Jerome (Yehuda) Gellman is a professor in the Department of Philosophy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva. He is the author of The Fear, the Trembling, and the Fire, Kierkegaard and Hasidic Masters on the Binding of Isaac, and Experience of God and the Rationality of Religious Belief. Gellman has also authored articles on religious experience, the concept of God, Maimonides, Rabbi Kook, Hasidism, Judaism, feminism, and the epistemology of religion.
Abstract of paper given at
Judaism and Ecology conference:
Martin Buber taught that early Hasidim had an I-Thou relationship toward the world and nature. This included, he claimed, a metaphorical understanding of the kabbalistic doctrine of nitzotzot or "sparks." Buber ascribed this view especially to Israel Baal Shem Tov, and to the "Polennoyer tradition." I show that the Hasidic sources consistently refute Buber's claims, and that they had the old Lurianic concept of the sparks. I conclude with an attempt to explain the reason for "Buber's bluff," and with a thought on the possibility of basing an ecological ethic on early Hasidic thought.