Synopses & Reviews
Because a welter of details sometimes conceals the Torahand#8217;s aura of holiness, Jewish mystics and spiritual teachers for centuries have attempted to reveal that aura through creative interpretation. The Aura ofand#160;Torah
explores these attempts in an effort to bridge the gap between the Torah text and the modern Jewish spiritual quest.
This book collects a wide variety of interpretations of Torah passages, commentaries, and midrash rooted in the mystical side of Jewish tradition,includingand#160;original Hebrew and Aramaic texts translated by Rabbi Larry Tabick. The quoted authors span many centuries and speak from many schools of thought: kabbalists writing within the tradition of the Zohar and other gnostic works; Hasidic teachers from the modern movement founded by the Baand#8217;al Shem Tov in eighteenth-century Ukraine; and German pietists, or Hasidei Ashkenaz, of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Tabick examines how these texts build on the underlying principles of the Torahand#8212;the supremacy of God, the interconnectedness of nature and morality, and the unique (though not exclusive) role of the Jewish people in the divine plan for all humanityand#8212;to point to a deep spiritual truth in the world of the divine and the soul.
"On his first page, Green (Seek My Face, Speak My Name) states that this book is in large measure his response to a challenge to 'write theology for theologians.' Accordingly, what he has produced is largely incomprehensible to non-theologians. Using his expertise on Hasidism, Kabbalah, spirituality and Jewish mysticism, Green offers a perplexing interpretation of the concept of God, the existence of evil, and the purpose of human existence. From 1987 to 1993, Green, who describes himself as a 'heterodox Jew,' presided over the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He is now professor and rector of the non-denominational rabbinical program at Hebrew College in Newton, Mass. Although Green's achievements and publication list stamp him as a leading scholar, his new book largely fails to help general readers to comprehend the complicated ideas with which he wrestles. One exception to the generally unintelligible character of Green's presentation is his lucid discussion of the Ten Commandments, which, he asserts, should 'stand as the basis of a reinvigorated Judaism.' He also clearly advocates a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, although he fails to relate that stance to the emphasis of his book." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Green emerges as a decidedly non-traditionalist theologian through this illuminating and evocative discussion about such topics as classic metaphors for God, evolutionary theory, and Kabbalistic theories of creation. Radical Judaism is highly accessible, and the issues addressed are very much those of our contemporaries."—Neil Gillman, The Jewish Theological Seminary of America
“Filled with interesting observations . . . deliberately provocative [and] accessibly written.”--Rabbi David Wolpe, Jewish Journal
“A credible spirituality for our tumultuous times. Green draws richly from the Jewish mystical tradition, but also writes from the heart of his own experience. This lucidly written and wise book will reach far beyond the Jewish community.”—Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith
“A brilliant, complex work . . . deeply satisfying . . . a welcome pushing of the boundaries by a master thinker.”—Jewish Book World
“Rabbi Arthur Green . . . makes his clearest and boldest case yet . . . a valuable contribution . . . Green has now produced some of the best Jewish theology of our time.”—Jay Michaelson, The Forward
“An indispensable, reader-friendly introduction to the new immanence in contemporary theology read out of the sources of Judaism.”—Zachary Braiterman, Religious Studies Review
"[A] rich and thoughtful work . . . Radical Judaism ought to be read by anyone who wants to get a sense of one major position on the contemporary American Jewish theological landscape, as well as by those interested in the theoretical relationships between science and mysticism."—Samuel H. Brody, Journal of Religion
and#8220;The Aura of Torah is an important and useful contribution to the emergent literature of spiritual companions to the parashah. There is nothing quite like it on the shelf. Tabick assembles mystical teachings for the general reader with insight, creativity, and obvious spiritual depth.and#8221;and#8212;Lawrence Kushner, author of Honey from the Rock
How do we articulate a religious vision that embraces evolution and human authorship of Scripture? Drawing on the Jewish mystical traditions of Kabbalah and Hasidism, path-breaking Jewish scholar Arthur Green argues that a neomystical perspective can help us to reframe these realities, so they may yet be viewed as dwelling places of the sacred. In doing so, he rethinks such concepts as God, the origins and meaning of existence, human nature, and revelation to construct a new Judaism for the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Larry Tabick is a rabbi of Shir Hayim, the Hampstead Reform Jewish Community in London. He is the author of Growing into Your Soul: A Celebration of Jewish Life for Your Coming of Age.