One of the reasons I very rarely read books by English-speaking rabbis these days is because I usually find them woefully superficial, and not so satisfying intellectually or spiritually.
Within Israel, and within chassidut generally, you tend to find a much deeper grasp of the real, underlying spiritual mechanisms going on in the world, but much of that is based on having a much deeper knowledge of the Zohar and the kabbalah from the original Hebrew sources – and most English-speaking rabbis today simply don’t have that.
I know, it’s hard enough trying to deal with assimilation, other militant ‘brands’ of pseudo-Judaism and anti-semitism, to name but a few of the main challenges facing orthodox rabbonim outside of Israel. But I can’t help thinking that a lack of a familiarity with the writings of the Zohar and the Arizal, etc, is maybe one of the biggest handicaps of all.
Because the people who can read that stuff, and who can understand it and teach it, are the ones who have a much better grasp of why Jews are really in the world, and what God sent us down here to try to accomplish.
So, I was thrilled when one of my readers sent me a very enthusiastic recommendation of Spiritual Technology, by Rav Avraham Sutton, and then followed that up by sending me the book to read. I finished it in one go over Shabbat – and it really is a very, very good book for the English-speaking public.
I’d come across most of the concepts and sources that Rav Sutton brings before, but what is wonderful about this book is that Rav Sutton manages to marshal a lot of the kabbalah sources into solid ideas about how and why the world is operating the way it is at this point in time, and he does it in a way that is easily-grasped by the English-speaking public.
He talks about who the ‘snake’ really was in the Garden of Eden; the real test of Adam and Eve; how that test was replayed again over 2,000 years’ later when the Jews received the Torah and then failed the test posed by the Erev Rav; and also what that means for us who are living in this generation, the last one before Moshiach.
As I mentioned, much of the material Rav Sutton covered was not new to me, but I still learned so much from the book, some of which I hope to cover in more detail over on Emunaroma. It was definitely one of the best ‘Jewish’ book in English I’ve read in ages, Breslov books not withstanding.
So, if you’d like to know what the spiritual test is of our generation, and how it’s all related to things like the internet, the Erev Rav and fixing the world, please do go and pick up a copy of Rav Sutton’s book. You can order it via Amazon, or within Israel, from the Pomerantz Bookstore in central Jerusalem.
The book came out in 2013, but the information it teaches – and the message and insights it contains – are probably even more relevant now than when it was first published.
Click HERE to order the book on Amazon.
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