Suggested Book List
A compilation of classic Kabbalistic texts in English


We recommend the following books for the beginner:

1. "The Key to Kabbalah, Book 1: Discovering Jewish Mysticism" 
     Rabbi N. D. Dubov 
     Buy online at

2. "Lessons In Tanya" 
     Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
     Kehot Publications 
     Buy online at 

3. "Inner Space"
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan  
     Buy online at

4. "The Palm Tree of Devorah" 
     Rabbi Moshe Cordovero  
     Buy online at

5. "Mystical Concepts in Chassidism" 
     Rabbi Dr. I. Schochet
     Kehot Publications

6. "Chasidism"
     Rabbi Noson Gurary - Aronson Press

7. "The Mystical Tradition"
Rabbi Dr. I. Schochet
    Kehot Publications


The following is a further bibliography of basic works in English on Jewish mysticism, including Kabbalah, Chassidism and Jewish meditation. There are more acceptable works than are listed here; these are the ones that we have found to be most useful.

THE BAHIR (bilingual). Rabbi Nehuniah ben HaKanah (1st century CE). Translated by R. Aryeh Kaplan. New York: Weiser, 1979, 244 pp.
A mystical discussion of the Hebrew alphabet, the first verse of the Bible, the sefirot, and the soul.

SEFER YETZIRAH IN THEORY AND PRACTICE (bilingual). Rabbi Akiva (2nd century CE).Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1990.
A complete translation of this seminal work in Kabbalah in all three of its extant versions. The text is explained both as a description of Creation and as a meditative guide, based both on standard commentaries and unpublished manuscripts. Historical introduction and appendices.

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF JEWISH MYSTICISM: THE BOOK OF CREATION AND ITS COMMENTARIES (Sefer Yetzira bilingual). Translated by Leonard R. Glotzer. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1992, 258 pp.
A translation of  Sefer Yetzira with explanations anthologized from the classic commentaries on this text. Historical introduction and appendices

ZOHAR. Rabbi Shimom bar Yochai and students (2nd century CE). Translated by Rabbi Moshe Miller. Morristown, NJ:Fiftieth Gate Publications, volume 1, 2000, 366 pp.
Annotated selections from the basic work of Kabbalah. Detailed introduction covering the history and basic concepts of Kabbalah. Volume 1 covers the first half of the first of the original's three volumes.

THE OLD MAN IN THE SEA: Reincarnation, Resurrection, Redemption (part 1). Translation and commentary by Shabtai Teicher. Jerusalem: author/KabbalaOnline, 2004, 225 pp. Includes the original Aramaic text of the crucial “Sabba D’Mishpatim section of the Zohar, a lucid, readable translation of it, and an incisive line-by-line expanatory commentary, followed by 21 appendices to broaden the reader’s understanding of the main themes.

THE PALM TREE OF DEVORAH (Tomer Devorah; bilingual). Rabbi Moshe Cordovero (1522-1570). Translated by Rabbi Moshe Miller. Southfield, Michigan: Targum Press, 1993, 209 pp.
An ethical treatise devoted to a Kabbalistic understanding of the commandment to resemble G‑d. Includes explanatory endnotes.  
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THE BEGINNING OF WISDOM: Unabridged Translation of the Gate of Love from Rabbi Eliahu de Vidas' Reshit Chochmah. Rabbi Eliahu de Vidas (16th century). Translated by Simchah H. Benyosef.Hoboken, New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House Inc, 2002, 458 pp.
Reshit Chochmah
is a major classic mystical-ethical treatise from the Safed “Golden Age of Kabbalah,” written by an important disciple of the Ramak and the Ari. This book contains an excellent translation of one of the five “gates” of the original, as well as some wide-ranging introductory material, an articulate and helpful glossary of terms, and an index of themes.

SHAAR GILGULIM: The Gates Of Reincarnation. Rabbis Yitzchak Luria and Chaim Vital. Translated by Yitzchak Bar Chaim. Jerusalem: Thirty Seven Books, 2003, 534 pp.
Classic work on the subject, comprised of the teachings of the holy Ari of Safed, as transmitted by his main disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital. Includes valuable information on the nature of the divine soul and our goal in life.

SHNEY LUCHOT HABRIT (The Two Tablets of the Covenant). Rabbi Yishayahu Horowitz (1565-1630). Translated by Eliyahu Munk. Brooklyn, NY:Lambda, 1992, 3 volumes, 1262 pp. plus appendices.
A selection of the Kabbalistic Torah commmentaries of the early 17th century chief rabbi of Cracow, Frankfort and Jerusalem, constituting about one third of the original. The translation is, unfortunately, somewhat awkward.

DERECH HASHEM: THE WAY OF G-D (bilingual). Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto (1707-1746). Translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. New York: Feldheim, 1983, 407 pp.
Synopsis of Jewish theology based on Kabbalah.

SECRETS OF THE FUTURE TEMPLE (Mishkenai Elyon). Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto. Translated by Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum. Jerusalem: The Temple Institute/Azamra, 1999, 159 pp.
Insights and explanations for the building of the Third Temple according to Jewish Law and to Kabbalah, by a well-known 18th century kabbalist. May it happen soon!

DISCOURSE ON REDEMPTION.Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto. Avraham Sutton. Jerusalem: 73 pp.
An annotated translation of Ma'amar HaGeulah, with extensive notes and commentary, plus 5 appendices (approximately one-third completed).

PENINEI AVIR YAAKOV: Torah Thoughts and Pearls of Wisdom from Rebbeinu Yaakov Abuchatzeira. Translated by M. Steinberger and E. Linas. Jerusalem: Yeshiva Ner Yitzhak (no date). 490 pp.
A topically-arranged anthology culled from 12 books of the most famous Moroccan kabbalist of all, Rabbi Yaakov Abuchatzeira (1807-1880), grandfather of our century's great "Baba Sali" - Rabbi Yisrael Abuchatzeira. Unfortunately, the high proportion of the kabbalah content of the original has been significantly reduced

IN THE SHADOW OF THE LADDER: INTRODUCTIONS TO KABBALA. Rabbi Yehudah Lev Ashlag. Translation and additional explanatory chapters by Mark and Yedidah Cohen. Safed, Israel: Nehora Press, 2002. 272 pp.
An impressively lucid translation of the introduction to the author's commentary on the Zohar, the Sulam ("ladder"), and his explanation of the teachings of the holy Ari, Talmud Esser Sefirot. Supplemented with lots of historical background and key definitions, as well as sincere personal testimony as to the benefits of the teachings contained within.

Translations of primary Kabbalistic sources with commentary on a variety of important topics in Kabbalah.