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Kabbalah: A Love Story

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  314 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Sometime, somewhere, someone is searching for answers . . .
. . . in a thirteenth-century castle
. . . on a train to a concentration camp
. . . in a New York city apartment

Hidden within the binding of an ancient text that has been passed down through the ages lies the answer to one of the heart’s eternal questions. When the text falls into the hands of Rabbi Kalman Stern, he
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 9th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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Mar 01, 2017 BlackOxford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Signs of the Times

This charming little book is the perfect sequel (or antidote) to anything involving modern physics, especially Quantum Gravity and String Theory. It's also not a bad companion to calm the spirit after much post-modernist fiction.

Kabbalah is attractive because it is neither rationalist nor dogmatic, yet it respects both thought and faith. It neither preaches nor proves; it simply invites consideration. Kabbalah does not provide truth; it hints at reality. What better way to pres
Sep 16, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Ambrose Miles
This short novel is about Rabbi Kalman Stern, a middle-aged man who fears that he is a failure. He does not have a permanent job at a congregation, cannot finish a doctoral dissertation, and lost his first wife in a divorce. Worst of all, he fears that he has lost his ability to love someone.

Kalman meets a kindred spirit, a woman astronomer who wonders about the universe. They are mutually attracted, but he cannot bring himself to fully give himself to love. Kalman is an expert on the Kabbalah,
Mar 28, 2013 Storyteller_re rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely amazing! This books transcends space|time and integrates the mystical essence of kabbalah with the subtle complexity of love. I absolutely adore the richness and life in these pages. One of my favorites, I continually had me from the first glance of its page!
Jun 13, 2011 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't get into it right away, because I thought the author was pretending to have a story while teaching kabbalah. But then I saw how the flowering story was interwoven with those principles, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying a warm-hearted tale very reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally.
Apr 24, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Interesting history scattered through the book. Also I enjoyed the idea of jewish mystic meets astronomical scientist.
May 01, 2012 pinar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far: wonderful. (Rabbi) Lawrence Kushner is an adjunct professor at the Hebrew Union College in NYC and has taught on Jewish spirituality and mysticism for years. The novel is full of quotes from the Zohar with an interesting and mysterious plot alternating between the 13-14th century Europe and modern-day New York. Those who are interested in the Kabbalah (*not* the Madonna version) and Jung's synchronicity theories would enjoy this immensely. Haven't finished it yet so I hope the ending won ...more
PJ Swanwick
Mar 29, 2012 PJ Swanwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Romancing the Kabbalah

Rabbi Harold Kushner's 2007 mystical novel is more than a spiritual romance (although it reads quite well as one); it is a celebration of Jewish mysticism and spiritual insight that uses rich metaphor and prose to immerse the reader in an experience rather than just tell a story. Interwoven plots, historical revelations, and profound insight make "Kabbalah, A Love Story" an entertaining introduction to Jewish mysticism. The most profound insight is also one of the simplest-
Michael Johnston
It's a novel, a quirky love story in fact, that jumps back and forth between the present, the near past and the long ago past. It's also a book about Kabbalah - mystical Judaism. Kushner is a man who does not believe in coincidences, a man that sees traces of "the ineffable" in every interaction of human beings and every moment of life. The mysteries of life are hidden, he says, but everything happens for a reason and part of the joy is searching for why and what it means. In fact, the main char ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Peachesxyz rated it it was amazing
beautiful and light the book unites the spiritual, the carnal and the neurotic in a story of love
Aug 27, 2008 Jessica rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the lonely
Trust your ability to absorb what's important. Remember, all the good stuff is already recorded in sacred text anyway.
Feb 09, 2008 Betsy rated it really liked it
A mystical love story that weaves in people from different times and places and spiritual Kabbalistic teachings. A delightful read. Also special because I know the author.
Jan 21, 2009 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: spirituality
I loved this book. It's dense and incomprehensible and no, I don't know how to describe it. But reading it is a lot like getting glimpses of the sky between beautiful, dramatic storm clouds.
Jan 30, 2009 Norma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a meaningful book
Recommended to Norma by: friend
Shelves: read-2009
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner's, Kabbalah A Love Story is one of those novels that we all hope for every time we pick up a new book. We hope the story line is satisfying and whole. But we also want our characters to be "likable" and perhaps maybe even moves us. This book delivers in all areas and does not fall short.

Having much respect for other religions, I certainly do not feel qualified to discuss ninety-nine percent of the book's content, as I'm keenly aware of my intellectual deficiencies in Juda
I have read about Kabbalah in nonfiction texts and have struggled to understand, but this novel opened a door for me to understand, at least a little bit, this Jewish mystical tradition and perspective. It is creatively plotted out, as any number of stories unfold and become one story.
Avraham Anouchi
Sep 12, 2010 Avraham Anouchi rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical novels lovers
A historical and romance novel with a remarkable back and forth time travel from the thirteenth century Castille in Spain to comtemporary Manhattan, Boston and Safad. The author uses the Kabbalah celestial philosophy as a link to the heart of the Astronomy Professor Isabel Benvenisti by the book's hero, Rabbi Kalman Stern.

