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Merton's Correspondence with:

Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter Shalomi; Rabbi Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, Schachter, Zalman, 1924-

Schachter, Zalman M., Rabbi, 1924-2014  printer


Descriptive Summary

Record Group: Section A - Correspondence
Dates of materials: 1960-1966, 1973
Volume: 39 item(s); 76 pg(s)

Scope and Content

This set of letters in an important dialogue between religious figures in Judaism and Catholicism. It came at an important time, the years of the Second Vatican Council, when many waited to hear if the Church would be able to forge a better relationship with the Jewish community. This collection includes original letters to and from Merton, and there is one audio recording that Schachter sent to Merton as a letter (transferred to media collections, F.5). Merton writes to Schachter after having received the book The First Step from Jerry Steinberg, who had visited Gethsemani and was a student at Hebrew Union in Cincinnati, Ohio.


Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was a scholar on mystical aspects of Judaism. He was born in Poland in 1924 and grew up in Vienna. Later, in France, he was sent to a prison camp by the Vichy government. He was able to escape to the United States in 1941. He studies at the Lubavitch Yeshiva in Brooklyn and was ordained a rabbi in 1947. He received a Master of Arts in psychology from Boston University in 1953. He taught religion at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, from 1956-1957, and was later Chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies. He completed a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati in 1968. While in Cincinnati, he made a number of visits to see Merton.

Usage Guidelines and Restrictions

Please click here for general restrictions concerning Merton's correspondence.

Related Information and Links

See also Cold War Letters #37, and other letters from Merton to Schachter, published in The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 533-541.

Other Finding Aids

If the person in correspondence with Merton has full text records in the Merton Center Digital Collections, there will be a numeric link to them below.

Series List

This Record Sub-Group is not divided into Series and is arranged chronologically.

Container List

Click icons for links: ✓="Published | Library Record", ✉="Scanned" | 🗷="Scanned, Viewable Only at Merton Center"

