Author Archives: Gil Anidjar

About Gil Anidjar

is Professor in the Departments of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS) at Columbia University.

Birth from Death

There is this great anecdote that Gershom Scholem tells at the end of his monumental Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism. It speaks of the Baal Shem Tov, the eighteenth-century founder of Hasidism, who, when he had “a difficult task before him . . ., would go to a certain place in the woods, light a fire and meditate in prayer — and what he had set out to perform was done.” The tale follows the slow, generational loss of the elements that ensure successful results Continue reading →