Hasidism, Sacred Space and Time in Judaism

Prof. B. Barry Levy
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University

This lecture discusses the Jewish perspective on Sacred Time and Space. In Judaism, there is a hierarchy of sacred space, from outside Israel to Israel, to Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and finally to the most sacred, the Holy of Holies. Since the Destruction of the Temple, Jews have experienced most of their history in exile, frequently having to flee their native lands, which in turn, caused time to be a more fundamental than space.

The lecture continues on the topic of Sacred Time, discussing the Jewish calendar, and its agricultural and Assyrian influences. The following topic includes time, space, the individual and the communal. The entire purpose of a Jewish life is to attain holiness; the quest for holiness is essential for a Jewish identity. How important is the community versus the individual? A discussion of Holiness follows. Judaism is about living a lifestyle that is different, separates and demarcates you from others-maintaining boundaries, so that they act in a certain way- and are able to enjoy a unique relationship with G-d.