Neun Tore. Das Geheimnis der Chassidim

by Georg Langer

Hardcover, 2004




Wunderkammer-Verlag (2004), Edition: 1, 335 pages


In 1913, at the age of nineteen, Jiri Langer, a Czech Jew from a Europeanized Jewish household, journeyed to the region of Eastern Europe once known as Galicia, deciding to immerse himself in the timeless spiritual world of Chasidism. His destination was Belz, one of the many small villages, towns, hamlets, and cities where Chasidism lived almost untouched by the modern world. After a time, he returned to the city of Prague and to his assimilated family, yet continued to wear traditional chasidic garb and lead a religiously observant life. As his older brother, the playwright Frantisek Langer, writes, "My brother had not come back from Belz, to home and civilization; he had brought Belz with him". Part autobiography, part anthology of tales and anecdotes, Nine Gates to the Chasidic Mysteries is Jiri Langer's lyrical, exquisitely written memoir and exploration of the world of mystical faith that he encountered during his experiences among the chasidim of eastern Galicia. A remarkable piece of self-revelation,and self-analysis, Nine Gates to the Chasidic Mysteries was almost instantly praised as a literary masterpiece upon its publication in 1937. Eighteen months after it was published, it was banned by the Nazis, who had occupied the region and labeled the book a monstrosity of art, copies being confiscated as a result of house-to-house searches. Yet, this exceptional example of spiritual autobiography continues to live, having since been translated into several languages, including Italian and German. Part of the special quality of Nine Gates to the Chasidic Mysteries is that despite its being deeply rooted in the world of mystical Judaism, the sketches of chasidic life and thefolktales that Langer learned during his life among the chasidim are written for the reader who is not familiar with the esoteric theology of Kabbalah. As the author's brother remarks in his insightful and revealing foreword to the… (more)



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