This essay draws on affect theory to read a pair of rabbinic terms: koved rosh, literally “heaviness of the head,” and its antonym, qalut rosh, or “lightness of the head.” The affective dimensions of these terms have often been overlooked. This essay argues, however, that they denote, for the rabbis, bodily experiences that epitomize contrasting emotional states, namely, mourning (koved rosh) and rejoicing (qalut rosh). The essay concludes with potential implications of the new understanding of the terms for the study of rabbinic prayer.
DeGolan, Erez. "“Heaviness of the Head” and the Unbearable Lightness of Rejoicing." Journal of Textual Reasoning 14, no. 1 (2023): 60-95. https://doi.org/10.21220/s2-zjph-ra37.