Page 97 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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FABER
I
JEWISH MYSTICISM
87
Idea in Judaism
(New York, Schocken, 1971) and
On the Kab ­
balah and its Symbolism
(New York, Schocken, 1965). The
festschrift in honor of his 70th birthday,
Studies in Mysticism
and R e lig ion ,
ed. by E. E. Urbach (Jerusalem, Magnes Press,
1967), includes a number of English essays. Several of Scholem’s
major studies of Kabbalah are available in American paperback
reprints.
In the introduction to
On the Kabbalah,
Scholem discusses the
difference in attitude to the external world which distinguishes
Jewish mystics from their peers in other cultures; while the
latter appear as standing apart in individualistic isolation from
their respective milieus, the former invariably identify with
national experiences. Paralleling this insight, Arnold Posy traces
in his
Mystic Trends in Judaism
(New York, Jona than David,
1966) the sustaining influence of mystic symbolism in periods
of national crisis.
Herbert Weiner’s
9 y 2 Mystics: The Kabbalah Today
(New
York, Holt, 1969) may be described as a popularizing introduc­
tion to Jewish mysticism, lucidly written, comprehensible, not
clogged with complex technical terminology.
The clearest exposition of basic concepts in mysticism is offered
by Louis Jacobs in
Jewish Ethics, Philosophy and Mysticism
(New York, Behrman, 1969). Ideas like Sefirot, Emanations, and
their structural interdependence are explained here in precise,
bu t simple, English, making the subject understandable in all its
ramifications. Jacobs’ extensive research in mysticism of other
religious traditions led to interesting conclusions. Thus in his
Seeker of Unity
(New York, Basic Books, 1966) affinities are
pointed out between Jewish mysticism of the intellectualizing
Habad school and Far Eastern spirituality. Similarly in his
Hasidic Prayer
(New York, Schocken, 1973), parallels are noted
between certain forms of Hasidic prayer and elements of Chris­
tian mysticism.
Disregarding research methods which are generally accepted
as standard by writers heretofore listed in this article, Alexander
Safran discusses Jewish mysticism in his just published
The
Kabbalah
(New York, Feldheim, 1975), not as a separate spirit­
ual force in Judaism, bu t as an integrated component of the
verb
kabel—
“to receive” as it is used in Mishnah and Talmud.
In tha t sense, Kabbalah includes all aspects of Judaism, law and