The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters

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9780312241735: The Oracle of Kabbalah: Mystical Teachings of the Hebrew Letters

The twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the Aleph Beit, are not merely the building blocks of a language, but something far more profound. Each letter is an ancient key that can help unlock the great secrets of the spiritual world, a set of powerful symbols that can grant insight into the mysteries of our own souls. The Aleph Beit are part of Kabbalah, the teachings and wisdom of Jewish mysticism, and have been a closely guarded secret for centuries. According to the earliest known book on Jewish mysticism, The Sefer Yetzirah (The Book of Creation), the entire universe was formed through the combinations of these twenty-two letters, and ancient mystics, drawing on the divine power residing in the letters, would meditate upon their forms, using them as portals through which they could discover the secrets of the past, the future and the human soul.

Inspired by the tarot, another mystic system of divination and meditation, Richard Seidman has created The Oracle of Kabbalah. To unlock the power of the letters, the reader draws a card at random from the deck, and then, using the book as a guide, meditates upon the card's symbol. When one is uncertain or afraid, the cards will bring guidance and support. When one has questions about how to act, the cards will show you the path that is already deep inside you. And when one has questions about what is yet to come, the cards will reveal the answers already printed on your soul.

As Seidman writes in his introduction, "Each letter is an archetype and each letter is a koan and each letter is a dream and each letter is a poem." These twenty-two letters, infused with the wisdom and philosophy of Kabbalah, form the basis of The Oracle of Kabbalah. Each of the twenty-two cards features one of the original Hebrew letters, and serves as both a guide and a teacher, initiating us into deeper levels of intuition and spiritual understanding, while helping us to discover the mystic potential the lies within us all.

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Review:

Divination--telling the future by magical means--is a dodgy business. Deuteronomy deemed it "repulsive to God." And yet Jews have always attempted to discern the future in various ways, including the casting of lots and meditation upon the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, the Aleph Beit. Richard Seidman presents a primer for the latter form of divination in The Oracle of Kabbalah. A brief historical overview of Jewish divination--beginning with the fact that the Hebrew word for letter, ot, also means "sign, symbol, or miracle"--leads to direct instruction on using Hebrew letters as a means of divination.(The letters printed on a deck of cards are included with this book.) The basic technique is as follows: "Take three slow, deep breaths from the belly. Formulate a question ... pray for inspiration and receptivity," pick a card, look up the description of the letter you've drawn, meditate on that letter's meaning, and "be receptive to any glimmers of intuition that arise." --Michael Joseph Gross

About the Author:

Richard Seidman has practiced Zen Buddhism for more than twenty-five years with renowned teachers Robert Aitken, Philip Kapleau, and Nelson Foster. His studies in Jewish mysticism with Rabbi Aryeh Hirschfield wakened Seidman to the indigenous voices of his ancestors. Inspired by Kabbalah, Zen, poetry, and myth, Richard Seidman breathes on the glowing ember of Jewish Renewal to help raise a fire by which we can warm ourselves, tell our stories, and feed the spirit of life. He lives in Ashland, Oregon.

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner is the author of more than 23 books on Jewish mysticism and spirituality, and is an authority on the Kabbalah.

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