A Kabbalistic Reading List

not every book has been rated!!!!

(note - for Hermetic Kabbalah see this page)


Simple Basic Intermediate Advanced very technical not rated
Simple Basic Intermediate Advanced very technical not rated

In Association with Amazon.com

Book Jewish Mysticism by Rabbi J. Abelson. Sepher-Hermon Press, 1913

technical Etz Chaim : Hebrew Text by Yehuda Ashlag' (condensed 2 Vol. Set - in Hebrew (vol.002)

very technical Ten Luminous Emanations by Yehuda Ashlag - Paperback Vol 001 (June 1970) Kabbalah Learning Center

very technical Ten Luminous Emanations by Yehuda Ashlag - Paperback Vol 002 (June 1973) Kabbalah Learning Center

The above are available from Amazon com. The following older editions may be the same books, or at least contain the same material:

Book The Ten Luminous Emanations from Rabbi Isaac Luria According to Rabbi Hayim Vital: Section 1 (Hebrew & English), Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky, Trans. Jerusalem: Research Centre of Kabbalah, 1969
Book The Ten Luminous Emanations from Rabbi Isaac Luria According to Rabbi Hayim Vital: Circles and Straightness (Hebrew & English), Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky, Trans. Jerusalem: Research Centre of Kabbalah, 1973
Book The Kabbalah: A Study of the Ten Luminous Emanations from Rabbi Isaac Luria According to Rabbi Hayim Vital: With Two Commentaries by Rabbi Yehuda L. Ashlag (Hebrew & English),  Rabbi Levi I. Krakovsky, Trans. Jerusalem: Research Centre of Kabbalah, 1978

Apart from Kaplan's Meditation and Kabbalah, this is the only book in English with translations of origional Lurianic (Chaim Vital) material into English (Etz Hayyim - the "Tree f Life"). Difficult going but still highly recommended reading. Or you can get the Hebrew version The only reason i'm giving it four and not five stars is because it would be even better with less Ashlagan commentary and more original Lurianic/Vital text translated. 4 stars

non-technical An Entrance to the Tree of Life of Rabbi Isaac Luria by Yehuda Ashlag, edited by Philip S. Berg - A popularised approach to Ashlagian Lurianism. I havent read it but Berg tries to present things in a non-technical way, so I would say he is less difficult to understand that others of the Ashlag school

Book Instructions in Intercourse with God by The Baal Shem Tov (Martin Buber, Trans.). Horizon Press, 1958)

non-technical Kabbalah for the Layman by Philip S. Berg, - a non-technical approach to Kabbalah. Dr Berg is the main populariser of the Ashlag school of Lurianic Kabbalah. Compare this book with Steinsaltz

technical Bahir by Aryeh Kaplan (Translator) Translation of the earliest true Kabbalistic text. Not as interesting as fully developed Kabbalah, but an important historical work

Book in Print The Jewish Mystical Tradition (Chapter 3), Ben Zion Bokser.  The Pilgrim Press, 1981

Book in Print The Early Kabbalah (Classics of Western Spirituality), ed. by Joseph Dan and Ronald C. Kiener

easy to read Kabbalah : The Way of the Jewish Mystic by Perle Epstein - one of the early popular books on Kabbalah (dates to the late 60s) - very easy to read, very basic, perhaps useful as a primer, but since been superseded by other, more authorative writers - also available in audio cassette - 3 1/2 stars

Book in Print Safed Spirituality by Lawrence Fine. Paulist Press, 1984

easy to read Kabbalah : Tradition of Hidden Knowledge (Art and Imagination) by Z'Ev Ben Shimon Halevi - this is essentially a picture book, like all the Art and Imagination series. Great for a brief overview and some really nice illustrations. But don't expect any in-depth information here 4 stars

technical Kabbalah : New Perspectives by Moshe Idel - the greatest Kababalistic writer around today, but very dense and technical 5 star rating

Book Meditation and Kabbalah by Aryeh Kaplan - superb anthology of esoteric Kabbalistic texts 5 star rating

very technical The Light of Redemption by Levi Krakovsky - another book of the Ashlag school of Lurianic Kabbalah - dense and difficult to read - hence the low rating, but there is some interesting information and diagrams only 2 stars

Book in Print Jewish Mystical Testimonies (Chapter 11), Lewis Jacobs.  Schocken Books, 1978

Book Likutey Moharan (Hebrew & English), Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. (Rabbi Simcha Bergman, Trans.) Jerusalem: Breslov Research Institute, 1986

very technical General Principles of Kabbalah by Moses Luzzatto - my all-time favourite book on Lurianic Kabbalah. Would you belive it is out of priint!!!! 5 star rating

not too technical Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism by Gershom Scholem, 1941 very readable overview of Jewish Mysticism 4 1/2 stars

Book in Print On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism by Gershom Scholem, 1969.

technical Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem - a more indepth and technical book than his Major Trends 5 star rating

Book in Print Sabbatai Sevi: The Mystical Messiah by Gershom Scholem, 1973

Book in Print The Messianic Idea in Judaism, by Gershom Scholem, 1971

Book Path of the Kabbalah by David Sheinkin - I havent read it, but it gets some good reviews by readers at Amazon. The fact that Sheinkin's teacher was the esteemed Aryeh Kaplan is perhaps recommendation enough!

audio cd Beyond Words ~ The Sounds of the Kabballah by Shulamit - I havent heard it, but it certainly seems interesting!
Album Description:
The SoulSongs "Beyond Words" CD has 10 tracks, each containing a different combination of Kabballistic Vocal Tones. Each Track has been specifically created by Shulamit to help awaken the Neshamah within.

non-technical The Thirteen Petalled Rose by Adin Steinsaltz, transl. by Yehuda Hanegbi - Steinsalt is a maverick in Jewish religious writing, with a wonderful flowing easy to read style almost unheard of in his community. No footnotes, just a straight exposition. Essentially this would seem to be a non-technical account of the Chabad/Ashlag Lurianic position. If you want to understand what the modern orthodox Kabbalists believe, get this book! 5 star rating

Easy to read 9 1/2 Mystics: The Kabbala Today by Herbert Weiner, et al - wonderful travelling biographic accounts of modern day Kabbalists! 5 star rating

Book in Print Sefer Yetzirah : The Book of Creation edited and commentary by Aryeh Kaplan

very technical Lessons in Tanya : The Tanya of R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi edited Yosef Vaynberg, transl. by Sholom Wineberg and Levi Wineberg - a fascinating and detailed book - very difficult to read, but full of all sorts of incredible judaic, kabbalistic, and symbolic minutae 5 star rating

Book in Print Zohar : The Book of Enlightenment (Classics of Western Spirituality) introduction by Daniel Chanan Matt - an anthology only - not the whole book!!!

Book in Print Zohar : The Book of Splendor : Basic Readings from the Kabbalah by Gershom Scholem (Editor)

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content by M.Alan Kazlev, with some selections by Yakov Leib HaKohain
page uploaded 26 April 2001, last modified 19 January 2005