God as Patient

The Medical Discourse of Lurianic Kabbalah


Assaf Tamari

Publisher Van Leer Institute Press & Magnes Press
Language Hebrew
Year of Publication 2024
Series Theory in Context Series

In a broken world, in which even God Himself is in a state of deep crisis, what is required in order to mend the rupture? How can one heal God and His world? Moreover, what might allow our actions to be effective? These questions stand at the heart of the Lurianic Kabbalah, the apex of the Safedian intellectual and religious renaissance of the sixteenth century, and one of the constituting phenomena of Modern Jewish thought. God as Patient presents medical discourse – the knowledge, language, and practice of medicine – as a significant key to our understanding of the Lurianic search for a way to mend reality, and first and foremost the Godhead. The book reads together the Lurianic texts alongside the medical writings of R. Hayyim Vital, R. Isaac Luria's chief disciple, and a medical practitioner. Consequently, the book analyzes how medicine becomes the model for the Lurianic language of action. In its final part, the book shows how God becomes in this Kabbalah the ultimate patient of the Lurianic Kabbalist, who in turn becomes the private court physician of the King of Kings, and needs, like every physician, the proper modes of healing to accomplish his task.


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