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Floating Takes Faith

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Floating Takes Faith

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Floating Takes Faith
Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World
By Rabbi David J. Wolpe
Behrman House Publishers, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-87441-733-3.

Floating Takes Faith is a colletion of essays by Rabbi David Wolpe that focus on Jewish life in the modern world by exploring how Jewish values, such as scholarship and compassion, together with Jewish practice, enhance an individual's private and public life. He also answers such questions as, How does Shabbat help deflect us from the pressures of the societal rat-race? How can Jewish learning subdue political unrest? Rabbi Wolpe draws the lessons of this collection from a variety of religious and historical sources, finding the importance of Israel in a Robert Frost poem, the nature of God in the words of Beowulf, and parenting lessons in the fatherly techniques of King David. The essays address diverse topics ranging from assimilation to Zionism to Jewish concepts of life and death. The following excerpt from Floating Takes Faith has been provided courtesy of Behrman House Publishers.

Our Own Prisons

Rabbi Aryeh Levin was called the Holy Man of Jerusalem. He spent his adult life in Israel, where he visited prisoners, bringing them comfort, food, spiritual sustenance. Once after Passover some of the Jewish prisoners told Rabbi Aryeh that although the Seder had been good, something important was missing: Because they were in prison, they could not perform the traditional rite of opening the door for Elijah, an act that invites redemption, for Elijah is the herald of the Messiah. Surely there was no enslavement more absolute than the inability to coax forth redemption.

Rabbi Aryeh replied, "Every man is in a prison of his own self. He cannot leave by going out of the house but only by passing through the door of the heart. And to make an opening for himself in his own heart—that anyone can do, even a prisoner behind bars. And then he will be in true spiritual freedom."

At each significant moment during the year, each of us should seek to understand where we are enslaved and open the door to our heart. That door is the portal of goodness, repentance, and faith.

© Behrman House; used by permission.

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