Cover image for Wrapped in a holy flame : teachings and tales of the Hasidic masters
Wrapped in a holy flame : teachings and tales of the Hasidic masters
Schachter-Shalomi, Zalman, 1924-2014.
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco, CA : Jossey-Bass, a Wiley Imprint, [2003]

Physical Description:
xiii, 352 pages ; 23 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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BM198.2 .S33 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Early in the eighteenth century the legendary holy man and teacher Rabbi Israel Ba'al Shem Tov launched a spiritual movement in Eastern Europe known as Hasidism. The Hasidic movement thrived on parables and stories promulgating joy, the potential for personal transformation, aspirations of the Divine, and the infusion of daily life with music, dancing, and loving exultation-and there is no Jewish institution today that has not been affected by Hasidism. Since the time of the Ba'al Shem Tov, generations of disciples, holy men, gurus, rabbis, and teachers have spread the Hasidic movement throughout the world. Now this book presents in one volume a collection of profound insights from the greatest Hasidic masters.

Wrapped in a Holy Flame offers rare stories, new translations, and an innovative introduction to the meaning and value of these classic tales and teachings. It features the work of Hasidic masters of legendary fame and influence, including the Maggid of Mezritch, Reb Pinchas of Koretz, Shneur Zalman of Liadi, Reb Nachman of Bratzlav, all the way to the twentieth century Rebbe and artist Reb Shlomo Carlebach. The author has studied and taught Hasidic stories and teachings for over fifty years. This book contains a lifetime of experience and will stand for years to come as the basic, definitive work in the field.

Author Notes

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, better known as Reb Zalman, was born in Poland, raised in Vienna, and ordained as a rabbi in New York. He is the pioneering father of the Jewish Renewal movement, founder of the Spiritual Eldering Institute, and an active and original teacher of Jewish mysticism. Reb Zalman taught at the University of Manitoba, Canada, from 1956 to 1975 and was professor of Jewish mysticism and psychology of religion at Temple University until his retirement in 1987, when he was named professor emeritus. In 1995 he accepted the World Wisdom Chair at Naropa University, where he is currently professor in the department of religion
Nataniel Miles-Yepez studied history of religions at Michigan State University and contemplative religion at Naropa University. He is an ordained teacher in the Sufi tradition

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Shalomi sets himself a difficult assignment with this book: to get to the heart of Hasidic inner life and spirituality. While he lauds both Gershom Scholem and Martin Buber for bringing Hasidism to the consciousness of modern readers, he thinks they did not venture far enough because neither participated in the vibrant musical and ritual life of the Hasidim, as he has. Hasidism, he writes, cannot be assessed by reference to texts alone, since it has always valued ecstatic experience over knowledge. The book, which contains lectures Shalomi delivered to audiences at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colo., is unevenly successful. The opening essay is dry and academic, but the book picks up steam from there. Shalomi includes stories from many different Hasidic masters, including Reb Nachman, the Ba'al Shem Tov and seven generations of Chabad rebbes (including Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last Lubavitcher rebbe, who died in 1994 and was one of Shalomi's teachers). The book is best when Shalomi personally engages with the texts, using the stories and teachings as catalysts to discuss key issues in Jewish spirituality. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Originating in Eastern Europe in the 18th century, Hasidism is a movement in Judaism that focuses on the joy of living and of dedicating one's life to God. Stressing social justice, this spiritual movement is based largely on parables and stories that encourage the potential for personal transformation. From the initial writings of the Ba'al Shem Tov to the 20th-century guru and artist Reb Shlomo Carlebach, this volume contains a chronological collection of the variety and diversity of voices that represent Hasidic teachings. Collected here are both the original works of the Hasidic masters in new translations-including teachings, tales, parables, prayers, and melodies-and a comprehensive introduction to the meaning and value of these classic stories. Rabbi Schacter-Shalomi, a leader within the Jewish Renewal Movement, tries to capture the essence of this spiritual movement by bringing many voices to this collection. Short anecdotal biographical sketches precede each selection and vividly bring to life the masters and their teachings. As an introduction to Hasidism, this is a very useful sourcebook. Recommended for all Judaica collections.-Herbert E. Shapiro, Empire State Coll. of SUNY, Rochester (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Author's Prefacep. ix
Editor's Prefacep. xi
Note to the Readerp. xiii
A Renaissance of Piety: The Teachings of Hasidism and the Shifting Paradigmp. 1
A Hidden Fire Revealed: The Ba'al Shem Tovp. 27
The Teachers of the Aha! The Maggid of Mezritch and Reb Pinchas of Koretzp. 45
The Ascetic Saint: Reb Elimelech of Lizhenskp. 55
The Passionate Defender: Reb Levi Yitzhak of Berditchevp. 61
Heaven Is Here! Reb Moshe Leib of Sassovp. 71
Dancing from the Infirmary: The Maggid of Koznitzp. 79
A Guide for the Exceptional Average: Seven Generations of Chabad Rebbesp. 89
Between Perfection and Evilp. 105
Soul Mattersp. 117
Attributes and Garments of the Soulp. 129
The Victory of the Rational Soulp. 143
The Duality of Good and Evilp. 149
Woman and the Divine Femininep. 161
Fear and Lovep. 165
Annihilation of Existence and Brokenheartednessp. 171
The End of the Journeyp. 181
The Word That Creates: Sha'ar HaYichud VeHaEmunah and the Rest of the Tanyap. 185
Radical Hasidism and the Challenge of Changing Paradigmsp. 201
Dreamer of Archetypes: Reb Nachman of Bratzlavp. 205
Who Walks on the Edge of the Sword: Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzkp. 245
Deployed by God: Reb Mordecai Yosef of Ishbitzp. 251
A Latter-Day Saint: Reb Arele Rothp. 263
Loving the Land and Its People Is Loving God: Reb Abraham Isaac Kookp. 271
Yea, Though I Walk Through the Shadow of Death: Reb Kalonymous Kalmisch of Piasetznap. 275
The Mystic Proletarian: Reb Hillel Zeitlinp. 279
The Master of Virtuous Reality: Reb Shlomo Carlebachp. 287
Precocious Mystical Feminism: Reb Channah Rochel of Ludmirp. 297
Notesp. 307
Glossaryp. 327
Biographiesp. 333
Indexp. 335