Rabbi Stern's copy of the Zohar, the central book of the Kabbalah, miraculously provides him with life saving information enabling him to perform the greatest Mitzvah of his li
Jun 03, 2014 Pam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a novel but as in all great writing, it includes profound truth.
Kabbalah is a form of Jewish mysticism. The love story is between us and God, life and Truth, and even between humans.
I recommend this book for anyone who feels a gnawing that Life is bigger than they can ever imagine and our connections to God and each other are deeper than we will ever know. This book will get you thinking and leave you with a smile on your face.
Oct 17, 2013 Howard rated it really liked it
Shelves: goodreads-read
In this 2007 novella, Kushner's characters speak in a rather twee way but this is to be expected in a non secular work. Aside from this, I was surprised by its sparse but meaningful prose which reminded me of Kundera and Barrico. There's wisdom in these pages - things that chime with pantheism, mysticism, Eastern spiritual ideas and quantum physics. Made me want to find out more about the Kabbalah and mysticism in general.
Apr 08, 2016 Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"'That one I believe I can answer. Think for a moment: What is the alternative? If God were to remove even the possibility of that ultimate knowing, it would also destroy creation. A universe with no chance of awareness, no self-reflection, is also void of even the possibility of redemption. Creation would be futile, pointless, a waste.'" p. 70
Susan Rothenberg
Aug 21, 2012 Susan Rothenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written as fiction, there is much to learn about as Rabbi Kalman Stern tries to decifer a page of ancient text that was hidden in the book binding of a copy of the Zohar, the master text of Kabbalah. In many ways this is a book that could be reread many times to fully benefit from the discussion of the text.
Unoose Ayoob
A great experience.
'Reading a book happens between the book and the reader; hence as the reader changes, the experience / meaning of reading that book also changes'

What an insight !
This is an amazing book that's both a love story & philosophical treatise in one.

I love this book. Someday...will re-read this one.
Pam Venne
Sep 21, 2016 Pam Venne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religious, love-story
Extraordinarily written to provoke thought and ask profound questions about life and love. It deserves at least second or more readings
to pick up all the nuances. Carried away to places of serenity, calmness, and mystique of language; it taught me about the importance of keeping books and how they can belong to a person for a time or a season, for the right reason.
Dec 14, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books seem, at once, to be so simple and yet deeply profound. This is one of those gems of a novel. Rabbi Kushner is a master storyteller. He is so intentional in his word choices, that the reader realizes that there is another, unspoken story just below the surface of the intertwined tales reflected in the prose. This is the book that I wish all books could be.
Jul 22, 2015 Ang rated it it was amazing
This is the first that I read on the topic of Kabbalah and this book is actually a great place to start. It starts you thinking about how to read in a philosophic and symbolic way. You will get a small taste about what Kabbalah is.
This book equates heterosexual love with creation, via a very beautiful quote I think from the Zohar. Now that equation is in some ways an obvious one to make. And Kushner pursues it by dabbling in fictionally exploring a love relationship which from its onset is clearly a metaphor for something like the Big Bang and the creation of the universe, or the Shekinah and the world, or the relationship between G-d and man. To me, despite the obviousness of the equation, I know that we still don't KNOW ...more
Oct 23, 2009 Jodi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-group
When I tried to read this the first time, more than a year ago, I thought it was poorly written, boring and not worth my time. After listening to my book club discuss it, I decided to try to read it again. Eventually. It turned out that I enjoyed it. I'm not into mysticism so the whole Kabbalah theme was rather lost on me - the importance of the text just dind't interest me. But the love story did. Rabbi Kalman Stern sees himself as a failure but a confluence of events provides him with a new se ...more
We read this for our spirituality discussion group, and discussed in the context of trying to understand The Kabbalah. Engaging book, with simple and profound ideas. Sometimes you'd stop and wonder what you had read. Or how the periods linked, since it tells several tales many hundreds of years apart. My copy is marked up, with questions, comments, etc. And, while I ended thinking I understood much more about Jewish mysticism and about the universal ideas explored by many, I do not think I could ...more
Jun 04, 2008 Ju rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Interesting love story wrapped around Jewish mysticism. Such great thoughts regardless of your religion. Makes you think about the world, god and spirituality in a different way without being preachy. One thought that really stuck with me was if god created stars, moon and sun on the 4th day, then what was meant by god created light on the first day? Until electricity (and fire I suppose) light only came from the sun, moon, stars. So obviously something else was meant ...more
Jul 29, 2009 Jess rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
So, I didn't exactly enjoy this one. It was one of those books in which bits of spiritual information were sort of unfolded between the pages of a larger story, involving ancient book intrigue, 13th century Spain, and a love story in modern day Manhattan.
Sounds good right? I guess it was just kind of not-believable--the characters weren't well-developed, and neither was the plot--it was kind of bare. Even the passages on spirituality were sort of clipped. The ideas were kind of interesting, but
Jun 19, 2013 Kate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: just-for-fun
This fictional tale bounces between present day and the founding of the Kabbalah by Jewish mystics in the middle ages. I found it interesting as one of the key locations was Safad in Northern Isreal which I visited and loved. I could picture the ancient synagogue referenced. It may in fact have been the same one. This connection made the tale very real to me. The characters and the plot could have had more depth and that would have improved the read as would more references to time and place in ...more
Feb 14, 2009 Jeanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm honestly not sure what I thought of this book. Its themes were VERY repetitive and got quite tiresome. The story jumped around all over the place (yes, I understand that the author was trying to show how 'everything happens at once' but still, it was very 'bitty'). I think it was an unsatisfying read. Or maybe I'm just not deep enough or old enough (I knew I should have waited till I turned 40 to read it!) to get it. I think I'll call Madonna and ask her to explain...
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Kabbalah: A Love Story, by Lawrence Kushner 1 7 Mar 31, 2007 08:41AM  
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