Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Thoughts of the Day #18/2012: Elliot R. Wolfson (3)

Elliot R. Wolfson (*1956 - )

Today, it is again time to present a long passage from a book by Elliot R. Wolfson. Last time (click here) I have already informed my dear readers, that he is one of my most admired scholars, who should be known and read around the globe. Often, when I want to refocus my thoughts, I pull out one of his books or essays by chance out of my book shelf and start to read. Nearly instantly, my thoughts were absolutely revitalized.

Yesterday I have chosen his book "Open Secret" (Columbia UP 2009) again, which should be considered as one of the most important books about Habad and the secret ever written. Its lecture is even more rewarding than the lecture of Derrida's often awkward reflections on the secret.

The passage that I would like to present today is taken from the "Postface" entitled "In an instant - Advent of the (Non)event" of the aforementioned book. It is about the paradoxical non-temporal moment of redemption and its relation to repentance:
 
"The nonoccurence in no way effects the belief in the possibility of the advent of the future; on the contrary, insofar as that advent is not an event that can materialize in time, the nonoccurence is, strictly speaking, what guarantees its occurence. The point is underscored by the fact that the catalyst for redemption is repentance, "which is not worship that demands the duration of time [meshek zeman], but rather, as in the words of the Zohar, "in one moment and in one second, in the second that is as [long as it takes to utter a word]!

The content of the worship of repentance is, indeed, that he receives on himself the fulfillments of all matters of the Torah and its commandments, but nonetheless there is here no division into 613 components - the 613 commandments of the Torah - and not even into two components, but rather solely one point. Therefore it is not bounded in time, but only 'in one moment and in one second'.

The time of redemption is the second that is not confined by past or future, the instant in which the individual, who is not hemmed by the burden of retention or the buoyancy of protention, can be suddenly transformed from being completely wicked to being completely righteous.

To traverse abruptly from one extreme to its opposite is possible only in the space wherein opposites coincide in the sameness of their difference, a space that cannot be measured chronoscopically. Correspondingly, the time of redemption is this timeless moment, which cannot transpire temporally and therefore must always be capable of occuring (in)temporally - this is the nuance of Schneersohn's "immediately and without delay".

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Have a nice week !
Stay tuned and expect the unexpected!


(P.S. This photo is used with the very kind permission of Prof. Elliot R. Wolfson. Thank you very much)