The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev on Non-Jews: Theological and Educational Challenges

Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev is known for his love and positivity, as witnessed in his moniker, Israel`s virtue finder. It is, therefore, striking to find views that express an opposite orientation in his commentary Kedushat Levi. There are some strong anti-Jewish statements in the book, though these are at times balanced by more positive statements. The challenge, then, is to make sense of how such a loving personality can espouse negative views of the other. The lecture will review some of these instances and explore theoretical and pedagogical strategies for gaining a balanced perspective on one of Hassidism`s greatest and most loving spiritual masters.