Book Review: "A Mystical Passover" (KabbalahConcepts)


Title: "A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah"
Author: Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.
Publisher: Original Gravity

With the Festival of Passover around the corner, I thought it appropriate to share with you details regarding a very beautiful and highly compacted text, in which the Pesach seder and the period of Omer are addressed from mystical and contemporary perspectives, these being aptly reflected in the title "A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah." The author tells us that this work represents a process comprising, in his own words, "a radical interpretation of the Passover rituals and prayers into a language and process that resonated with my own heart while also attempting to honor the heart of Judaism itself."

Having said that, it is important to note that Mark Allan Kaplan's "Mystical Passover" offers all readers, Jews and non-Jews alike, a way to mental, emotional and spiritual transformation. The ancient saga of a nation being freed from bondage and slavery is "reinterpreted" in a manner which allows the reader the opportunity to have a personal "exodus," so to speak, i.e. being "freed" from the "bondage" of Mochin Katnut, the limited consciousness of the egoic pseudo-self, literally "passing over" into Mochin Gadlut, the condition in which personal consciousness is expanded to embrace the greater "whole," and so, whilst transcending into physical, emotional, mental and spiritual freedom, "awaken" the real "Self."

With his unique "Haggadah," Mark Allan Kaplan invites all and sundry to transform the traditional festival of "Pesach" into a personal journey in which "the land of Egypt becomes the realm of narrowness of body and mind, and Moses becomes the Higher Self being called upon by the Divine to free all the different voices of the psyche (the children of Israel, the Awakening Self) from the bondage of the ego (Pharaoh)." What is truly effective about this specific journey of transformation, is the actual process of "acting it out" in a physical manner, e.g. cleaning the house and the traditional "Pesach" preparations, candle lighting, assembling of family and friends, chanting and the various aspects of the Passover Seder itself, etc., all interpreted from a mystical perspective, so that these will combine into a "pathway through the metaphysical gates of these ancient and sacred rites of inner and outer freedom," which the author correctly maintains will lead to "the discovery of a personally transformative psycho-spiritual Passover experience."

The process expounded in "A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah" also incorporates the "extended journey" beyond the "Festival of Passover," this being the seven week cycle known as "Sefirat ha-Omer" (Counting of the Omer). Traditionally these seven weeks comprise a period of self examination between Pesach (Passover) and Shavuot (Feast of Weeks). Each of the seven weeks represents a spiritual cycle attributed to one of seven Middot (qualities) equated with the seven lower Sefirot on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, i.e. from Chesed to Malchut. Each of the seven days of the week is likewise related to one of the mentioned lower Sefirot, hence the days of the first week would be Chesed in Chesed, Gevurah in Chesed, Tiferet in Chesed, Netzach in Chesed, etc.

In this particular regard, I find the section titled "Meditation and Practices - For the Days of Passover and the Counting of the Omer" in Mark Allan Kaplan's "A Mystical Passover" especially meaningful and beneficial. The week/day/sefirah associations are rendered into physical, psychological and spiritual "aspirations," to be achieved by the one undertaking this "journey of transformation." For example, what the author terms the "weekly energies" of the seven weeks respectively associated with the mentioned Sefirot, would be "Mastery of the Body," "Mastery of the Ego," "Attainment of Willingness," "Attainment of Will," "Submission of the Soul," "Access to the Spirit," and "Contact with the Divine," all vitally important factors in what I like to call the "Work of Self Creation."

Now, this text is available as an ebook in various editions. A "personal edition" will cost you $22.00, permitting the printing of 4 copies, whilst the "family edition," which allows the printing of 8 copies, costs $40.00, etc. If these prices should not suit your pocket, you could acquire the "read-only" edition for $10.00.

So, check out Mark Allan Kaplan's website, and whilst you are there, you would do well to investigate the rest of that very interesting domain on the world wide web!!

Jacobus G. Swart
KabbalahConcepts, March 21, 2010
The Sangreal Sodality

The Birth of Trans-Opera: The Convergence of Cinema and Opera

A new form of opera emerged recently. For this year’s production of the Barber of Seville, the Florida Grand Opera company blazed new territory by using an animated digital screen backdrop for their production, adding depth, movement, and cinematic immersion to classic opera. This animated digital backdrop added evolving background environments replete with changes in location, light, and weather. It also added shadow characters that interacted with the live actors on stage, from groups of musicians and soldiers to a lone alley cat. Beyond these dimensions, the animated background also appeared to add greater symbolic and thematic depth to the relatively simple story of the Barber of Seville. Then, in the final moments of the opera, something even more wondrous occurred. The actors climbed up the steps of the central set piece and in the digital background, giant animated wings unfolded and began to flap. The juxtaposition between the animated backdrop and the live action actors and set pieces created the effect of flying to the heavens. The audience let out a collective gasp and for a few brief moments the stage was transcended and the audience, actors, and set pieces soared.

