A New Kabbalah for Women by Perle Besserman

By Perle Besserman

The pink bracelet: it graces the wrists of diverse celebrities - from Madonna to Britney Spears - who've switched over to the non secular perform of Kabbalah. yet what's Kabbalah and the way can ladies use it on their very own lives? In a brand new Kabbalah for ladies, bestselling writer and instructor of Jewish mysticism and meditation, Perle Besserman, stocks a female method of spirituality. because the time of Moses, Jewish mysticism has been barred to girls, and Shekhinah, the female part of God, has been compelled underground. Now, many girls are adapting conventional mystical practices in radical new methods. Besserman is on the vanguard of this revolution. during this publication she lines the heritage of female-centered worship and tells the tale of looking for her personal route to fact. Combining practices from the Kabbalah with meditation, Besserman walks readers via step by step rituals to discover their very own own reference to the divine.

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Chapter three outlines the stages and changing forms of Jewish meditation from the first centuries of the Common Era to the present. In part two, I present my twenty-first century Shekhinah versions of the traditional male-centered forms of Jewish meditation outlined in chapter three. Preceded by a brief section describing the lives and teachings of the Kabbalists most closely identified with the major schools of meditation, each chapter includes a description of their original meditative practices.

I took a few deep breaths hoping to calm down, but my heart was still seething with hatred for all the blacksuited men who but for the injunction against murder would have pushed me off the mountain for being a woman. I was sick of the pilgrims and their filthy shrines, pained at the sight of boys no more than seven years old giving me the stink-eye as I passed by them. Okay, I thought, if they see me as Lilith, I’ll be Lilith. I stood up and screamed, “Did you hear what I said? ” Contorting my face, I hissed at him like a snake, startling him and causing him to back off.

Even those passages in the Hebrew Bible praising the matriarchs and extolling individual Israelite women for their heroism or their wisdom are permeated by fear of their sexuality, their power over life and death. In fact, the woman-as-shadow motif tends to grow more ingenious, and vicious, with the years. Postbiblical commentaries on the Torah purport to honor women within the domestic sphere but degrade them by prohibiting their participation in the public life of the Jewish community. Thus, although an entire Talmudic tractate, Nashim (Women), is devoted to regulating the most intimate details of their lives, women’s exclusion from the rabbinic academies codifying Jewish law leaves them no voice in matters of marriage and divorce, inheritance and property rights, widowhood, and the disposition of penalties for adultery after the destruction of the Temple when the priestly test of the “bitter waters” could no longer be imposed.

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