Shalom Shar'abi and the Kabbalists of Beit El

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Press: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (February 19, 2008)
Publication Date:2008-2
Author Name:Giller, Pinchas
Edition:1st Edition


The Jerusalem kabbalists of the Beit El Yeshivah are the most influential school of kabbalah in modernity. 
The school is associated with the writings and personality of a charismatic eighteenth-century Yemenite Rabbi, Shalom Shar'abi, considered by his acolytes to be divinely inspired by the prophet Elijah.
Shar'abi initiated what is still the most active school of mysticism in contemporary Middle Eastern Jewry.
Today, this meditative tradition is rising in popularity not only in Jerusalem, but throughout the Jewish World.
Pinchas Giller examines the characteristic mystical practices of the Beit El School.
The dominant practice is that of ritual prayer with mystical "intentions," or kavvanot.
The kavvanot themselves are the product of thousands of years of development and incorporate many traditions and bodies of lore.
Giller examines the archaeology of the kavvanot literature, the principle aspect of which is the meditation on God's sacred names while reciting prayers, the development of particular rituals, and the innovative mystical and devotional practices of the Beit El kabbalists.

About the Author

Pinchas Giller is Professor of Jewish Thought at the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. 
He is the author of Reading the Zohar: The Sacred Text of the Kabbalah.


Religion & Spirituality,Judaism,Theology,Kabbalah & Mysticism,Textbooks,Humanities,Religious Studies,Judaism

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Comment List (Total:3)

  •     Pinchas Giller has created a "scholarly" but altogether readable and accesible account of a group of Sephardic Jews centerd in Israel and how they value and use traditional Kavanot in their structued prayerlife.Kavanot ,roughly translated as intentions, are commonly emphasized in Hassidic Judaism and refer to the the concentration and heartfelt feeling with which one prays or performs mitzvot (commandments). This book however explores a more specialized use of the term. Mostly using letter combinations of divine names the practitioner vizualizes while reciting the various prayers with the intention of causing unifications in the Kaballistic tree of life resulting in a grater influx of divine energy into the earth.Some of these come from Issac Luria and other traditional Kaballistic sources. If the reader is inerested in a more pratical treatment of the subject do see "Walking in the Fire" by Ariel Bar Tzadok (also available from Amazon). The two books make great companions. This is a very neglected matter in Jewish Kabbalah and these two books give a good introdutory coverage of it.Giller's book emphasizes histories,names places, and and questions that naturally arize from them while Tzadok's renders a practical treatment. I recommend both.
  •     Excellent client.
  •     Barely touched the surface of Shar'bis theology. Reads like an incomplete investigative report. Lacks any transcendent aspects of the rabbi. Astonishing what gets published these days

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