New book, published in February 2013 by Academic Studies Press, by Aubrey L. Glazer:
Whether extroversive, introversive or some further hybrid, the process of the soul touching the fullness of its divine origins is itself undergoing transformation in the contemporary twenty-first century cultural matrices of Israel. Touching but not touching, or Touching God, what the mystics call mati v’lo mati, occurs throughout mystical poetics surrounding the unitive experience otherwise known as devekut. Rather than sketch out theological datum of the poetry at hand, this study seeks to explore the reality of devotional experience behind the poetic record and its correlations with contemporary Hasidic literature being written in Israel. From this collection of annotated translations, poetry returns to its conversation with pathways in thinking throughout Continental philosophy, revealing lost pathways of a vibrant Judaism. Selections include the devotional poetry of: Schulamith Hava HaLevi; Haya Esther; Haviva Pedaya; Zelda Schneerson Mishkovsky; Yonadav Kaplun; Haya Esther; Tamar Elad-Appelbaum; Agi Mishol; Admiel Kosman; and Binyamin Shevili.
Publisher’s site, Amazon
I found in Tablet Magazine a note about Peter Cole dropping “a new anthology of poetry in translation today, The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition.” Here is the official description from the appropriate page of Yale University Press:
This groundbreaking collection presents for the first time in English a substantial body of poetry that emerges directly from the sublime and often startling world of Jewish mysticism. Taking up Gershom Scholem’s call to plumb the “tremendous poetic potential” concealed in the Kabbalistic tradition, Peter Cole provides dazzling renderings of work composed on three continents over a period of some fifteen hundred years.
In addition to the translations and the texts in their original languages, Cole supplies a lively and insightful introduction, along with accessible commentaries to the poems. Aminadav Dykman adds an elegant afterword that places the work in the context of world literature. As a whole, the collection brings readers into the fascinating force field of Kabbalistic verse, where the building blocks of both language and existence itself are unveiled.
And some related links:
The Book Giveaway is a simple website, where every week anyone can enter to win one of five books, no strings attached. This week, till Friday, one of the selected books are M.J. Rose‘s The memorist. The description of the book at the site explains why I mention it in this blog.
THE MEMORIST follows the compelling adventures of a memory expert, Meer Logan and her father Jeremy – a Kabbalist, known as the Jewish Indiana Jones – from New York City to the ancient cobblestone streets of Vienna as they attempt to learn the meaning behind Meer’s hauntingly vivid memories. What they discover could reveal a frighteningly powerful secret hidden for generations by one of the greatest composers of all time.
As a child, Meer suffered from the dreads: memories of another time and place always accompanied by the faint strains of elusive music. Now the dreads are back. The past has reached out again in the form of a strange letter that sets her on a search to unlock the mystery of who she once was.
With each step she comes closer to remembering the connections between a clandestine reincarnationist society, a lost flute linked to Ludwig van Beethoven, and David Yalom, a journalist who understands all too well how the past affects the future.
David knows loss firsthand – terrorism is a reality that cost him his family. He’s seen every solution promised by security experts around the world – and he’s seen every solution fail. Now in a concert hall in Vienna, he plans to force the world to understand the cost of those failures in a single violent act. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
Yesterday I visited the central branch of the local library for the first time. (In the past I usually went to the local branch.) They have about 30-40 books on or related to Jewish Kabbalah. I picked up a gem I haven’t seen or knew about before. It is an 1877 edition of Sefer Yezirah. The spelling was not a typo, although the modern transliteration is Yetzirah. The book is bilingual English and Hebrew. (The latter is pointed, i.e. the vowels are filled in for the reader.) I scanned in the cover and the title page, see below, click the images for larger version; it is worth it. The book also has six pages of notes and four pages of “Glossary of rabbinical words”, which looks like a basic Hebrew-English dictionary. The book was published and donated to the library by The Rosicrucian Order (of San Jose) and has an explanatory afterword describing them.
Magdelene, a blog dedicated to “Prayers and Reflections: Spiritual Inspirations from many traditions” posted introduction and two very short stories (related to the Golem/Maharal) from Howard Schwartz‘s collection of Gabriel’s Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. The publisher’s (Oxford University Press) page lists the dozens of sources, eras and areas Schwartz collected the 150 stories for this book. Reading either the blog entry or the four and half stories available at Amazon I have to say that the style is delightful. It shows that Schwartz, who also wrote 8 children’s books, is a master of both language and content. This is a fun and deep collection.
A few weeks ago a blog, titled Jewish Books, posted an overview of Richard Seidman‘s The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters (with a forward by Lawrence Kushner). Clicking on the embedded link one gets to a page with the a similar length, but different overview (which confusingly removed all apostrophes) under a graphical banner of Jewish Books. It is under the milechai.com domain a site operated by the author of the blog. Clicking on the banner takes us to one of the main pages of jewishbook.us. However the navigation of that site is limited. In order to get the full experience and list of books this site offers one should start on this page. From there the 50 books they offer on Kabbalah/Mysicism is nicely broken down by topic or author to 8 separate pages. I will add missing books listed there to Sefarim.net at the end of the month. Meanwhile here is the essential of what this item is about:
Divination–telling the future by magical means–is a dodgy business. Deuteronomy deemed it “repulsive to God.” And yet Jews have always attempted to discern the future in various ways, including the casting of lots and meditation upon the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the Aleph Beit. Richard Seidman presents a primer for the latter form of divination in The Oracle of Kabbalah.