Because a welter of details sometimes conceals the Torah’s aura of holiness, Jewish mystics and spiritual teachers for centuries have attempted to reveal that aura through creative interpretation. The Aura of Torah explores these attempts in an effort to bridge the gap between the Torah text and the modern Jewish spiritual quest.
This book collects a wide variety of interpretations of Torah passages, commentaries, and midrash rooted in the mystical side of Jewish tradition,including original Hebrew and Aramaic texts translated by Rabbi Larry Tabick. The quoted authors span many centuries and speak from many schools of thought: kabbalists writing within the tradition of the Zohar and other gnostic works; Hasidic teachers from the modern movement founded by the Ba’al Shem Tov in eighteenth-century Ukraine; and German pietists, or Hasidei Ashkenaz, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Tabick examines how these texts build on the underlying principles of the Torah—the supremacy of God, the interconnectedness of nature and morality, and the unique (though not exclusive) role of the Jewish people in the divine plan for all humanity—to point to a deep spiritual truth in the world of the divine and the soul.
"The Chasidic pioneers, ever concerned to prevent religion sliding into dull routine, refreshed Torah with their creative readings. As this book amply demonstrates, Jewish spirituality remains rooted in the text."—Simon Rocker, Jewish Chronicle
"The Aura of Torah is more than interesting and thought-provoking readings of biblical commentaries. The exegeses, taken from the heart of Kabbalah and the writings of Hasidic masters, have much historical value and give the modern reader insights into the ways eighteenth and nineteenth century Eastern European rabbis wanted their congregations to think about life and the Torah."—Fred Reiss, San Diego Jewish World
"[The Aura of Torah is] an enormously valuable collection of commentaries from the mystical viewpoint, which will enrich our understanding of the weekly parashah, and present fodder for much discussion on the timeless words of Torah."—Dov Peretz Elkins, Jewish Media Review
“The Aura of Torah
is an important and useful contribution to the emergent literature of spiritual companions to the parashah. There is nothing quite like it on the shelf. Tabick assembles mystical teachings for the general reader with insight, creativity, and obvious spiritual depth.”—Lawrence Kushner, author of Honey from the Rock