Demystifying the Mystical is a primer designed to ease the layperson into the esoteric world of Chasidism. The concepts found in Jewish mysticism can often be difficult even for the learned person to grasp because its principles are embedded in parables, analogies, and examples. Whether one has had a rich Jewish education or has just been introduced to the world of Jewish thought, the lofty concepts of Kabbalah can be difficult to relate to in a down-to-earth way. Just as one must master his or her profession in order to succeed, one must learn Chasidism so as to internalize its teachings, says author Rabbi Chaim Dalfin. Only then do the esoteric principles of mysticism appear in their practical application to today's world. This applied study of mysticism is actually in accordance with the basic thrust of Chasidism as it originated. Both the Baal Shem Tov, the founder and inspiration of the chasidic movement, and the Alter Rebbe, the founder of Chabad Chasidism, began with highly abstract thoughts but transmitted them into accessible terms. This system is considered unique because Kabbalah is an esoteric tradition that deals with concepts of worlds, processes, and levels of being that are not visible or tangible, while classical Jewish thought, such as the Talmud and the Jewish legal tradition, deals almost entirely with tangible things such as property, marriage, and holidays. For the beginner, the author has provided the basic terms that are used throughout the book at the beginning of each chapter. He has also has included a list of questions for each chapter in the appendix.
by Chaim Dalfin
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