Monday, January 23, 2017

The Promise and Limits of R. Simhah Zissel Ziv’s Musar: A Response to Miller, Cooper, Pugh, and Peters

Geoffrey Claussen, “The Promise and Limits of R. Simhah Zissel Ziv’s Musar: A Response to Miller, Cooper, Pugh, and Peters" Journal of Jewish Ethics, vol. 3, no. 1 (2017): 154-177.
Abstract: This article is part of a roundtable discussion on Sharing the Burden: Rabbi Simḥah Zissel Ziv and the Path of Musar.  Responding to Christian Miller, I consider the tensions found in Simḥah Zissel Ziv's view of the soul, how Simḥah Zissel sees human beings as inclining toward evil, and how he tends to recommend measures that are more demanding than those typically tested by psychological researchers. Responding to Andrea Dara Cooper, I pay particular attention to Cooper's question regarding the tension between Simḥah Zissel's expansive view of fellowship and his lack of support for his family, and focuses on the constructions of gender that produce this tension. Responding to Jeffrey Pugh, I explore the clear limits to Simḥah Zissel's tolerance for criticism, questions, and disobedience. Responding to Rebecca Todd Peters, I consider various ways in which Simḥah Zissel's legacy has been appropriated, and I give particular attention to ways that his thought has been used to support critical thinking about structural injustices and social change.

The full paper is on JSTOR here.