This book is an in-depth study of the function of music in religious experience according to Rabbi Naḥman of Bratzlav. It provides new insights on his unique doctrine of the “Good Points”, which represent the core of loving kindness and holiness in the human soul, and the musical context in which they become both a means and a metaphor for spiritual transformation. Drawing on midrashic and kabbalistic sources, the book explores Naḥman’s perception of different types of “tzadiqim” (religious leaders), including himself, and the special role music plays in their leadership. It highlights the importance of creativity and renewal in the messianic process that involves both music and loving kindness.
Chani Haran Smith, Ph.D. (2008) in Jewish Studies, University College London, is a professional musician and a lecturer at Leo Baeck Rabbinical College in London. She has published Learn to Leyn: The Cantillation of the Hebrew Bible (JMI, 2003).
Chapter One: The Doctrine of the ‘Good Points’ and its Kabbalistic Sources
Chapter Two: Music as a Spiritual Process
ChapterThree: The Dual Personality of the Tzadiq: Moses and Joseph
Chapter Four: New Time, New Song
All those interested in key aspects of Nahman of Bratzlav’s world view and self-perception, the place and transforming power of music in human life, spirituality and religious leadership.