About the Book
Because a welter of details sometimes conceals the Torah’s aura of holiness, Jewish mystics and spiritual teachers have for centuries attempted to reveal that aura through creative interpretation of the Torah text. The Aura of the Torah explores these attempts in an effort to bridge the gap between the Torah text and the modern Jewish spiritual quest.
The book collects a wide variety of interpretations of Torah passages, commentaries, and midrash rooted in the mystical side of Jewish tradition, translated by Larry Tabick, with original Hebrew and Aramaic texts included. The quoted authors span many centuries and speak from many schools of thought: kabbalists writing within the tradition of the Zohar and other gnostic works; Hasidic teachers, from the modern movement founded by the Ba’al Shem Tov in eighteenth-century Ukraine; and German pietists, or Hasidei Ashkenaz, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Tabick examines how these texts build on the underlying principles of the Torah—the supremacy of God, the interconnectedness of nature and morality, and the unique (though not exclusive) role of the Jewish people in the divine plan for all humanity—to point to a deep spiritual truth in the world of the divine and the soul.
The Aura of the Torah is an important and useful contribution to the emergent literature of spiritual companions to the parashah. There is nothing quite like it on the shelf. Tabick assembles mystical teachings for the general reader with insight, creativity, and obvious spiritual depth.
— Lawrence Kushner, author of Honey from the Rock and numerous other books