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"Esh Kodesh" : the teachings of Rabbi Kalonymos Shapiro in the Warsaw ghetto, 1939-1943 / by Nathan Polen.

Publication | Library Call Number: BM740.K27273 P64 1983

This thesis examines the life and work of Rabbi Kalonymos Kalmish Shapiro (1889-1943), known as the Piaseczner Rebbe. In particular, it focuses on his discourses delivered in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust. The record of these discourses, published as Esh Kodesh, is the last literary work of Hasidism in Poland. Major sections of the work are presented here in translation for the first time. The analysis focuses on the work's structure, style, sources, relationship to contemporaneous events, and underlying hermeneutical assumptions. The central theme of emunah--faith--is analyzed, and a significant shift in style, tone, and substance over the three years of the work's composition is noted. It is suggested that the catalyst for the change is the gradual unfolding of the unprecedented character of the historical circumstance which surrounded the work's composition. Development of the author's treatment of suffering is traced, and a tendency for extremity of formulation is noted. In particular, we focus on the author's presentation of the notion of Divine suffering. The author's creative achievement is assessed against the background of Hasidic thought, as well as in terms of the circumstances of its composition. Finally, this study points to Esh Kodesh's role as an exemplar of spiritual resistance and transcendence.

Polen, Nehemia.
Record last modified: 2018-05-22 11:46:00
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