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Meditation and Judaism: Exploring the Jewish Meditative Paths Hardcover – November 15, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This clearly written work is a comprehensive study of Jewish meditation, offering an in-depth study of Jewish meditative practices through history. Rabbi Pinson (Inner Rhythms: The Kabbalah of Music), currently the Rosh Kollel Dean of Advanced Studies in Vancouver, Canada, offers a refreshingly substantive addition to a field rife with misinformation. Pinson refers to various secular thinkers, but his great strength lies in his masterly knowledge of the Jewish sages, among them the seven Chabad Rebbes, the Maharal, the Baal Shem Tov, the Malbim, the Rosh, and many others. He traces the historical evolution of meditation in Jewish thought, showing how these Jewish sages have addressed the subject. Pinson also shows expert familiarity with classic Jewish texts, such as the Tanakh, mishnah, Bavli, Zohar, and Sefer Yetzirah. A welcome addition to the field of meditation and Judaism, this scholarly book is recommended for synagogue libraries, meditation centers, and public libraries with deep collections in Judaica.
David B. Levy, Beth Avraham Synagogue Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Rav DovBer Pinson is a world-renowned scholar, author, Kabbalist, and beloved spiritual teacher, a master of the revealed and hidden aspects of Torah.

He is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on authentic Kabbalah and Jewish spirituality.

Through his books, lectures, and counsel he has touched and inspired the lives of tens of thousands the world over. He is an internationally acclaimed speaker and has lectured in both scholarly and lay settings throughout the globe.

Rav DovBer Pinson is the Rosh Yeshiva of the IYYUN Yeshiva and heads the IYYUN Center in Brownstone Brooklyn.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc. (November 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765700069
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765700063
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,276,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Shalom Spencer on January 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely important book on the history and technique of Jewish meditation. Dov Pinson has written important books on music and reincarnation and this book goes in depth into how meditation is a very important part of the Jewish tradition. One point that he makes is a discussion on the dangers of the meditative experience that is discussed in the Talmud and has shaped traditional Jewish attitudes towards meditation throughhout history. In short this teaching attempts to explain the dangers of the meditative experience that aspires to a union with G-d. As oppossed to say, Buddhism which does not focus on any concept of a G-d in its meditations, Jewish meditation is G-d focused (one could even say it is G-dfullness meditation). Hence there is the danger of getting too close and losing ones self to the larger Infinte experience of G-d. Since Judaism asks Jews to elevate earth at the same time that one aspires to Heaven so to speak, there is a tension for the meditator. It by no means frowns on the quest but presents warnings and pretty much suggests one be balanced in ones personal life and that one be grounded in the material level of life as well. In short Judaism also advocates the middle path! The author does not excellent job explaining this teaching and how it relates to the meditative journey in Judaism. He does a wonderful job explaining contemplation or Hitbonanut which is a pathway especially practiced in Habad Hasidut. There is excellent use of sources and a very clear 'user' friendly explanation of the hitbonanut meditation in the second part of the book. This book does not explain all of the many meditative techniques in Judasm but it does a very good job of giving a broad but insightfull overview. I personally feel there is a need for more of such books especially from those in the Hasidic and Orthodox world. I gained a great deal from this book and look forward to others by the author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A valuable resource both for the theoretical and practical sides of Jewish meditation, based in Torah sources. It reads easily and well. Both the beginning meditator and experienced one will benefit from reading it.
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Format: Paperback
My copy was riddled with typos, some of them of the most egregious character. I can only hope that it was some problem with the book as it went into production, and not negligence on the part of the copy editors or the author.

Particularly egregious is Chapter Six; there, it appears like the copy was not read at all. At times, the sense and meaning of the chapter were ruined by the flow of mistakes. As a published author who has had to struggle over manuscripts, getting the material in good order, laboring over the work many times, it is hard for me to get beyond the shambles.

The question lingers: if the author cared so little for his work, why should we?
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