Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was born in Zholkiew, Poland in 1924. Descended from a distinguished family of Belzer Hasidim, he was ordained by Habad-Lubavitch in 1947, and became one of the Sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe’s first outreach workers. He earned his MA from Boston University and his DHL from Hebrew Union College. He is professor emeritus of Psychology of Religion and Jewish Mysticism at Temple University and World Wisdom Chair holder emeritus at Naropa University. Today, he is widely known as the father of the Jewish Renewal movement, and considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Hasidism and Kabbalah.
In this series of talks, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi discusses Jewish spiritual leadership from the perspective of the Hasidic Rebbe, applying traditional Hasidic models and teachings to contemporary situations. He covers issues of identity for spiritual leaders, the teacher-student relationship, spiritual guidance and intercessory prayer.
"For me, Gate to the Heart is the one essential book by Reb Zalman. Although there are others that go into more depth and are more expansive on certain topics, none convey his authentic voice and brilliant creativity more that this one. It is the book that I want to carry with me at all times, a true vade mecum that one can consult again and again to renew one's spiritual practice."
In this wide-ranging essay, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Netanel Miles-Yépez explore the profound implications of the kabbalistic idea of Tzimtzum, the 'contraction' of God that allows for Creation, through different paradigms of Jewish belief over the centuries, and look at its function in Judaism and Jewish practice today.
Hasidism is a perennial movement of the spirit arising again and again through the centuries in various contemplative movements in Judaism. Among these have been three significant movements, or revolutionary "turnings" in Jewish consciousness that have significantly impacted future generations. In this little book, we are given an outline for a "Fourth Turning of Hasidism" which can renew Judaism.