Friday, August 31, 2007

Jewish Mysticism: The Infinite Expression Of Freedom

Rachel Elior, Littman Library, 2007

Rachel Elior, professor of Jewish Philosophy at the Hebrew University has produced a masterpiece: it addresses the most esoteric areas of Jewish thought in an accessible, sensitive and highly readable way. Some idea of the complexity of the work is conveyed by the translators’ introductory note: ‘we were particularly interested in translating this book because of the extraordinary challenges it presented and because of the importance of its inclusive cultural message’. The book has four section, the first of is a fascinating tour of the literature and objectives of Jewish mysticism. The other three sections deal in turn with the limitless levels of meaning in sacred Jewish texts, the boundless numinous life of the mystic and the mysteries that Kabbalistic sources detect within the Hebrew language. The appendix is also an excellent resource for historical and literary figures of the world of Jewish mysticism and, like all of Professor Elior’s books, it is thoroughly indexed and resourced.

Jewish Mysticism