Cover image for Fundamentals of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah
Title:
Fundamentals of Jewish mysticism and Kabbalah
Author:
Feldman, Ron H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Freedom, Calif. : Crossing Press, [1999]

©1999
Physical Description:
142 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781580910491

9780895949165
Format :
Book

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BM526 .F45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

Although kabbalah began as an esoteric practice of a small group of educated men, today this ancient mystical tradition is adapting to contemporary sensibilities, including respect for the environment, gender equality, and conscious connection to other spiritual traditions. Access to this wisdom does not depend on one leader or require you to join a cult. Kabbalah, which literally means "that which is received" refers not only to the mystical maps of reality handed down by tradition, but to the awareness each person "receives" along their own journey.Kabbalah has always aimed at healing, repairing and rebalancing the individual, the community and the cosmos as a whole, recognizing the unity in all creation. FUNDAMENTALS OF JEWISH MYSTICISM AND KABBALAH addresses both the historical sources and evolving tradition of kabbalah. Topics covered include shamanic healing, the divine feminine, amulets, sacred sex, dimensions of the soul, time, numerology, the Tree-of-Life, the Hebrew alphabet, and the role of sacred texts and Torah.


Reviews 1

Choice Review

Although not explicitly stated, the shared publisher, similar titles and graphics, and complementary themes of these short and lucid books indicate that they are part of a new series on mystical religious traditions. Feldman (a PhD candidate in Jewish studies) and Novick (a freelance writer and filmmaker) write with the sympathy of adherents, offering the conceptual basics along with introductory manuals of spiritual practice. At the same time, they provide historical contexts that can increase the usefulness of their descriptions for college students. While both writers offer brief narratives of the traditions' origins, they also point out modern events in which these distinctive mystical beliefs and practices are finding new voice: the wake of the Holocaust and first half century of the State of Israel, in Feldman's case; the Chinese takeover of Tibet and resulting global dispersion of "diamond vehicle" Buddhists and their faith in Novick's. Together the books indicate how much two historically distinctive mystical traditions can share in common. They evaluate a world of distinctions as problematic, and seek to merge in a single ultimate reality by meditation techniques. Feldman speaks of modern Jewish Kabbalists practicing yoga and using the Shema like a mantra. Novick cites assurances of the Dalai Lama that adherents of Judaism and other religious traditions can practice Tibetan Buddhism without violating their profession of faith. One can't help but note, however, some difficulties in a serious reconciliation of these mysticisms. For Feldman, the very goal of Kabbalah is to gain consciousness of God and cooperate with God in healing an objectively broken universe. Novick's presentation of Buddhism insists on the irrelevance of a creator god, and reduces evil and suffering to faulty perception (in light of that, her sense of outrage at the persecution of Tibetans cries out for explanation). Both books provide bibliographies. Only Feldman's includes endnotes. Only Novick's includes a glossary of terms and what surely should be a prerequisite for any book intended for an academic readership: an index. Both books are recommended for general readers as well as lower- and upper-division undergraduates. P. S. Spalding Illinois College