Traditional Library

the library

the Jewitches library is a list of books and sources for Jewish practitioners.

These books vary in intensity and are in no particular order. Please read the description for my thoughts & advice. I have tagged a few as great for beginners who are new to this as well as books good for those interested in Judaism as a whole.

the library will be updated sporadically, so subscribe to my email list to be notified of new additions!

Have a suggestion? send it my way!

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism

Rabbi Geoffrey W. Dennis

This is an encyclopedia and provides great amounts of practical information. This is the book I recommend first as it is a fantastic space to begin and find areas of interest for further exploration.

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS. 

Magic of the Ordinary

Rabbi Gershon Winkler

This book discusses the hidden history of mysticism and spirituality within Judaism. While I do not agree with Winkler's use of the term "shamanism" in this context, there  are many practical bits of knowledge here, as well as an interesting introduction to Jewish thought.

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS.

Essential Judaism: a Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs, and Rituals 

George Robinson

This text is a great reference guide for practitioners as well as Jews in general. It can provide extra insight into other movements than your own, as well as basic information (from what happens in Shul to what Ladino is, etc). However, this book is not going to be in-depth on certain subjects. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS. 

Grimoires: a History of Magic Books

Owen Davies

This text is great for learning about the history of texts that are frequently referenced online. It also discusses, albeit briefly, how Kabbalah was stolen and integrated into Hermetic Qabalah and Cabala. This is great for anyone who has been interested in Solomonic or Ceremonial Magick. 

Above The Zodiac: Astrology in Jewish Thought

Matityahu Glazerson

Astrology has long been integral to Judaism, however, in the rush to rationalize and secularize Judaism in order to stay safe, its roots have been entirely erased. This text is great to learn about the impact of astrology on the Jewish year. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS.

The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism

Daniel C. Matt

This text is a beginner's introduction to kabbalah in a very clear, concise manner. While this is an introductory text, it is not for everyone as it does require deep introspection and thought. 

The Book fo Jewish Sacred Practices

CLAL's Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings

While this is not a strictly traditional text, it takes a very soulful approach to creating rituals and honoring Judaism in a material way. It offers meditations, thoughts, as well as prayers. It goes over experiences in everyday life (for example: quitting smoking) as well as holiday rituals and prayers. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS.

Jewish Magic and Superstition: a Study in Folk Religion

Joshua Trachtenberg

This text is considered one of the most comprehensive texts on Jewish magic, however, it is an older text and has not been updated. There are many things that have been learned since it was published, however, it is still a great text to read once, as well as to have on hand. Just be sure to cross reference.

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols

Ellen Frankel and Betsy Platkin Teutsch

This text covers symbolism within Judaism in depth. From things like the dove to Shekhinah, this text describes the connections between a person, place, thing, or concept, and it's meaning in Judaism, through history and our texts. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS. 

The Jewish Dream Book: the Key to Opening the Inner Meaning of Your Dreams.

Vanessa L. Ochs with Elizabeth Ochs

Dreams have always been of importance in Judaism. This text does a quick history of dreams, as well as give advice on how to deal with dreams, nightmares, and interpretation through a Jewish lens. It also discusses prayers to be said before bed.  

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS. 

Practical Kabbalah

Rabbi Laibl Wolf

While Daniel C. Matt's introduction is heavy in theory, Rabbi Wolf approaches it with a far more spiritualistic stance. This book offers meditations and thought practices and is not a "read in a few hours" kind of text. 

Divination, Magic, and Healing: the Book of Jewish Folklore

Ronald H. Isaacs

This is a wonderful text discussing the use of magic in Jewish diasporas as well as in our texts. It is a relatively short book, but it is very practical. As it was printed in 1998, there are some things that are a bit behind, but overall it is a great book, if expensive. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS. 

Ritual Medical Lore of Sephardic Women: Sweetening the Spirits, Healing the Sick

Isaac Jack Lévy and Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt

This text focuses highly on the ritual practices of Sephardic women, though it does also allude to Ashkenazi practices as well. Topics covered: healing, protection, the ayin hora, birthing superstitions, etc. This is a great text, but not necessarily suitable for a beginner who has a hard time with dense texts.

Jewish Literacy

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

A great primer for learning about Judaism as a whole: beliefs, history, and peoplehood. This book is a favorite for converts and often recommended by Rabbis for those considering conversion. 

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS.
 

Sacred Monsters: Mysterious and Mythical Creatures of Scripture, Talmud and Midrash

Natan Slifkin

Learn about the Leviathan, the variations of mermaids and possibility of unicorns from the perspective of the Torah, Talmud, and Midrash. Not a requirement but a wildly fun read.

Recommended for beginners. 

 

Ascending Jacob's Ladder: Jewish Views of Angels, Demons, and Evil Spirits

Ronald H. Isaacs

An interesting perspective on angels, demons, and evil spirits. Also includes discussions of Satan, fallen angels, and the angel of death. 

A Gathering of Angels: Angels in Jewish Life and Literaure

Morris B. Margolies

A fascinating overview of angels, angelic hierarchy, Jewish belief systems, and demonology. Includes stories of angels, and specific rabbinic discussion on angels.

RECOMMENDED FOR BEGINNERS

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