MembersWhat is Jewish Spirituality?

Part 3 on figuring out why we think the way we do and what to do about it

By Solomon Kirsch | | Topics: Religion Meets Philosophy
Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

As I see it, spirituality and mysticism are interchangeable. Spirituality means thinking, practice and giving expression to experiences of a spiritual, not material, nature. In Judaism and Christianity, and I suppose in other faiths as well, religious practices may be more, or less, spiritually oriented. Spirituality tends to be more prominent in certain religions, and one’s spirituality has much to do with one’s temperament and circumstances.

The way one sings or chants, the images of the Divine, or the way one prays, for example, are connected to one’s religious tradition. A Hasidic melody might be without words, or with very few, may be melancholic expressing a nostalgic desire for God and restoration of the people. A Christian mystic might have a vision of Jesus on the cross, or in the heavens with holes in his hands and a halo of light surrounding him.

Our experience of spirituality comes in the context of our religious framework. When people experience spiritual moments they come in the religious terms and concepts with which we are familiar. The biblical prophets had...

Israel Today Membership

Become a Member

  • Read all member content

    Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel.

  • Get exclusive in-depth reports from Israel

    Connect with Israel, right from your home.

  • Lift up the voice of truth and hope

    Support Jerusalem-based Zionist journalism.

Already a member? .