About the Book
A volume in the JPS Anthologies of Jewish Thought series.
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 its 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 religion.
A gateway into the world of Jewish spirituality. . . . An important resource, very well done.
—Rabbi Jack Riemer, editor of The World of the High Holy Days
Rabbi Horwitz has written a fine book of accessible scholarship, one that will be welcomed by rabbis, educators, and adult education classes. Strongly recommended.
—Rabbi Judith Abrams, the late former head of Maqom, School for Adult Talmud Study, and coauthor of The Messiah and the Jews
Very solid, carefully thought-out, and well researched, making a very complicated subject quite accessible.
—Rabbi Dr. Byron L. Sherwin, the late former Distinguished Service Professor, Spertus Institute