Introduction to Kinot-Poetic Souls

Jun 29th, 2013 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Holidays
Genius: Range of mind, power of imagination, and responsiveness of soul; this is genius. The man of genius has a soul with greater range, can therefore be struck by the feelings of all beings, is concerned with everything in nature, and never receives an idea that does not evoke a feeling. Everything stirs him and everything is retained within him.

When the soul has been moved by an object itself, it is even more affected by the memory of the object. But in a man of genius, imagination goes further: it recalls ideas with a more vivid feeling than it receives them, because to these ideas are connected a thousand others more appropriate to arouse the feeling.

The genius surrounded with objects that preoccupy him does not remember; he sees but does not restrict himself to seeing; he is moved; and in the silence and obscurity of his room he enjoys the smiling and fertile countryside; he is chilled by the whistling of the winds; he is burned by the sun; he is frightened of storms. The soul often takes pleasure in these momentary affections; they give him enjoyment that is precious to him. The soul gives itself to everything that can increase its scope; with true colors and indelible strokes it would like to give body to the phantasms that are its work, that transport or amuse it. (Jean-Francois de Saint-Lambert, ‘Encyclopedie).”

The recitation and study of the Kinot, composed by such genius demands of us that we use the highest genius of our souls, our Poetic Souls, to go beyond the black and white words, and travel through space and time to all the communities described, imagining ourselves being there and gaining insight into this complex relationship between God and Israel.

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