Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Kabbalistic and depth psychological motifs in Lecha Dodi: A hermeneutical analysis of a Jewish poem
by Bland, Jeannette Camille, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014, 190; 3628547
Abstract (Summary)

Poetry is a creative instrument of inquiry and revelation expressed through images, sounds, and metaphors. In this dissertation, I argue that Solomon Alkabez's poem "Lecha Dodi" (Come, My Beloved) demonstrates this hypothesis. The poem's mythological story connects with people of diverse Jewish movements in many lands, inviting their participation and varied expressions. While singing the poem keeps historic traditions alive, the song itself inspires communities to express the poem's beauty in ever-changing ways. The poem's mythos embraces the following concepts that are explored in this work: Adam Kadmon, Shekhinah, and Tikkun ha-Olam. Its logos, which follow structured grammatical forms, and archetypal mythos are examined in this study.

Drawing on insights from C. G. Jung, wisdoms revealed in Kabbalistic text and inherent within Hebrew terminology, this paper examines sacred time, ceremonial space, and Kabbalistic motifs in Lecha Dodi. Further, it addresses the question: "What Kabbalistic motifs in Lecha Dodi parallel those found in depth psychology?" For in this work, I argue that the process of individuation, imagery, and alchemical symbolism in Jung's writings find common ground in the mystical landscape of Kabbalah, as this poem illustrates.

Rediscovering the poem's motifs may shed light on, and contribute to, reconstructing the balance, harmony, and healing requested in our frenzied world today. In the process, according to Kabbalah's alchemical nature, one's foothold in the mundane world may scatter and shatter one's self through transitional experiences of disrepair and chaotic disarray. These aspects of Kabbalah are reflected in Jung's writings on shadow, descent, and death. Meanwhile, codes embedded in the poem identify pathways on Kabbalah's Etz Hayim (Tree of Life). In turn, the psyche may travel these pathways during such shadow periods, or times necessary to repair and individuate itself. In this way, the poem's Kabbalistic motifs share motifs that are common to depth psychology and mysticism. This dissertation seeks to imagine Lecha Dodi's essence forward for future generations. It includes the author's original musical composition, a production designed to express the beauty of this mystical poem.

Keywords: Adam Kadmon, Alkabez, Etz Hayim, individuation, Jung, Kabbalah, Lecha Dodi, Luria, Shabbat, Shekhinah, soul, Tikkun ha-Olam

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mahaffey, Patrick
Commitee: Schwartz, Judith, White, Dana
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Middle Eastern literature, Theology, Judaic studies
Keywords: Adam kadmon, Individuation, Jung, Kabbalah, Lecha dodi, Shekhinah
Publication Number: 3628547
ISBN: 978-1-321-04581-9
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