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Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrityby Rami M Shapiro
Synopses & Reviews
This book starts with a clear-headed look at the Ten Commandments and rephrases them in terms that go straight to the heart, such as "Do not murder": "Aware of the suffering caused by the needless and wanton destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and justice, and learn ways to protect the well-being of people, animals, plants, and minerals. I recognize that murder refers not only to the literal taking of life but to the killing of dignity", etc.
It then examines the hasidic tradition founded by the Baal Shem Tov in 18th-century Europe shows how this view of the world epitomizes Jewish spirituality. Drawing on the wisdom of those sages who followed in the Baal Shem Tov's footsteps, Shapiro offers his tenfold path for making Jewish spiritual practice central to our lives: meditation, repetition of a sacred phrase, inspirational reading, attention to the present moment, generosity, kindness performed with no thought of reward, dreamwork, ecokashrut or ethical consumption, self-perfection, and celebration of the sabbath (this is what hooked me). Shapiro offers a Judaism so immediate and vital to living with integrity and enjoyment that I foresee groups springing up in communities everywhere to put his teaching into practice. I started one the day I finished the manuscript. This is magnificent stuff. I urge you all to try it!
According to rabbinic law, "Minyan" is a quorum of ten Jews - the number required for a service of any kind. Rabbi Shapiro infuses this concept with new meaning as he describes a practical tenfold path, based on the eighteenth-century Hasidic tradition of the Baal Shem Tov and his followers, a path accessible not only to Jews but also to all spiritual seekers. The ten practices of Minyan are meditation, repetition of a sacred phrase, inspirational reading, attention to the present moment, generosity, kindness performed with no thought of reward, dreamwork, ethical consumption, self-perfection, and celebration of the Sabbath. Shapiro offers a Judaism immediate and vital to living in the world with both integrity and enjoyment. Here is a Jewish spiritual primer that teaches how to apply the wisdom of the ancient Jewish sages to our lives today.
About the Author
Rami M. Shapiro, rabbi and storyteller of Temple Beth Or in Miami, Florida, is an award-winning poet and essayist, whose liturgical poems are used in prayer services throughout North America. He is the author of Wisdom of the Jewish Sages: A Modern Reading of Pirke Avot.
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