Messianic Footsteps in the Third Solitude: Currents of Canadian Jewish Mysticism in Tosher Hasidism

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Messianic Footsteps in the Third Solitude: Currents of Canadian Jewish Mysticism in Tosher Hasidism
The author points out that critics have suggested that in Canadian literature there are “two solitudes” of Anglophone and Francophone linguistic and ethnic clusters, which give way to the unique “third solitude” of Montreal Jewry. The author argues there are uniquely mystical currents of the messianic footsteps within the “third solitude” as embodied in one such Jewish community in Boisbriand, Quebec. To explore this claim, he turns to this Jewish community’s mysticism as manifest in a specific ritual during Passover. While a passion for Passover retains its pull on diaspora Jewry, he poses the the question why this homebound ritual retains such strong influence on North American Jewry, and in particular on the highly insular Tosher Hasidism. By analyzing the Passover seder, the author suggests that Passover reflects a deeper concern with the eschaton of messianic footsteps in the “third solitude” of Canadian Jewish mysticism. he builds on the case already made for Canadian Jewish mysticism by others, claiming that such a mysticism enables the aspirant to be exceptionally well-equipped to transform their exile into homecoming, all the while succumbing to the transformation of their soul within a “third solitude” of the host culture. The author argues that this experience of homecoming, felt especially by Quebec Jews during the Passover season, calls the mystic to interpret and unify living and eating during the family reunion of the seder, through a cultural preoccupation of exile, dislocation, and memories of an abandoned homeland. He is concerned with how the messianic archetype of Elijah is rendered in the ‘Avodat haLevi haggadah of the Tosher Rebbe, Rabbi Meshulam Feish Segal-Loewy. He argues that the post-messianic messianism of Tosher Hasidism appears paradoxical in its strong resistance to cultural assimilation, though it is nurtured by the cultural context of political messianism in Quebec. His essay compares the ‘Avodat haLevi haggadah with Rabbi Yitzhak Yehudah Yehiel Safrin’s Megillat Setarim, to set into relief the need for a greater awareness of the variegated spiritual landscape of Canadian Jewish mysticism. He believes that only once these revisionary currents are articulated can there be an appreciation for the messianic impulse within the Komarno-Zidichov Hasidic lineage as manifest in Tosher Hasidism, which transcends and includes markers of a uniquely Canadian Jewish mysticism.
Canadian Jewish Studies / Études juives canadiennes
Vol. 25
Glazer, Aubrey L. “Messianic Footsteps in the Third Solitude:  Currents of Canadian Jewish Mysticism in Tosher Hasidism.” Canadian Jewish Studies / Études juives canadiennes Vol. 25 (2017): 117-135p.
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