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A question about which books to read..

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Personally, I always like to first and foremost to recommend that anyone interested in Kabalah read the Sefer Yetzirah, and, if possible, Aryeh Kaplan's translation and commentary.

I consider it not only a 'basic' book, but also one from which a solid foundation may be laid.
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From Rabbi Kaplan's Introduction


Quote:
Originally Posted by jmd
I consider it not only a 'basic' book, but also one
from which a solid foundation may be laid.
The Sefer Yetzirah

Careful study indicates that it is a meditative text
with magical overtones.

Talmudic traditions indicate that it could be used
to create living creatures, including the Golem!

The text was deliberately written in a fashion
so that it would be meaningless to those who read it
without an extensive background
in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and Midrash.

http://www.servantsofthelight.org/QB...etzirah_0.html
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradford
I think you'd be better off first reading a good introductory book from the Jewish perspective (usually spelled Kabbalah), and then one from the Western Mystery Tradition perspective (usually spelled Qabalah) second.
To keep it simple, maybe Daniel Matt (The Essential Kabbalah) for the first, and Dion Fortune (The Mystical Qabalah) or Mathers (The Kabbalah Unveiled) second. You should also read the Sefer Yetzirah by itself, maybe the Kaplan translation.
I agree entirely. Daniel Matt's Essential Kabbalah is a first rate book, and very readable. Kabbalah decoder by Janet Berenson-Perkins is informative, readable and beautifully illustrated.

For some time I've been meaning to buy Kabbalistic tarot by Dovid Krafchow who, according to the blurb, has studied Kabbalah and practiced the Tarot for more than 30 years and who was a student at the Hadar Hatorah Institute for Rabbinical Studies in Brooklyn, New York. So I suspect he knows his stuff!
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It was suggested to me to read about the Kabbalah before reading about the Qabalah and Tarot. I took that onboard and got a book called 'Mysteries of the Kabbalah' by Marc-Alain Ouaknin. I have also read this rabbi's book 'Mysteries of the Alphabet'. I have now a base to work from with a better understanding to see the connections with Tarot, and I am now re -reading books mentioned prior to this post. Both books are excellent and I highly reccomend them. ~Rosanne
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I have to second those who recommended Wang's book, The Qabalistic Tarot. I floundered for awhile w/the qabalah, having only read about it peripherally (ie via Crowley's BOT) but this book gives a solid background to get any beginner started.

Also, apparently it's in print again, a revised preface avail to read here: http://www.marcusaureliuspress.com/

I also have to respectfully disagree that the Sepher Yetzirah should be the first text a novice turns to unless there is extensive commentary. I tried reading it (sans comments) for the study group in this forum w/o much success - it's only now that I've read a good chunk of Wang's book that I feel I could start studying the SY.
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I've been looking at various introductory books lately and the one I got on with best was Tree of Life: An Introduction to the Cabala by Z'ev ben Shimon Halevi aka Warren Kenton. I believe it's now been reissued as Introduction to the Cabala: Tree of Life. I've also been dipping in to Dion Fortune's Mystical Qabalah, but Halevi's book has made the way ahead seem a lot clearer.
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I just got Robert Wang's Qabilistic Tarot last week - and I am in awe of it's clarity and depth. This is one of the few books on Tarot that really, really has mostly "meat" and very little fluff. The only wish I have is that it had more information on pathworking, but there are many other books that cover that subject, some of which have been mentioned here, such as the Mystical Qabala, by Dion Fortune. I was looking at that book today at the bookstore and it looked really good.

I don't think you can go wrong with Wang's Qabilistic Tarot. I have a whole collection of Tarot books, and I'd keep this one over just about all of the rest. It's a textbook, a reference book, and a book for reflection and meditation as well. Good luck on your quest!

Bill V
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I agree that R. Ben Halevi (Warren Kenton)'s books are good solid introductory books, and that another, of a different kind, is R. Laibl Wolf's Practical Kabbalah. These, to supplement something like the Sefer Yetzirah, remain, in my view, amongst the best introductory texts.

Personally, I would stay away from either Wang or Fortune until some foundation has been built, as they present not so much Kabbalah per se, but rather the Golden Dawn version of the same.
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Wizzle.. thanks for the site. I do not know anything about it but agree when it is easy access to read and so much to learn that I will go through it and read as much as I can. That is great ! I once went to buy a book but they had so many choices I gave up. This way I can read or not read what is on there.
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Another interesting author (introductory studies and beyond) is Rav Michael Laitman. He also has a great website, fyi:

http://www.kabbalah.info/
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