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Book Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat


Honey from the Rock
An Introduction to Jewish Mysticism
Lawrence Kushner
Jewish Lights 04/00 Paperback $15.95
ISBN: 1-58023-073-3

"The great stories did not happen to the masters of old alone. They happen to us. You and I. This moment. A tale unfolds," writes Lawrence Kushner in this anniversary edition of his 1990 book. The rabbi, who heads Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is a master of the story. He interprets the ten gates of Jewish mysticism with such clarity and vividness that the Kabbalah shines. Best of all, he relates these ideas and beliefs to everyday experiences.

The wilderness in the present time is any place where we encounter the mystery that is beyond our ability to rationally understand. Or as Kushner puts it, "There is more to reality than meets the eye." Yes, the Most High is very sneaky, always hiding behind paradoxes. But at the same time, offering us many gateways to holiness.

With creative illustrative material, Kushner shows how the Holy One uses us as messengers and is present when something ends and another thing begins: "A baby is born . . . An old person dies. One enters the room. One leaves the room." The author finds meaning scattered all around us: "Everything comes to teach us something about God's plan and therefore our destiny." The challenge is to stay alert and to cherish all the connections. Kabbalah celebrates unity, and Honey from the Rock is a paean to this understanding of reality.


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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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