Elisha David­son and the Let­ters of Fire

M. R. Attar
  • Review
By – June 29, 2016

Elisha David­son is an almost-eleven-year-old stu­dent at the North Tem­ple Mount Acad­e­my in the Old City of Jerusalem. The son of an Amer­i­can oleh (immi­grant), he stud­ies mys­ti­cism in an almost mag­i­cal way. The book is based on ancient mys­ti­cal teach­ings researched in depth by Attar. The main school mys­tic, whose back­ground is in physics from Cam­bridge, has tak­en ill and lost his mem­o­ry. Elisha’s grand­fa­ther, who pass­es away towards the begin­ning of the book, has left a lega­cy of mys­ti­cal thought and mag­i­cal prac­tice that Elisha is left to unrav­el — first by him­self, and then with the help of an unlike­ly pure kohen and a well-known mekubal, or mys­tic. Although the con­tent may be dif­fi­cult to fol­low at times due to the mys­ti­cism and for­mu­las, the book draws the read­er in and makes it dif­fi­cult to leave the sto­ry in the mid­dle. The book leaves many of the sto­ries open in prepa­ra­tion for the next two books in the trilogy.

As many of the con­cepts are dif­fi­cult, and there are some scenes that may prove dis­turb­ing to younger chil­dren, this book is rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and above. 

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

Discussion Questions