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Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac

Passing Life's Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac

by Bradley Shavit Artson


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Challenges you to go beneath the brief, shocking story and ask: who is the tester, who is the tested and what motivates the test?

Among stories so terrible they rend our hearts, so profound they touch the depths of our souls and so exalted they reach to heaven, none is more poignant than the Bible story of Abraham's sacrifice of his son, Isaac. A story revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims, and turned over and over by great secular thinkers searching for meaning, this gripping tale shocks us into complete attention, then takes us—in nineteen short verses—on a roller coaster ride of emotion, challenge and hope.

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, known widely for making the Hebrew Bible relevant to our lives, draws on generations of Jewish sages, philosophers and scholars to explore this ancient story, known as the binding of Isaac or the test of Abraham. He invites us to use this powerful tale as a tool for our own soul wrestling, to transcend its words to confront our own existential sacrifices and our ability to face—and surmount—life's tests. By applying this tale’s lessons to everyday events, Artson compels us to pay closer attention to our lives and, through our priorities, responsibilities, mindfulness and faith, ask ourselves if we are passing our own tests.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580236317
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Pages: 176
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson, DHL, ( an inspiring speaker and educator, holds the Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean's Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and is vice president of American Jewish University in Los Angeles. He is a member of the philosophy department, supervises the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program and mentors Camp Ramah in California. He is also dean of Zacharias Frankel College in Potsdam, Germany, ordaining rabbis for the European Union. A regular columnist for the Huffington Post, he is author of many articles and books, including Renewing the Process of Creation: A Jewish Integration of Science and Spirit; God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology and Passing Life’s Tests: Spiritual Reflections on the Trial of Abraham, the Binding of Isaac (all Jewish Lights).

Table of Contents

Preface: Why Read This Book? ix

Introduction: Seeing Ourselves in the Biblical Mirror xiii

Part 1 Exploring the Depths

Translation and Commentary of Genesis 22 1

Translation 4

Commentary 3

Part 2 Deepening Our Encounters

Reflections on Life's Tests in Genesis 22

Mortality: What You Learn When You're Under the Knife 41

Paradox: The Enduring Covenant 47

Priorities: Balancing Spontaneity and Foresight 53

Solidarity: Of Love and Loyalties 61

Faith, Fear, and Faithfulness: Can Faith Save? 69

People above Principles: And God Tested Sarah 79

Walking the Walk: Tested by Our Deeds 85

Integrity: Hearing the Voice of God 93

Resilience: We Can Learn from Our Trials 97

Responsibility: What We Sacrifice for Our Parents 103

Joy: Is It Okay to Love Life? 111

Mindfulness: Of Children and the Spiritual Life 121

Suffering: A New Jewish Response 127

Conclusion: Belief-Know Before Whom You Stand 131

Acknowledgments 141

Notes 144

Glossary 145

Bibliography 149

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