Kabbalah remains shrouded in mystery even to those familiar with the ideas of its teachings. An ancient Jewish tradition that espouses theosophy, Kabbalah seeks to use mysticism to explain the relationship between the universe and man, by means of 10 steps known as sefirot. Those who are well-versed in Kabbalah are considered holy men, respected tremendously in their communities and turned to in times of question or need. Yet, Kabbalah need not remain delegated to a select few; as Rabbi Laibl Wolf invites in his book Practical Kabbalah: A Guide to Jewish Wisdom for Everyday Life: "Embark on a spiritual adventure with a down-to-earth destination" using the powers, or "spiritual flows," of sefirot. Using this mystical tradition, Rabbi Wolk aims to make the fundamental principles relevant to everyday life, to help people use it as a means of self-understanding and furthering personal growth.
The first section, "Spirit Move," explores the tradition of Kabbalah, tracing its roots to the Bible and comparing many of its traditions to Eastern religions, suggesting they originated in the same beliefs. The second section, "Flows of Mind and Emotion," devotes a chapter to each of the sefirot--three of which relate to the mind, the other seven to emotion--to show how you can use these tenets to improve your life. For instance, Tif'eret relates to a wise heart, and its chapter concentrates on ideas such as "inner balance for wellness," truth and beauty, and compassion using the teachings of Maimonides and the Bible, a Hasidic tale, an exercise, a meditation, and even some thoughts on Deepak Chopra.
If you are searching for a book that will explain the doctrine of Kabbalah, this is not the book for you. However, for a spiritual person looking for a way to integrate some of the more popular self-help techniques into religious practice, Practical Kabbalah is an excellent guide. --Jenny Brown