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God Is a Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism

by David A. Cooper

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404444,050 (4.29)2
Since medieval times, the mystical tradition of Kabbalah was restricted to qualified men over forty--because it was believed that only the most mature and pious could grasp its complexity and profound, life-changing implications. More recently, Kabbalah nearly disappeared--as most of its practitioners perished in the Holocaust. In the national bestseller God Is a Verb, this powerful spiritual tradition, after centuries of secrecy and near-extinction, is explained clearly by one of its most prominent teachers. Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? These questions have fueled Kabbalists for nearly a millennium. Rabbi David A. Cooper is the first to bring this obscure and difficult tradition to a mainstream audience in a way that gently leads us to the heart of the subject, showing us how to transform profound teachings into a meaningful personal experience--and appreciate fully this great mystical process we know as God.… (more)

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Having started my kabbalah training with a Rabbi, this was an interesting followup 30+ years later. While I was writing a book on psychological applications of mystical kabbalah on spec (never published) Rabbi Cooper was putting together this very different version of kabbalah.
Cooper begins with a 20 page introduction plus preface, author's note, and acknowledgments, and then divides his text into four main sections: The Past -- Ma'Asey Bereshit; the Present --Olam Ha-Zeh; the future (entitled Higher Awareness -- Ma'Asey Merkevah); and Beyond This Life -- Olam Ha-Bah. He ends with 20 pages of notes that include all his sources and an index. I wish he had separated notes from a Work Cited or a more extensive Bibliography, but he did not.
At the end of Part II, Cooper offers a series of meditations on the angels and archangels, including attempts to invoke one or more of them. In Part III, Cooper offers more practical everyday practices to advance on what he refers to as the 12 Paths -- paths of learning, respect, generosity, lovingkindness, moderation, purity, joy, selflessness, awe, equanimity, extraordinary mind states, and life eternal, which he also calls God Consciousness.
I've come back to this book several times trying to decide how to rate it. He is a compelling author. Some of his suggestions, such as invoking angels into one's consciousness, I would consider with a great deal of caution. ( )
2 vote medievalmama | Jun 28, 2014 |
Well this seems to be a very common book to cite in the other kabbalah books. There are a ton of meditations that I have seen repeated in others. I just don't have the time to do all of these, but they are all very good!
  melsmarsh | Feb 7, 2013 |
A good introduction to something as intensely complicated as anything. Some will find it overly simplified, some might find it patronizing, but the majoriity of those who are sufficiently blessed to have found the work will be very much better from having read it. ( )
  millsge | Nov 26, 2009 |
This is a wonderful introduction to the Kabbalah in the Judea mystical tradition. The author had studied and travelled other religions prior to returning to the religion of his youth. He has the attitude of the Dalia Lama, that there are many paths to God, and for him, the practices he describe, combined with explanations of Judaism are informative and insightful. An excellent read. ( )
  ironicbliss | Mar 21, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
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This book is dedicated to my parents, Helene Markens and Sampson D. Cooper, who now dwell in realms beyond this reality but nonetheless frequently visit me in dreams and dozens of other ways to kvetch and kvell about how I am living my life.
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Jewish mystics have always been reticent to reveal the esoteric teachings of the Kabbalah.
Today is the first day of hte Counting of Omer, a day that encompasses the mystical heart of lovingkindness, the second day of Passover in the Hebrew calendar year 5755 (1955).
Quotations
The Jewish morning prayers include a sentence that says, "My God, the soul (neshama) you placed within me, she is pure." One can meditate upon this idea to develop self-esteem and to deepen one's sense of interconnectedness with all beings. It is a simple exercise.
Imagine you have a pure light within. If you close your eyes you can get a hint of this light glowing deep inside your being. Then say to yourself, 'No matter what I may feel about myself, I know that I have a pure soul.' When we contemplate this affirmation for a while, we begin to feel a spark of inner peace.
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Since medieval times, the mystical tradition of Kabbalah was restricted to qualified men over forty—because it was believed that only the most mature and pious could grasp its complexity and profound, life-changing implications. More recently, Kabbalah nearly disappeared—as most of its practitioners perished in the Holocaust. In the national bestseller God Is a Verb, this powerful spiritual tradition, after centuries of secrecy and near-extinction, is explained clearly by one of its most prominent teachers.
Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? How do we get there? These questions have fueled Kabbalists for nearly a millennium. Rabbi David A. Cooper is the first to bring this obscure and difficult tradition to a mainstream audience in a way that gently leads us to the heart of the subject, showing us how to transform profound teachings into a meaningful personal experience—and appreciate fully this great mystical process we know as God.
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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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