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The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A Discourse On The Essence Of Jewish Existence And Belief Paperback – September 12, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

One can encounter the classical Jewish mystical view of reality, delineated lucidly, concisely, profoundly and what is so rare, believingly. --Rabbi Herbert Weiner --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Language Notes

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

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; Exp Upd edition (September 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465082726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465082728
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #479,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rabbi Yonassan Gershom VINE VOICE on July 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
With all the talk about angels lately, this book should be required reading for every Jew. In this thin but profound volume, Rabbi Steinsaltz, coming from an authentic position within both Orthodoxy and kabbalah, clearly explains the Jewish conception of angels and how they work on the four kaobbalistic levels of Action, Formation, Creation, and Emanation. Also explained is how the mitzvahs we do create new angels to raise up the universe's energy, and how a sin (heaven forbid) can drag the universal energies down. He then ties it all together by giving us a beautiful interpetation of the kiddush (wine blessing) ritual. After reading this book, you will never think of Torah as "mere laws" again!
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Format: Paperback
Although short in length, this book packs quite a punch. The chapter on repentence alone is worth the price if the whole book. Steinsaltz does a magnificent job of peeling the layers back to get at the core of the meaning of concepts relating to life. This book is certainly Kabbalistic in nature, but that shouldn't prohibit anyone from picking this book up. It is written a very easy to understand manner that would make it acceptable to anyone interested in the "meaning of life." The author takes intimidating subjects like the sefirot or "tree of life," and explains their relevance to our lives in a manner suitable for even novices of scripture or anyone searching for some meaning for that matter. I can see coming back to this book time and time again for methods of approaching subjects of the Torah to those that reject its validity in our lives or those that like to portray it as irrelevant in today's society. This book could definitely be part of a class in a college or university and would even be suited for certain high schools. The depth of subject matter combined with the easy readability and the relatively short length make this a splendid book suitable for anyone remotely interested in the meaning of their life.
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Format: Paperback
Whether one is Jewish or not, this book clearly and succinctly provides important knowledge about esoteric Jewish beliefs for those who are seeking answers to spiritual questions. The discourse on "Worlds" includes abstract but not difficult to follow ideas of how energy, thoughts, actions and feelings affect other dimensions ("worlds"). The description of the domain of angels and their interaction in the human realm is very lucid and enlightening. The mysteries of the Kabbalah are touched upon in terms of how the ten Sefirot connect to organic Reality. The mystery of life is revealed as events in our world affect the nature and quality of relations, in terms of light and power in other worlds. The importance of the study and practice of mitzvot can not be over emphasized. It is words and deeds that help illuminate our soul and bring about blessings which make the world a better place. Through human will, the intersection of all worlds occurs, because the human being has the power to change the fixed order of things.

Rabbi Steinsaltz's description of that which is "Holy" is exceptionally clear. Holy means separation, that which is Holy is untouchable, distinctly "Other", and can not be understood or defined. He does however reassure us, despite the transcendental nature and distance of that which is Holy, human beings can become more receptive and open to Its influence. He connects time, space, and the soul of humans with the effects of the Sefirot in our realm, along with the performance of mitzvot. The results of all these connections and interactions can be described as concentric circles or a helix of energy between realms. He describes how the spark of life in man, when expressed as a creative urge brings more divine influence into the world and thus expresses the image of G-d.
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By A Customer on March 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
The unfolding of the heart of Jewish spirituality, like removing petals from a rose, until the stem remains, a nourishing channel from the powers of life's soil, to be discovered in the sefirot of Yahweh (or, the mystical science of the Kabbalah which lies under the surface of Judiasm like a great anchoring mass under the tip of an iceberg).
This is a beautifully written look at thirteen tenants of Jewish spirituality, and how those aspects apply not only on a metaphysical level, but in one's daily life. It is recommended reading for anyone who can appreciate the primal elements of any long-standing philosophy, Jewish or otherwise, or for those who can appreciate literary poeticism. In short, perhaps the rose is the heart, and we only need to remove the petals one by one, to know each, and then to let them go, until only the force of life, viz., God, remains.
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Format: Hardcover
I have literally given this book to at least a dozen people over the years. It is a profound instructional manual and guide to the beyond and to the here and now. Rabbi Steinsaltz is a unique thinker and a wonderful spirit for all of us, especially Jews, who often wonder: What are the underlying profound beliefs of my people. Too often,we cannot find these beliefs in the synagogue, but Rabbi Steinsaltz is more than a teacher, he is a direct path to profundity and hope.
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Format: Paperback
Most of this book outlines the world view of the kabbalistic wing of traditional Judaism, paying great attention to the alleged facets (or sefirot) of the Deity. It doesn't really explain how Jewish thinkers reached these conclusions, so it isn't likely to be useful to people who are not predisposed towards mysticism. Nor does Steinsaltz explain the role of non-Jews in his worldview: if Jewish behavior affects the various "worlds", is non-Jewish behavior relevant?

There are a few points I liked in this book though. He explains the relationship between the spirituality of prayer and the precision of halacha: ideally, the two combine to create a balanced religious personality, one not limited to emotion or intellect alone.

His explanations of the Sabbath and of Sabbath-related rituals, especially his chapter on the Sabbath meal and Kiddush, were clearer to me than some of his other chapters. He points out that most Sabbath-eve rituals were intended to replicate the Temple in some way, while others recall some other Torah event. For example, we cover two pieces of bread before the meal to "recall the bread from heaven, the manna, which on the Sabbath day came down in double portions covered with a layer of dew." Similarly, we drink wine to recall the wine used as part of Temple sacrifices.
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