According to the Hebrew Bible, God spoke the world into being. The word set things in motion and to this day is an active force in our lives. This book takes 30 touchstone Hebrew words and offers his soulful interpretations of them. Each chapter also contains a biblical citation to root the word and a passage from a more recent text to show how it has bloomed. Finally, each chapter concludes with a personal meditative exercise to enable the reader to put on the word and see how it fits.,/p>

Lawrence Kushner, who is a rabbi at Congregation Beth El in Sudbury, Massachusetts, has a special knack for explicating Judaism in imaginative and edifying ways. For instance, although many spiritual writers have talked about the importance of an attitude of gratitude, Kushner takes the thought a few steps further. He notes: "Blessings keep our awareness of life's Holy potential ever present. They awaken us to our own lives...With each blessing uttered we extend the boundaries of the sacred world and ritualize our love of life."

The vocabulary of faith offers refreshing insights into our relationship with God. The edict against idolatry protects the mystery of God. And yet God is close. Or as Kushner puts it: "The holiest Name in the world, the Name of the Creator, is the sound of your own breathing."

Living responsibly means respecting the ties that bind us together. Kushner writes about politics as "the repair of creation" and wealth as a function of generosity — "the more you give, the richer you feel."