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Kabbalistic Yiddish: Introducing Aaron Zeitlin’s Mystical Modernist Poetry

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Kabbalistic Yiddish: Introducing Aaron Zeitlin’s Mystical Modernist Poetry

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Kabbalistic Yiddish: Introducing Aaron Zeitlin’s Mystical Modernist Poetry

Described by his best friend Bashevis-Singer as the greatest Yiddish poet, Aaron Zeitlin (1898-1973) is known today only by a select few.  Like his father, the mystic-writer-scholar Hillel, Aaron stood at the centre of the Warsaw Yiddish literary scene in the 1920s, where his early poetry fused avant-garde forms with motifs and ideas from the Zohar, the major work of the classical Kabbalah. His kabbalistic poems, of which there are hundreds, represent the highpoint of the Kabbalah-Yiddish fusion.

Nathan Wolski is a scholar of Kabbalah with the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. Among his publications are A Journey into the Zohar (SUNY, 2010), The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, vols 10 and 12 (Stanford University Press, 2016, 2017), and most recently Kabbalistic Yiddish: Aaron Zeitlin’s Mystical-Messianic Poetics (Cherub Press, 2020).

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