The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $2.51 (17%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by To You Direct
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Eligible for Prime and FREE Super Saving Shipping! Amazon Customer Service 24/7 with Delivery Tracking! Shipped by Amazon.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism Paperback – January 6, 2009


See all 12 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$12.48
$6.04 $1.42
Audible Audiobook, Abridged
"Please retry"


Frequently Bought Together

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism + The Essential Zohar: The Source of Kabbalistic Wisdom + The Way: Using the Wisdom of Kabbalah for Spiritual Transformation and Fulfillment
Price for all three: $37.40

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $2.99 (Save 69%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1 edition (January 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062511637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062511638
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Daniel Matt's continued wonder at the confounding brilliance of kabbalistic writings is evident in this loving presentation of the key texts from the Jewish mystical tradition. This fine sampling of works from the earliest medieval European texts to 20th-century interpretations includes poems, symbolic stories, meditations, and ruminations by such important figures as Moses de Leon, Moses Cordovero, Isaac Luria, and Abraham Isaac Kook. Matt's translations have both a spareness and a poetic flair that makes reading these highly esoteric selections a richly moving experience.

The words of 14th-century mystic Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov, for example, are rendered with a startling immediacy: "How did God create the world? Like a person taking a deep breath and holding it, so that the small contains the large. Similarly God contracted his light to a divine handbreadth, and the world was left in darkness. In the darkness God carved cliffs and hewed rocks to clear the wondrous paths of wisdom." A short introduction traces the history of Kabbalah, explaining its salient concepts and symbols, and extensive notes provide background on the featured texts and writers. A brief bibliography is provided for those who will want to savor more of these extraordinary texts after tasting their richness in this collection. --Uma Kukathas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Hebrew --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

I really enjoyed the book and it was very well written too.
Deremiah *CPE
This is the first book that I ever read on the Kabbalah and I would recommend it as the best starting place to anyone who is interested in the subject.
benjamin
The book Essential Kabbalah, compiled by Daniel Matt, is a wonderful basic introduction to a very mysterious and often overlooked mystical practice.
FrKurt Messick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 89 people found the following review helpful By benjamin on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the first book that I ever read on the Kabbalah and I would recommend it as the best starting place to anyone who is interested in the subject. The reason I recommend it over Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (by Gershom Scholem, arguably the most important and influential scholar in this area) is because this book gets the reader directly in touch with the texts (and, thanks to the commentary, the meanings derived from them) that make up what has come to be known as "Kabbalah."
Matt divides his book into sections by topic and each entry contains an excerpt from a text that fits the particular topic. The introduction contains a brief essay on the development of the Kabbalah; in the back of the book is a commentary on each passage, helping the reader to understand aspects, meanings, and references in the texts that otherwise may have not been understood.
Highly enriching.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 27, 1997
Format: Paperback
Daniel C. Matt's compilation is an excellent sampling of traditional kabbalistic writings, covering a wide variety of topics in the "tradition." As a survey, it is remarkable; its translations are poetic and beautiful. However, the span of writing it covers is widely scattered, historically speaking; writings are grouped by topic, unrelated to chronology; if you're looking for a historical perspective on Kabbalah, this isn't likely to be your cup of tea. As an introductory text, though, it will provide those interested in Kabbalah's philosophy and symbolism a good survey of paths to strike out on for further investigation
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful By T. A. Noonan on July 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Many people recommend this text as an introduction to the Kabbalah. I tend to agree, simply because this book was written with beginners in mind. For example, all of the footnotes to the texts are NOT marked on the actual text. Rather, they appear in the back of the book. Daniel Matt does this in order to comfort the beginner, but I find it hinders more than it helps.
Probably the best thing about this text is the beautiful poetry Matt utilizes. Translations are never quite the same as the original, but Matt sacrifices more of the literal meaning than most. However, the poetry is very nice. Particularly noteworthy is "The Creation of God," which I fell in love with on the first read.
For the casual student, this is a good beginner text. But for those who really want to know more about the Kabbalah, try other authors such as Gershom Scholem, Howard Schwartz, and Aryah Wineman.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
The book Essential Kabbalah, compiled by Daniel Matt, is a wonderful basic introduction to a very mysterious and often overlooked mystical practice. So often in popular (and even educated) opinion, Judaism of old was considered legalistic and pedantic; however, the Kabbalistic practices introduced here helped to keep alive a true tradition of spirituality through Judaism (more heavily influencing Sephardic Judaism than others).

According to Prof. Lawrence Fine (one of my professors when he and I were at Indiana University): 'Kabbalah is a mystical tradition filled with radiance, vitality, and spiritual depth. [In Matt's book] we catch a glimpse of the sparks of diving life about which the kabbalists speak.'

'Those who persevere in this wisdom find that when they ponder these teachings many times, knowledge grows within them--an increase of essence. The search always leads to something new.'

Kabbalah has often been a secret, or restricted, knowledge. Some have likened it to a gnostic framework. Some kabbalists would not teach, or indeed even discuss, kabbalistic knowledge and practice with anyone under forty years of age.

'Other requirements included high moral standards, prior rabbinic learning, being married, and mental and emotional stability. The point is not to keep people away from Kabbalah, but to protect them.'

The tendency for people to get lost in spirituality, essentially to get lost in the vastness of God to be found deep within themselves, has been noted in almost every spirituality of maturity throughout history. And many has been the false prophet who entices the unwary and uninitiated into mystical territory only to abandon them there.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Alvin Bhuggoo on February 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first heard about the art of Kabbalah through celebrities such as Madonna and Demi Moore. I figured if it touched some of the shallowest people in the world, I might as well learn about its background. This essential guide to the ancient Jewish mysticism of Kabbalah is complete and concise for beginning learners of the faith. Daniel C. Matt separates the book into various sections dealing with one particular topic accompanied by an excerpt from the text with signifance to that topic. The book also expresses deep thought into beliefs discussed in the Torah/Old Testament which I found to be helpful and engaging. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the faith of Kabbalah. It's simply a great read!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Arch Llewellyn on March 29, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this slim book expecting a simple, New Age-y take on a complex tradition. The fact that so few selections run over a page and the authors get banished to the end notes didn't help to dispel this impression.
But reading more closely I was surprised by how well Matt manages to cover some of the Kabbalah's central obsessions in such a short space. The intricate patterns of the Sefirot, the notion of God's 'Nothingness', and a more philosophical account of Creation than the version in Genesis all make a concise appearance. Reading authors from different centuries on the same subject helps to reinforce some of the trickier ideas.
The intro and notes lean heavily on Gershom Scholem's more detailed scholarship. I'd have liked to see more passages from the Zohar (the most famous text of Kabbalah, which Matt's translated), and a historical arrangement would appeal to readers looking for more than Chicken Soup for the Soul. But Matt compensates with useful notes and a good bibliography. The translations themselves are clear but not afraid to shy away from knotty philosphical concepts that will have you thinking of parallels from Buddhism to the Big Bang.
The book left me wanting to read more from the texts, which was probably its aim. A helpful start for anyone interested in learning about this fascinating tradition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?