An Introduction to the Kabbalah

By Moshe Hallamish
Translated by Ruth Bar-Ilan & Ora Wiskind-Elper

Subjects: Jewish Mysticism
Series: SUNY series in Judaica: Hermeneutics, Mysticism, and Religion
Paperback : 9780791440124, 379 pages, December 1998
Hardcover : 9780791440117, 379 pages, January 1999

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Table of contents


Part One: The Kabbalah and its Attainment

1. Mysticism and the Kabbalah
2. The Kabbalist and His Kabbalah
3. Prerequisites
4. Early Preparations
5. The Dangers Facing the Mystic
6. Techniques of Exploring Mysteries
7. Evaluation of the Kabbalah
8. The Origins of the Revelations

Part Two: The Basic Concepts of the Kabbalah

9. The Doctrine of the Sefirot
10. Good and Evil
11. The Doctrine of Creation
12. The Torah
13. The Doctrine of the Soul
14. The Doctrine of Transmigration





Provides an introduction to the world of the Kabbalah, focusing on both the Kabbalist as a person and the major teachings of the Kabbalah.


This book acquaints the reader with the world of the Kabbalah. The first part discusses the Kabbalist as a person: the personal transmission of Kabbalistic traditions, the Kabbalist's qualities and qualifications, prerequisites and early preparations, risks and achievements, as well as techniques for uncovering mysteries and the sources of revelations. The second part deals with the major themes in the teachings of the Kabbalah, such as the doctrine of the Sefirot, the Sitra–Ahra—good and evil, the creation of the world, the status of the Torah and its commandments, the doctrine of the soul and the transmigration of souls. In treating these issues, the book also notes the assimilation of Kabbalistic notions in Jewish religious customs.

Moshe Hallamish is Full Professor of Jewish Mysticism, Bar-Ilan University, Israel. He has authored and edited many books, and is editor of DAAT, a journal of Jewish Philosophy and Kabballah.


"An Introduction to the Kabbalah is a lucid, scintillating guide to the esoteric teachings of Judaism. The book is very readable without sacrificing scholarly sophistication. " — Daniel Matt, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley; Author of The Essential Kabbalah and God and the Big Bang

"This is an important work. It provides an overview of the world of Jewish mysticism with particular attention to the issues that are philosophically generated within that tradition. It examines these issues in a phenomenological way, free of the historiographical approach practiced by many students of Gershom Scholem. The book addresses a number of significant aspects of Jewish mysticism in light of their relationship to general Jewish thought, not in the light of other traditions. It also provides the newcomer to the field with important sources from across the historical continuum of the Kabbalah. " — Pinchas Giller, Washington University