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
The creators of “The 36” a new graphic novels used Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing service to generate the funds necessary to go ahead with their project. With the help of 122 backers they generated $11,474. This was over their goal of $10,000, so the project is a go. Looking forward to the book when it gets published.
The 36 is a graphic novel based on the Kabbalistic belief that there are 36 people in the world upon whom it is saved by their simple existence. In times of need, these people emerge from anonymity and save us, then fade back into their lives.
As I mentioned at the time, in 2009 Jewish Lights Publishing published The Seven Beggars & Other Kabbalistic Tales Of Rebbe Nachman Of Breslov, translated by Aryeh Kaplan. A few months ago another translation or “retelling” came out, this time by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. The title of this book is Tale of the Seven Beggars. Beside the acknowledgements, preface, prologue, postrscript, notes, and notes about the authors the book includes the 6 original tales of beggars (Blind, Deaf, Mumbling, Twist-Necked, Hunchback, Handless) and the last one reinterpreted by Richard A. Siegel (“Seventh”). Still, the book ends up only 92 pages. You may want to compare this to the JLP book, with its 152 pages and 16 additional tales, beyond the 7 beggars’. But quantity doesn’t necessarily translate to quality. I haven’t read either so I can’t really compare them. Both translators are among my favorite authors, so I would probably enjoy both.
If you would judge a book by its cover my choice would go for the newer book, because its cover incorporates elements from a painting by one of may favorite Hungarian painters Tivadar Kosztka Csontváry. (And the back cover has a piece from another of his paintings.) This is not to belittle Sara Dismukes‘ work, who designed the cover of the other book, but I am partial to Csontváry. However, we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, so I won’t either.
One more word about the Schachter-Shalomi version. The back cover gives the website for the publisher (albion-andalus.com), but the URL leads to a parked/under construction site. I do judge an operation by the quality of its site. It’s OK to be under construction, happens to the best of us. But at least put up your own under construction page and not default to your ISP’s. That seems too unprofessional.
Nevertheless looking forward getting my hands on a copy of both books.
Dr. A Nyland‘s book, the “Third Book of Enoch” became available on Amazon.com last October. The author started her blog only in November, so she didn’t mention it there. She published the book through CreateSpaces, which is Amazon.com’s self-publishing company but it is also available at Smashwords, a self-publishing companies for eBooks. Her bio there says that she “is an ancient language scholar and lexicographer as well as horse care researcher who served as faculty at the University of New England, Australia.”
With this book Dr. Nyland has finished the translation of all three volumes. They are all available on their own or the three as a single volume, both as printed books and ebooks. I am providing links not just to the paperbacks Kindle version but to the Smashwords pages as well, because there you can buy the books in a variety of eBook formats and you can read a 15% long sample from each. Considering that the 3 books combined is only 262 pages long, you may just want to get that. The official description is under each book’s listing below.
- Book of Enoch: Angels, Watchers and Nephilim:
paperback, Kindle, Smashwords
1 Enoch tells of the Watchers, a class of angel, who taught humans weapons, spell potions, root cuttings, astrology, astronomy, and alchemy. The Watchers also slept with human women and produced the Nephilim. For this, they were imprisoned and cast into Tartarus. This is also mentioned in the New Testament.
- Second Book of Enoch (2 Enoch, Secrets of Enoch, Slavonic Enoch):
paperback, Kindle, Smashwords
In 2 Enoch, two angels take Enoch through the 7 heavens. This contains the extended version of 2 Enoch, The Exaltation of Melchizedek.
- Third Book of Enoch (3 Enoch, Merkabah Hebrew Book of Enoch):
paperback, Kindle, Smashwords
In 3 Enoch, Enoch ascends to heaven and is transformed into the angel Metatron. This is about the Merkabah and is of interest to Kabbalists.”
- Complete Books of Enoch:
paperback, Kindle, Smashwords
I didn’t have a chance to read them yet, but wanted to include these books on this website as many consider the book(s) of Enoch primary text for Jewish Mysticism.
