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The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism (Essential (Booksales)) Hardcover – 1 Mar 1998

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Mar 1998
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 221 pages
  • Publisher: Castle Books,US; New edition edition (Mar. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785808701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785808701
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 768,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Daniel C. Matt has written many books and articles on Jewish spirituality, including Zohar: The Book of Enlightenment and God and the Big Bang. He is a professor of Jewish mysticism at the Center for Jewish Studies, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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.
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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.
Read more ›
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The New Age movement and many previous generations have attempted to pervert the purpose of Kabbalah...pity because this book shows the true richness of all that Kabbalah represents as another foundation of Judiac thinking and theology.

Far, far more than just an occult system...(the occult actually degrades it) this view of reality and existence has a poetry and aesthetic well worth reading about and considering alongside the less esoteric qualities of Judaism.

It takes one beyond simply the Judaic framework of thought and explores the further reaches of religious and philosophical ideas.
Well worth the read.
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