49 Aspects of Human Emotion

Poems by Alan Toltzis
Available July, 2018
About The Book


49 Aspects of Human Behavior is based on the Kabbalistic tradition that we can understand ourselves and our world, by meditating on seven aspects of out seven conscious emotions, or sephirot. Following that path, I wrote a poem on each of those nuanced emotions. For me, it was a remarkable literary journey as I experienced the world through 49 different emotional filters. While the inspiration was mystical and spiritual, the poems are grounded in the day-to-day.




The Last Commandment

Poems by Alan Toltzis


About The Book

The Torah contains 613 mitzvot or commandments and Jews try to do as many as possible. The very last commandment is to write the Torah scroll by hand, a painstaking task that can take an experienced scribe up to a year to complete. The Rabbi’s have a simpler solution: write a single letter in a Torah scroll.


I thought of writing my book when I vacationed in Paris with my wife and kids a number of years ago. We were in the Jewish quarter and stumbled on a synagogue that was finishing a Torah scroll and my son and I each wrote a letter. It was a very empty way to fulfill the last commandment leading me to the idea of writing a poem for each of the weekly Torah portions. My poems, which were written over the course of a year, are meditations, insights, personal recollections, or reflections that stem from a deep reading of original texts and commentaries. Using the portion as a starting place provides a natural order for the book.


Cover Art: Emily Boylan

Cover Design: Sung Hae "Dinny" Latshaw




"I read the poems through, and was impressed : by the cleanness of thought and the live language; the language mannered, but at the service of the meaning; all adding up."

Thomas Kinsella, Poet

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© 2018 by Alan Toltzis.