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Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity Paperback – August 19, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rabbi Rami Shapiro says that he went in search of Zen Judaism and found it in Hasidic literature. In writings that speak of the unity of self, God, and the world, he found a deeply spiritual tradition hidden within Judaism, for which many Jews have looked elsewhere.

From years of work in his own synagogue, Rabbi Shapiro developed 10 spiritual practices that help ground a person in divine reality and achieve balance in internal and external affairs. Perhaps you don't associate meditation or "ethical consumption" with the Torah, but Shapiro convincingly demonstrates their value to, and history within, Judaism. Eight other practices, such as attention, generosity, and kindness make up Shapiro's metaphorical Minyan. As the ties binding all things become more and more evident in this book, the necessity of persistent self-development also becomes clear. Shapiro places the self as a necessary link in a community, thereby providing us with the refuge of solitude along with the power and love of community.

Neither a conservative Hasidic nor a head-in-the-clouds mystic, Shapiro offers a detailed, tested way of Jewish spiritual growth and fulfillment.

From the Publisher

My criterion for publishing most Bell Tower books is "Does this book change my spiritual practice?" and when Minyan arrived on my desk, it caused an enormous change in my life. I tend to work eight days a week but when I read the chapter on observing the sabbath, I was so moved by it, I stopped working for 25 hours each week. I come home on Friday evening and put all my manuscripts in one big pile on the table and don't touch them again until Saturday evening. That's hard for me because I am generally unable to rest until all the work is done (of course, this is an impossible situation), so I eye the pile from time to time but I let it rest also. I can't say that I'm actually celebrating the sabbath yet, but at least I'm not working. It's a beginning. And this is only one of the ten principles described in Rami's book. Oh, one more thing: since Rami's website is called The Virtual Yeshiva, I call him my virtual rebbe.
--Toinette Lippe, Bell Tower, Editorial Director
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1st edition (August 19, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609800558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609800553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #563,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Marcy L. Thompson VINE VOICE on May 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extremely interesting meditation on by a man who is passionately committed to living a life which is both solidly grounded in Jewish thought and tradition, and at the same time approaches the transcendent through mysticism. Fortunately, Judaism has had threads of mystical tradition for centuries, and this book provides detailed instructions on how to incorporate these techniques into your life.
However, this is not primarily a how-to book, but rather is the nearly poetic expression of deep comtemplation and experience of an encounter with the transcendent through the medium of Jewish prayer, ethics and ritual.
The prose clearly reflects the passion Rabbi Shapiro brings to his subject, so the book is an appealing reading experience. It is also a book which nearly cries out for rereading and serious thought. You do not have to be Jewish, or agree with everything the author says in order to find great value in this book. If nothing else, it is a case study in making traditional religion meaningful for contemporary people.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Esther Nebenzahl on April 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
Shapiro is a Jewish liberal Rabbi and an award winning poet/essayist...Shapiro holds to the belief that anyone can become spiritually enlightened and in order to assist an individual to reach this goal he has developed a ten-fold method called Minyan. But his is not the traditonal Minyan from Rabbinic law, a quorum of ten Jews, the minimum necessary for the performance of any religious service. His Minyan refers to the practice of meditation, repetition, inspirational reading, attention, generosity, kindness, dream interpretation, ethical consumption, self-perfection, and Sabbath. The maim of Minyuan is to attain d'vekut, oneness with God, seeing both Being and Emptiness as expressions of God, of becomming conscious of both the relative and the absolute. The key to spiritual awakening is "Chabad," the temporary annihilation of your sense of separateness.
Although Shapiro's method hinges on the esoteric and breaks away from conventional Jewish thought, the underlying value of his message is one of universal application, with no embedded dogmatism, a source of inspiration for people of all faiths.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is one of the most informed and responsible liberal-Jewish rabbis writing today. He is always worth a read, and this book is no exception even though I disagree with large portions of it.
His opening chapters in particular are excellent; he presents what he calls "The Teaching" (a carefully nuanced version of quasi-Hasidic panentheism) succinctly and intelligibly. From there, he builds to a list of ten practices adapted from Jewish tradition and designed to increase one's awareness of Rabbi Shapiro's panentheistic G-d.
I won't detail my agreements and disagreements here; let it suffice to say that I have some significant ones of each (particularly regarding what I see as important errors in the ethical and economic foundations of "eco-kashrut"). But Rabbi Shapiro's graceful prose and thoughtful ruminations will provoke you to explorations of your own whether you end up agreeing with him or not. What Rabbi Shapiro is clearly _most_ concerned about is that Jews care about being Jews. His stimulating work will undoubtedly promote that aim.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
I'm not Jewish, but my wife is, and she suggested that I read this book. I must say that I am glad she did. What pleased me the most about "Minyan" was the way that Rami focused on spiritual principles and not dogma. I personally feel that there are spiritual truths that are manifest in all beliefs, and any book that shows how to incorporate those principles into daily life is a book that I find rewarding. This book is not only well written, but it offers practical suggestions for individuals seeking to foster spiritual development in their lives, regardless of religious affiliation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rabbi Rami's flowing and easily readable style gives a succint and easy to understand explanation of a mystical theology that is applicable to all. He challenges us to accept responsibilty for our lives and, in doing so, to gain direct access to our spiritual selves. His suggestions make sense and can be implemented in small steps. The translations of sacred texts are exceptionally beautiful and inspirational. I recommend this book to all seekers-- especially those who are looking for a Jewish perspective that would be tolerated and welcomed in eccumenical circles. Although the forms are Jewish, the message is universal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on March 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rabbi Rami Shapiro's Minyan is a well written account of how to practice "non-dual" Judaism. This idea is that God is "not something or someone living somewhere out there in time and space... God is the One who manifests as all things in time and space. God is not something you pray to, but rather the greater reality to which you awake."

Shapiro's book is quite specific about the pathway that may be right for the seeker of this type of Jewish mystical and philosophical view, life and practice. There is a mix of practical suggestions and theological speculation that compliment each other well. The book is deeply Jewish and concentrates on a type of non-kabbalistic mysticism we find in Abraham Abulafia as well as a healthy dose of Chabad inspired thought. There is an emphasis on meditation, practice and community commitment.

Minyan is a excellent guide book for anyone seeking to find a new pathway in Judaism that respects the old; as well as anyone who seeks the old in the garb of the new.
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Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity
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