"The mystery of unity": poetic and mystical aspects of a unique zoharic Shema mystery

Jonatan M. Benarroch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper reveals one of the most unique Zoharic Shema mysteries identified as Rav Hamnuna Sabba's Mystery of Unity. This mystery is deeply connected to two narrative figures in Zoharic literature: The Yanuka (the Zoharic wunderkind) and the Saba (the wise old man). This paper argues that various poetic aspects of these two figures illuminate the theosophic and mystical contents of their homilies as can be shown in the various homilies of the Yanuka and Saba on their unique Shema mystery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-256
Number of pages26
JournalAJS Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This essay is part of my research over the past two years, which was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Tikvah fellowship at Princeton University (2011), the Fulbright fellowship at Harvard University (2012), and the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture. (2011–13). This research has been also funded by the European Research Council's Starting Grant TCCECJ headed by Dr. Pawel Maciejko of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2012–2014). I would also like to thank Joel Hecker for reading a draft of this essay and contributing valuable comments, and for sharing some of his findings with me. Finally, I would like to thank Sara Tova Brody for her help in editing this essay. A paper I delivered in the 2011 AJS conference in Washington, in a session on literary approaches to the Zohar, served as a source for this essay. I would like to thank Eitan Fishbane for organizing this important AJS session.

RAMBI Publications

  • Rambi Publications
  • Zohar -- Criticism, interpretation, etc
  • Shema
  • Mysticism -- Judaism
  • Cabala -- History -- To 1570


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