Zwecker: Jewish Meditation (2010)

Tal Moshe Zwecker (a Chabad rabbi) published the Kindle edition of his ” Jewish Meditation – Hisbodedus the lost path of secluded meditation” last week. It is a 34 pages long. Here is his description: A collection of translations from primary sources on Jewish Meditation, especially relating to the prophetic and mussar schools. Beginning with Sefer HaMaspik Le’Ovdei Hashem by Rabbi Abraham Maimonides the famous son of Rambam, this book…

6th annual Kabbalah Day

The 6th annual Kabbalah Day at the JCC in Manhattan was this last Sunday. Its focus was Safed. The (New York) Jewish Week published an introductory article about it. At the organizers’ website (JInsider and JCC Manhattan) there wasn’t much information about the event. These were some of the workshops: Key Teachings and Meditative Practices of the Safed Kabbalists Kabbalistic Influences on Prayer and Ritual Understanding the Moral Consideration of…

Michaelson: Taking Avatar Seriously

Jay Michaelson‘s musings related to the movie Avatar in Forward compares and contrasts its message to that of Kabbalah in the areas of  spiritual and practical environmentalisms. He connects mysticism and environmentalisms in two ways, namely: “Avatar’s” deep ecology is interwoven with its pantheistic, quasi-kabbalistic notion of a “web of life.” Indeed, the latter necessitates the former: it’s impossible to believe that all life is deeply connected, and yet not…

Everything is God

On the last day of January there was an event in Boston titled “Everything is God: A Boston Jewish Spiritual Woodstock“. (A similar event will happen in San Francisco on February 11. See Facebook.) Here is the description of the Boston even from its Facebook page: LEARN: at an expert panel featuring Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, recently named a finalist for the Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature for her memoir…

Haaretz article on the Jewish occult

A newly discovered piece of stained, wrinkled paper conjures up the details of a Jewish exorcism that appears to have been performed sometime in the 18th or 19th century. The ghostly document details the prayers that were performed on Qamar bat Rahmah to try to rid her of the spirit of her dead husband, Nissim ben Bonia. According to the handwritten but well-preserved Hebrew text, the rabbis asked the ghost…

Idel: Kabbalistic Manuscripts in the Vatican Library

Professor Moshe Idel a leading professor of studying and teaching Kabbalah in an academic setting posted an entry on the Seforim blog about Kabbalah manuscripts kept in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican Library). It is an expansion of remarks delivered at the February 2009 symposium hosted at the National Library of Israel, in Jerusalem. In the summer of 1280, Abraham Abulafia (1240- c. 1291), a Kabbalist who founded the special…

Excerpt from a Karen Armstrong interview

What do you make of those who say they are “spiritual, but not religious”? I can’t stand that. Spiritual often just means some kind of wishy-washy me-ism, where I’m having a lovely experience without much discipline. You know, designer Kabbalah in Hollywood or designer yoga. Yoga is not about aerobic exercise or finding the lovely oceanic peacefulness about yourself; it’s about dismantling the ego. It demands hours of practice every…