This convergence of opera with digital cinematic elements created a new multi-dimensional form of entertainment that could be called “trans-opera.” The birth of this new opera-cinematic hybrid is the work of French Director Renaud Doucet and Canadian Production Designer Andre Barbe, with the technical help of Miami’s Lava Studios. The impetus for the birth of this new approach came out of current financial constraints, and from these limits an artistic phoenix has risen. I feel honored to have personally witnessed this event.

Image, Form and Formlessness

I remember walking along the base of the Tetons’ and seeing the rays of the setting sun striking a giant cloud formation in front of me. I stopped dead in my tracks as the beauty of the sight filled my being and for a brief moment I was breathless. The giant cloud looked like an anvil.

There was something strange and wondrous about the juxtaposition between the fluffiness of the cloud itself and the heavy-mass-related anvil form of its shape. Several other people stopped and gazed up at the cloud. Some of us took photos, some just stared up silently, and others conversed about the sight they were sharing. For a few moments, we were a community of beings joining together in a shared mystical moment of beauty and grace. Then the shifting light of the sun, the currents of the wind, and the movement of the clouds began to transform the anvil-cloud back into just another cloud. The shared state of grace dissipated as well, and we all returned to our separate paths.

As I walked away and looked around me, I couldn’t help but wonder about the permanence and impermanence of any image or form…and I felt as though I had briefly touched the edge of formlessness. Deep gratitude and wonder filled me as I pondered the seemingly random string of simple everyday events and choices that brought me to this moment.

*Image: Anvil Cloud by MAK

What is Love?


I have traveled far to ask,

“What is Love?”

A Buddhist Monk once showed me that

Love is a compassionate heart;

A Christian Saint once showed me that

Love is a forgiving heart;

A Muslim Sheik once showed me that

Love is a devoted heart;

A Taoist Sage once showed me that

Love is a heart that accepts all things as they are;

A Jewish Prophet once showed me that

Love is a heart that sees the one within the many;

A Native American Shaman once showed me that

Love is a heart that feels the interconnectedness of all things;

A Hindu Holy Man once showed me that

Love is, when all that is not love ceases to be.

I have traveled far to ask,

“What is Love?”

And I have seen the many faces of Love,

and I have felt the many ways of Love,

and I have touched the heart of Love itself

and learned that

Love truly is all these things.


*Image by: Daniel B. Holeman

A Mystical Passover eBook Release



A Mystical Passover: A Transformational Passover Haggadah offers a powerful psycho-spiritual approach to the Passover experience and includes individual and group psycho-spiritual exercises to help transform the holiday into a deeply mystical and magical experience for young and old alike. This unique Passover haggadah incorporates all three levels of Judaic interpretation (Biblical, Talmudic, and Kabbalistic) and integrates perspectives and practices from all the current Judaic movements (Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, Reform, and Renewal).



"Thank you for your magnificent work. Our Passover was not only Mystical, it was magical."

"I received the Mystical Passover today. Thank you very much. It is so in line with my way of thinking. God bless you."

  • $10.00 – Read-Only eBook Edition for Digital Viewing Only.
  • $22.00 – Personal eBook Edition for In-Home Personal and Small Family Use (Printable/up to 4 copies*).
  • $40.00 – Family eBook Edition for In-Home Personal and Large Family Use (Printable/up to 8 copies*).
  • $90.00 – Congregational eBook Edition for Public/Non-Commercial Printing Use (Printable/up to 18 copies*).

*Additional permissions to print available for purchase for all printable editions at $5.00 per copy.


Author: Mark Allan Kaplan, Ph.D.
Contributor: Maja Apolonia Rode
Format: eBook (PDF), 8.5 x 11
Pages: 60 pages
Language: English/Hebrew
Item Number: OGPUB-AMPE
ISBN-13: 978-0-9797980-5-4
ISBN-10: 0-9797980-5-1


The 1-2-3 of Healthcare

I am one of the many faces of the recent and current healthcare and financial crisis. It all began when I became ill after having lost my health insurance. I ended up going into major debt paying for my own care, which led to financial ruin and near-homeless. I experienced first-hand the profound tetra-enmeshed nature of the healthcare and financial crisis in our country…feeling and perceiving loss, isolation, and pain on the physical, emotional, communal, and systemic levels of experience. During this whole process I felt a strange kind of connection between the inner and the outer as my own personal health and financial crisis appeared to be reflected in the greater culture and society. I could not help but feel that this was all part of a tetra-evolutionary process. On the individual level, besides my outer physical healing work throughout all this, I have also been attempting to process this whole experience on the using various inner Integral Life Practices, including Shadow work to uncover my own personal Shadow patterns that contributed to this situation. Concurrent with this individual inner-outer work, I have also been attempting to reflect on the collective and social dimensions of my experience by exploring the current healthcare debate from an Integral perspective, using various Integral lenses.

