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Smiling Ted
05-01-2008, 12:52 AM
Can anyone recommend some good, solid surveys of Kabbalah?

Not the Kabbalah Centre nonsense or Crowley rip-offs, but books and/or articles written by scholars who actually, you know, know the subject.(I've already got Gershom Scholem.) The clearer the writing style, the better, of course.

Thanks.

Eeek
05-01-2008, 01:23 AM
Here's a link to some articles. I'm no expert on Kabbalah, but I think the site the articles are on is reliable. They also have a (short) bibliography:

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/KabbalahMysticism.htm

Editing to add -- check out the different "levels" in the left-hand navigation bar. I just saw they have a lot of in-depth articles under "Level IV":

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/ideas_belief/Kabbalah_and_Mysticism/Mysticism_GLIntro_IV.htm?GL=true

RAMHALite
06-17-2008, 06:02 AM
Try Daniel C. Matt's The Essential Kabbalah. It's a great compilation of quotes from Kabbalists across the centuries.

BTW, Scholem's Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism is the definitive survey, IMHO.

--RAMHALite

Sophia2
07-13-2008, 06:51 PM
People spend 30+ years learning Kabalah it isn't something that can be gleaned from reading the work of others. Kabalah is like any other mysticism; to really know your subject it has to be based upon experience. Many advanced, spiritual, Jewish people would not dare to write a book on the subject. Some Jewish people in Israel believe that Kabalah can make you go mad. Many fear what they do not understand. If one has not experienced what one has written, then it is nothing more than hypothesis.

Sophia

RAMHALite
07-13-2008, 10:01 PM
People spend 30+ years learning Kabalah it isn't something that can be gleaned from reading the work of others.
Sophia

Well said! If you aspire to a level of attainment where you can apply esoteric techniques like Gematria to uncover hidden levels of meaning in Torah, there has to be a great deal of self-development.

OTOH, I see enormous value in studying certain original Kabbalistic works and scholarly writings about Kabbalah to learn about a profound and beautiful alternative view of reality and personal psychology that is not found in mainstream Judaism, and is sometimes at odds with it.

Not everyone who learns to swim is going to compete in the Olympics doing the breaststroke. Some just want to be able to float. At the same time, it is important to recognize your own limits. Not everyone is ready for the deep end, either in a natatory or a metaphysical sense.

--RAMHALite

Sophia2
07-26-2008, 04:30 PM
Well said! If you aspire to a level of attainment where you can apply esoteric techniques like Gematria to uncover hidden levels of meaning in Torah, there has to be a great deal of self-development.

OTOH, I see enormous value in studying certain original Kabbalistic works and scholarly writings about Kabbalah to learn about a profound and beautiful alternative view of reality and personal psychology that is not found in mainstream Judaism, and is sometimes at odds with it.

Not everyone who learns to swim is going to compete in the Olympics doing the breaststroke. Some just want to be able to float. At the same time, it is important to recognize your own limits. Not everyone is ready for the deep end, either in a natatory or a metaphysical sense.

--RAMHALite

Indeed.

One cannot teach others how to drive the car if one does not drive.

Sophia

Rufus Coppertop
10-30-2009, 08:00 AM
Can anyone recommend some good, solid surveys of Kabbalah?

Thanks.

Aryeh Kaplan:

Meditation and the Bible.
Meditation and Kabbalah.
The Bahir.
Sefer Yetzirah.

David A. Cooper:

God is a Verb

Kaplan is quite technical but very lucid and not too technical. I highly recommend Meditation and Kabbalah which gives a fabulous overview of Kabbalah, untainted by Crowley, Mathers or Dion fortune.

It deals with subjects such as merkavah, use of the divine name with cycles of variation in the arrangement of the four letters, combined with the sundry vowels, it goes into the shem ha mephoresch, teachings of Abraham Abulafia, Moses Maimonides, Chaim Vital and the Baal Shem Tov.

Meditation and the Bible has an absolutely wonderful exposition on the Vision of Ezekiel in terms of mystical cosmology, assigning and explaining the various manifestations in terms of atziluthic, briatic, yetziratic and assiatic levels of being or consciousness and also in terms of the sefirot.

His edition of the Sefer Yetzirah is (as far as this goy knows) lucid and comprehensive and actually states that because of a linguistic quirk of Hebrew, you can translate it in the imperative rather than the indicative and hence it becomes a practice rather than a scripture.

Crowley Shmowley!

semilargeintestine
11-01-2009, 06:07 AM
You will not find actual Kabbalah stuff anywhere in English. The people who actually know Kabbalah will not make it readily available for laypeople. It was traditionally only taught to one person at a time by someone who was familiar with it. In order to be even remotely qualified to learn, you have to be a Rabbi or a Talmid Chochom and married with children. The books you will get will either be a very basic glossy version of what they tell people who aren't fit to learn it, or it will be just horrendously incorrect.

If you want real Kabbalah, go to www.chabad.org (http://www.chabad.org/) and search for Kabbalah Online. It will give you introductory stuff and some intermediate stuff without sending you down the wrong path. You cannot read stuff like the Zohar or the Holy Ari by yourself, because it is written in code. If you read the Zohar and take it literally, you are committing avoda zara.

In addition, if you are not Jewish, you should NOT be learning this stuff. This stuff is for Jews who have dedicated their lives to Torah, not people who just are interested intellectually. That is not the point of Kabbalah--neither is meditation or any sort of practical Kabbalah. Anyone who is uttering Divine Names for any purpose other than prayer or brachos that isn't a Talmid Chochom is doing an injustice to G-d and the Torah.

Kenny
04-01-2010, 01:20 PM
Kabbalah: A Very Short Introduction is a very good intro so is Idiot's Guide to Kabbalah (If not that then it'll be for Dummies).

StephanieFox
04-04-2010, 04:19 AM
If you are going to study this, you should be able to read and spead Hebrew really really well.

Dethgurl
04-02-2011, 03:26 AM
Here is a link : http://http://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/default_cdo/jewish/Kabbalah-Online.htm (http://http//www.chabad.org/kabbalah/default_cdo/jewish/Kabbalah-Online.htm)
"No Lecture" :)

Diana Hignutt
04-19-2011, 07:17 PM
Can anyone recommend some good, solid surveys of Kabbalah?

Not the Kabbalah Centre nonsense or Crowley rip-offs, but books and/or articles written by scholars who actually, you know, know the subject.(I've already got Gershom Scholem.) The clearer the writing style, the better, of course.

Thanks.

I resent the implication that the Western Mystical Tradition or Thelema for that matter, have no value in Kabbalah research.

I would have suggested MacGregor Mathers' translation of The Kabbalah Unveiled or Dion Fortune's The Mystical Qabbalah. But, they won't be acceptable to you. Good luck, nonetheless. I have studied the Kabbalah for over thirty years now--it nevers ceases to dazzle and inspire.

readlorey
04-29-2011, 08:22 PM
I'd be careful about that 'nonsense'. Isn't that bordering on breaking the rules in the newbie guide, Mr. Smiling Ted. You just disrespected bunches of people.