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The Essential Kabbalah (Mystical Classics of the World)

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Kabbalah emerged as a distinct movement within Judaism in medieval Europe, and from the beginning is was both committed to traditional observance and profoundly radical. The kabbalists made the fantastic claim that their mystical teachings derived from the Garden of Eden. This suggests that Kabbalah coveys our original nature: the unbounded awareness of Adam and Eve, which Kabbalah emerged as a distinct movement within Judaism in medieval Europe, and from the beginning is was both committed to traditional observance and profoundly radical. The kabbalists made the fantastic claim that their mystical teachings derived from the Garden of Eden. This suggests that Kabbalah coveys our original nature: the unbounded awareness of Adam and Eve, which we have lost as the inevitable consequence of tasting the fruit of knowledge. The kabbalist years to recover that primordial tradition, to regain cosmic consciousness, without renouncing the world. The Essential Kabbalah offers insightful accounts of the primary aspects of Jewish mysticism, including Ein Sof (the radical transcendence of God), the Sefirot (the ten divine attributes), and teh Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God). A crucial and momentous contribution to the normally esoteric world of Jewish mysticism. The Essential Kabbalah is a rich and vital recourse for the contemporary spiritual seeker.


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Kabbalah emerged as a distinct movement within Judaism in medieval Europe, and from the beginning is was both committed to traditional observance and profoundly radical. The kabbalists made the fantastic claim that their mystical teachings derived from the Garden of Eden. This suggests that Kabbalah coveys our original nature: the unbounded awareness of Adam and Eve, which Kabbalah emerged as a distinct movement within Judaism in medieval Europe, and from the beginning is was both committed to traditional observance and profoundly radical. The kabbalists made the fantastic claim that their mystical teachings derived from the Garden of Eden. This suggests that Kabbalah coveys our original nature: the unbounded awareness of Adam and Eve, which we have lost as the inevitable consequence of tasting the fruit of knowledge. The kabbalist years to recover that primordial tradition, to regain cosmic consciousness, without renouncing the world. The Essential Kabbalah offers insightful accounts of the primary aspects of Jewish mysticism, including Ein Sof (the radical transcendence of God), the Sefirot (the ten divine attributes), and teh Shekhinah (the feminine aspect of God). A crucial and momentous contribution to the normally esoteric world of Jewish mysticism. The Essential Kabbalah is a rich and vital recourse for the contemporary spiritual seeker.

30 review for The Essential Kabbalah (Mystical Classics of the World)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Devon

    I read this book alongside a cherished friend who died shortly thereafter. Together we poured over the pages and thoroughly enjoyed the language and the ambiguity. Now I cherish the book and her memory.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chris brown

    This was a very good introductory book on the subject of Kabbalah. The reader is left with and overview of the concepts and notions of Kabbalah without straying into areas that could be considered "occult" as well as not being to heavily laden with concepts that Kabbalic scholars and theologians spent a lifetime attempting to put into words. If you are interested in learning what Kabbalah is, this book will give you the essence of it and does have a "suggested reading" list at the end that will This was a very good introductory book on the subject of Kabbalah. The reader is left with and overview of the concepts and notions of Kabbalah without straying into areas that could be considered "occult" as well as not being to heavily laden with concepts that Kabbalic scholars and theologians spent a lifetime attempting to put into words. If you are interested in learning what Kabbalah is, this book will give you the essence of it and does have a "suggested reading" list at the end that will guide you further, some books I have already been told I should read that were on the list. Its a basic starter book that has the reader ask questions and either answers them or points the reader in the direction of the answer. I was surprised at how much of it sounded like Zen Buddhism and Hinduism respectively

