Dybbuks and Jewish Women in Social History, Mysticism and by Rachel Elior

By Rachel Elior

How and why an individual involves be possessed by way of a dybbuk (the ownership of a residing physique via the soul of a deceased person), and what effects occur from such ownership, shape the topic of this e-book. whereas ownership via a dybbuk can have been understood as punishment for a bad sin, it may possibly even be noticeable as a mechanism utilized by determined participants usually girls who had no different technique of break out from the calls for and expectancies of an all-encompassing patriarchal social order. Dybbuks and Jewish ladies examines those and different points of dybbuk ownership from historic and phenomenological views, with specific realization to the gender value of the topic.

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These accounts are of tremendous importance, for until the twentieth century, the Jewish community lacked any documents examining society from a feminine point of view or presenting any critical, alternative stance vis-à-vis that society. To this day, there is almost no historical or literary documentation of mothers written by women. During the last third of the seventeenth century, we hear of the first challenge to the patriarchal order, voiced by a highly unusual man, the kabbalist Shabbetai Zevi (1626–1676), who saw himself as a redeemer able to transcend limits and change the world order.

6 Dissolving a marriage was no simple matter, for the union was anchored in a sacred religious tradition and dependent on complex, patriarchal, socio-economic arrangements. The religious tradition pertaining to marriage included such concepts as matches made in heaven, the marriage bond, the wedding canopy, covenant, bridal virginity, and the biblical commandment to be fruitful and multiply; the socio-economic aspects included arranging a match and setting its terms; the marriage contract, setting forth the economic obligations of the husband (or his estate) in the event of divorce or death; dowry; “acquisition” of the bride; genealogy and lineage; family; and parental support of the young couple.

Scholars assume that literary reworkings of traditions grounded in oral accounts contain authentic elements. The large number of these traditions attests in itself to a kernel of truth and an authentic context; beyond that, the medical dimensions of the reports of exorcism and cure and their fixed interpretive context afford them a historical aspect that augments their reliability. k. Kare : shelav adash be-hitpat ut shel zhenre amami” (A spirit tale in the holy community of Koretz: a new stage in the development of a folk genre).

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