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A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters

by Schachter-Shalomi, Zalman, Miles-Yepez, Netanel

Jewish Publication Society 2009

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Overview

The interpretations in A Heart Afire are as rich and meaningful as the teachings and tales themselves in this intimate guided tour of Hasidism and Hasidic storytelling led by Reb Zalman, an old-world Hasidic elder who is also profoundly connected to modern culture. As a bridge between both worlds, Reb Zalman, and his co-author and student Netanel Miles-Yepez, introduce you to rare and unique translations of Hasidism with their own personal reflections on their meaning. This book gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of Hasidic wisdom and narrative and in the teachings of a modern Hasidic master.

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Key Features

  • Comprehensive look at Hasidic spirituality
  • Careful analysis of Hasidic lore

Contents

  • Part 1: The Hidden Tradition and the Ba'al Shem Tov
    • A Hidden Light: The Ba'alei Shem and the Hidden Tzaddikim
    • A Heart Afire: The Revelation of the Ba'al Shem Tov
    • The Wheel of Fate and Fortune: Whispers of the Ba'al Shem Tov
  • Part 2: The Circle of the Ba'al Shem and the Maggid of Mezritch
    • A Knowledge of Fire: Adel Ashkenazi, the Daughter of the Ba'al Shem Tov
    • Awake in the Dark of Night: Pinhas of Koretz, the Silent Sage
    • A Bear in the Forest: Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mezritch
    • The Thirteenth Gate: The Great Maggid and the Voice of the Shekhinah
  • Part 3: The Circle of the Maggid and the Rebbe King
    • The Heavens of the Angel: The Lonely Path of Avraham the Malakh
    • Beggars and Kings: Elimelekh of Lizhensk and His Brother, Zushya of Anipol
    • The King's Counsel: In the Court of the Rebbe Reb Melekh

Praise for the Print Edition

[Reb Zalman] has, almost single-handedly, brought living, formative, Hasidic spirituality to three generations of liberal Jews. Indeed, his astonishingly fecund ideas and stories have profoundly altered the landscape of American Judaism. In A Heart Afire, Zalman now shares with us the mother lode of his teaching and example. We are all ever in his debt.

—Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Emanu-El Scholar, Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco

This book is a brilliant anthology of early hasidic teaching, but it is much, much more. The teachings are embedded in Reb Zalman's profoundly felt, life-long practice of Jewish renewal, and his universalistic outlook that encompasses teachings from Sufism, Buddhism, and depth psychology . . . This is a book to read and reread, absorb, and cherish.

—Rodger Kamenetz, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Louisiana State University

A Heart Afire is a tour-de-force that will take its place beside the efforts of Buber and Wiesel to bring the deep spiritual practices, stories and perspective of Hassidic tradition to life and to be of service to contemporary readers of all persuasions. A must for homes and universities, this combination of historical perspective, clear, readable, and inspiring translations brings a broader range of Hassidic masters to the reader's attention than has ever before been available.

—Rabbi Goldie Milgram, Founding Director, Reclaiming Judaism

. . . an engrossing and soulful reflection, rife with illustrative stories and accompanying explanations . . . will delight readers of all backgrounds who are searching for a spirited and spiritual perspective on Hasidic evolution and lore.

Publishers Weekly

The interpretations in A Heart Afire are as rich and meaningful as the teaching and tales themselves in this intimate guide of Hasidism and Hasidic storytelling . . . As a bridge between both worlds, Reb Zalman, and his co-author and student Netanel Miles-Yepez, introduce the reader to rare and unique translations . . . with their own personal reflections on their meaning.

Jewish Media Review

. . . his last two volumes speak to the genuine quality if our faith and given his reputation, should enable those who otherwise wouldn’t lift up a book on yiddishkeit, to read and learn of our Jewish traditions.

Jewish Star

Product Details

  • Title: A Heart Afire: Stories and Teachings of the Early Hasidic Masters
  • Authors: Zalman Schachter Shalomi and Netanel Miles-Yepez
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 432

About the Authors

Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, known as Reb Zalman, is the father of the neo-Hasidic Jewish Renewal movement. He was ordained by HaBaD-Lubavitch in 1947, and later received his MA from Boston University and DHL from Hebrew Union College. He is Professor Emeritus of Psychology of Religion and Jewish Mysticism at Temple University and is World Wisdom Chair holder emeritus at Naropa University. He is the author of Spiritual Intimacy and collaborated with Miles-Yepez on Wrapped in a Holy Flame: Tales and Teachings of the Hasidic Masters.

Netanel Miles-Yepez is a teacher of Sufism and Hasidism and, with Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, is the co-founder of the Inayati-Maimuni Tariqat of Sufi-Hasidim, the only Jewish order of Sufis in the world. He collaborated with Reb Zalman on Wrapped in a Holy Flame: Teachings and Tales of the Hasidic Masters and is the editor of The Common Heart: An Experience of Interreligious Dialogue. He is also Executive Director of the Reb Zalman Legacy Project.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition