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Amazing Chesed: Living a Grace-Filled Judaism
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Amazing Chesed: Living a Grace-Filled Judaism

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by Rami Shapiro
 

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The question isn't whether grace is there for you in Judaism.
The question is, do you have the courage to accept it?

"Chesed isn't a reward; it is reality. God’s grace isn’t limited to what we want to happen or might like to happen. God’s grace is what is happening whether we like it or not. In short, God’s

Overview

The question isn't whether grace is there for you in Judaism.
The question is, do you have the courage to accept it?

"Chesed isn't a reward; it is reality. God’s grace isn’t limited to what we want to happen or might like to happen. God’s grace is what is happening whether we like it or not. In short, God’s grace is the giving of all to all."
—from the Introduction

Ask almost any Jew whether grace is a central concept in Judaism and an essential element in living Jewishly and, chances are, their answer will be “no.” But that’s the wrong answer. This fascinating foray into God’s love freely given offers you—regardless of your level of Jewish involvement—a way to answer that question in the affirmative.

Drawing from ancient and contemporary, traditional and non-traditional Jewish wisdom, this book reclaims the idea of grace in Judaism in three ways:

  • It offers a view of God that helps you understand what grace is, why grace is, and how grace manifests in the world.
  • It sets forth a reading of Judaism that is grace-filled: an understanding of creation, Shabbat and other Jewish practices from a grace-filled perspective.
  • It challenges you to be embraced and transformed by grace, and to live life as a vehicle for God’s grace, thereby fulfilling the promise of being created in God’s image and likeness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Fascinating.... Does the important job of correcting mistaken impressions about Judaism and its relationship to chesed ... in the context of articulating [the author's] own unique theology. Rami Shapiro's voice is a significant one in the emerging world of American Jewish spirituality."
Rabbi Arthur Green, author, Seek My Face: A Jewish Mystical Theology

"For Rabbi Rami Shapiro, one of American Judaism’s great teachers, all existence is flooded by divine chesed (or grace); here is another and higher way to love and be loved.... Offers us not only the blueprint for an evolved Jewish theology but one that also convincingly demonstrates the centrality of love in Jewish life and thought."
Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, author, I’m God, You’re Not: Observations on Organized Religion & Other Disguises of the Ego

“Powerful ... this thought-provoking book teaches us that abundance and goodness abound, and that through deed and practice Judaism provides an avenue to mindful and compassionate living.”
Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar, author, God Whispers: Stories of the Soul, Lessons of the Heart

“Demonstrates with skill and textual insight how Judaism can reclaim grace as an unambiguous part of our covenant with an unconditionally loving and always present God. A must read for those seeking wisdom in sacred texts and practical methods to participate in a God-graced life.”
Rabbi David Lyon, Congregation Beth Israel, Houston, Texas; author, God of Me: Imagining God throughout Your Lifetime

“Rabbi Shapiro has done it again. Fans of Rabbi Rami’s writing will be delighted by his in-depth exploration of chesed, approached with both erudition and grace.”
Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold, author, The God Upgrade: Finding Your 21st-Century Spirituality in Judaism’s 5,000-Year-Old Tradition

“An amazing case for amazing grace as a Jewish virtue. Only such agility of mind and facility of expression can breathe and breed the conviction that powers this therapeutic tour de force. Promises a startling shake-up for Jewish-Christian dialogue.”
Rabbi Michael J. Cook, Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies, Hebrew Union College; author, Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment

“Don’t be deceived! This is a radical book of Jewish theology, revisioning God, Torah and Israel in a way that may well blow your mind. Or open your heart. Or, hopefully, both.”
Jay Michaelson, author, Everything Is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism and God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice

Spirituality and Practice

Rabbi Rami Shapiro is a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions, a noted theologian, and an award-winning storyteller, poet and essayist. He has written many books and is a popular speaker and workshop leader. He has led e-courses for Spirituality & Practice and is profiled in our Living Spiritual Teachers Project.

In this timely volume, Rabbi Rami opens the Jewish-Christian door of dialogue a few feet further with his affirmation of grace—chesed—as a major dimension of Judaism. Although religious scholars and students claim that justice is the predominant concept on the Jewish path, the author is convinced that grace is even more important with its emphasis on "God's unlimited, unconditional, unconditioned, and all-inclusive love for all creation."

What is this God of grace really like? Shapiro imagines God to "be be-ing itself manifesting time, space, and everything that occupies them. God isn't a noun but a verb; God isn't a being but a doing, and what God does is called grace." Got it? There is no need to win or achieve grace because it is freely given. We have the choice to accept or reject it. In the Talmud we read:

"Even if 999 angels testify against humanity and only 1 speaks on their behalf, the Holy One, blessed be, inclines the scales in humanity's favor."

Once we accept the astonishing grace of the Holy One as the operative principle of our lives, we will be able to see the creation of the world, the covenant, forgiveness, and faith with fresh eyes. As we read Shapiro's commentary in these chapters, we sense his respect for the wildly creative aspects of chesed and his acceptance of the idea of letting God be God operating outside the precincts of human reason and rigid beliefs.

For Rabbi Rami, mitzvoth, the traditions, commandments, and practices of Jewish life are all animated by the abundant and never-ending grace of God. He spells out the importance of "the Ten Sayings" and the Sabbath with just the right mix of reverence for tradition and creativity. The end result is a passionate plea for us to choose life.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580236249
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
11/01/2012
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
1,341,544
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions and a noted theologian, is a popular speaker on the topics of religion, theology and spirituality. He is author of the award-winning The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice; Recovery—The Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and Hasidic Tales: Annotated and Explained; among other books.

Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Writing—The Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
  • Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
  • Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
  • The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
  • Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
  • Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World

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Amazing Chesed: Living a Grace-Filled Judaism 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As he has done so well in previous writings, Rabbi Rami Shapiro brings us another thought-provoking book with many take-away tips for living a meaningful and inspired life. He has a wonderful command of scripture, which he skillfully interprets for its application to us in our contemporary world. In fact, I finished this book one week before the Jewish holiday of Passover, and at our Seder dinner service, I was eager to share his passages about how we might Live without Enslavement in our personal lives in the year ahead.