Christianity, and the Construction of Modern Judaism$
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Shaul Magid

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804791304

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804791304.001.0001

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Malkhut as Kenosis

Malkhut as Kenosis

Malkhut and the Zaddik in Ya’akov Koppel Lifshitz of Mezritch’s Sha’arei Gan Eden

(p.81) 4 Malkhut as Kenosis
Hasidism Incarnate

Shaul Magid

Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on the work of Ya’akov Koppel who lived on the cusp of the Hasidic movement. The chapter focuses is the doctrine of the zaddik and its similarities to the Christian notion of kenosis, the act of incarnation through divine emptying. Koppel’s writing offers the novel idea that the lowest kabbalistic sphere malkhut, thought to be empty of divinity is, in actuality, the fullest manifestation of pure divinity (eyn sof). This notion is strikingly similar to the Christian idea of kenosis from Philippians 1 whereby God empties Godself into the body of Jesus in the act of incarnation in order to fulfill divine disclosure. The zaddik thus serves as the fullest manifestation of the divine in the world. Not identical to incarnation, the zaddik as malkhut is presented as a Jewish example of kenosis and thus a Jewish articulation of incarnational thinking.

Keywords:   zaddik, kenosis, incarnation, malkhut, shekhina, yesod, eyn sof

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