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

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