Prof. Mordechai Rotenberg


Academic Profile: 

Ph.D. 1969, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Lect. 1970; Sen. Lect. 1974; Assoc. Prof. 1980; Prof. 1988.


Research Interests:

Developing psycho-social applications according to kabbalistic paradigm of tzimtzum (contraction) as any interdisciplinary framework and basis for the comparative study of psychology and religion.


Research Projects:

The study of the psycho-social foundations of Hasidic Kabbalism.

Cabalic sexuality and creativity.


Abstracts of Current Research :

The study of the psycho-social foundations of Hasidic Kabbalism:Research has focused on the re-biographic time perception inherent in Midrashic narrativism, on the psychological bridge between rationalism and mysticism available in the PaRDeS and on the dialogic system regulating the yetzer-yetzira continuum.

Cabalic sexuality and creativity:The guiding assumption of my current research begins from the observation that Western campaigns for expressing sexuality (e.g., homosexuality) and repressing sexuality (e.g., harassment) are largely identical in their assertive-aggressive behavior patterns. A thesis is presented according to which the erotic creation myth (cosmogony) of emanation may have exerted paradigmatic impacts on the Western "phallic-erective" style of sexuality, creativity, and assertive-aggressive ("aggressertive") communication patterns. The cabalic erotic cosmogony of contraction (tzimtzum) is then introduced as an alternative paradigm for sexuality, creativity, and communication that comprises the following components: (a) Creation, procreation, and creativity begin from an act of self-contraction to evacuate space for a union with another creative partner. (b) The sequential notion of yetzer (sexual desire) leading to yetzira (spiritual creativity) is possible via a transformational process that includes the ecstatic experience of a spiritual orgasm (devekut). The Midrashic-cabalic exercise of recombining letters for reaching ecstatic devekut is portrayed as archetypical conditioning mantra for therapeutic rebiographing. Illustrative clinical applications for promoting sexual equality and for treating impotency are briefly discussed.

Key Words:

Tzimtzum; sexuality and Judaism


Recent Publications:

Rotenberg, M. (1995) Pardes and PaRDeS: Towards a psychotherapeutic theory. IsraelJournal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences, 31(3): 162-169.

Rotenberg, M. (1995) Cabalic sexuality and creativity. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 5(4): 225-244.

Rotenberg, M. (1996) Embrace and stroking: comments on the response of Emmanuel Levins. Science of Judaism, 36 (Hebrew).

Rotenberg, M. (1997) The Yetzer: A Kabbalistic Psychology of Eroticism and Human Sexuality. Northvale: Jason Aronson. Second printing 1999.

Rotenberg, M. 1997 Jewish Psychology and Hasidism. University on the Air, Ministry of Defence. Second Printing 1998 (Hebrew)

Rotenberg, M. (in press) Psychology and Judaism. Invited Essay for the Millennial Encyclopedia of Judaism. Leiden, the Netherlaqnds: E.J. Brill and New YorkContinuum Press

M. Rotenberg's site at the Research and Development Authority