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NahmanidesLaw and Mysticism$
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Moshe Halbertal

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300140910

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300140910.001.0001

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Custom and the History of Halakhah

Custom and the History of Halakhah

(p.67) Chapter 2 Custom and the History of Halakhah

Moshe Halbertal

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Nahmanides's conception of halakhic history and his role within it, including his self-consciousness as a halakhist. It explains the complex interrelationships between halakhah and kabbalah in Nahmanides's thought. It also describes how Nahmanides's prodigious creativity in the field of halakhah stood in a certain tension with his self-consciousness as a kabbalist. The chapter looks into Nahmanides's conception of kabbalah that developed from discord with contemporary kabbalists, such as R. Azriel of Gerona and R. Jacob b. Sheshet. It also recounts the great flowering of kabbalistic literature at the end of the thirteenth century that culminated in the creative and innovative Zohar and stood in opposition to the traditional character of Nahmanides's kabbalah and his disciples.

Keywords:   Nahmanides, halakhic history, halakhist, kabbalah, kabbalist, R. Azriel, R. Jacob b. Sheshet, Zohar

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