Looking at the issue from Integral Theory’s Big Three of I-We-It or 1st-2nd-3rd Person dimension-perspectives, it seems to me that within the boiling healthcare debate-soup there are 1st Person (1p), 2nd Person (2p), and 3rd Person (3p) competing healthcare reform approaches:
  • Individual-Freedom-oriented (1p) free-market “private” healthcare approaches;
  • Social-Systemic-oriented (3p) government-run “public” healthcare approaches; and
  • Collective-Community-oriented (2p) co-operative/non-profit “semi-public/private” healthcare approaches.

The private (1p) approaches appear to be most heavily associated with the conservative and mythic value meme (vMeme) political camps; The semi-public/private (2p) approaches associated with the centrist and rational vMeme political camps; and public (3p) approaches associated with the progressive and pluralistic vMeme political camps. In between these centers-of-gravity there appears to be varying degrees of attempted integration from those who are on the borders (between mythic/rational and rational/pluralistic vMemes).

Within this debate there also appears to be a fundamental question of whether healthcare is an “inalienable right” or “a privilege.” I believe this question is rooted in the central duality of our country’s doctrines which attempt to include equal measures of individual freedoms and certain socially-protected “inalienable” equal rights. Many of the 1p or private approaches to healthcare appear to champion freedom (individual and market) while forsaking some level of equality (degree of healthcare depends on economic class) and inalienable rights (degree of health is often directly related to an individual’s capacity to pursue the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Happiness). Alternatively, many of the 3p or public healthcare approaches appear to sacrifice some degree of freedom (individual and market) in exchange for healthcare equality and inalienable rights, and most of the 2p or semi-public/private approaches seem to sacrifice some degree of both freedom and equality.

Then we have the issues of cost and quality. The private (1p) healthcare approaches tend to cost more for the individual person or group directly and cost less in taxation, while offering a relatively high degree of quality for those who can afford it and often a poor degree of quality for those who cannot afford it. The public (3p) approaches appear to cost the individual or group less in direct costs and more in taxation, while offering a more moderate degree of quality to a greater and more equal population. The semi-public/private (2p) approaches generally seem to offer a moderate degree of both cost and quality.

I believe this type of public/private/semi- (1p-2p-3p) tension can also be observed in our approaches to education. While our system is far from perfect, we seem to have achieved some degree of integration between the three perspectives by simultaneously offering public (3p) education, private (1p) education, and semi- public/private (2p) education (charter schools, home-schooling, etc). I think education is a good correlation to healthcare because both education and health affect an individual’s ability to pursue the inalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Happiness.

In light of our country’s dual aspiration of individual freedom and socially-protected inalienable equal rights, I believe that a 100% private or a 100% public healthcare system is untenable and fundamentally incongruent with the aspirations and doctrines of our republic. While the nuts and bolts of our education system still needs a lot of work, I believe the 3-tiered structure that has evolved is inherently natural to our country’s ideals and current vMeme structures. Using this model, here is one possible scenario for an Integral “Big Three” approach to healthcare reform…

Basic Healthcare System Design:
  • Public Healthcare: Expansion of Medicaid and Medicare into a full-blown public healthcare system for those who cannot afford private care.
  • Private Healthcare: Strike a healthy balance of regulation and freedom for the Private Healthcare system (i.e.: Stronger patient rights; allow competition across state-lines; insurance pooling system; and balanced tort-reform).
  • Semi-Public/Private Healthcare: Regulatory support and incentives for Cooperative, Charter, and Non-Profit healthcare groups.

Obviously within this kind of three-tiered (1p-2p-3p) system there are a lot of complicated details that would have to be worked out, but I do believe a more Integral approach, like the basic template of the above three perspectives and the inherent dual aspirations of our system, can help a great deal. For example, with this awareness in mind, it seems to me that the notion of requiring all citizens to buy health insurance may go against the individual freedoms doctrines of our country. Interestingly, it seems that with the above proposed three-tier healthcare system, this requirement would be unnecessary, since the public system would be a free system for those who cannot afford private or semi-private/public healthcare.

So here it is…my own personal attempt to jump into the healthcare debate. I toss these words into the healthcare tetra-evolutionary soup with my prayers for vertical transformation for myself, for those in similar and worse situations, and for the greater system in which we live and co-create and co-evolve…

*Originally published at Integral Life

Some Nice Moments at the 2010 Oscars

While this year’s Oscar Ceremony was as long as always and had many misfires in terms of style and substance, I was touched by several great and small moments and flourishes throughout the ceremony, including:
  • Kathryn Bigelow becoming the first woman to receive the Best Director Academy Award;
  • Geoffrey Fletcher becoming the first African-American writer to receive an Academy Award;
  • Mo'Nique becoming the fifth African-American actress to win an Academy Award;
  • Sandra Bullock transcending previous constructs to win the Best Actress Academy Award;
  • The heart-felt and heart-warming honoring of each of the actors and actresses competing for the top Awards by their peers;
  • The Hurt Locker, a small independent film with masterful execution in all creative and technical areas, winning the Best Picture Academy Award;
  • And a gentle and gracious atmosphere that seemed to pervade the whole event.