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nick Mather

    I first read this book several years ago for a course I took while working on my master’s degree. As I decided to incorporate weekly meditations in my world religion course, I wanted to revisit some of the mystical writings of each tradition I cover. This is mostly selections of Kabbalistic writings, which are quite frequently rather abstruse, though that’s the nature of most mystical writing. There is a notes section in the back of the text that helps explain some of the hidden meanings and ref I first read this book several years ago for a course I took while working on my master’s degree. As I decided to incorporate weekly meditations in my world religion course, I wanted to revisit some of the mystical writings of each tradition I cover. This is mostly selections of Kabbalistic writings, which are quite frequently rather abstruse, though that’s the nature of most mystical writing. There is a notes section in the back of the text that helps explain some of the hidden meanings and references, though I think more detailed notes would be helpful. The text begins with a small essay that provides the history of Kabbalah which would be helpful for the beginner. There are some excellent passages included here that invites the reader to mediate upon them and many do not require a deep knowledge or understanding of this mystical tradition.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    A quote from the book: "Four priests had gotten inside pardes (paradise): Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Aher and the rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai saw it and died. Ben Zoma saw it and got insane. Aher cut the plants. Rabbi Akiva left in peace". A quote from the book: "Four priests had gotten inside pardes (paradise): Ben Azzai, Ben Zoma, Aher and the rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai saw it and died. Ben Zoma saw it and got insane. Aher cut the plants. Rabbi Akiva left in peace".

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tepintzin

    This is a vital introduction to Kabbalah. Daniel Matt is a trustworthy guide into the lands of Jewish mysticism, and this book is simply written, divided into subjects and parables about them. Even if Kabbalah isn't one's "path", this book is a good contribution to one's Jewish, mystical, or occult knowledge. This is a vital introduction to Kabbalah. Daniel Matt is a trustworthy guide into the lands of Jewish mysticism, and this book is simply written, divided into subjects and parables about them. Even if Kabbalah isn't one's "path", this book is a good contribution to one's Jewish, mystical, or occult knowledge.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This was the first book I’ve read on the Jewish variant of the Kabbalah as opposed to the Christian or Hermetic. There is no mention of Dion Fortune, Israel Regardie, Aleister Crowley, or A.E. Waite and likewise no mention of the correspondences with the tarot. Nevertheless, it was interesting; I had not heard of Abraham Abulafia before nor his meditation technique on the Hebrew letters.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Though not nearly enough information to be considered a comprehensive overview, I devoured just about the whole thing in one sitting. Beautifully written with plenty of references, lots of insight. A must-read for anyone who wants to dip their toe into the vastness of Kabbalah

  8. 5 out of 5

    Curtis Aguirre

    I started this little intro into Kabbalah a few days ago. It was given to me by a rabbi from Vancouver who commended it as a good overview of a huge subject.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Connor

    The introduction and selections are amazing, but I wish there was more exegesis.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lizy

    Fascinating read. Picked it up out of curiosity and I don't know quite enough to make sense of it, but it sated my curiosity. Fascinating read. Picked it up out of curiosity and I don't know quite enough to make sense of it, but it sated my curiosity.

  11. 4 out of 5

    B. Rule

    This doesn't get too far into the esoterica of Kabbalah, but it's a good summary of an important facet of Jewish wisdom traditions. I thought the selections were well-curated and translated, and it's all succinct enough that you can absorb the whole thing very quickly. This doesn't get too far into the esoterica of Kabbalah, but it's a good summary of an important facet of Jewish wisdom traditions. I thought the selections were well-curated and translated, and it's all succinct enough that you can absorb the whole thing very quickly.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pintele Naftali

    Great for beginners wanting to know more about kosher Torah Kabbalah.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brett C

    A good beginning read into the background and information about the Kabbalah. Filled with wisdom and spiritual prose.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michael Huang

    Kabbalah is an esoteric Jewish mysticism. But there is some wisdom that seeps through. In the Foreword, the author explains a bunch of things, which perhaps reflects only his own understanding: • God is not a static being, but dynamic. Without human participation, God is incomplete, unrealized. --- isn't this a round-about way of admitting God is a human creation? • The basic theology is that things emanate from Ein Sof (infinite). Then ten sefirot came into being. There's the crown, wisdom, unde Kabbalah is an esoteric Jewish mysticism. But there is some wisdom that seeps through. In the Foreword, the author explains a bunch of things, which perhaps reflects only his own understanding: • God is not a static being, but dynamic. Without human participation, God is incomplete, unrealized. --- isn't this a round-about way of admitting God is a human creation? • The basic theology is that things emanate from Ein Sof (infinite). Then ten sefirot came into being. There's the crown, wisdom, understanding, etc. • All these theosophy later influenced Judaism and Hasidism. • Restrictions have been placed. Anybody must be at least 40 to seek entrance. The point is to protect them. Because the real view is that God is no longer a traditional concept (meant for the uninitiated mass). Letting go is liberating, and yet terrifying (for some). The rest of the book tries to translate the ancient scripts. It's never going to be easy to understand, as it needs to maintain mysticism.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gary Jaron

