Thursday, April 24, 2014
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
In Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? David Frumkin attempts to answer who started World War One.
He comes to a novel conclusion. Austria-Hungary started the war, but they did not mean to start the war that the German Empire had in mind. Germany wanted to start a world war because of it perceived that it was losing an arms race against Russia, and, to a lesser extent, France.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Monday, April 14, 2014
The Garden of Paradox: The Essential Non Dual Kabbalah, does just what sets out to do.
Rabbi DovBer lays out a program of non-dual mystical Judaism, easy to understand and concise.
It is easy to understand, but not easy to conceptualize! One of the primary paradoxes of the Kabbalah, and mystical non-duality in general, is that if everything is One, if all things are connected into some greater whole, why do we seemingly perceive a world of vast diversity and even strife?
And to further compound the problem, the Kabbalah’s primary epistemology, the sefirot, are ten 'divisions' of the entity we call God, or HaShem, who is really one.
That is the essential paradox in the title: how to live with seeming diversity in the midst of unity. How to understand what is the primary ground of Being, and what is merely a temporary mask of that being?
This book takes the plunge into this difficult topic, and provides some provocative answers.
Friday, April 11, 2014
As I have reviewed before here, Likutey Mohran, the collected writings and teaching of Rebbe Nacham, published by the Breslov Research Institute, is an invaluable series of books for an understanding of Rebbe Nachman’s special take of Yiddishkeit.
These volumes are not for the rank beginner. Despite the notes, and the lucid English translation alongside the Hebrew original, these are not beginners Bratslav texts. But not to worry, these exist in abundance.
So, if you want to get into Rebbe’s teaching, this is the book for you. Sure, it passed through a few hands, has been redacted and edited, but that is the way with all early Chasidic masters. This was still primarily an oral culture, and often the best material was presented at a Sabbath tish, when taking notes is prohibited.
So what you get is a fractured text. Not so much as by design, as by circumstance.