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About Yaacov David Shulman
My more personal creative writing and song-writing are available at dotletterword.com.
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“Beautiful, poetic and inspiring” —Norman Lamm, President Emeritus, Yeshiva University
“An elegant and impassioned book that translates Jewish mystical wisdom into a contemporary idion”—Daniel Matt, God and the Big Bang, The Essential Kabbalah, Zohar Annotated and Explained
“Drawing on many different sources, Yaacov David Shulman has offered us a book of ancient teachings that can enrich and elevate the modern soul” —David Wolpe, David: The Divided Heart, Why Faith Matters
It is the return to God,
The return to health,
The return to our soul,
The return to the universe,
The return to a mended planet,
The return to happiness,
The return to home.
Lights of Teshuvah is the quintessential work of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (1865-1935), first Chief Rabbi of the holy land, who was a Talmudic genius, a communal leader, a saintly personality, an impassioned visionary, a fighter for social justice, a poet and–most of all–a mystic. He was also a deeply original thinker, the breadth, inclusive spirit and transcendent ecstasy of whose teachings embrace the entirety of creation.
Rabbi Kook was a poet of the soul and a spokesperson for a complete human spirit that embraces contradiction, that reconciles the poles of this-worldly and other-worldly experience. His writings celebrate the union of legalism and poetry, particularism and universalism, faith hidden in atheism and atheism hidden in faith, the spirit revealed from the flesh, and beauty revealed through ugliness.
Rabbi Kook sang of universal creativity, of an unceasing fecundity that is the natural song of all being.
He championed the poetic and creative spirit within each individual. “Every time our heart beats with a true expression of spirituality,” he wrote, “every time a new and exalted thought is born, we hear the likeness of a Godly angel’s voice at the doors of our soul asking that we allow him entry so that he may appear to us in the totality of his beauty.”
Ultimately, Rabbi Kook’s robust message is one of life and growth, hope and optimism. “Death is a false phenomenon,” he taught, and “to the degree that the quantity of movement toward wholeness grows, evil decreases and goodness is revealed.”
“Yaacov Dovid Shulman is a master translator who is able to capture the language, the poetry and the beauty of Rav Kook’s Hebrew. Since Rav Kook is often very difficult to read in the Hebrew original, even by people who are very literate in Hebrew, having access to this material in English will be very useful.”
—Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, vice president of the Orthodox Union (OU).
“Mr. Shulman’s translations are accurate and clear, forthright and poetic. Mr. Shulman displays a sensitivity to the nuances of Rabbi Kook’s often subtle teachings, and an ability to convey to the reader the passion and dialectical balance in those writings. These writings of Rabbi Kook are often difficult, confounding even the confident Hebrew reader. In such a case, the translator has an especially great challenge in determining the intent of the author and then conveying it clearly and simply, while remaining faithful to the complexity and eloquence of the original. Mr. Shulman’s translations meet that challenge.”
—Prof. Howard Schwartz, three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, author of Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Tree of Souls, etc.
“Yaacov Shulman’s translations of Rav Kook are engaging and clear. He even succeeds in conveying a sense of the poetry of the original text—no mean feat. I highly recommend his work.”
—Rabbi Chanan Morrison, author of Gold from the Land of Israel and webmaster of ravkooktorah.org.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Yaacov David Shulman is the author, translator and editor of fifty books of Jewish spiritual and literary meaning. His translations of Rav Kook are available at ravkook.net, and his latest work is available at dotletterword.com.
*“The mythic dimensions of the mask of tragedy made flesh, in a dopey-seeming but cagey single fluttery gesture.”—Meriwether Lewis
*“Exotic and hauntingly familiar, the devastating force of subversion exposes the crippled soul beneath the tinsel with unexpected, line-bending timing.”—Damon Runyon
*“An inescapable sense of sociological distance masks a treacherous ingenuity of daiquiri-cool energy and talent to spare.”—John Galsworthy
*“A jelly-bean-bright, jagged collage of overheated jitter with an unmatchable slither.”—Dr. Samuel Johnson
*“An elastic display of temperament whose eerie, fastidious cruelty is as fresh as a plate of four-star sushi.”—Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
Zvi Mark uncovers previously unknown and never-before-discussed aspects of Rabbi Nachman’s personal spiritual world. The first section of the book, Revelation, explores Rabbi Nachman’s spiritual revelations, personal trials and spiritual experiments. Among the topics discussed is the powerful “Story of the Bread,” wherein Rabbi Nachman receives the Torah as did Moses on Mount Sinai – a story that was kept secret for 200 years. The second section of the book, Rectification, is dedicated to the rituals of rectification that Rabbi Nachman established. These are, principally, the universal rectification, the rectification for a nocturnal emission and the rectification to be performed during pilgrimage to his grave. In this context, the secret story, “The Story of the Armor,” is discussed. The book ends with a colorful description of Bratzlav Hasidism in the 21st century.