Deborah Masel Miller

Deborah Masel Miller was an author, editor and teacher with a special interest in the Jewish mystical tradition.

She was the editor of Sacred Fire: Torah From the Years of Fury 1939-42 (Jason Aronson, 2001), and author of two novels, The Maisonettes (Papyrus Publishing 2004) and The Company of Words  (Papyrus Publishing, 1998).

In 2009 her book IN THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK - Writings on the Five Books of Moses was published by Black Pepper 2009.   Read about the book

Deborah was a past staff member of the Australian Jewish News , and was the paper's Jerusalem-based correspondent in the 1980s.

She was a member of the editorial committee of Generation Journal.

She taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School, as well as giving Torah/kabbalah classes from her home.

Her final book,  Soul to Soul,  was published in 2011.

In the Cleft of the Rock - Writings on the Five Books of Moses

CD included with selected readings ~
narrated by Rachael Kohn, music by Adam Starr
Here is the heart of the matter, the quintessence of desire. We do not flee, we do not chase. Here we sit and wait with wilderness in our mouths where once was heavenly breast. Here in the stillness of the watch, in a whirl of desert wind, we sit and learn the sacred art of travelling.

Deborah Masel’s meditations on the Five Books of Moses come  from deep study, yet they are effusive.

The dialogue between the ancient text and the modern writer is dramatic. As she says herself, ‘We are brought out to tell the story, and through the telling we are brought out.’ Her insights lift us to a realization of how we may live now.

'A timeless and timely commentary written from the cleft of the heart. Masel’s words shatter old stones to reveal new meanings through a journey that soars from dazzling heights to a place of mystery that lies beyond life and death.'

Mark Baker, Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation

'Deborah Masel in this extraordinary collection of prose poems cuts to the depth and uncovers the throbbing, achingly beautiful heart of the Torah.'

Rabbi Ralph Genende

Foreward by Dr Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg

Deborah Masel’s work is vitally haunted. Haunted by texts and images, which achieve their own life in her prose poems. Drawing from a rich imaginative knowledge of midrashic and hassidic commentary on the Bible, she creates a personal mythology of death and life, darkness and light, void and meaning. Passionately searching, her words draw together fragments of hidden beauty.

I met Debbie in 2003 at the Nahum Goldman seminar in Melbourne. She was in the early stages of a new career as a teacher of Torah. Avid for learning, she sought out every opportunity, including weekly telephone study sessions with teachers in the US and encounters with visiting scholars. I was impressed by her passion and by her literary sensibility and we began a weekly email correspondence which continues till now. We write mostly, but not entirely, about our work on the weekly Parsha. Over the years, I have witnessed Debbie’s maturing authority, as she has become a beloved and respected teacher of Torah, affecting increasingly large audiences with her resonant poetic voice.

Now, we have an opportunity to read a collection of Debbie’s written reflections on the Parsha. These were written in tandem with her oral presentations. They represent in condensed and often brilliant form the nodal images that emerge from the midrashic literature. Sensuously evocative, these images inform an associative language in which paradox and mystery give birth to unforeseen wisdom. Here, Wallace Stevens, Thomas Mann, and Bob Dylan find themselves in a new world. And here, the inner life of a complex modern Jewish woman reaches out to many other lives seeking for more life.

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