The Essential Kabbalah
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The Essential Kabbalah

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  554 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The door to this ancient and mystical sect of Judaism is opened and its wisdom and philosophies are revealed through its writings and the clear interpretations of the author.
Hardcover, 221 pages
Published August 1st 1997 by Booksales (first published 1995)
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Devon
Dec 04, 2013 Devon rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Devon by: Madonna :)
Shelves: spirit
I read this book alongside a cherished friend who died shortly thereafter. Together we poured over the pages and thoroughly enjoyed the language and the ambiguity. Now I cherish the book and her memory.
Nick Mather
I first read this book several years ago for a course I took while working on my master’s degree. As I decided to incorporate weekly meditations in my world religion course, I wanted to revisit some of the mystical writings of each tradition I cover. This is mostly selections of Kabbalistic writings, which are quite frequently rather abstruse, though that’s the nature of most mystical writing. There is a notes section in the back of the text that helps explain some of the hidden meanings and ref...more
José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora
A quote from the book:
"Four priests had gotten inside pardes (paradise):Ben Azzai,
Ben Zoma,Aher and the rabbi Akiva. Ben Azzai saw it and died.Ben Zoma saw it and got insane.
Aher cut the plants. Rabbi Akiva left in peace".
Curtis Aguirre
Aug 04, 2012 Curtis Aguirre is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
I started this little intro into Kabbalah a few days ago. It was given to me by a rabbi from Vancouver who commended it as a good overview of a huge subject.
Skylar Burris
This book contains selections from the Jewish mystical work known collectively as Kabbalah. The selections are (unsprisingly) a little difficult to follow at times, but the collection does have some very poetic passages and interesting insights even for an outsider, and I received a basic introduction to the concept of Ein Sof and the ten emenations of God. I bought this little volume at, of all places, a gun show, from a table full of books. The seller looked at me oddly and said, "You're the f...more
Robert
This book has served as an introduction to kabbalah for me, and it has certainly piqued my interest in that regard. I was surprised at how many concepts resonated deeply with me.

This is a collection of excerpts from major kabbalistic texts (for example the zohar) and from the works of many of the most influential kabbalistic writers, rabbis.

One complaint is that is would have been nice to have explained the difference between the tree of life presented in the book and the tree of life that see...more
Vikki Marshall
Part of “The Mystical Classics of the World” this text delves into a branch of Judaism thought to have been created in 16th Century Palestine. The movement has been thought of as both a traditional practice as well as a radical idea that has been dismissed. Kabbalists believe in our original nature such as that explored in the Garden of Eden with the tasting of the fruit of knowledge. This book explores Ein Sof, Sefirot and the Shekhinah all aspects of Jewish mysticism and contains beautiful tea...more
Barry
A very compact, succinct introduction to the beliefs of Kabbalah, this consists of what the author considers to be the essential core beliefs, philosphies, and almost daily devotionals of kabbalists. A great book to open to one page and read its contents, then carry it with you during the day. Nothing overwhelming in size, nonetheless each page requires the reader to truly take their time and re-read several times each passage in order to soak up and process the true meanings of the sometimes di...more
Angel
This books provides a pretty good overview of Kabbalah. If you are a casual reader who may know little of this religious tradition, this may be the book for you. The introductory material is pretty good in laying out some background and history. The rest of the book presents selections from Kabbalistic texts. Overall, the language is pretty accessible. I think Judeo-Christian folks may find some connections here too. The text provides a nice sense of the spirituality of Kabbalah as well as its v...more
Amelia
This is a very good introduction to Kabbalah, managing to convey both how complex and in-depth it is, as well as some of the bigger concepts like the ten sefirot and Ein Sof. Matt's excerpts and translations of various Kabbalistic texts are excellent and broad ranging, and the notes about each excerpt at the end are very useful.

There's no doubt that Matt's book is very simply introductory and just scratches the surface. Nonetheless, Essential Kabbalah definitely grabbed my interest enough to ma...more
Amy
Most interesting to me were the intro and the notes to the text. The rest were excerpts from kabbalistic writings, which seem to be catalysts for meditating on the nature of God, which is, of course, unknowable. All reason and self awareness, therefore, must try to be negated in order to draw closer to the divine. Reminds me of Christian mysticism. I would have enjoyed more a history of the kabbalistic movement and how it has evolved as this is not my cup of tea right now, hence my two subjectiv...more
Eric Villalobos
Definitely enjoyed this book. Although, I have to admit that some of it just went straight over my head. I will have to either re-read it or find another book on the subject. I should probably brush up on the terms that were used and on my knowledge of the Bible, and I recommend anyone looking to read this book should do the same. Actually, I think even after that, most of it would still fly right over my head.
Talya Rubin
So far this collection of Jewish mystical writing is stunning. It is an excellent way in to Kabbalah as Daniel C. Matt's introduction is beautifully written and unfolds a wonderful way down this path of relating to the divine. The book makes me want to read more in the tradition and the translations of the various writings are accessible but remain delectably mysterious.
Luna Chakra
Nov 16, 2013 Luna Chakra is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
As an avid follower of the Occult, esoteric knowledge, and Hermeticism, I thoroughly enjoy Daniel C. Matt's selections and insight of the Kabbalah. For illuminated minds, truth-seekers, and the lovers of knowledge, this book is an excellent "beginner/intermediate" resource regarding this ancient scripture.
Amber Moors
the information contained within this book was not very helpful, it's an interesting work, but if you are the consumer looking for more information about kabbalah, I felt that it was a bunch of b.s.
Danielle
Oct 06, 2009 Danielle marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Attended a program on kabbalah at our synagogue last weekend and the presenter highly recommended this book for beginners. Seemed like something worth knowing about.
John Christmann
A fairly good collection. Contains Ein Sof, the Sefirot, and the Shekhinah. A must read if you want to understand Jewish mysticism.
Robert
ZZZZZ - ho-hum; myscticism, little more than convaluted, wishful thinking whirrling around in senseless circles.
Elisa Spindler
Fantastic introduction that focuses on concepts rather than arcana. I think I highlighted half the book.
Michael Brady
A good primer if you're looking to get a feel for Jewish Kabbalah.
Denidevine
An intro to Kabbalah...I found it very interesting
Stacy Curro
Tough to read but worth it. These are big concepts.
Mary Pat
An interesting explanation of Jewish mysticism.
Ritianne
too complicated and intense for an introduction.
Ben
Good for learning, but a dense read.
Gary
Gary added it
Apr 19, 2014
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“Heresy arises as a pained outcry to liberate us from this strange, narrow pit, to raise us from the darkness of letters and platitudes to the light of thought and feeling. Such heresy eventually takes its stand in the centre of morality. It has a temporary legitimacy, for it must consume the filthy froth clinging to mindless faith. [...........] On the desolate ruins wrought by heresy, the sublime knowledge of God wil build her temple.” 0 likes
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