A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice

A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism as a Spiritual Practice

by Michael Strassfeld

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Overview

A book that charts a clear path to a more spiritually rich practice of Judaismfrom the coauthor of the best-selling Jewish Catalog volumes.

For all the cycles of life, best-selling author Rabbi Michael Strassfeld presents traditional Jewish teachings as a guide to behavior and values. Where the tradition is replete with rituals (for example, the Sabbath), he describes them and shows how they can enrich spiritual living. Where rituals are sparse or nonexistent (for example, returning home at the end of the workday), he suggests new ones gleaned from his own study and experience.

Strassfeld also brings the principles of "insight meditation" to Jewish life, using this practice to recover and reconstruct Judaism's spiritual dimension. He describes a Judaism that encourages within us a spiritual awareness as we participate in both traditional Jewish practices and the mundane activities of daily life. By engaging with Jewish tradition in ways that recapture its original kavanah , or intention, we will, Strassfeld maintains, achieve the two fundamental goals of Judaism-to become better human beings and to be in God's presence. (Hardcover published in 2002 by Schocken Books, ISBN 0-8052-4124-8.)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580232470
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/01/2006
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 644,759
Product dimensions: 2.36(w) x 3.54(h) x 1.36(d)

About the Author

Rabbi Michael Strassfeld, coauthor of the three volumes of The Jewish Catalog and of A Night of Questions: A Passover Haggadah and author of The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary , is the rabbi of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, a synagogue in Manhattan.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction xi

Part One AWAKENING TO THE DAY
Dawning 3
Speech 22
Work 37
Eating and Food 66
The End of the Day 94
Shabbat: A Day for Walking Softly Through the World 103

Part Two THE THREE PATHS
Torah: The Path of Study 139
Avodah : The Path of Prayer 176
Gemilut Hesed : The Path of Loving-kindness 206

Part Three LIVING THROUGH THE YEAR: THE FESTIVALS
The Festivals 227
The Jewish Calendar 229
Pesah/Passover 231
The Omer 244
Shavuot 253
The Three Weeks and Tisha be-Av 256
High Holidays: Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur 260
Sukkot 274
Shemini Atzeret and Simhat Torah 281
Hanukkah 284
Tu Bishvat 290
Purim 293

Part Four LIVING A LIFE OF HOLINESS
Genesis/Bereishit: Beginnings and Birth 304
Genesis/Bereishit: Conversion 324
Genesis/Bereishit: Parents and Children 337
Exodus/Shemot: Bar/Bat Mitzvah 345
Exodus/Shemot: On Being a Mentsch 353
Leviticus/Va-Yikra: Relationships and Sexuality 357
Leviticus/Va-Yikra: Marriage 373
Numbers/Be-midbar: Living in the Desert 396
Deuteronomy/Devarim: Aging 425
Deuteronomy/Devarim: Death 440

Part Five AFTER DEUTERONOMY: LIVING IN THE PROMISED LAND
Israel: Toward a Torah of Zion 467
Ecology 475
After the Words: God 487

A Note on Sources/Glossary 505

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