R. JOSEPH KARO AND R. ISRAEL BA'AL SHEM TOV -
MYSTICAL METAMORPHOSIS, KABBALISTIC INSPIRATION
AND SPIRITUAL INTERNALIZATION
by Rachel Elior
The autobiographical-mystical notes of R. Joseph Karo (1488-1575), printed in the book Maggid Meisharim (1646), were a major source of inspiration to the Founder of Hasidism, R. Israel Baal Shem Tov (the Besht, 1700-1760). Karo's mystical experience was internalized by the Besht and re-lived in his mind. The conceptual world that was consolidated in Maggid Meisharim in the wake of Karo's mystical experience was adopted by the Besht. The major Hasidic themes of Deveikut (communion with God), Hishtavut (indifference), Mahshavah (ongoing thought on the Divine being) and Avodah Begashmiut (worship through corporeality) were inspired by Karo's mystical records.
The present article studies the complex nature of the mystical transformation: the personal angelic experience of Karo became the foundation of the Hasidic mysticism through Israel Ba'al Shem Tov's renewed experience.
Répertoire bibliographique / Bibliographic Repertory