Recommended Reading

All titles read and approved by 13 Petals staff. Most have links to solely for the purpose of examining the book, reading reviews, etc..
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 Along the Path – Elliot R. Wolfson

Studies in kabbalistic myth, symbolism and hermeneutics. This book includes important reflections concerning the image of Jacob upon the Throne.

The Bahir: Translation and commentary by Aryeh Kaplan

The Bahir is one of the three main texts of Torat ha-Sod along with the Zohar and Sefer Yetzirah (see below). Kaplan’s commentary is invaluable as this is a very cryptic text.

Beyond Kabbalah – The Teachings That Cannot Be Taught: Preparing for the Messianic Era and Beyond – Joel Bakst

Designed for a universal audience interested in esoteric Judaism, this manual provides the serious seeker with instructions on how to retrain your mind to think and experience higher consciousness like a Kabbalist.

Crossing the Narrow Bridge: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman’s Teachings – Chaim Kramer

The world is a very narrow bridge. The main thing is not to be afraid (Likutey Moharan II, 48). Lively, down-to-earth, and easy-to-read, this book gives clear, detailed guidance as to how to apply Rebbe Nachman’s teachings in modern everyday life. The many subjects covered range from faith, truth, joy and meditation to earning a living, health-care and bringing up children. Containing a wealth of anecdotes from the lives of leading Breslover Chassidim of recent times, together with their oral teachings, this work answers many of the practical/technical questions that puzzle those who have begun to make their acquaintance with Breslov literature.

Derech Hashem (The Way of God) – Moshe Chaim Luzzatto – translation and commentary by Aryeh Kaplan

The Ramchal’s insightful analysis of the principles of Torah. The latest version of this book contains updated text and analysis. English with Hebrew on opposite pages.

Gates of Light” (Sha’are Orah) – Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla, translation by Avi Weinstein

Written in 13th century Spain, this book may be considered the lesser-known companion to the Zohar. “Gates of Light provides a systematic and comprehensive explanation of the Names of God and their mystical applications,” as they relate to the ten Sefirot.

The Gift of Kabbalah: Discovering the Secrets of Heaven, Renewing Your Life on Earth – Tamar Frankiel

Unlike the faddish books that just discuss Kabbalah as a magical system, or those that treat it as if it were separable from Judaism, this inspiring book makes accessible the mysteries of Kabbalah with thorough scholarship and depth of spiritual insight. It traces the evolution of Kabbalah in Judaism and sets forth its most important gift: a way of revealing the connection that exists between our “everyday” life and the spiritual oneness of the universe. Including hands-on “personal Kabbalah” exercises that help bring the teachings into your life, ‘The Gift of Kabbalah’ explores: Healing from the Source, Holiness in the Ordinary, Contemplating Your Place in History, Building a Positive Structure for Life, The Soul’s Contract with God … and much more.

In the Shadow of the Ladder: Introductions to Kabbalah – Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag

This authentic translation into English of two Kabbalah texts written in Hebrew asks deeply personal questions about the essence of an individual and the existence of a soul. Discussing the experience of an individual and the role of humans in creation, it offers an understanding of the places of evil, suffering, compassion, and joy in the full experience of divine love. The Kabbalah is presented here not as an esoteric study limited to the divinely inspired, but as a universal pathway of the spirit. 

Inner Space – Aryeh Kaplan

Among the topics discussed in the first part of Innerspace are the Kabbalistic universes through which we may draw close to G-d, the constant interplay between the spiritual and the physical, and the concept of Divine Providence. In Part Two, Rabbi Kaplan explores the text of Ezekiel’s “Vision of the Chariot”. He reveals that all prophecy stems from meditation and details the training a prophet undergoes

The Juggler and the King: The Jew and the Conquest of Evil: An Elaboration of the Vilna Gaon’s Insights Into the Hidden Wisdom of the Sages – Aharon Feldman

From an Amazon Review:  “If you feel the hunger of accessing Midrashim and other Mystical Jewish Sources you will go crazy with this book (it’s more psychological and philosophical ending up in the metaphysics of both, yet an extremely easy reading), it really gives you the feeling of how this Knowledge is put to work explaining different parts of Talmudic symbolism recorded in Metaphors.”

Meditation and the Bible – Aryeh Kaplan

Insights into Jewish meditation, the Prophets, the Psalms and more.

Messiah – Who? What? Why? How? Where? When? – Chaim Kramer

Based on the teaching of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, along with insights from the Bible, Talmud and the Kabbalah, we not only find out more about Mashiach; we also learn how we can participate in this crowning divine revelation – by cultivating Mashiach – qualities in our daily lives and personalities. An excellent resource for understanding the mysteries of Messiah in Judaism. 

The Messiah Texts – Raphael Patai

A classic collection of Jewish texts referring to multiple aspects of ‘the messiah.’

Opening the Tanya Learning From the Tanya, Understanding the Tanya – Adin Steinsaltz
Three book series. Rabbi Steinzaltz’s easy to understand exposition of the Tanya, the preeminent text related to tikkun of the soul. See this link for more info:
The Secret Doctrine of the Gaon of Vilna: Mashiach ben Yoseph and the Messianic Role of Torah, Kabbalah and Science (Vols. 1 & 2) – Joel Bakst
Volume 1

This work reveals the ancient yet futuristic imperative behind the unexpected confluence between Kabbalah and science that was prophesized to begin in the year 1840 and onward. This prediction, first revealed in the 13th century Zohar, necessitates the “reunion” of the kabbalistic “wisdom from above” together with the technological “wisdom from below” in order to stimulate global redemption into the Messianic Age and beyond. This mystical doctrine is based upon the teachings of the Gaon of Vilna drawn from his writings and especially from the 200 year old hidden book Kol HaTor – The Call of the Turtledove – kept secret and only published in 1968. The Secret Doctrine of the Gaon of Vilna is the first ever extensive and coherent presentation of the esoteric Kabbalah school of Rabbi Eliyahu ben Shlomo Zalman, considered among the greatest Torah sages and mystics of the last several centuries.

Volume 2

This work, Volume II of The Secret Doctrine of the Gaon of Vilna, introduces the reader to the virtually unknown Kabbalah School of the Gaon of Vilna. This cosmology incorporates an ancient prophesy mandating a messianic interface between Kabbalah and science. The reader is taken on an exploration of the most challenging “secrets of secrets” to be found from among the entire corpus of the kabbalistic teachings of the Jewish sages: the secret mission of Mashiach ben Yoseph (the Josephic Messiah) and the Twin Messiahs, the cosmic drama of the Sacred Serpent and its role in accelerating technology, the Feast of Leviathan and its higher dimensional “flesh”, and Metatron — Prince of the Presence — the ultimate key to unlocking the Gaon’s Kabbalah system, specifically the doctrine of Kol HaTor, and for that matter, the entire Torah and the cosmos.

The Thirteen Petalled Rose – Adin Steinsaltz
Subtitled, “A discourse on the essence of Jewish existence and belief.” The “Thirteen Petalled Rose” (“shoshana”), is a metaphor for the community of Israel, based on the first paragraph of the Zohar, and Song of Songs 2:2.
The Zaddik: The Doctrine of the Zaddik According to the Writings of Rabbi Yaakov Yosef of Polnoy – Samuel H. Dresner

Background and insights into the concept of the ‘righteous person.’ Key for understanding concepts related to the figure of ‘Messiah ben Yosef.’