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Thresholds: How to Thrive Through Life's Transitions to Live Fearlessly and Regret-Free Hardcover – August 18, 2015
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Thresholds is a book that will change lives. Rabbi Sherre Hirsch, in a voice of wisdom and encouragement, leads us through life's transitions. She teaches us how to move past fear and uncover faith and courage and our true strength. We learn to expand our awareness and transform scary times of change into times of possibility and new opportunity. Hirsch reaches out to us with her warmth and empathy, she takes our hands and guides us toward new hope and new blessings. - Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of To Begin Again and Hope Will Find You
“In a world in which we are consumed with 24/7 hour news cycles, graphic displays of suffering from around the world and incivility is the norm, rather than an exception, Sherre Hirsch helps us find comfort. With each passage of Thresholds, you are inspired, encouraged and made more confident about your ability to navigate life's transitions and find our own little piece of heaven here on earth.” -Arvea Martin, Attorney, author, and President and Founder of Special Needs Network
“There are lots of books about dealing with difficult situations, but Sherre Hirsch has written a most useful guide to those “liminal” moments between the known and the unknown, when we are fearful because we don’t know what we might be getting into.”- Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“A powerful book that helps you positively shift your perspective on how to look at your life, your obstacles and your regrets. Hirsch offers her wisdom, her insights and her humor in such a compelling way that you walk away looking at your life differently and your challenges differently. Anyone who has ever struggled or had questions about their lives (which is everyone!) should read Thresholds. – Jane Buckingham, Founder and President of Trendera, and author of The Modern Girls Guide to Life.
About the Author
For over 20 years, Rabbi Sherre Hirsch has been sharing her intimate counsel and wisdom with people in all kinds of “pulpits,” ranging from her congregation at the Sinai Temple Los Angeles to corporate auditoriums to small Southern Baptist churches. She serves as the spiritual life consultant for Canyon Ranch Properties and is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker and teacher. She is the author of We Plan, God Laughs and has contributed to many publications including O Magazine, Time, Olam, and the Daily Beast. She has appeared on the Today Show, ABC News Now, Anderson Cooper 360, and more, and rounds out her time counseling individuals in her private practice. She is the mother of four children and the wife of Dr. Jeffrey Hirsch.
Hirsch’s mission is to empower individuals to be their own spiritual guides. Visit her at www.SherreHirsch.com or follow her on twitter @sherrehirsch.
Top customer reviews
The author is a rabbi with plenty of life experience and hours clocked caring for people in transition, Sherre Hirsch. She truly “get it.” I was impressed with the pulse she has on the human experience, especially in light of transition.
“The human tendency is to believe that all unknowns are dangerous.” (33)
“Deep inside, each one of us knows that we have no control of others or the workings of the world...but liminal moments force us to think about these questions. Because as hard as we try to push them away in our regular lives, when we are standing at a threshold these questions are shoved in our faces and we cannot escape them.” (44-45)
“Human nature is to seek advice from people who will confirm what we wish to hear.” (49)
“How we act in liminal moments-particularly the difficult ones-is a choice that each one of us gets to make for ourselves. No one else gets to make it for us.” (101)
“It can often be difficult to see that while we may not have control over the situation, we do have control over how we respond….It is a long way from the head to the heart. Yet moving forward across the threshold requires that we summon the faith and the courage to act from the head and not the heart….It requires that we remind ourselves that, while our feelings in the moment are very real, they are not permanent.” (103)
I truly appreciated her distinction between the depth of feeling of transition and how we choose to respond in the midst of transition. Her examples covered a breadth of ground from the death of a child to divorce, a new job to a new relationship. Each time, Rabbi Hirsch showed the reality that only we are responsible for how we respond to a situation. She disproved the idea of a “perfect” option that so often paralyzes people from making important decisions. There is no ideal destination or role, and she reminds us of how often we are comparing our lives to the idea we have in our head of someone else’s, instead of the reality. “We have no idea what goes on in other people’s homes. But we do an excellent job of imagining their perfect lives.” (119) She also gives permission for us to grow and change and need different things in different seasons. “This is often confusing and hard to understand because we tend to think that what felt good and right at one time should feel good and right always. And when it doesn’t, rather than acknowledging that we have changed-and that we need to change our expectations or situation to bring them in line with how we have changed-we instead become frustrated and may begin to blame everyone and everything else around us” (121)
I think I was disconcerted with her view of self and her view of God. I was anticipating some differences in belief, as a result from our different faith backgrounds. However, I was disappointed by how she portrays God in her interpretations of Biblical accounts, making God sound confused or capable of making mistakes too. She says that the future is unknown even to God. She does not describe God as having an active role in our lives, but humanizes God to be relatable and capable of experiencing the same transitions and thresholds as we do. The Biblical history she shares, ranging from Moses to Joseph to Ruth all seem to be mere examples of human response to difficulties, instead of God’s active and sovereign roles in the lives of people.
Rabbi Hirsch repeatedly tells the reader to have faith in oneself, above all.
“Whether you are Jewish, Christian, agnostic, atheist or something in between does not matter. This isn’t about having faith in God. It’s about having faith in the most important person: you.” (20)
But then, she also talks about how lost we feel, how easily we tell ourselves stories that aren’t true and how little control we have over the world around us. These two messages of our susceptible and weak humanity and faith in oneself seem to contradict each other, as Rabbi Hirsch seems to say that the answer comes from trusting in yourself. I got the impression that one does this by living in the present, and choosing moment by moment to “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” And the more you do this, the more, Rabbi Hirsch claims, you’ll have the courage to keep going and trust yourself more.
“You have the courage and strength to continue to move forward regardless of the decision you face, and, as a result, to begin to trust yourself more and then more. And over time you will discover and develop more and more faith in the most important person: you...You get it right when you trust yourself. When you realize that while other people can offer you advice and suggestions, the real answer is inside you. When you choose to believe in yourself--even in moments when you feel tremendous doubt. When you realize that each time you face your fears, you are getting better at it; you are becoming more practiced and skilled. Then you will see that making the decision to move to the next room becomes easier and easier because you value and trust in your own decisions.” (180-181)
But what if your decisions are wrong? What if you’re making decisions based on incorrect information because you believe lies about yourself or someone else? What if the grief of a transition threatens to bury you and you simply don’t have the strength to muster to believe in yourself? What then?
I believe this is where the Lord steps in. I believe, unlike Rabbi Hirsch, that God is active in the lives of people. Only with his help are we able to ride the waves of grief or make decisions with wisdom, because Rabbi Hirsch is right: we are easily overwhelmed; we easily believe stories that aren’t true; we have trouble with transitions. We don’t need to have the strength to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. The Lord offers rest to the weary. He offers to carry us when we have nothing left. Although Rabbi Hirsch’s book was intended to help, I felt saddened to see that she does not direct the reader to the only one who is truly able to help in times of need: God.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255
Most recent customer reviews
I read at least 7 books a week for our Inspire Nation Show, and was blown away by Sherre's book.Read more