#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPub ✓Notes
 y/m/dMerton Scan ✉ 
1. 1960/12/26 HCS to Merton Xmas continues through the Feast of the … - the circumcision or to Epiphany - So a very Merry Xmas Includes a section from the Talmud on card and a black and white woodcut picture «detailed view»
2. 1961/01/18 TLS[x] from Merton It was a real pleasure to get your kind greetings for Christmas and the New Year and I was very thanks for Christmas and New Year greetings and for books (The First Step) «detailed view»
3. 1961/04/02? HLS[x] from Merton I am glad you found the Reinhold book. I could not even trace the copy we used to have in the listing of books / some to be lent to Rabbi Schachter «detailed view»
4. 1961/12/15 TLS[x] from Merton I don't apologize for not having written as you understand perfectly. And you know that whether I speaks of holding lights up to the whirlwind / comments about life in the monastery / seeks articles against nuclear war «detailed view»
5. 1962/01/29 TALS to Merton Allow me to thank you for the two books, I like the New Man a whole lot and am, when reading Christological references and Hassidic counterparts / existentialism / Buber / B'nai B'rith Institute in Tennessee / Steven Schwarzschild / Box Lax «detailed view»
6. 1962/02/01 TALS to Merton Enclosed you will find a copy of a letter to Mr. Joseph Manella who is the head of the Kibbutz of Kibbutz of the Jubalites / Herbert Weiner's Wild Goats of Ejn Gedi / The First Step in Hebrew / French Protestant monks / oekumenische Marienschwesternschaft in Halberstadt / "Spiritual Direction and Meditation" and "The Silent Life" / "Target Equals City" «detailed view»
7. 1962/02/02 TAL[c] to Manella, Joseph I just received your postcard and trust that by now you are back in the Kibbutz, and may have [enclosure from 1962/02/01] recommended books by Merton, including and especially, New Seeds of Contemplation as well as a long list of others he thinks Manella should have (mainly Merton's works on spirituality) «detailed view»
8. 1962/02/15 (#01) TLS[x] from Merton Many things: first I sent the books to Joe at the Kibbutz. I want to know a lot more about this [see Cold War Letter #37] «detailed view»
9. 1962/02/15 (#02) transcript from Merton Many things: first I sent the books to Joe at the Kibbutz. I want to know a lot more about this [Cold War Letters #37, from collected Cold War Letters] The Last of the Just / Jews as "great eschatological [sic] sign of the twentieth century" / The New Man and the Old Testament / "Christ as Prometheus" view justifies war, crusades, Auschwitz, the bomb, the Last Judgment «detailed view»
10. 1962/02/24 HLS[x] from Merton Could you spare any more of your Hassidic mimeographed texts? I promised some dear friends I would «detailed view»
11. 1962/05/21 HPCS[x] from Merton Glad you got the Banner - we will take care of everything. Please let me know if there is Garden of Hassidism also interesting and illuminating / «detailed view»
12. 1962/07/05? TPCS[x] from Merton The 24th is a good day for me. If you get here the day before I might be able to see you that «detailed view»
13. 1962/09/11 TLS[x] from Merton Many thanks for the letter and for the review. The latter was fine and I am glad you were able to mentions Rabbi Gendler / A Thomas Merton Reader «detailed view»
14. 1962/10/15 TLS[x] from Merton Wonderful note. And above all I am moved by the quotation -- Liqutey Torah Ahre. Especially the seeks Jewish sources of creation story (12th century) / speaks of The Pope (judgment, ecumenism) / conscientious objection «detailed view»
15. 1962/10/27 TL[x] to Merton I received a beautiful card from Father Bernadine, showing the interior of the Trappist Monte Jewish sources for the 12th century masters of the School of Chartres (creation story) / possible visit from Rabbi Joel Orent (interested in Tibetan Buddhism) «detailed view»
16. 1963/01/11 HLS[x] from Merton Thanks for your meaningful Christmas card - including the mink coat paradox & horror. We are right the feminine - the heart of the mystery of Israel / will continue writing to Orent / included: a transcript of letter by Shannon «detailed view»
17. 1963/08/03 TLS[x] from Merton For the last couple of days we have been having a fine visit with Werblowski [sic]. He had many R. J. Zwi Werblowsky «detailed view»
18. 1963/11/24 TALS to Merton I have already sent you, by surface mail, the book by Lou Jacobs - Tract on Ecstasy. I would Gerald Heard / apophatic mysticism and Rabbi Dov Bear / Juan de la Cruz / Margaret Bradbury / «detailed view»
19. 1963/12/25? HCS[x] from Merton Many thanks for Tract on Ecstasy. (?) I will read and pass on to Gerald Heard. It looks Heard from Werblowsky - nothing from T. Glover «detailed view»
20. 1964/01/28 TL[x] to Merton Of recent prayers for you have had a gritty texture. I don't know if that makes sense, but anyhow, wonders when Joe Orent should visit «detailed view»
21. 1964/02/01 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for the good note. I am sorry to learn that some of the inevitable grit and grime of my Robbe's Treatise on Ecstasy / Joel Orent / Heschel / Tom Glover / R. J. Zwi Werblowsky sent Bahya Ibn Paquda and Vajda book on medieval Jewish mysticism «detailed view»
22. 1964/02/06 (#01) TACS to Merton Thank you for your letter. Send the book on, meanwhile, to Heard. A postal card, a couple of days [on card: quote by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Ladi] Pakuda / sending transcript of LSD and the Ascent of the Soul of the Ba'al Shem Tov «detailed view»
23. 1964/02/06 (#02) other[x]   Thank you for your letter. Send the book on, meanwhile, to Heard. A postal card, a couple of days [not item by Schacter enclosed to Merton but additional background material - Schachter essay not found but similar subject copied and added to the file for informational purposes: "The Ba'al Shem Tov's Aliyath Han'shamah and the LSD Experience" by unknown author (possibly Schachter) in papers of Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-1991)] «detailed view»
24. 1964/02/13 TACS to Merton Your latest thing on dread coincides with much that has been happening to me lately, and if you Shoes of the Fisherman / Rabbi Eisendrat / closeness of Midrash to Gospels and even epistles / problem is the Passion / Reb Zusheh / experience of God and death «detailed view»
25. 1964/04/07 TL[c] from Merton Many thanks for your Easter note and I have not forgotten the long good letter dictated in the car "the prayer of dread" / Abbot Ammonas / censors / Breakthrough to Peace in Hebrew / "Message to Poets" «detailed view»
26. 1964/04/22 TL[x] to Merton I received your letter in Chicago. I thank you for it. Obviously, you can quote from the letter; rambling letter «detailed view»
27. 1964/04/25 TL[c] from Merton About May 24th -25th and 26th. You will certainly be welcome if you and your group wish to come. granting permission to use the hermitage / Dom Fulgence and the cowl / notes on LSD / Gerald Heard / Tom Glover «detailed view»
28. 1964/05/06 TL[c] from Merton Just got back from the hospital to this madhouse, and the machines are roaring outside the window. hospital / construction work / machines / stating the abbot would not allow them to use hermitage «detailed view»
29. 1964/11/19 TL[x] to Merton With great delight and very frequent nodding, I read the material you sent me, and first of all I rambling letter «detailed view»
30. 1964/11/28 TL[c] from Merton Thanks for the wonderful long letter and the note with it. I will try to reply decently and in restrictions on visitors and communication / "Identity Crisis papers" / drawings exhibit in Louisville / Third Session [of Second Vatican Council] and Jews / doubts about Church's capacity for renewal / silence and going underground / "Freedom Songs" «detailed view»
31. 1964/12/no? TL[x] to Merton Thank you so much for the material which arrived all in good order. When I finished reading your «detailed view»
32. 1966/12/01 transcript to Merton Shalom -- Pax -- Enchante -- Om -- "Tah-tah" -- and all the good! Today is a day. Yesterday was [transcript of letter send to Merton on a reel-to-reel tape / transferred copy on cassette and CD, and all copies in Sub-Section F.5, Audio Collections] Bucke Memorial Society in Montreal / war / Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander «detailed view»
33. 1973/12/04 TLS[x] from Center to Schachter, Zalman M. Mr. Edward Kaplan, a teacher at Amherst College, has requested permission to look at your permission for use of correspondence «detailed view»
34. 1973/12/12 HLS to Center from Schachter, Zalman M. You had an old address -- your letter took a while getting here. I know Ed Kaplan and yes you may Permission for use of correspondence «detailed view»
35. 1974/04/11 TLS[x]  from Delius, Betty / to Zalman Schachter We have received your letter of December 12, 1973 granting permission for Mr. Edward Kaplan to read «detailed view»
36. 1982/09/06 TL[c]  from Shannon, William / to Zalman Schachter I have recently been appointed by the Thomas Merton Legacy Trust as the general editor seeking other letters, and how initial contact was made / also seeking biography «detailed view»
37. 1982/09/23 TL[c]  from Shannon, William / to Zalman Schachter I am glad I finally got in touch with you and am delighted that you will be coming to Rochester. «detailed view»
38. 1982/11/03 TLS[x]  from Shannon, William / to Zalman Schachter I am most grateful to you for the materials you sent me, including your vita and the tape you did thanks for interview, and letters «detailed view»
39. 1983/02/08 TLS[x]  from Shannon, William / to Zalman Schachter I fear it has been some time since I have written to you. I am most grateful, though, for your Many questions about correspondence «detailed view»

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