Sefardi Jews and Maimonides Ashkenazi Jews and Rashi. Judaism in Middle Ages 5th c.-15th c.

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1 Sefardi Jews and Maimonides Ashkenazi Jews and Rashi Judaism in Middle Ages 5th c.-15th c.

2 New Centers of Jewish Culture Gaonic period Talmudic academies in Babylonia 7th 10th c. These schools (yeshivot) served the same function as Sanhedrin Sura, Pumbedita Southwestern Europe, since 7th c. Arabization and islamization of the Middle East, Egypt, northern Africa, most of Spain Besides hebrew and arameic (the language of Talmud; a language spoken in entire Middle East 2000 years ago), Jewish scholars start to use arabic, especially for scientific and philosophical treatises 10th c. Andalusia new center of the Jewish education Flowering of Jewish philosophy, science and poetry

3 Shelomo Ibn Gabirol THE 16-YEAR-OLD POET I am the prince the song s my slave I am the string all singers songmen tune my song s a crown for kings for ministers a little crown am only sixteen years old but my heart holds wisdom like some poet 8o year old man Known as Avicenbrol Neoplatonic philosophy Influenced mainly Christian thinking Fountain of Life 11th c. Almoravids, Berbers from north-west Africa came to help Andalusia against Christian king Alfonso VI form Castillia Religious intolerance

4 Maimonides The greatest thinker of his time Born in Cordoba, 1135 His family had to fleed the country due to the invasion of Berber Almohads who took over the country after Almoravids Went to Egypt where he became a court physician of the sultan Saladdin Combines Jewish religious tradition with the teaching of Aristoteles Mishne Torah a survey of the Jewish religious law

5 Christian rulers are taking over the Islamic Spain including the Jewish communities Toledo (Castile) still an important centre of Jewish culture Intesive developement of the Jewish mysticism - kabbalah 13th 15th c.

6 Sefardi Jews 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain Sefardi (= Spanish in the biblical language) Jews went to Portugal, Italy, northern Africa and Turkey Sefardi Jews spoke hebrew and ladino (= old Spanish) written in hebrew caracters Maranos = new Christians converted Jews Part of them still secretely followed the Jewish tradition Many in Spain and in Portugal (Jews expulsed already in 1497) after many pogroms often fled to other countries Spinoza s family Amsterodam, 17th c.

7 Jewish mysticism Kabbalah = mystical tradition - name since the 12th c. Sefer Jecira Book of Creation written in Middle East (Babylonia?), 7th c. Explains creation and composition of the world based on 22 letters of the hebrew alphabet and 10 sefirot = ten basic spiritual urnumbers Sefirot = incorporeal spiritual ideas that come from God who creates the world through them Bahir (Book of the Brightness) Spiritual light that forms the 10 spiritual spheres sefirot These spheres are at the same time manifestations of different qualities of God His omnipotence, wisdom, love, justice and charity They form a siritual tree through which emanates the divine force that keeps the world in existence

8 Jewish Mysticism Zohar (Brightness) About Rabbi Shimon ben Jochaj rabbi Akiva s follower, 2nd c. CE who was hiding from Romans Safed Galilee A small town where settled many sefardi Jews Uninterrupted tradition Jicchak Luria, 16th c.

9 Jicchak Luria There was only an infinite God before the creation of the world. He started the creation by forming a relatively empty space within infinity where he created upper spiritual worlds. Our world is a mirroring of these worlds. Upper spiritual worlds are composed by the ten sefirot divided in three parts 1) manifestation of God as the supreme rational power 2) manifestation of God as moral and ethical all-pervading power (love, charity) 3) justice The power of God and of the upper spiritual worlds flows to us through the 10th sefira The universe didn t develop harmonically but through a cosmical ur-catastrophe divine light melted with the darkness, good with evil In consequence the spiritual worlds went down The sense of the human existence is to help to renew the original order of the world tikkun and to get back to God Every human thought and action plays a very importnat role in this process Gilgul transmigration of souls ticles/14479-transmigration-ofsouls#anchor4 Only kabbalah influenced Jews believe in this

10 Ashkenazi Jews Jews in Italy, Northern France (southern France more Sefardi), England, Germany, Bohemia, Poland, Russia etc. Ashkenaz = Germany In the Middle Ages less developped culture that in islamic Sefarad where Jews were much more tolerated than in Christian areas. Jews came to Central Europe as free merchants, mainly through Italy Northern France London Germany Rhineland Mainz, Worms, Speyer Regensburg

11 Ashkenazi Jews 11th c. crusades bloody pogroms (Worms, Mainz, Köln, Prague,...) 13th c. Jews became dependent on the royal power and were gradually isolated from their neighbourhood servi camerae regiae 1215 IV. Lateran Council Jews have to carry a special sign Consistent separation of Jews and Christians Jews are not allowed to own or rent any land Limited in crafts Merchants, money lenders

12 Ashkenazi Jews Since the 13th c. Jews expulsed from England, since the 14th c. From France and partially from Germany moved to Poland Poland Kazimir the Great welcomed Jews Kazimierz Jewish town in Cracow Ashkenazi culture is less varied than the Sefardi one on constant escape they focused rather on Torah = Law than on poetry or philosophy

13

14 Rashi Rabbi Shelomo ben Yitzhak from Troyes (northern France) Best known personality of the 11th/ 12th c. Well-known commentaries on Bible and Talmud He wrote the first comprehensive commentary on the Talmud. It covers nearly all of the Babylonian Talmud (a total of 30 tractates), and it has been included in every edition of the Talmud since its first printing in the 1520s. Rashi clarifies the "simple" meaning of the text so that a bright child of five could understand it. His commentary on Tanakh is an indispensable aid to students of all levels. It was immediately accepted as authoritative by all Jewish communities, Ashkenazi and Sephardi alike. Lived in Worms (Rhineland) the synagogue was destroyed by Nazis but an original ritual bath (mikvah) survived

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