In Speech and in Silence: The Jewish Quest for God

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9780805016789: In Speech and in Silence: The Jewish Quest for God
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"Blessed be God Who spoke, and the world came into being." In the Jewish tradition, the world is created by words. Judaism ascribes an almost mystical power to language. Indeed, the central sacred object in Judaism is the book, the Torah. Words form a pathway between people and God.
And yet, if words are the avenue of spirituality, silence is the destination. Silence signals our connection to the sublime. When we feel so deeply that words fail us, we are as close to God's presence as it is possible for humankind to be.
Now, in a deeply moving series of meditations, David Wolpe explores how each of us can use the complexity of language and the simplicity of silence to reach toward God. Writing with the same mastery of sources that so distinguished his first book and with the same beauty of language that made that work a joyful and powerful experience, Rabbi Wolpe brings his compassionate intelligence to bear on a subject as ancient as the tradition that embraces it and as modern as our universal need to connect.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A Conservative rabbi (The Healer of Shattered Hearts, 1990) ponders the ways by which words link God and humans. Wolpe wrote this book after his mother suffered a stroke that left her unable to speak or write, and the pages that describe her illness and her family's subsequent prayers are the best here, deepened by the sense of tragedy. For the most part, though, the author steers clear of personal narrative, turning to figures from the Bible--Joshua, Job, Moses--to illustrate his points. His central theme is attractive, if unoriginal: that words are sacred, for they bring us to God, and that, finally, words must be replaced by silence, by ``an understanding that passes beyond words.'' Wolpe speaks with authority of Talmud and Midrash, of song and prayer, and includes some memorable anecdotes (for instance, that Jewish children beginning religious school would be greeted by a chart of letters smeared with honey, tangible proof of the sweetness of words). One big problem, however: Wolpe uses far too many words himself, and shows a particular liking for aphoristic overkill-- ``to be human is to speak''; ``words are swords and they are shields''; ``words sandblast the self,'' and so on. Nietzsche he's not--just the opposite, in fact: a teacher of kindness and common sense who shows no ability to turn a maxim. Good feelings galore, but next time, hold those maxims. -- Copyright ©1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Propelled by family tragedy to confront the meaning of the loss of the ability to speak, Wolpe became acutely aware of the intensity of the human need to communicate. Speech is the primary means of communication, and in this passionate, eloquent exposition, Wolpe explores the power of language in terms of self-identity, human relationships, and relationships with God. In Judaism, words, per se, have a significant role. Wolpe masterfully explains this concept. Gracefully interweaving quotations from the Bible, Talmud, Midrah, and other traditional sources, he demonstrates how the spoken word (or its absence) affects the course of human conduct and emotions and serves as a link between humans and God. He also brings poignant sources that illustrate that when speech is lacking, tears or even silence can sometimes serve as a vehicle for communication. Highly recommended for religion and psychology collections.
- Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780805028164: In Speech and in Silence: The Jewish Quest for God

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ISBN 10:  0805028161 ISBN 13:  9780805028164
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9780805026160: Teaching Your Children About God: A Modern Jewish Approach

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