Finding Spirituality

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  1. Eli7 says:

    Well, I am not sure that it is true that Judaism devoid of Kabbalah or Chasidut is devoid of spirituality—in fact, I don’t think that is true—but I guess I am more intrigued by what that means for the way people pre-Chasidut practiced Judaism. Does that mean the Jews in the midbar or the Jews in the time of the shoftim or in the time of Dovid or even much more recently than that were lesser Jews because of the lack of spirituality? Or does it mean that Judaism doesn’t need spirituality (at least in the Chassidic sense)? Or does it mean something else altogether?

  2. micha says:

    I think that finding spirituality without qabbalah or chassidus is trivial, assuming one could come up with a rigorous definition of “without qabbalah”. The person who says Tehillim every spare minute, and means what he says, or who learns gemara all day and actually regularly remembers he is learning Hashem’s Will are both spiritual people without qabbalah. And I suggested that according to Rav Shimon, spirituality is serving Hashem by spreading His Good among other people. Also fully comprehensible without invoking Qabbalah.

    The element of the question I found more interesting was that of “finding” that spirituality. In other words, guides to getting from where one is to one of those ideals. There one finds a predominance of chassidic texts, although that is largely due to a neglect of texts by the Mussar movement among contemporary Orthodox Jews. Mesilas Yesharim and Cheshbon haNefesh appear to be the only such how-to guides that are readily available. Arguably, Chovos haLavavos qualifies as well, but I found it to be more about defining the ideal than the path to it.


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