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Letters Of Light: A Mystical Journey Through The Hebrew Alphabet Hardcover – August 31, 2003


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sichos In English; 1ST edition (August 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1881400743
  • ISBN-13: 978-1881400745
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,015 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I warmly recommend Rabbi Raskin's book on the Hebrew alphabet; it reflects our people's passion for learning." - Elie Wiesel

More About the Author

Rabbi Aaron L. Raskin is known both as a dynamic and charismatic speaker in the Greater New York City area, and as a scholar of note. He serves as the spiritual leader of Congregation B'nai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights (the only Orthodox Synagogue in Downtown Brooklyn), and his weekly lectures on the Torah portion are broadcast on the Web at www.Jewish.TV.

Raskin's primary areas of scholarship include Aleph-Bet studies (including not only the Hebrew letters' graphic design but their unique, scribal anomalies), Gematria (the numerical values assigned to individual Hebrew letters and words) and Hassidus (a mystical- and heart-based tradition of Jewish hermeneutics, storytelling and observance that originated in 18th-century Russia). These interests are evidenced by his published works which include "By Divine Design, the Kabbalah of Large Small and Missing Letters in the Parshah" and "Letters Of Light: A Mystical Journey Through The Hebrew Alphabet." Raskin is also frequently asked for advice on the topic of leadership by the Wall Street and judicial communities (his constituency largely composed of lawyers, judges and financial professionals) and in 2008 co-authored with Swiss Consulting Group CEO Thomas Zweifel "The Rabbi & The CEO: The 10 Commandments for 21st Century Leaders."

Serving a community at the crossroads of so many other diverging communities in the heart of New York City has made Raskin particularly attuned to the exigencies -- and opportunites -- of answering questions posed across racial, religious, and political divides. He has been consulted as reference by sources religious and secular alike (The New York Daily News; the Oprah Winfrey Network; National Geographic Magazine) and retains a unique position as a respected Jewish leader sensitive to 21st-century secular issues.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 10 customer reviews
There is a great deal of light in this book, as befits its subject.
Alyssa A. Lappen
I would recommend anyone who has an interest in the deeper meanings and kabbalah behind the hebrew letters pick this book up.
mom3
I would recommend this book for anyone that loves the Creator of the Universe, and wants to draw closer.
Garry L. Wilson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thomas D. Zweifel on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As the German philosopher Martin Heidegger put it, "Language is the house of being." In other words, we can shape our lives and reality by virtue of how we speak and listen. If that is true, then Rabbi Aaron Raskin's expert inquiry into the essence and meaning of each letter of the alphabet is a powerful -- and surprisingly practical -- tool for getting at the essence of what it means to be human, and bringing that essence into our daily life and work. A fascinating book by a real "Mensch."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Blanca Madani on May 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Letters of Light combines a kabbalistic look at the Hebrew letters with an approachable style of writing, including personal anecdotes, to explain the meanings behind the letters. Rabbi Raskin is a witty and learned teacher whose style makes the Letters of Light easy reading for most, including those with little or no background in Kabbalah or Hebrew. This book is a must for the Jewish library, a great resource source on the Hebrew letters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alyssa A. Lappen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Are letters of an alphabet only random pen strokes? Rabbi Raskin opens his discussion of the Aleph (the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet) with this question.

English speaking children never learn why an English capital letter "A" looks like a teepee or the lower case "a" "looks like a soap bubble stuck to a wall."

By contrast, Hebrew, he writes, is Divinely designed, and each letter in the Aleph Beit (alphabet) is constructed so as "to teach us something."

The Aleph, the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet, is constructed of three other Hebrew letters, a Yud, a Vav and an additional Yud. The first Yud at the top of the Aleph represents the Almighty --- stationed above us and also beyond our comprehension.

The second Yud on the lower part of the Aleph represents the Jewish people --- and its placement there teaches us that it is possible to understand the All Powerful only through humility, within the context of His creations.

The third portion of the Aleph, the Vav, is intended to represent Jewish faith, which unites each Jewish person with the Highest One.

These are remarkable ideas, but they merely provide the opener for Rabbi Raskin's lesson on the first letter in the Aleph Beit.

Each letter also contains meaning through its numerical value, or gematria, he explains. For the Aleph, the numerical value is one, signifying His Oneness.

Additionally, there is the gematria of each component letter of the Aleph, the total of which spells His Four Letter Hebrew Name, which Judaism teaches us never to speak, and never to write out in full, to avoid defiling the Divine.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ethan Ehrenberg on November 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Letters of light is as delightful for beginners as it is inspiring for experts. While a seemingly basic topic, the same Jewish alphabet that children learn in school, Rabbi Aaron Raskin brings fresh insight and mystical consequence to this otherwise beginners' subject. In so doing, Rabbi Raskin demonstrates with each captivating page that true Judaism is capable of integrating and making meaningful every aspect of life - from the most spiritual and abstract to the most pragmatic and concrete. I recommend Letters of Light for all readers inquisitive about Judaism whether they are at a new stage of personal discovery, celebrating a recent Bar Mitzvah, or continuing a life-long dedication as a Torah Scholar.
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Format: Hardcover
Rabbi Aaron Raskin brings fresh insight to the Hebrew letters.
It was an amazing read that challenged you to let go of what you think you knew and to open up to possibilities.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in the deeper meanings and kabbalah behind the hebrew letters. The tiniest apparent inconsistencies reveal profound insights into Jewish thought. Rabbi Raskin presents this scholarly treasure in an accessible way.
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