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Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  377 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Students of meditation are usually surprised to discover that a Jewish meditation tradition exists, and that it was an authentic and integral part of mainstream Judaism until the eighteenth century.

Jewish Meditation is a step-by-step introduction to meditation and the Jewish practice of meditation in particular. This practical guide covers such topics as mantra meditation,
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 14th 1995 by Schocken (first published July 12th 1985)
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It is sad that today you see so many Jewish people searching for spiritual sustenance outside of Judaism. I always wondered why this is and then found this book. I think that the author is absolutely right. There is an ancient tradition of meditation in Judaism which is very helpful to spiritual growth. However, most Jewish people today don't know anything about this whatsoever. The author explains how this happened (the disappearance of meditation from Jewish practice) and how we can reinstitut ...more
Steve Cran
Write a review...For such a thin book Rabbi Kaplan's book packs a wallup of information. The book discusses various meditation techniques as can be culled from ancient Jewish sources. Rabbi Kaplan discusses basic techniquwes as can be found in other forms of meditation. Such techniques as mantras, visualizing, and contemoplating. One can also use the words of the prayers as mantras or contenplation. Mundane activities with the proper frame of mind can be turned into acts of meditation that put a ...more
Jeffrey Cohan

If you only read one book about Jewish meditation, this should be it. It is safe to say that this is the most authoritative book about Jewish meditation ever written in the English language.

How fortunate we are that Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, one of the most influential Orthodox rabbis of the 20th Century, left us this gift.

Today, it is widely believed, even among Jews, that meditation is derivative of Buddhism or Hinduism. While it is certainly true that meditation has roots in those Eastern religions
I love this book. Aryeh Kaplan was a really amazing scholar who talks about how unfortunate it is that so many Jews go outside of Judaism for spiritual practice, like to Buddhism (or in the case of my family, a post 60's gurdjieff cult). But before the Jewish diasopra (late BC - early AD) there were a lot of different kinds of meditative practices and rituals built into Judaism, but according to Kaplan as the diaspora progressed the torah masters predicted that if the meditative practices went o ...more
This book had little practical advice to offer, unless you consider a kabalistic interpretation of Jewish prayer and liturgy to be practical. One strange affect that was repeated was the warning not to do certain meditations alone - implying that one might not be able to return from the land of nothingness or contact with God. As a physician and a sometime meditator and student of Zen, I have never heard of anyone who failed to come back from meditation. For most of us, the problem is getting th ...more
Jim George
This little book is a great introductory primer to the world of meditation. The book begins with some basic concepts and some "How To" stuff, especially suitable for the novice. Then it proceeds to walk you through some more advanced techniques, suitable only to be learned under the tutelage and guidance of a master. The author is writing from a Jew's perspective, so he is pretty thorough while explaining Judaism's approach to meditation. From early Torah readings and teachings, to ideas shared ...more
Feb 19, 2012 Leslie added it
Without a true Jewish education, I was able to follow Mr Kaplan as he explored the ideas and concepts and practices of meditation through the Jewish Lense. As I continue to explore life's meaning...on day at a time...I am eager to learn and practice ways to enrich my experiences. Looking for a way to connect the yogic philosophy to my heritage, I came away with an enhanced awareness and practical advise.
n this work, the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan explores the Jewish roots of meditation, as well as a practical on how to meditate according to Jewish tradition.

He points out how meditation is an ancient part of Jewish religious tradition, contrary to popular belief. How the synagogue was meant originally to be a meditative experience, and how much of Jewish prayer liturgy is meant to be a meditative type connection with the Creator.

He marvels at how so many Jews look outside their Judaism for spiritua
Joshua Sierk
ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS I'VE EVER READ. changed my life. my prayer life, my thought life, my way of thinking, my attitude, my outlook. KAPLAN is a master of communication & of meditation.

this is not just about jewish meditation. it incorporates meditation techniques from all over the world, tracing their origins.

