It is said that the Great Maggid would convene his inner circle  every night to teach them the sacred texts. All of his greatest students would gather. The Maggid would begin to speak, “And God said” and Reb Zushya would leap up, overwhelmed with desire. He would yell out, “And God said! God said!” He would spin around and around like a leaf in the wind, and then faint, unconscious for the rest of the teaching. Every night it was the same thing. The other disciples would tease him, “Zushya, you’re missing all the holy teachings!”

This teasing went on for days and days until finally the Master said, “Leave him alone; he’s the only one who gets it.”

For the Hebrew mystic, unlike his Buddhist or Greek cousins, desire and longing are sacred.  Eros is the yearning force of being. I yearn therefore I am.  To be cut off from the eros of yearning is to be left in the cold of non-existence. To yearn is to be aflame.

The Erotic and the Holy
Marc Gafni

For more information on private study or to book a public teaching, contact Dr. Marc Gafni at