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The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism [Hardcover]

Daniel Chanan Matt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 Sep 1995
Millions of people are familiar with the Kabbalah--Judaism's spiritual and mystical tradition--but until now the bulk of its essential scripture has not been accessible to the lay reader. Introduced with practical analysis and vital historical information, The Essential Kabbalah offers insightful accounts of the primary aspects of Jewish mysticism.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco; 1 edition (25 Sep 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062511645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062511645
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.2 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 640,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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THE ESSENCE of divinity is found in every single thing-nothing but it exists. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful survey of traditional Kabbalah 27 July 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Daniel C. Matt's compilation is an excellent sampling of traditional kabbalistic writings, covering a wide variety of topics in the "tradition." As a survey, it is remarkable; its translations are poetic and beautiful. However, the span of writing it covers is widely scattered, historically speaking; writings are grouped by topic, unrelated to chronology; if you're looking for a historical perspective on Kabbalah, this isn't likely to be your cup of tea. As an introductory text, though, it will provide those interested in Kabbalah's philosophy and symbolism a good survey of paths to strike out on for further investigation.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Call to the personal infinite 22 Nov 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
The book Essential Kabbalah, compiled by Daniel Matt, is a wonderful basic introduction to a very mysterious and often overlooked mystical practice. So often in popular (and even educated) opinion, Judaism of old was considered legalistic and pedantic; however, the Kabbalistic practices introduced here helped to keep alive a true tradition of spirituality through Judaism (more heavily influencing Sephardic Judaism than others).
According to Prof. Lawrence Fine (one of my professors when he and I were at Indiana University): 'Kabbalah is a mystical tradition filled with radiance, vitality, and spiritual depth. [In Matt's book] we catch a glimpse of the sparks of diving life about which the kabbalists speak.'
'Those who persevere in this wisdom find that when they ponder these teachings many times, knowledge grows within them--an increase of essence. The search always leads to something new.'
Kabbalah has often been a secret, or restricted, knowledge. Some have likened it to a gnostic framework. Some kabbalists would not teach, or indeed even discuss, kabbalistic knowledge and practice with anyone under forty years of age.
'Other requirements included high moral standards, prior rabbinic learning, being married, and mental and emotional stability. The point is not to keep people away from Kabbalah, but to protect them.'
The tendency for people to get lost in spirituality, essentially to get lost in the vastness of God to be found deep within themselves, has been noted in almost every spirituality of maturity throughout history. And many has been the false prophet who entices the unwary and uninitiated into mystical territory only to abandon them there.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Call to the personal infinite 17 Oct 2003
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Hardcover
The book Essential Kabbalah, compiled by Daniel Matt, is a wonderful basic introduction to a very mysterious and often overlooked mystical practice. So often in popular (and even educated) opinion, Judaism of old was considered legalistic and pedantic; however, the Kabbalistic practices introduced here helped to keep alive a true tradition of spirituality through Judaism (more heavily influencing Sephardic Judaism than others).
According to Prof. Lawrence Fine (one of my professors when he and I were at Indiana University): 'Kabbalah is a mystical tradition filled with radiance, vitality, and spiritual depth. [In Matt's book] we catch a glimpse of the sparks of diving life about which the kabbalists speak.'
'Those who persevere in this wisdom find that when they ponder these teachings many times, knowledge grows within them--an increase of essence. The search always leads to something new.'
Kabbalah has often been a secret, or restricted, knowledge. Some have likened it to a gnostic framework. Some kabbalists would not teach, or indeed even discuss, kabbalistic knowledge and practice with anyone under forty years of age.
'Other requirements included high moral standards, prior rabbinic learning, being married, and mental and emotional stability. The point is not to keep people away from Kabbalah, but to protect them.'
The tendency for people to get lost in spirituality, essentially to get lost in the vastness of God to be found deep within themselves, has been noted in almost every spirituality of maturity throughout history. And many has been the false prophet who entices the unwary and uninitiated into mystical territory only to abandon them there.
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Kaballah 24 May 2012
By Han
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is actually my second purchase of the same book (Essential Kaballah by Daniel C. Matt), forThe Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism (Essential (Booksales)) a friend. Before reading this book, I know absolutely nothing about Kaballah. Reading this book I have a pretty good impression about Kaballah. Highly recommended for anybody who would like to have the first impression about Kaballah: Daniel C. Matt is an excellent author. Together with this book, I also purchase Zohar (small booklet by the same author), also an excellent reading.
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