The book of Jewish meditation by Dr. Michael Kaplan is a practical guide for daily life. It combines meditative techniques with yoga practices to bring together the two elements into a dynamic form of self-awareness. Kaplan maintains that the mind/body connection is a key to spiritual growth. In this text, Kaplan shows that traditional Jewish meditation is congruent with traditional Jewish wisdom and ritual. The text presents a range of meditative techniques, each designed to create a better you, and deepen a deeper relationship with God.
The book is organized into ten sections, each interspersed with brief explanations of the related techniques. Part one, on Chanukah, focuses on the importance of the lighting of candles. Part two looks at the significance of the mitzvot. Part three examines the focus on prayer, which includes various prayers, some associated with the holidays, as well as a lesson on meditation and channelling.
The fourth section takes a look at the mitzvot. Mitzvot are grouped based on the different seasons of the year, and the differences they represent. Part five deals with the commandment to eat only from the food offering on the Shavuot morning. A more secular approach is taken in the next segment, where the focus is on the way of life in general. This includes examining various relationships to nature, money, work, and ethics.
Part six focuses on the techniques used in Chassidus meditation. This is a very simple form of meditation using solely the power of breathing to enter consciousness. Part seven explores the nature of dreams, both mundane and erotic dreams and visionary dreams. Of course, we cannot forget Dr. Kaplan’s famous lecture on Chasidush, which continues to be the most popular meditation technique taught today.
The final part covers the laws of the kabbalah. This is an ancient Jewish law dealing with Jewish reproduction and the direct cause and effect between the actions of a human being and his or her creation. The laws also deal with the death record, which is important as part of the genealogy of Jewish history. The last ten chapters cover topics such as evil, retribution, justice, and chuchut, which concerns the process of keeping Jewish traditions alive through the ages.
What Jewish Meditation
The book contains many photographs, as well as explanations of the various poses done during each of the meditation sessions. This is a very readable, quick read, although some of the terms used may not be familiar to readers. However, this is not a work that is recommended for beginners, even of those already versed in Jewish mysticism. For those who have an interest in Eastern mysticism, however, the content is very enlightening and stimulating. It is also quite detailed and many times more informative than the text in its own right.
Reasons To Read Jewish Meditation
This is a worthwhile book for anyone who wants to delve into the world of Jewish meditation. There are so many different techniques out there, it would be impossible to cover them all in one book. However, this book will touch on different areas of meditation. Each chapter contains a short description of the technique as well as explanations of why and how it is done. Very interesting topics are brought up as the techniques are discussed.
It is an easy to read book that anyone can pick up and start using. Anyone interested in Jewish mysticism, spiritual growth, or meditation will enjoy this book. The different sections are designed to help anyone learn different aspects of meditation. The different sections also offer explanations of the different aspects of Jewish mysticism.