ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Simple Kabbalah

Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2000

Simple Kabbalah is the third in Conari Press’ Simple Wisdom Book Series, which
seeks to provide accessible books on enlightening topics. Kabbalah is an
ancient mystical Hebrew tradition delving into the esoteric understanding of
the Old Testament-into matters of the soul, the nature of God, Creation and our
spiritual as well as our individual relationship to God and one another.

Journalist-author Zetter writes extensively on Judaism and Israel for
newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco
Chronicle and Jerusalem Post. Her Kabbalah studies began more than ten years
ago when she worked and lived in Israel among the Hassidic Community.
Among the Kabbalistic key principles is the primary concept that God cannot be
known. Ironically, Kabbalists still seek to know whatever aspects of God may be
revealed. The “Ineffable Name of God” is substituted by names such as Elohim or
Adonai, or even Ein Sof (meaning “without end”). Each of ten attributes
emanating form Ein Sof called “sefirot” has a God name as well: Keter, Hochma,
Binah, Hesed, Gevwah, Tiferet, Netzach, Hod, Yesod and Malkut. Each serifa
teaches us how to help achieve balance in ourselves and helps us to recognize
our connection to everything in the Universe. Although some Kabbalists seek
ultimate unification with God through learning and practice, others use the
Kabbalah as a lifelong practice in which there is no final arrival, only the
here and now.

In order to make this rich mystical system of Kabbalah accessible to
contemporary inquirers, Zetter provides a brief history, some key principles,
its origins in Genesis, the Tree of Life and its practicality. The reason why
Kabbalah is so relevant today is its concepts, multi-layered truths and its
conscious lifestyle. For all of its emanations or worlds and layers of meaning,
Zetter insists on the functionality of the Kabbalah. Simple exercises and
meditations are offered. This orderly easy-to-read work serves its purpose for
curious readers seeking a simple yet intelligent introduction. For more serious
students, a concise list of recommended books is included. Illustrations add
clarification. Simple Kabbalah is an accessible explanation of seemingly
impenetrable esoterica.

Sophia Tarila