- Series: Kushner
- Paperback: 142 pages
- Publisher: Jewish Lights (November 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1580230202
- ISBN-13: 978-1580230209
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 22.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #963,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk (Kushner)
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The Book of Words: Talking Spiritual Life, Living Spiritual Talk collects Rabbi Lawrence Kushner's inspiring, entertaining, unconventional definitions of 30 Hebrew words. "According to the Hebrew Bible, God made the world with words," Kushner writes. "Not only are words the instrument of creation, in Judaism they are the primary reality itself." According to this belief, Kushner proceeds to meditate and play with spiritually charged words such as "Love," "Water," and some surprising choices such as "Garbage." Each short essay ends with a kavanah, or meditative exercise, designed to "help the reader 'live in the word.'" This book is among Kushner's best and is an excellent companion to Arthur Green's These Are The Words or to Kushner's own The Book of Letters. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Library Journal
Rabbi and rabbinic professor Kushner has written, designed, and illustrated this revitalization of Hebrew/English holy words, words full of re-creative power such as secrecy and faith , terror and life , and vision , and truth . Kushner's meditative reflections, supplemented by Biblical and Talmudic wisdom, reveal hidden power and contemporary relevance, as well as humor. Many of Kushner's thoughts may delight non-Jews as well as Jews with the enthusiasm for life and profound sense of the sacred, e.g., when he elaborates on the sacredness of laughter and finds Purim important especially because "it makes us laugh at ourselves." Recommended for public and seminary libraries.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
This is a physically attractive book. A large, English word appears at the top of the page (Amnesia) followed by a Hebrew word which is often not a direct translation (d'vey'kut, clinging in Hebrew) and a further English translation (Unio Mystica); also on the same page, a part of Torah, and/or a section of the siddur, the Talmud, mishna, and a Kavanah section, a place to put the word into practice.
In several places Kushner comes close to a non-dual understand of Judaism. He views the self as an obstacle to knowing God; sees God as Being or the source of All Being and the only Existent. On page 96, he quotes Dov Baer of Mezritch at length: "Thus as long as you remain convinced that you are "something" preoccupied with your daily needs, then the Holy One cannot be present, for God is without end..."
This is excellent midrash. Kushner takes Jewish texts and by creative selection and ingenious translation creates new meanings to shopworn words, concepts, and ideas.
From Rabbi Kushner's short two-page Introduction to his "Book of Words" he briefly describes in volunes of meaning: "According to the Hebrew Bible, God made the world with words. God just spoke and the world became reality. (The Aramaic for "I create as I speak" is avara k'davara, or in magician's language, abracadabra.) Not only are words the instrument of creation, in Judaism they are primary reality itself." I Was Hooked by That!
The Hebrew words meaning most to me are, b'rahkah or blessing; hit-la-ha-voot or Ecstasy. Kushner stated: "There can be joy in silence or with tears...in their occasions joyous laughter turns out to be sacred." The word ecstasy also appears in Bernstein's
"Chichester Psalms," coming in the most dramatic moment!
The word for prayer has meant much: t'fee-lah as the Rabbi uses the phonetic spelling. In his last page for each word he writes a Kavanah or Living Spiritual Talk: "In prayer you need to know a 'script' so well that you can recite the words on 'auto-pilot' but not so well, that the words are habitual."
I soon passed onto his "Book of Letters," then, "God was in this Place and I, i did not know." Again, it was Awesome: A Mystery! What a forcefully creative writer! Retired Chap. Fred W Hood