"We need a deep mystical awakening the likes of which the planet has never witnessed before — a mystical awakening that is truly planetary, that draws out the wisdom and the mystic, the player and the justice maker from the wisdom traditions of all religions and cultures," Matthew Fox wrote in one of his more ecstatic moments. In a less grandiose but still helpful way, this anthology of essays edited by Lawrence Fine, Eitan Fishbane, and Or N. Rose presents selections by scholars and teachers in the Jewish mystical tradition. The book is dedicated to Arthur Green who has been a pioneer in the exploration of Kabbalistic and Hasidic mysticism.
Jewish Mysticism and the Spiritual Life is divided into six sections organized around the questions, issues, and themes of contemporary spirituality. In "Discovering God in All Reality," the accent is on the presence of the divine in every dimension of human life. This perspective leads to fresh probes on the connections with others, the development of the sacred self, and a new piety.
In "Spiritual Growth, Inner Transformation" we see that any changes which come about in our souls are spurred on by obstacles, doubt, and a yearning for spiritual maturity. In "Embodied Practice" Kabbalah and Hasidism serve as resources and inspiration to essays on eating and the evil impulse. In "Compassion, Loving Others" we are invited to muse on spiritual friendship, prayer and community, and human redemption. In "Prayer, Repentance, Healing," personal longing and the search for personal redemption are explored. The final section of the book is "Torah, Halakhah, Mitzvot."