    One of the best books for an introduction to the Jewish literature on the Kabbalah. The best book to use for a group discussion on the topic. I am involved in one group and lead another group that has been slowly going through these essays over the years. The amazing thing about this book is that EVERY version, from all hardback editions to all paperback editions, they are all paginated the exact same way!!! Thus when you say turn to page 23, everyone in the group, no matter which copy they have One of the best books for an introduction to the Jewish literature on the Kabbalah. The best book to use for a group discussion on the topic. I am involved in one group and lead another group that has been slowly going through these essays over the years. The amazing thing about this book is that EVERY version, from all hardback editions to all paperback editions, they are all paginated the exact same way!!! Thus when you say turn to page 23, everyone in the group, no matter which copy they have will be on the same page! A miraculous feet of Kabbalah in an of itself! Absolutely a must own for anyone interested in the Jewish exploration of the Kabbalah.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tayylor

    When I bought this I obviously didn't pay attention to the summary, because I expected this to be an explanation of Kabbalah rather than extracts of key texts. So initially I wasn't a fan, but it didn't take too long to become thoroughly immersed. Not all the chosen texts had an impact on me or made sense, but I enjoyed the majority and got a lot out of this. Also found the notes at the back very helpful. When I bought this I obviously didn't pay attention to the summary, because I expected this to be an explanation of Kabbalah rather than extracts of key texts. So initially I wasn't a fan, but it didn't take too long to become thoroughly immersed. Not all the chosen texts had an impact on me or made sense, but I enjoyed the majority and got a lot out of this. Also found the notes at the back very helpful.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Barrystein

    In addition to Yehuda Berg's book, this another work that is well-organized and precise as it presents important basics of kabbalah (i.e., the mystical part of Judaism). This book, along with other means (e.g., music bands like "Kabbalah Cowboy" https://soundcloud.com/user-472120778...) is moving Kabbalah more into the mainstream In addition to Yehuda Berg's book, this another work that is well-organized and precise as it presents important basics of kabbalah (i.e., the mystical part of Judaism). This book, along with other means (e.g., music bands like "Kabbalah Cowboy" https://soundcloud.com/user-472120778...) is moving Kabbalah more into the mainstream

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dāna

    Sweet intro... still hard for me to explain exactly what I gleaned but the image of God’s energies divided but whole, transposed onto the human body so that we can begin to conceptualize the vastness... is magical and burns brightly inside me. Need to return to it and read more from the suggested list in the back.

  19. 5 out of 5

    K. Counihan

    Good Understandable Translation Good Understandable Translation. This would be the best book to start with regarding The Kabbalah. This was easier to follow than others out on Kindle.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tim Sully

    Really short read. It epitomizes mystical ideas to worshipping God. I enjoyed the ideas presented and some of the deeper reflections the book holds. I hate to rate it at three but it is fast and the overall great ideas are few in number for my first read through.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This is a level that my brain simply doesn't operate on. This is a level that my brain simply doesn't operate on.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vince

    I loved it only because I am interested in the topic. It is not the first book one should read on Judaism. read man other things before you get to this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Stahl

    Beautiful introduction to mysticism. Not thorough, however superficial and inquisitive. Finished in one day.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christian Fontaine

    A worthy collection of contemplations.

  25. 5 out of 5

    M.A. Stern

    This book is a good primer on the principles of Kabbalah. It’s a bit dry but a useful source for information about this tradition.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    One day I'll understand.... One day I'll understand....

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A really good contemplative compilation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    David Erik Nelson

    This is an excellent, excellent place to start if you want to delve into Kabbalah. Minimal historic backfill, extremely concise treatment of core concepts.

  29. 4 out of 5

    And_it_spoke

    A wonderful compendium of spiritual insights utilizing the language Qabala. A nice, mystical approach to a subject too often reduced to a tool for self-interest spell work.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    I get more out of this one every time

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