Ben Rothke ● Jewish Link of New Jersey
In “The Lonely Man of Faith,” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik writes that he has never been seriously troubled by the problem of the Biblical doctrine of creation vis-à-vis the scientific story of evolution at both the cosmic and the organic levels. While it was not a problem for him, it can nonetheless be quite disconcerting for some people. For many others, the supposed scientific conflicts between the Chumash and modern science has them leaving the world of faith for the world of science.Read the rest of this entry »
Rabbi Simcha Snaid ● Jewish Press
The mission of this book is to illuminate the Jewish spiritual path by utilizing ideas from Kabbalah regarding the Holy Name of Hashem, the Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. As the author explains, the goal of the Jewish spiritual path is essentially to become closer to the infinite G-d by developing certain middos (good spiritual qualities).
The four letters of the Name represent four aspects of G-d, and also four levels of spiritual growth. Just as G-d has more “outward” or revealed aspects, and more “inward” or hidden aspects, so too the Jewish spiritual path begins with basic middos and advances to more elevated middos. Interestingly, the last letter of the Name corresponds to the more outward and lower level, while the first letter of the Name corresponds to the more inward and advanced level. It turns out that the Jewish spiritual path involves following the “way of the Name” or, in Hebrew, DerechHashem. Hence, the title of the book.Read the rest of this entry »
Midwest Book Review ● The Judaic Studies Shelf
There is a leading belief in Kabbalah that the Tetragrammaton, the four lettered Hebrew name of God, serves as a model for the ideal of spiritual living. Each letter of the Name corresponds to a certain aspect of God and a specific phase of spiritual growth. At the same time, the four letters correspond to the four stages of the traditional Jewish morning prayer. This prayer serves as a spiritual exercise through which a person may cultivate the spiritual virtues associated with each of the four letters of God’s Name.
In “The Jewish Spiritual Path: The Way of the Name” by Rabbi Joshua Golding (Professor of Philosophy specializing in Philosophy of Religion and Jewish Philosophy at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky) combines a theoretical presentation of Kabbalistic concepts with practical guidance rooted in prayer to cultivate a deep spirituality based on the moral and mystical teachings of Judaism. “The Jewish Spiritual Path” provides both an extended commentary on prayer and an intellectually rigorous spiritual self-help book.
Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “The Jewish Spiritual Path” is an extraordinary study that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it a valued and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, rabbinical, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental studies lists.
Daniel D. Stuhlman ● AJL Reviews
Rabbi Soloveitchik was a great teacher and philosopher whose views on Judaism and Zionism have influenced several generations of modern Orthodox Jews, as well as the general Jewish community. Even non-Jews have demonstrated interest in his ethical philosophy, such as the book written by the Jesuit priest, Christian Rutishauser for his doctoral thesis: The Human Condition and the Thought of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (Jersey City, Ktav, 2013).
The essays edited by Kanarfogel and Schwartz examine Soloveitchik’s views of ethics, Biblical hermeneutics, love and cognition, and the history of the Tosafists. The essays are scholarly with copious footnotes, and they are aimed at experts in the field. For this reader, the most interesting contribution was the last in the book: a bibliographic review of the scholarship on Soloveitchik’s thought. Overall, the essays demonstrate that Soloveitchik’s writings on Jewish law and the human experience, while sometimes dated, will continue to apply today and in the future.
This book is recommended for all libraries; however, the scholarly nature of the book may limit its broad appeal.
Chava Pinchuck ● AJL Reviews
Children react differently to traumatic events and helping them overcome trauma necessitates a different approach than with adults. After presenting clinical definitions of trauma and the signs and symptoms of trauma in children, Dr. Fried suggests four treatment approaches. He discusses the importance of letting the young patients tell their story in their own words and giving them the time and the space to do so. Play is also important, as it builds rapport and lets the child relax and disengage from memories of the trauma. Texture therapy and nature walks are also suggested. Education entails “stating the facts simply, naming emotions, and empowering parents.” The final approach, creativity, includes poetry, guided thinking, and writing, as well as other outlets. The final chapter talks about the resolution of trauma and the power of relationships. Several studies by experts are mentioned; none of them fully referenced.
Dr. Fried is a clinical psychologist with many years of experience of working with children dealing with trauma. The short volume is insightful and contains many suggestions for helping children cope with their emotions, but the target audience is hard to define. Other practitioners will be aware of these techniques through their schooling and practice. Non-practitioners may be interested because they are parents or relatives of traumatized children and are looking for ways to help them. The Jewish content consists of several unreferenced quotes from Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, referred to as “the Rav,” and a few biblical quotes. The short paragraph asserting that “storytelling brings the child closer to a relationship with the Ultimate Listener” discusses the benefits of prayer, which may be lost on a younger patient and may stir up additional feelings of abandonment (Where was God when this happened?).
While somewhat simplistic for the professional, the book may be useful to parents and would be suited to a resource center or Jewish community services library.