Stanford University Press put up a page in May for a book they will publish in November:
“From Kabbalah to Class Struggle: Expressionism, Marxism, and Yiddish Literature in the Life and Work of Meir Wiener ” by Mikhail Krutikov is an intellectual biography of Meir Wiener (1893–1941), an Austrian Jewish intellectual and a student of Jewish mysticism who emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1926 and reinvented himself as a Marxist scholar and Yiddish writer. His dramatic life story offers a fascinating glimpse into the complexities and controversies of Jewish intellectual and cultural history of pre-war Europe.
Wiener made a remarkable career as a Yiddish scholar and writer in the Stalinist Soviet Union and left an unfinished novel about Jewish intellectual bohemia of Weimar Berlin. He was a brilliant intellectual, a controversial thinker, a committed communist, and a great Yiddish scholar—who personally knew Lenin and Rabbi Kook, corresponded with Martin Buber and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, and argued with Gershom Scholem and Georg Lukács. His intellectual biography brings Yiddish to the forefront of the intellectual discourse of interwar Europe.
The book can be pre-ordered at Amazon.com
Z’ev ben Shimon Halevi, the British author fo many books on Kabbalah and the man behind the “Kabbalah Society” published his autobiography in April. Here is the description from his site:
In his autobiography, Halevi sets out his spiritual journey amid the drama of life, which he perceives as a process of development, indicating how his unfolding fate is part of a Providential scheme. This book traces the story of how an artist and poet became a writer about and a teacher of Kabbalah. Many of the illustrations are the author’s own work. So too are several of the diagrams, which are a modern interpretation of the Tradition. The Path of a Kabbalist is also a first-hand account of how Halevi’s books came into being and inspired many people and study groups worldwide.
A side note. When I was in London last December, the first time after more than a decade, I visited one my favorite bookstores, Watkins Books. Looking through their Kabbalah section I realized that Halevi is republishing his books under his own company name and design. I took a photo of the shelf dedicated to his works, with the uniform covers.
Sam (Simcha) Krause wrote a book by the title, “Hey Waiter…. There is a God in my soup! Learning Kabbalah through humor“. He explains the reason behind the book in this blog entry:
You might ask, “What’s a nice, serious subject like Kabbalah doing in a book like this?” The answer lies in Kabbalah itself. Laughter is an involuntary reflex that transcends reason and lifts us above our physical state, allowing for an unselfconscious connection with something beyond the self – God, for example. A joyful person is open, available and willing to entertain concepts that don’t necessarily fit a logical paradigm. So jokes can become vehicles through which we can contemplate the divine.
Arthur Kurzweil wrote a foreword combining personal accolades of the author and a Talmudic story. An excerpt of the book is also available. The book can be purchased at the site’s eStore starting mid August.
Last week I wrote about a recently published book by Mr. Zvi Mark, a Senior Lecturer at Bar Ilan University and Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem is a busy scholar, “The Scroll of Secrets“. Today I am happy to cover another books of his that was published in its original Hebrew in 2003 and for the first time in English last June , “Mysticism and Madness: The Religious Thought of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav.” The official description of the book reads:
This work offers a systematic description of the highly interesting mystical doctrine of one of the most influential thinkers in Jewish mysticism. Two hundred years since Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav’s demise, his philosophical writings and literary creation remain lively and provocative materials in both Jewish culture and the New-Age movement. Key elements of Rabbi Nachman’s magic and magnetic force are illuminated in this research, which presents Bratslavian mysticism as a unique link in the history of Jewish mysticism. The mystical worldview is the axis of this book, but its branches stretch out to key issues in the Bratslavian world such as belief and imagination, dreams and the land of Israel, melodies and song.
The Robert and Arlene Kogod Library of Judaic Studies publishes new research which provides new directions for modern Jewish thought and life and which serves to enhance the quality of dialogue between classical sources and the modern world.This book series reflects the mission of the Shalom Hartman Institute, a pluralistic research and leadership institute, at the forefront of Jewish thought and education. It empowers scholars, rabbis, educators and layleaders to develop new and diverse voices within the tradition, laying foundations for the future of Jewish life in Israel and around the world.
