teleportation in The Bible
April 22, 2007 1 Comment
That’s not what this post is about, though.
While I’m reading ancient history on the weekends (as a break from the sort of thing I read and edit all week; as remedial self-education; and as preparation for homeschooling), I keep thinking of the great science fiction novel, Dune (even though the socio-politics of Dune have much more in common with medieval history than ancient).
In reading up on Dune — hoping Wikipedia will explicate the cultural and historical allusions that were part of the feeling, reading the novel, of being immersed in rich context and deep reference — I discover this fascinating link between the fabled Kwisatz Haderach of the Dune universe, and the Hebrew term kefitzat haderech. (I should have recognized ha derech as meaning “the path” or “the way” but kefitzat is wholly alien to me.)
At its most mundane level, kefitzat haderech is “a Hebrew equivalent of the English expression ‘short cut.'” But in Jewish folklore, it is “the ability to jump instantaneously from one place to another or travel with unnatural speed. The term is originally used in Midrashim to explain anomalies of travel in the Hebrew Bible. In East European Jewish folktales, especially those associated with the Hasidic movement, kefitzat haderech was utilized by various revered holy men.”