How can a person be generous to the poor when his own bank account is almost empty? Mussar, a thousand-year-old Jewish spiritual tradition, offers answers to this and many other questions regarding the distance between religious ideals and everyday realities, as Alan Morinis explains in Climbing Jacob's Ladder. Morinis, a Canadian baby boomer who grew up to become a Rhodes Scholar, anthropologist, and film producer, discovered Mussar teachings at the low point of his midlife crisis. After he made some high-flying business deals that crashed, Morinis found reassurance in the Mussar idea that human life is holy and people can improve themselves. And Mussar, a system of ethical discipline conceived by Orthodox Jews to help them meet the demanding requirements of observant life, does seem perfectly designed for readers seeking step-by-step instruction for building or rebuilding their spiritual lives. In Climbing Jacob's Ladder Morinis tells the story of how he used Mussar to climb back up to holy life and invites readers to come along on his ascent. --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This moving account of a secular Jew's search for spirituality begins with his explorations of Eastern religions in India and ends with his quest's eventual culmination in Jewish tradition. Born and raised in Toronto, Morinis won a Rhodes Scholarship and earned a Ph.D. in anthropology at Oxford. After teaching at different universities in Vancouver, he became involved in filmmaking and abandoned academia. He was successful for many years but his business finally failed. During his resulting depression, he turned to Judaism for solace since his investigation of Eastern religions had proven fruitless. He learned about Musar (ethics, morality), a little-known Jewish movement that emphasizes the study of Judaism's ethical writings and their practical application. The need for a teacher to guide him beyond his reading led him to a rabbi in Far Rockaway, N.Y. For the next three years, Morinis traveled frequently between Vancouver and New York. What he learned is incorporated in this well-written book which sets forth the teachings of Musar, often through parables told to Morinis by his teacher. These homilies make a profound connection between belief and behavior. The narrative also reveals the story of the author's life, including the impact of his studies on his relationship with his physician wife and their two daughters. The achievement of personal growth through spirituality is richly demonstrated by this touching account of the author's journey to Judaism.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Editorial Reviews
I have recently begun to study Mussar within a group setting at my synagogue. In general, when I jump into something like this, I like to read additional material - material not a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by J. Feltman
Beautifully written and very enlightening. A must read for anyone, Jewish or not, who is on a spiritual search.Published 8 months ago by Robin
Morinis gives a wonderful introduction to the practice and study of Musar. On top of that, he drives the story forward by telling about his own personal journey. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Neil Hirsch
Loved the book. Ending was great. Not the usual syrupy sweet ones you expect. From a personal perspective I could really relate to the story.Published 12 months ago by Nancy L. Metzger
It is amazing to see one's man journey to find holiness and how he is currently helping others. After reading this book you will feel ihpired to respect others and help yourself... Read morePublished 15 months ago by B. Teitell