Can someone recommend an introductory text to the thought of Rav Tzadok HaKohen MiLublin?
I have yet to come across a biography of sorts, but there does appear to be a published academic study, published through the Yeshiva University Press entitled Thinking God : the mysticism of Rabbi Zadok of Lublin.
The blurb here reads as follows:
This work is the first study in any language of the thought and writings of Rabbi Zadok HaKohen of Lublin (1823-1900), who created a blend of ecstatic Hasidism and intellectual Talmud study. With extensive citations of his writings, it will be an entry point to his thought for many American readers. To illuminate R. Zadok's innovative spiritual path, in which one attains mystical experience through intellectual study of Torah, Brill explores the realm of spiritual psychology with particular attention to individual growth, sin, determinism, and pluralism. He shows that R. Zadok's thought combined mystical, Aristotelian, and psychological elements. This work also sheds important light on Lithuanian talmudic intellectualism and Polish Hasidism. It is the first book to present a critical, analytical portrait of hasidic theology. Particular attention is paid to R. Zadok's teacher, Rabbi Mordekhai Leiner of Izbica, whose individualistic philosophy undergirds R. Zadok's teachings on the subject of free will. Finally, this superb study addresses the question of how a Jewish thinker in a traditional milieu was able to derive a theology with many elements we would consider "modern, " even though he was largely insulated from and, in theory, opposed to contemporary Western, non-religious thinkers. Published in association with Yeshiva University Press.
A large chunk of it can be viewed on google books here.
Here are one book and 3 articles you might enjoy
- the book Rav Tzadok HaKohen on the Parsha - based on the Sefer Pri Tzadik
- two articles written by R Dovid Bashevkin, Perpetual Prophecy: An Intellectual Tribute to Reb Zadok ha-Kohen of Lublin on his 110th Yahrzeit, Jewish thought: a process, not a text
- The Hidden Root - The Existential Paradox of Rabbi Zadoq Ha-Kohen of Lublin
I would start by learning Tzidkas Hatzadik, not at the beginning but at os 39. I got this advice from a Rebbe of mine and it helped a lot. Just read the first two pieces (meaning 39 and 40); if you like them, you'll love his other writings.
I would also say that reading about his writing just doesn't really give you a good picture of what it's like.