Rabbi Zvi Leshem‘s review of the book appeared in February in the Jerusalem Post. I didn’t find any other review, but has seen this reposted at half a dozen sites. The review mentions previous biographies of Rabbi Nachman and how Marks ahift the focus from their existentialist focus to “Nahman’s major concern remains that of his other hassidic colleagues, finding a path to God for himself and for his followers.” The review then summarizes further contributions of the book to the study of this important figure.
Read the full review and then read the book. Don’t let it scare you that on the linked Amazon page the price for a copy of the book ranges between $110 and $150. That’s for the hardcver version, but frmo there the paperback is linked to and you could get for between $22 and $38.
In April Academic Studies Press published Zvi Mark‘s “The Scroll of Secrets: The Hidden Messianic Vision of R. Nachman of Breslav“. You can read reviews/blurbs on the Publisher’s site. The announcing email included information about the book and its author and the table of contents too.
Concealed for two centuries and known only to a select individual in
each generation, the Scroll of Secrets is the hidden Messianic vision
of R. Nachman of Bratslav. Despite being written in an encoded
language, with acronyms and abbreviations, after a clarification and
cautious reconstruction of what can be decoded, the reader is
presented with an exalted Messianic vision. The book marks a turning
point in our knowledge of R. Nachman’s spiritual world, and initiates
a renewed discussion of an intriguing Hasidism that excites scholars
and broad circles within the Jewish and Israeli publics. The reader
is presented with a sublime and enticing vision of the eschatological
End of Days that contains song and prayer, Torah, melodies and
longings, and love and compassion for every man.
About the Author:
Dr. Zvi Mark is a Senior Lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and a
Research Fellow of Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. His
previous publications include Mysticism and Madness; The Religious
Thought of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (Continuum, London and New York,
2009) and numerous articles examining the esoterica of Bratslav Hasidism.
Table of Contents:
Introduction by Shaul Magid.
The Scroll of Secrets.
Deciphering the Tepliker Manuscript.
Chapter One – The Messiah as a Breslavian Tzadik: Made in the Image of R. Nachman.
Chapter Two – The Messiah as Baby and Child in the Scroll.
Chapter Three – The Nature of the World in Messianic Times.
Chapter Four – The Temple.
Chapter Five – King Solomon and the Scroll’s Messiah.
Chapter Six – Is There a Secret Belief that R. Nachman Never Died or Will Return from the Dead?
Chapter Seven – The Scroll in Light of the Other Secret Writings of R. Nachman.
Chapter Eight – The Scroll as Esoterica: Social and Spiritual Aspects of the Sanctified Secret.
Chapter Nine – The Messianic Revolution and the Echoes of the Scrolls among the Breslav Chasidim Today.
Chapter Ten – Epilogue.
Appendix Two: Further Testimony on the Scroll and its Transmission.
Appendix Three: The Manuscripts.
Appendix Four: R. Avraham Chazan on the Scroll of Secrets: The Sichot Me’anash Manuscript.
Appendix Five: The Return of the Baal Shem Tov as the Messiah.
Appendix Six: Where is the Golden Tree?
Tal Moshe Zwecker (a Chabad rabbi) published the Kindle edition of his ” Jewish Meditation – Hisbodedus the lost path of secluded meditation” last week. It is a 34 pages long. Here is his description:
A collection of translations from primary sources on Jewish Meditation, especially relating to the prophetic and mussar schools. Beginning with Sefer HaMaspik Le’Ovdei Hashem by Rabbi Abraham Maimonides the famous son of Rambam, this book presents authentic traditional sources from the Tanakch, the classic commentaries, the mussar school and the kabbalists about Hitbodedut or secluded meditation. This is not an instructional guide but a collection and minor analysis of these texts to guide someone who has a genuine interest in exploring the primary authentic texts of the Jewish tradition on Hisbodedus of the body and of the mind. Questions answered and explored include: What is Hisbodedus? Who practiced it and how? What are the different forms of Hisbodedus?