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Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Koaḥ

3 comments to Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Koaḥ

  • I wasn’t really finished thinking and writing about the idea of Sefirat haOmer as labyrinth when I posted this dvar tefillah on Psalms 67 and Ana B’Koach last night. I wasn’t aware of any labyrinths being explicitly mentioned in the TaNaKh and so was fascinated to find one explicitly illustrated in a medieval bible in the context of Jericho. Seeing the image of a labyrinthine seven walled Jericho, thinking about the typical number of walls in a Cretan labyrinth, and trying to unpack what it could mean for the 7×7 counting of the Sefirat haOmer, blew my mind. Labyrinths are found in almost every spiritual tradition. They’ve become more commonly used for contemplative praxis in Catholic Christian tradition, although they predate Christianity and are found across the Mediterranean and as far east as India. What might a particularly Jewish take on the Labyrinth be? Outside of the course of the agricultural calendar on which we are dependant, what are the other labyrinths that impose themselves on our minds, their imaginative limits, and our actions? In our lives there are superimposing labyrinths: halakhah, socio-cultural conventions and expectations, etc. I think a particularly Rabbinic Jewish take on the labyrinth would be an attempt to attain gnosis though a recognition and subversion of the labyrinth itself, by creative theurgical and hermenutical means. Your comments are welcome.

  • Avraham ben Shlomo

    Yasher koach! Thank you for your reflections and for the Open SIddur Project. You might find the article “The Jericho Labyrinth: The Rise and Fall of a Jewish Visual Trope,” by Daniel Stein Kokin, of interest. It is available online at http://www.academia.edu/1965828/The_Jericho_Labyrinth_The_Rise_and_Fall_of_a_Jewish_Visual_Trope.

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