read this. it will make you think. ;)
Chelsea Wegrzyniak
This book is a great introduction to both Jewish meditation and meditation in general. The first half or so of the book outlines the history of meditation in Judaism and basic meditation techniques. I really enjoyed the latter half of the book, as it explained how meditation can play a part in nearly every aspect of Jewish life. The discussion of the major prayers in Judaism and how to utilize them for meditating and spiritual experiences was particularly useful and emphasizes the importance of ...more
The first part of this book gives a brief overview of the role of meditation in Judaism, which is something I knew very little about and found very interesting. The second part goes through and describes different types of medication (mantra, contemplation, visualization), explains how to do them, and gives Jewish variations. The third part goes through different prayers and provides ideas to think about when saying different parts of the services and different words of the prayer. This was my f ...more
Ho Lee
This is by far the best book on meditation, clearly explained, well organized, and as the title pointing out, very practical. Written by a physicist well trained in mathematics and logic.
David Rullo
A better title might be Jewish Spirituality. A great book I'll be rereading, especially since its so slim but contains so much great information.
Linda Thibodeau
This is a great book for me in terms of working in my field and helping others adapt fearlessly to the concept of meditation. It's approach is faith based and helps the reader feel more at ease about mediation. Laced throughout the book is the concept of becoming closer and more connected to God. Loved this book.
Explains types of meditation that are precedented in Jewish religious tradition. One type is "engraving" an image in one's mind, followed by "hewing" all other imagined visual distractions from the negative space surrounding it. Had to pass this one on (as scheduled) before I quite finished it!
Excellent book... a great writer for making potential complex subject extremely understandable.

It also meshes the history of meditation and along with bibilical principals and just awesome thoughts....

Well written and I look forward to reading more from this author...

Jeff W
Aryeh Kaplan is a genius, this book completely changed my inner world. My favorite section of this guide deals with the Shema prayer: sounding out the shin - shhhhhh - is the sound of pure white noise, or chaos. While the mem - mmmmmm - is the sound of a pure sine wave, order.
I learned about this book when I was at this crazy Kabballah guy's studio in Tsvat. Its a great introduction into Jewish Meditation. It teaches you practical methods you can try in your normal daily routine and shows how they are related to historical Judaism.
James Culbertson
After having taken classes in mindfulness meditation at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, I wanted to connect my meditation practice with my Judaism. Kaplan's book has helped me to begin to bring these two elements in my life together.
Mike Meyer
Great book.

This gave me a new perspective of my religion.

Some parts were more detailed and drawn out than I needed them to be.

I've attempted a few of the meditation techniques from the book. It's better than taking naps.
Apr 05, 2007 josh rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: spiritual people, meditators, people seeking to expand thier mind in a God linked way.
Wonderful book. Very easy to read. Explains a lot. Guides you in the meditative practices belonging to ancient Jewish mysticism but, is completley applicable to modern day. Very enlightening. Aryeh Kaplan is a great author.
This book was AMAZING! A perfect blend of the practical and the mystical. SO much to contemplate in this little volume. And it is all written VERY accessibly and clearly. A beginner would have no trouble with this.
Mitchell Gronowitz
Beginning was really awesome.
Then the middle was all about advanced meditation that I would never do.
But the end was really great about Tefillah as a meditation.
this took me a really long time to get into but is one of the best books on religion and how to get yourself to think in certain ways that i have ever read
(this will sound cliche, but its true.)

in an age of microwaved gods and goddesses, of madonna kabbalists, this man unveils the tradition as it is.
Jul 11, 2014 Daniel marked it as to-read
this book is is an easy to understand and readily easy to use practical guide.the instructions are simple and easy to understand.
Seth Rogovoy
This was one of the very first books I read that turned me back toward Judaism and made me understand what prayer was all about.
Izzy Dima
It's a great book that gives you a broader perspective on Judaism and gives you a practical tools if you want to start meditate.
Mary Louise
One of the best explanations I've read on why meditation is important practice for the individual and the world.
Laura Gerber
Really did not extend my knowledge to much but a good read and a good refresher.
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Born in New York City.
Rabbi and Physicist.

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan ZT"L was a world-well-known author. In his short lifetime he wrote over over 50 books. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, and studied to the local Yeshiva. He later continued his training at different Yeshivot in Israel. As a graduate student, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan was described in a scientific "Who's Who" as the most promising young
More about Aryeh Kaplan...
Sefer Yetzirah: The Book of Creation: In Theory and Practice Meditation and Kabbalah The Bahir: Illumination Inner Space: Introduction to Kabbalah, Meditation and Prophecy Meditation and the Bible

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