San Francisco: Weiser Books, 1997. Paperback, xxvi+398 pages. New.
The Sefer Yetzirah (“Book of Creation”) is without doubt the oldest and most mysterious of Kabbalistic texts. The first commentaries on this book were written in the 10th century, and references to it appear as early as the first century A.D.. Traditionally attributed to the Patriarch Abraham, it is also a highly obscure text, and unpacking its hidden meanings requires an in-depth knowledge of both Biblical and Talmudic literature. In this book, world-renowned Talmudic scholar Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan provides not only a new translation of the text, but also sheds much light on its theoretical, magical, and meditative implications. He reveals the dynamics of the spiritual domain, the worlds of the Sefer Yetzirah, on the nature of souls and angels. This translation includes a reflection on Ezekiel’s Vision, the mysteries of the 231 gates, and the meditative practices concealed within this ancient work. The book also includes a digest of all major commentaries on the Sefer Yetzirah, an extensive bibliography of the Kabbalistic works that feature it, and extensive notes on the text’s translation.
This is a fantastic treasury of esoteric wisdom which deserves a place on the bookshelf of any serious student of Kabbalah.