Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales by Howard Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Jewish religion contains a treasure trove of fairy tales and legends. Spanning all the way from biblical times all the way to present times. The midrash contains stories of the patriarchs, the Mishna ( Oral Torah) contains legends of rabbi Akiva and the Rashbi. The Talmud was redacted during the second temple period. Later on in Jewish history the author covers tales of the kabbalistc mystic like the Arizal. Next he jumps into chassidic tales and hen goes into some tales told in modern times.
All the stories contain miracle performed by rabbis or tzaddkim. By using different permutations of gods name they are able to summon angels and drive away demon, sometimes the rabbis can travel to heaven and back. The rabbis are much like medieval Magicians who could wield magic to curse or cure. The tales are filled with variety of mystical creatures much like a Grimm's fairy tale.
The book is filled with stories from each time period in Jewish History. The introduction gives a long and detailed explanation of these time periods along instruction on different mystical concepts. The end part contains detailed foot notes and explanations . I , myself learned several new things while reading this book. I did not know that Sandalphon was the Angels whom takes our prayer and weaves a crown for God . Tzadkiel takes the soul after death and prepares it for the world to come. Ash modal and Lilith are the regents of the demons realm. An ibbur is a heavenly soul that mixed with a person in order to tach them Torah
If stories are your thing or if furthering your knowledge of Judaism is what you are after then I strongly recommend you read this book.
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