- Series: later printing
- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; Expanded, Updated edition (September 12, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465082726
- ISBN-13: 978-0465082728
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 60 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A Discourse On The Essence Of Jewish Existence And Belief Paperback – September 12, 2006
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The Thirteen Petalled Rose is a relatively short book of just under 200 pages. It's content is divided into ten sections: Worlds, Divine Manifestation, The Soul Man, Holiness, Torah, The Way of Choice, The Human Image, Repentance, The Search for Oneself, and Mitzvot (commandments). While all of this information was wonderful, I found the author's presentation of the four worlds especially compelling.
Traditional Kabbalistic sources describe four known spiritual realms called, from higher to lower, Atzilut (emanation), Beriah (creation), Yetzirah (formation) and Assiyah (action). Steinsaltz expands on these traditional divisions quite clearly noting that there are many levels within each of the known spiritual realms as well as other lower realms not thought of as part of the four worlds as listed above.
Steinsaltz begins with our world, the world of action, explaining that this observed world is a part of a vast array of worlds, most of which are spiritual. He points out that these worlds do not exist somewhere else but in another dimension and describes a dynamic relationship between worlds with a very real exchange of influence occurring. He stresses that occurrences in our world impact on other worlds and can affect significant change in the spiritual realms. I could not agree more.
The author works through each of the spiritual dimensions in highly coherent way explaining concepts and terminology in original and insightful ways. He explains, 'higher' and 'lower' worlds (for example) in terms of 'nearer' and 'farther' or degrees of 'transparency' to the divine light. And tells us that, as one descends through the worlds materiality becomes greater and a sense of independence is felt with an ever increasing intensity. This blocks the divine light and obscures, per the author, the unchanging essence that lurks beneath the personality.
I find Steinsaltz's understanding of divinity, angels, humans and the reality we inhabit impressive. I imagine a reality of not four but almost innumerable levels with good deeds and sacred actions radiating upward and outward, expanding and elevating, and ultimately touching the divinity to which we are all connected.
I feel that I have come away from this reading with a clearer understanding of the nature of spiritual beings and the very fundamental differences between angels and man. Additionally I found the text validating on a personal level as it is my deep-seated belief that there are many largely imperceptible dimensions beyond our own limited understanding of what is. I could not recommend this book more highly!
You may read the complete review of this wonderful book and others on my blog @ MysticalLiving.com
Seemed like Steinsaltz would be a good place to start for a little background on mysticism.
This book was good, written in Steinsaltz's clear prose, devoid of jargon (you don't have to know anything about kabala to read it). However, it doesn't really acquaint you with kabala in anything but a roundabout way. You won't know the terminology, history, or practices by the end of the book, just an overview of the worldview and outlook. It does contain beautiful explanations of many of the symbolic, mystical, and theological aspects of Judaism. (Especially the last chapter on the Kiddush ritual, which seems to have been added as almost an afterthough, yet was one of the prettiest pieces in the book.)
Don't get me wrong - Steinsaltz is a genius, maybe even someone you could call one of the geniuses of the generation. Anything by him is worth reading. But if you haven't read anything by him, I'd recommend starting with The Strife of the Spirit (may not be in print but is widely available used on the internet). It's a better foundation, more original discourse, and a more engaging read.
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What more can I say?
Read it !!!
Learn it !!!
Know it !!!
Practice it !!!
Moshiach is coming !!!!!!!!