From A Kabbalist’s Diary

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The discipline of Kabbalah is generally subdivided into kabbalah ma’asit, practical or applied kabbalah, and kabbalah ‘iyyunit, theoretical kabbalah. In the popular imagination, the kabbalist is a practitioner of the magical arts. However, there is another sort of kabbalist whose way of relating to and interpreting the world is based on a profound system of thought.
Such a comprehensive, all-encompassing thought evidences itself in the spiritual diaries of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook (1865-1935). Gershom Scholem, Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, wrote: “Rabbi Kook’s great work… is a veritable theologia mystica of Judaism equally distinguished by its originality and the richness of its author’s mind. It is the last example of productive kabbalistic thought of which I know.”

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RABBINIC PRAISE FOR FROM A KABBALIST’S DIARY:
“This book is an historic enterprise. For the first time, the English reader is presented the keys to enter the holy palace of Hokhmat ha-Emet, “the wisdom of truth,” Kabbalah, and religious philosophy. The style is original; the language comprehensible to today’s intellectual. All students and researchers of Jewish thought will greatly benefit from the gates opened to them by Rabbi Bezalel Naor.”
Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa; President, Ariel Institutes
“I know of no one else who has so masterfully and creatively negotiated the range of disparate themes and persons from Rabbi Kook to Izbica to Levinas to—Taliban, and much territory in between. Rabbi Naor has managed to carve a felicitous language all his own to give body to the ethereal and imbue the concrete with almost gossamer-like delicacy and sensitivity. A tour de force!”
Rabbi Zevulun Charlop, Dean, Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University
“A multicolored bouquet: Kabbalah, Hasidism, philosophy, theology, homiletics and even…Lithuanian Torah. Lo alman Yisrael. ‘Israel is not widowed.’ We can produce scholars such as Rabbi Naor. Highly recommended to all who hold the Torah dear.”
Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet-Rothkoff, Gruss Kollel, Yeshiva University, Jerusalem Author The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik

ACADEMIC PRAISE FOR FROM A KABBALIST’S DIARY:

“Bezalel Naor, in this collection of challenging, engaging, and wide-ranging essays, proves himself to be a true disciple of Rav Kook. Rav Kook saw his task as one of breaking down barriers: barriers between halakhah and aggadah, mysticism and ethics, religion and peoplehood, theory and practice, and much more. In these essays Rabbi Naor breaks down yet other barriers: those separating creative kabbalistic thinking and modern historical scholarship; the bet midrash and the academy. We have here a unique blend of engaged scholarship and, to reverse the image, disciplined, critical, spiritual reflection, all harnessed to enable us to confront thoughtfully and confidentially the pressing issues of our times as both human beings and Jews.”
Professor Lawrence Kaplan, Department of Jewish Studies, McGill University

“With encyclopedic grasp of rabbinic and kabbalistic literature, Bezalel Naor is able to expound upon some of the most interesting, and often neglected, areas of Jewish thought. His careful reading of texts, in particular Rav Kook and the Hasidic masters, illuminates many hitherto obscure passages. It is also refreshing to see Naor turn his keen eye to areas that have wide current interest, such as 9/11, the State of Israel, and feminist thought. Especially provocative and timely is his daring analysis of Rav Kook’s view of homosexuality. This is a collection of essays that all serious students of Jewish thought and the contemporary Jewish scene will benefit from.”
Professor Marc B. Shapiro, Weinberg Chair of Judaic Studies, University of Scranton

From the Front Flap

The discipline of Kabbalah is generally subdivided into kabbalah ma’asit, practical or applied kabbalah, and kabbalah ‘iyyunit, theoretical kabbalah. In the popular imagination, the kabbalist is a practitioner of the magical arts. However, there is another sort of kabbalist whose way of relating to and interpreting the world is based on a profound system of thought.

Such a comprehensive, all-encompassing thought evidences itself in the spiritual diaries of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Hakohen Kook (1865-1935). Gershom Scholem, Professor of Jewish Mysticism at Hebrew University, Jerusalem, wrote: “Rabbi Kook’s great work… is a veritable theologia mystica of Judaism equally distinguished by its originality and the richness of its author’s mind. It is the last example of productive kabbalistic thought of which I know.”

From the Back Flap

Bezalel Naor is considered one of the foremost interpreters of Rabbi Kook’s thought. Beyond that, he attempts to extend Rabbi Kook’s method of hermeneutics to confront the issues of our generation.

As in any living tradition, each generation adds original nuances and tonalities. These essays of Rabbi Naor show a way in which people of spirit may apply the ancient sacred teachings to an ever-changing world.

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