The Book of Lights


Big Love! (Atheist mystic)
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Gershom Sholem, the great Kabbalistic scholar

I recently re-read a book by Chaim Potok which I had read as a teenager: The Book of Lights. In it are portrayed two Jewish scholars, a Qabbalist and a Talmudist, cleverly called "Keter" for the qabbalist and "Malkuson" for the talmudist.

I think the figure of Keter was inspired by Sholem, right down to his looks, just as Saul Lieberman inspired the figure of the talmudist.

Has anyone else read the book? @RabbiO maybe? What do you think of my theory?

The story takes place in the early 50ies of the twentieth century, against the backdrop of the recently ended World War and the ongoing Korean War. It is filled with imagery related to light, from beautiful descriptions of sunlight playing on water, to the "death light" of the atomic bomb which left the shadow of a clerk etched onto the concrete wall of a bank in Hiroshima. Plus copious amounts of Qabbalistic symbolism and a portrayal of the struggle with the problem of evil, as tacked by some schools of Qabbala.

Good read, compelling story, and (I think) accurate portrayal of the subject matter.

Oh, and there are a few physicists in the story as well. What's not to like?
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