Guest Author - Lisa Pinkus
Years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a Passover retreat with Rabbi David Cooper and his wife, Shoshana. I do not recall if I read his books before the retreat or after attending the retreat but both have had a major impact on my life and how I live Judaism. The transformation from reading Rabbi Cooper’s books are significant because they stay with you forever and become a part of you.
God Is A Verb: Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism is set up in four sections – the past, the present, higher awareness, and the World to Come. The tone for the book is set as Rabbi Cooper explains that Judaism is a daily practice of paying close attention to the details.
We have specific times for prayer, guidelines for eating properly, and mandates for how we are to treat other people. Many Jewish people are reluctant to explore their own religion but easily seek out Buddhism, meditation, or other traditions. Rabbi Cooper shows his Jewish readers how Judaism and mindfulness go hand in hand.
He weaves our stories and traditions into a modern day practice that is inviting and encouraging. Rabbi Cooper is able to intertwine intellect and tradition to blaze a spiritual path that any Jewish person can follow. His principles for living are both factual and mystical.
The notion of God – a concept that can make many a Jew turn away, feel ambivalent, or cause confusion – is addressed with ease. Rabbi Cooper believes that our attempts to define or perceive G-d often obstruct the development of our spirituality.
God Is A Verb, the title of this book, is itself an powerful and transforming lesson. G-d does not exist without someone to believe in G-d. Rabbi Cooper’s notion of G-d as a verb is illustrated in tales found in the Torah.
Noah, for example, is often criticized for not having questioned G-d when told to make an ark. Why did Noah refrain from challenging G-d or sticking up for his fellow man? Noah was unlike Abraham and Moses who both argued with G-d until G-d changed his mind. Abraham stood up for the people of Sodom, and Moses refused G-d’s request at the burning bush to help free the Jewish people from Pharaoh in Egypt.
The retreat I went on many years ago was a silent meditation retreat. It amazed me how deep one can go in silence and how much one can learn. G-d Is A Verb is an explanatory guide that helps the reader reach life on deeper levels. Purposeful activities suggested in the book will help one expand awareness, transcend, and practice intention.
In the beginning of the book, we are taught to know. Toward the end, we are taught to do and to practice. Though the reading may get heavy at times, there will be an exercise, illustration, or story around the corner that will tie it all together and complete the teaching.
Enter on this journey with Rabbi David Cooper and uncover new realms within your Self.
I bought this book years ago and decided to write a review on it as part of my summer reading suggestions. This book can be purchased at Amazon: