Where God Isn’t: Should we bring Godliness into unclean places?

Dr. Samuel Lebens

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

7:30 pm

Should we bring Godliness into unclean places? Holiness is a central Jewish concept, in some sense the essence of divinity: "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy" (Lev. 19:2).  But what does it mean for finite beings – people or objects – to share in God's holiness? Are all types of holiness the same? After examining rabbinic sources on this question, we will address an even more profound problem: the concept of unholiness.  How do Jewish sources – ranging from the Talmud to the Hassidic masters to Jewish philosophers – relate to places that are thought to be somehow ungodly, filthy, or disgusting? If God is everywhere, is He in those places too? Can anything in God's world be unholy?

Located at the Bronfman Center for Jewish Student Life at NYU
7 East 10th Street | New York, NY

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