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The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought$
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Katell Berthelot, Joseph E. David, and Marc Hirshman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199959808

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959808.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2020

The Land of Israel and Canaan

The Land of Israel and Canaan

A Case Study of the Spiritual World of Gur Hasidism

(p.202) 8 The Land of Israel and Canaan
The Gift of the Land and the Fate of the Canaanites in Jewish Thought

Yoram Jacobson

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes the Sefat Emet, a late nineteenth-century work that shaped the theology of Gur Hasidism. It identifies the two territorial belongings—the land of Canaan and the land of Israel—as representing two spiritual phases in the process of the redemption of reality. Inspired by the Zoharic Kabbalah and the thought of Maharal of Prague, the Canaan-Israel juxtaposition comes to represent the theosophical dichotomies of natural/supernatural, impure/sanctified, unified/diverse, and so on. The conquest of the land of Canaan was not an actual aggressive act, but rather an act by which the natural, impure, and fragmented conditions of reality were redeemed to become a supernatural, sanctified, and united order. This spiritualized interpretation not only escapes ethical and theological difficulties, but also redefines the relationship between Canaan and Israel as one of reciprocal cooperation within the divine plan and the cosmic order.

Keywords:   Sefat Emet, theology, Canaan, Israel, redemption

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