Featured Artists: Haviva Ner-David, Andrea D. Guerra, Joseph Telushkin, Eleanor Shapiro, and Sam Berrin Shonkoff
Dinah Berland, ed. and adaptor, Hours of Devotion: Fanny Neuda’s Book of Prayers for Jewish Women. New York: Schocken Books, 2007. $24.00
Reviewed by Elisheva Carlebach
The relationship between teachers and students has taken on multiple forms and shapes in our tradition. The Zohar (III 153a) sees them as the sun and moon — the foundation of our world. The Rambam (Avot 1, 6) equates that relationship to the highest form of friendship. The Chernobyl Rebbe, the Maor Aynayim perceives their connection as the kiddushin (matrimony) of husband and wife.
The goal of spiritual life is the transformation of human personality such that the central virtue of the Torah, V’ahavta l’rayecha kamocha, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” can be enacted. How to achieve this transformation became the central question of Jewish spirituality. Even among the greatest of Jewish mystics, unification with the Divine was understood to be dependent upon the rectification of middot.
The language of Kingship is not fashionable today; actually, it hasn’t been for years. Many people read “King” in the Rosh Hashanah liturgy and think “man” and “hierarchy” and either tune out, walk out, or look for some other way to engage in the service. But even before the most recent critique of Kingship, a whole generation of (Protestant) Bible scholars demeaned the Temple Priests and the idea of Kingship in favor of what they understood as the more democratic voice of the Bible - the Prophets.
Devorah Zlochower and Arthur Waskow speak about kedusha, holiness, and activism.”We’re in a crisis today-the whole planet is in a convulsion, an earthquake. Politics, economics, and the relationship to the earth and sexuality and violence are all in convulsion. So we need to learn to dance in an earthquake.”
Kedusha, holiness, speaks primarily to the concept of separation. What role does separation play in making our daily lives holy?
How does the sound of the shofar inspire you at the High Holidays?
For those that believe that God permeates the entire universe, is anything mundane?
What stands in the way of teshuva, atonement, and forgiveness at the High Holidays?