Scholar-in-Residence: Professor Daniel Matt

scholar-in-residence.pngFrom Kabbalah to the Big Bang:
Ancient Wisdom and Contemporary Spirituality

Daniel Matt, one of the world’s leading authorities on Kabbalah, will introduce us to some of the central themes of the Jewish mystical tradition. On Friday night, he will focus on the concept of Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God) in the context of Shabbat. In his subsequent presentations, he will show how the Zohar interprets and reimagines the Torah and how the mystical tradition enables us to discover God in the material world. Finally, he will address the question of “God and the Big Bang,” exploring parallels between Kabbalah and contemporary cosmology and seeking to find harmony between science and spirituality.

Friday, March 3:

Shekhinah - The Feminine Half of God
6:30 p.m. Services (all are welcome)
7:15 p.m. Dinner by reservation - Cost is $20 pp
8:15 p.m. Presentation and dessert (all are welcome)

Saturday, March 4:

Shabbat morning during Torah service:
The Mystical Meaning of Torah

Shabbat following Kiddush lunch:
Raising the Sparks: Finding God in the Material World

Sunday morning, March 5 at 9:00 a.m.:
God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality

Lectures and Their Descriptions:

Shekhinah: The Feminine Half of God: One of the boldest contributions of Kabbalah is the idea that God is equally female and male. Daniel Matt will briefly trace the development of Kabbalah and then focus on the concept of Shekhinah from its rabbinic origins to its full flowering in the Zohar, where it is identified with the Sabbath Bride.

The Mystical Meaning of Torah: How does the mystical approach to Torah differ from a literal approach? From a midrashic approach? How can a mystical approach enrich our lives today? Daniel Matt will explore these questions with us by teaching several passages from his award-winning translation, The Zohar: Pritzker Edition.

Raising the Sparks: Finding God in the Material World: How can God be encountered in our daily life? Dr. Matt will explore this question with us by teaching passages from Kabbalah and Hasidism on the nature of God, the act of Creation, and the challenge of discovering God in the material world.

God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality: What are the parallels between Kabbalah and contemporary cosmology? How does the mystical understanding of Creation compare with the modern theory of the origin of the universe? Is there a way to harmonize these two approaches—the scientific and the spiritual?

About our Scholar: Daniel C. Matt has been featured in Time Magazine and has appeared on NPR and the History Channel. He has published over a dozen books, including The Essential Kabbalah (translated into seven languages), Zohar: Annotated and Explained, and God and the Big Bang: Discovering Harmony between Science and Spirituality. Matt recently completed an 18-year project of translating and annotating the Zohar. Stanford University Press has now published his ninth volume of The Zohar: Pritzker Edition, concluding the Zohar’s main commentary on the Torah. For this work, he was honored with a National Jewish Book Award and Koret Jewish Book Award. The Koret award called his translation “a monumental contribution to the history of Jewish thought.”


For twenty years, Daniel Matt served as a professor at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has also taught at Stanford University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Daniel lives in Berkeley with his wife Hana.

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