A Review of Wisdom of the Jews

WisdomJewsWeb1by Kathe Pinchuck

 A ten-step approach is offered to prove that Judaism is “a rational system of thought that makes sense and, as such, is really not just a religion. It is a mental and intellectual engagement with life.” A chapter is dedicated to each step, which poses questions and leaves space for the reader to posit for himself. Answers to the questions are explained, and at the end of each chapter short readings from Jewish sources are included. Step Ten, based on Hurwitz’s Self beyond Self (Feldheim, 1994), provides the most fodder for thought as human emotion and behavior are analyzed.

A flow chart in one of the appendices provides a graphic depiction of how the questions and steps logically follow one another, progressing from the origins of the Universe to the purpose of the Universe, to earning benefit by doing infinite-like acts, which are, obviously, defined by the Infinite Being. Through direct and all encompassing communication from the Infinite Being, humans have received a means to go “beyond self” by doing acts defined by the Infinite Being. These acts can be categorized as intellectual, emotional and instinctual (the Threefold Key). Five appendices contain additional information about the process and the scientific proofs discussed in the text.

Rabbi Hurwitz, a beloved teacher at Aish HaTorah in Jerusalem presents what has become known as “Aish Discovery” a seminar which “draws audiences into a fascinating and rigorously intellectual means of testing the rational basis for belief in Judaism.” Missing from this discussion is the reconciliation of children dying and natural disasters with the premise of a loving and beneficent Infinite Being, or why those who profess to be religious break the law. One would hope that more scientific research on the Universe has been done since the pre-2000 sources quoted. An optional purchase best suited to outreach centers or libraries that collect materials on the intersection of science and religion.

This review originally appeared in the AJL newsletter.


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