The Receiving: Reclaiming Jewish Women’s Wisdom

“Receiving” is the literal translation of the word Kabbalah, the body of Jewish mysticism that has been passed down from men to men for centuries. Ironically, the art of receiving, that is, opening to the divine spirit as it manifests in the here and now, is one of the undocumented mysteries of women’s spirituality. Now, respected rabbi and Jungian therapist Tirzah Firestone sets out to correct the enormous error of history that has omitted the contribution of Jewish women mystics, sages, and holy women from the Jewish annals. In what might be called an act of spiritual archaeology, Firestone searches for the traces of the divine feminine in the Jewish tradition in order to answer the question, “What is a woman’s way to God?” Drawing on the remarkable stories of seven historical holy women–who, despite tremendous obstacles, found ways to embrace the sacred feminine in their lives–Firestone teaches us the mysteries of Jewish Kabbalah from a woman’s vantage point.

This groundbreaking work finally empowers women to reclaim their rightful–and historic–connection to the mystical lineage within Judaism. This is a provocative work of scholarship and passion that restores the forgotten voices of Jewish women mystics, using their remarkable journeys as a springboard into the feminine mysteries that have been hidden from women’s use for millennia. In The Receiving, these ancient teachings have finally been made available in a relevant, accessible and life enriching manner for women–and men–of all spiritual persuasions.

“Rabbi Tirzah Firestone has fanned the sparks of important and often unknown women teachers of Judaism into a flame that can warm and teach us all. By recovering the stories of these progenitors of feminine wisdom, most of whom have been condemned to an unfair anonymity, Firestone has performed an act of chesed (loving kindness) and intellectual integrity.” – Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy

“This is the book that I’ve waited for all my life. . . . Firestone has brought through a great blessing for us all.” – Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Guilt is the Teacher, Love is the Lesson and A Woman’s Book of Life

“Firestone knows the struggle to be fully Jewish in our time. And part of that struggle has been to release the voices of Jewish women too long suppressed, ignored or damaged. In The Receiving she recovers seven great voices of Jewish wisdom from the past so that we can continue to do justice to the present and future.” – Rodger Kamenetz, author of The Jew in the Lotus and Stalking Elijah

“The wholeness and balance that Firestone envisions for the faith she loves shine out in her own wise, warm, and immensely compassionate presentation.” – Carol Lee Flinders, author of Enduring Grace: Living Portraits of Seven Women Mystics, and The Values of Belonging: Rediscovering Balance, Mutuality, Intuition, and Wholeness in a Competitive World

“Firestone has created a breakthrough in the understanding and application of Kabbalah to all of our lives. This invaluable book will lead both men and women to wholeness.” – Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, founder of the Jewish Renewal movement and author of From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision for Growing Older