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Within Kabbalah, something I am very new to, I find lots of explanation surrounding the "theoretical" or "speculative" aspect of metaphysics (I do not use these words in the unqualified connotative sense that is derogatory, but in a more traditional and scientific sense). There are some practices I have come across as well, generally of the contemplative type. Are there any practices similar to those the Islamic Sufis use, such as the Dhikr (Ceremony of Remembrance), which involves a counting of beads while meditating on the Names of G-d?

Thank you,

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meditating on the Names of G-d? please explain what you mean by that. in prayer? –  ray Apr 23 at 19:36
    
@ray. Thank you for asking for a clarification. In prayer proper, like with the Siddur, of course there is meditation on the Names as they are so often mentioned and the prayers themselves evoke certain themes etc. from the past or for the future. But here, specifically, I intend something like, for example, the practice of repeating the Name "L-RD" 100 times after prayers, seeking to deepen one's sense of G-d's Presence. Does that make it clearer? –  Yochanan Michael Apr 23 at 19:43
    
have you seen Jewish Meditation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan? has many exercises on these themes –  ray Apr 23 at 19:49
    
@ray. I have not yet read it, although it is on my list! I see that must be the next step for me to research. Thank you for the insight! –  Yochanan Michael Apr 23 at 19:50
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@YochananMichael I don't want to sound like a smart-aleck, but in another post you said "my learning is not so great and I have only started on the study of the Scriptures". That humility and honesty is great, but are you sure you should be exploring Kabbalah at this stage? The recommendations found here make it pretty clear that mysticism is only to be learned after getting a firm grounding in the basics. –  Mike Apr 23 at 23:47

3 Answers 3

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What you describe sounds similar to the practices of the medieval Spanish kabbalist Abraham Abulafia. He developed techniques of special breathing and postures while meditating on permutations of the divine name (kind of like a Jewish yoga), but I do not think he used beads for this. I do not know if anyone still practices this style of mysticism at this time, but I have read that it was influential on later kabbalists and hasidim.

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That is definitely in line with what I was asking and, thankfully, I have researched into Abulafia. However, it is difficult to get good copies of his output for use at this time. –  Yochanan Michael Apr 24 at 0:41

I think you're looking for exercises meant to effect a change in the participants' mental state to something different from the everyday? One possible answer is the Hasidic practice of singing Nigunim. These are long, wordless melodies, passed-down by tradition, that a group of people sit and sing together to put them into a frame of mind that's more connected to God.

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thank you for the response. This is definitely in line with my question, and is more or less the answer. However, I was also looking for a specifically bead related practice, especially one using something similar to a mantra. In either case, great answer! –  Yochanan Michael Apr 23 at 19:26

see Jewish Meditation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. has many exercises on mystical themes such as meditating on the greatness of God.

Likewise, Meditation and the Bible by Aryeh Kaplan afterwards. and also the fourth gate of shaarei kedusha but that has scary stuff... rabbi kaplan's other books probably have alot more but those are the ones i know.

just keep in mind that without a proper learning seder in talmud, you won't get far with these practices and may even become "strange". talmud study is needed like bread. see this audio by Rav Nissan Kaplan

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thank you for putting that last line in there, an edit on the earlier comment. I am pursuing this even now as a prereq and safety measure, –  Yochanan Michael Apr 24 at 0:40

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