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Israel Sandman

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Dr. Israel Sandman is a Fellow at University College London’s Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies. His areas of research include medieval Jewish thought and medieval Hebrew manuscripts.
A view from the manuscripts
Before the Ghettos: Jewish Intellectual Life in Medieval Italy
The fascinating world of medieval Hebrew manuscripts and what they tell us about intellectual life and culture in Italy and beyond.
Two processes of personal worship that integrates G-d in the lowly world
Nurturing Your Divine Spark
G-d has an inner longing to be made at home in the lowest levels of existence. It is the mission of man to achieve this through two complementary processes of personal worship, first drawing inspiration from above, and secondly raising the world up from b...
Jewish approaches to asceticism from the Mishnah to Chassidic teachings
Does Being Spiritual Mean Rejecting Our Bodies?
Some Jewish commentators saw the conflict between body and soul as insurmountable, others saw it as non-existent, yet others saw it as an opportunity for a step by step process of mystical synthesis
A classic example of the Tzemach Tzedek’s synthetic approach to Kabbalah and Jewish thought
Three Understandings of the Sefirot
In the classic discourse known as "Derush Shalosh Shitot" the Tzemach Tzedek synthesizes three different interpretations of the sefirot and their relationship to the divine essence, as quoted in the thought of Rabbi Shneur Zalman: The sefirot as tools, as...
Four soul stages in our journey to the divine
Reaching for the Divine
The constant struggle to attain a deeper connection to G-d. Tracing the Kabbalistic dimensions of these stages and how they correspond to various aspects of our religious experience. (Based on a discourse of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.)
Analyzing and interpreting four Chassidic texts on the High Holidays
The High Holidays as a Mystical Journey
A description of the Kabbalistic and Chassidic dimensions of the High Holidays, and how they carry through into the holiday of Sukkot.
What did medieval Jewish philosophers think about G-d and the nature of existence?
G-d and the Cosmos in Medieval Jewish Philosophy
How Jewish thinkers, including Maimonides, Josef Albo and Chasdai Crescas, related to the Greek philosophical tradition on theological and cosmological topics, and articulated a path to a personal relationship with G-d.
The purpose of the soul's journey from on high into this world.
Building Blocks of Redemption
Descending from on high to enter the body, the soul struggles to find its place in this world. The Lubavitcher Rebbe charts a path for it to discover its purpose and attain new illumination through its decent.
Why do historical accounts appear in Maimonides' legal code?
The Role of History in Maimonidean Law
An analysis of Maimonides' use of historiography as an introduction to law. Examples from the Laws of Foreign Worship, the Laws of Megillah and Chanukah, and from the closing chapter of Mishneh Torah.
Manuscript variations of works by Abraham Bar Ḥayya and Isaac Israeli
Scribal Impact on Textual Transmission
The many small distinctions between different manuscripts of two medieval Jewish works on the calendar and mathematics testify to the scribe's role in shaping the transmission of these texts.
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