An unprecedented annotated anthology of the most important Jewish mystical works, A Kabbalah and Jewish Mysticism Reader is designed to facilitate teaching these works to all levels of learners in adult education and college classroom settings. Daniel M. Horwitz's insightful introductions and commentary accompany readings in the Talmud and Zohar and writings by Ba'al Shem Tov, Rav Kook, Abraham Joshua Heschel, and others.
Horwitz's introduction describes five major types of Jewish mysticism and includes a brief chronology of their development, with a timeline. He begins with biblical prophecy and proceeds through the early mystical movements up through current beliefs. Chapters on key subjects characterize mystical expression through the ages, such as Creation and deveikut ("cleaving to God"); the role of Torah; the erotic; inclinations toward good and evil; magic; prayer and ritual; and more. Later chapters deal with Hasidism, the great mystical revival, and twentieth-century mystics, including Abraham Isaac Kook, Kalonymous Kalman Shapira, and Abraham Joshua Heschel. A final chapter addresses today's controversies concerning mysticism's place within Judaism and its potential for enriching the Jewish religion.
Daniel M. Horwitz is chapel rabbi at Congregation Beth Yeshurun in Houston, Texas. He is a teacher at the Akiba Academy of Beth Yeshurun and the Houston Melton Adult Mini-School.
List of IllustrationsPrefaceLandmark Dates and Key Figures in Jewish Mysticism Part 1. The Roots of Jewish Mysticism1. What Is Jewish Mysticism?2. Mysticism in the Bible Part 2. Early Mystical Pursuits3. Mysticism in the Talmud: Entering the Pardes4. Song of Songs and Ma'aseh Merkavah5. The Temple: The Meeting Place for God and His People6. Ma'aseh Bereshit, Sefer Yetzirah, and Sefer ha-Bahir: The Roots of Kabbalah7. Hasidei Ashkenaz: Mystical Moralism Part 3. Basic Concepts in Kabbalah8. The Ein Sof: That Which Is Endless9. The Sefirot: Perceiving God10. Deveikut: Cleaving to God11. Tzorekh Gavoha: The Divine Need Part 4. Further Developments in Kabbalah12. Prophetic-Ecstatic Kabbalah: Abraham Abulafia13. The Role of the Torah14. Sexuality in Jewish Mysticism15. Sin, Teshuvah, and the Yetzer ha-Ra: Tikkun16. Lurianic Kabbalah17. The Problem of Evil in Kabbalah18. Mystical Experiences, Ascetic Practices Part 5. Additional Issues in Kabbalah19. Four Worlds, Four Levels of Soul: Death and Transmigration20. Magic21. Messianism22. Prayer and Ritual in the Mystical Life Part 6. Hasidism23. The Ba'al Shem Tov and His Teachings24. The Role of Prayer and the Ba'al Shem Tov's Successors25. The Growth of Hasidism and Its Search for Truth26. Chabad Hasidism Part 7. Mysticism, Action, and Reaction27. Three Twentieth-Century Mystics28. Concealment and Distortion of Jewish Mysticism Suggestions for Further ReadingNotesGlossaryBibliographyIndex