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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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The Winds of Mysticism

"Na, nach, Nachman me'Uman" is a mantra used by some sub-groups of the Breslov Hasidic Jews, and written on all kinds of places around Israel.

"Na, nach, Nachman me'Uman" is a mantra used by some sub-groups of the Breslov Hasidic Jews, and written on all kinds of places around Israel.
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90.

I guess that is one of the differences between Modern Orthodoxy and the Charedi world. Modern Orthodox Jews tend to shy away from these kinds of things – if not outright reject them. This not to say that Modern Orthodox Jews are perfect. Far from it. But in this one area at least, I think they are on a better track than Charedim.

I have been saying for some time now that the majority of Orthodox Jewry in the future will consist of the “New Centrists” – a melding of Moderate Charedim with right wing Modern Orthodox Jews. I still believe that. But the mysticism of Sephardim and Chasidus seems to be making in-roads. Especially with mainstream rabbinic figures supporting it. I sure hope this is only a passing fad.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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3 Responses to “The Winds of Mysticism”

  1. Uri DeYoung says:

    Very good article. Just one point: I'm not sure why you seem to maintain that this retreat into mysticism is to be "expected" from the Sepharadim, and is therefore "OK for them" — but not for "us." We are all one people, and what's bad for one group of Jews is bad for all groups. Our flight into mysticism was picked up by various communities in the dark exile as a response to our suffering and feelings of powerlessness. Many of the practices are clearly not in accordance with normative halakha, and they are certainly inappropriate in today's Jewish reality.

  2. Yosef Shomron says:

    I remember when my school aged children use to bring home "hamsas" from their religious zionists schools and simchas – I made them throw them away with the admonition that we only believe in the G-d of Israel. kol hakavod for highlighting a problem in today's Jewish world.

  3. Shalom Dym says:

    I don't think this is a passing phase. Also, contrary to what you write, it seems that non-charedim are even more interested in hassidut kabbalah and mysticism, including R' Nachman, than charedim.

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