In Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales Howard Schwartz has gathered 150 stories, parables, and fables from rabbinic, kabbalistic, folk, and Hasidic sources. They are from such talmudic sages as Rabbi Ishmael, medieval figures such as Rabbi Isaac Luria and Judah the Pious, and Israel ben Eliezer, known as Baal Shem Tov, who founded Hasidism.
In these mystical tales the world abounds with mysteries, wonders, and strange happenings. Talmudic sages and Hasidic masters interpret the signs and symbols they come across in daily life. In dreams, they communicate with angels and the spirits of the dead. Through out-of-the-body experiences, they visit paradise as celestial travelers. And on earth, they square off against evil spirits.
As Howard Schwartz points out in the illuminating introduction to this astonishing anthology, these tales shed light on the important elements of the post-biblical Jewish mystical tradition. In these stories, the mysteries of the Torah and the Sabbath are honored. Individuals are admonished to heed the importance of prayer and repentance. For the Jew, repairing the world for the coming of the Messiah is a challenging responsibility.