Page 96 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
symbolic language of Kabbalah, blending i t with elements from
Oriental mysticism, occultism, magic, astrophysics and the like.
Such fanciful combinations are offered as “systems” or “pro­
grams,” allegedly helpful to unravel the mysteries of the un i­
verse an d /o r bring healing to suffering humanity. MacCandlish
Phillips’
The B ible, the Supernatural, and the Jews
(New York,
World Publishing Co., 1970) is singled out as an illustration in
this genre of writing for its comprehensiveness, pseudo-scholarly
format, and the role it assigns to Jewry in the scheme of cosmic
resolutions.
Counter culture writers presumably derive the ir knowledge
of Kabbalah from various studies on the subject originally pub­
lished decades ago, which were reproduced in recent years by
Samuel Weiser, Inc., New York, e.g.
The Kabbalah Unveiled ,
by S. L. Macgregor Mathers, 1968;
The Kabbalah,
by Christian
D. Ginsburg, 1972;
Quabbalah,
by Isaac Myer, 1970, and many
others.
Translations of texts authored by Hasidic masters or compiled
by their disciples over the past two centuries, adequately fulfill
their purpose to disseminate understanding of the works’ intent.
Here the message comes through effectively, with force to influ­
ence heart and mind. Thus
Tayna,
by Shneur Zalman of Liadi
(Brooklyn, N.Y., Kehot, 1964-66) attests to the growing influ­
ence of Habad. Likewise
R abb i Nachman’s W isdom ,
ed. by Zvi
R. Rosenfeld (New York, Sefer-Hermon Press, 1973) reflects a
revival of interest in the founder and spiritual heritage of
Bratzlaver Hasidism.
In Praise of the Baal Shem T ov ,
ed. by
Dan Ben-Amos and Jerome R. Mintz (Bloomington, Ind iana
University Press, 1970), though primarily of biographic interest
with regard to the founder of the Hasidic movement, contains a
wealth of didactic and interpretative comments.
SCHOLEM’S COMPREHENSIVE STUDY
T u rn ing now to the area of descriptive study, Gershom M.
Scholem’s
Kabbalah
(New York, Quadrangle, 1974) offers a
comprehensive summary of the au thor’s lifelong research into
the development of Jewish mysticism. Special chapters in this
work deal with major themes and leading personalities. O ther
major works by Scholem in the past decade are
The Messianic