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Yedidah Cohen
Author, Translator, Editor (anthology)
The Master of the Ladder: the Life and Teachings of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag
Yedidah Cohen, translator

Adult; Literary Essays, Critiques & Biographies; (Market)

In "The Master of the Ladder: the Life and Teachings of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag," we find the story of a great Kabbalist; his passion for serving God; his teachings of the path he received from his Masters; his courage and perseverance in opening up the inner wisdom of the Torah—Kabbalah; and the implications of this great wisdom for us as individuals and for society. Told through his personal documents, interviews with those who knew him, through his letters and his teachings, we get a vibrant, inner view of a great sage who was in constant union with his Creator.
Rabbi Gottlieb effectively combines profile and theology in this accessible and enlightening biography of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag (1885–1954), a master of the kabbalah, who is widely-credited with opening the study of kabbalistic texts to ordinary people. Gottlieb, a student of Ashlag’s son, opens in 1892, with a legend about the rabbi, then a seven-year-old child in Warsaw and himself the son of a Hasidic rabbi; according to the story, Ashlag was lying in bed when he was struck in the head by a book that fell from a shelf. His father told him that the volume, a book of kabbalah, was meant only for angels, but the precocious child insisted, “ ‘If it has been printed, it must be meant for everyone.’ ” Gottlieb goes on to trace his subject’s life, including his rabbinic ordination and marriage, prodigious scholarly output, his immigration to what became the nation of Israel in 1921, and production of the essential kabbalist textbook Talmud Eser Sefirot. Lay readers may be most interested in the religious figure’s teachings, which include such messages as, “Each of us needs to learn that the whole purpose of our spiritual work is to come to love our fellow.” Gottlieb’s glowing work preserves the life and legacy of a significant, if now obscure, religious thinker. (Self-published)
Rabbi Moshe Weinberger, Spiritual supervisor, REITS Yeshiva University and found

The Master of the Ladder tells the wondrous tale of a true sage and introduces us to his teachings. This masterly biography of Rabbi Yehudah Leib Ashlag makes it possible for all of us to take the first step on Rabbi Ashlag’s ladder that ascends to the Heavens and penetrates the depths of our mind and soul.