THE GIFT OF KABBALAH: Discovering the Secrets of Heaven, Renewing Your Life on Earth

Tamar Frankiel, Author . Jewish Lights $21.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-58023-108-4

The daunting challenge of explaining the complexities of Jewish mysticism is vigorously but unsuccessfully tackled by Frankiel, who teaches the history of religions at the University of California, Riverside. A frequent lecturer on Kabbalah, Frankiel has authored and coauthored books on this and related topics (The Voice of Sarah, Minding the Temple of the Soul and Entering the Temple of Dreams). She refers to this book as an "invitation to study Kabbalah," a beginner's guide for Jews and non-Jews alike. After a brief history of Kabbalah, Frankiel plunges into her explanation but quickly loses readers by strained definitions of anthropology and cosmology, followed by arcane Kabbalistic concepts and language. Throughout, she struggles to personalize Kabbalah as a "path of action" for individuals, promising self-discovery and life enrichment. To this end, the book's final section delineates a variety of practices including meditation, contemplation, prayer and affirmations. Frankiel concludes with an abstruse discussion of Kabbalistic astrology, replete with signs, planetary placements, degrees and colors. This final presentation is so labored and esoteric as to underscore Frankiel's failure to meet her own objective of clarifying and simplifying Kabbalah. Instead, readers will continue to be bewildered about Kabbalah, even if they manage to wade through the entire book. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/14/2001
Release date: 03/01/2001
Paperback - 250 pages - 978-1-58023-141-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-58023-644-7
Hardcover - 250 pages - 978-1-68336-368-2
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-1-4596-8319-8
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