Sparks Beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Commentary on the Torah

Front Cover
J. Aronson, 1993 - Religion - 276 pages
In Sparks beneath the Surface: A Spiritual Commentary on the Torah, Lawrence Kushner and Kerry Olitzky, two leaders in a new generation of liberal rabbis, have provided an invaluable tool to bring the teachings of Torah to modern Jews.
Organized around the weekly Torah portions, Sparks beneath the Surface is designed to resemble pages of the Talmud. In the center of each page, the rabbis present the targum -the English translation of the phrase or verse being explored. The authors also often include the surrounding verses and summaries to help anchor the passage in context. To one side, they provide material on the passage from classical chasidic teachers; to the other side, they offer insights from Jewish tradition to add depth to the point under discussion, as well as to provide the reader with sources for further study. The authors also elucidate the commentaries in their own perushim - explanations of the teachings. Each entry is enhanced with background information on Chasidism, biographical and geographical information, alternative comments by other teachers, and other interesting asides that relate to the text.
According to Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, this book is "a delight to the eyes. It looks like Talmud and feels like a Sefer; it is in English, and it teaches the heart! Chasidic masters speaking their short and deep Torah are massaged by Reb Larry and Reb Kerry to come in easily to quicken the heart of those who thirst and have no access to the Hebrew original. What a wonderful resource for those who wish to give a valid and vital vort at the Shabbat table or the Chavurah service."
Tradition teaches that every Jewish soul was present at Mount Sinai when God gave the Torah. However, many Jews today find it hard to access the wisdom of the Torah and the Talmud. It all seems so ancient; the world has changed a great deal since Sinai. The modern Jew is often discouraged by a lack of knowledge of the Hebrew language; he or she is unable to make a spiritual connection with the text. Rabbis Kushner and Olitzky offer a way into the world of Torah and tradition that overcomes both language and temporal barriers.
Sparks beneath the Surface provides the student, whether experienced or new to Torah study, with what the authors refer to as "psycho-spiritual" insights on the Bible. This valuable work represents, as Rabbis Kushner and Olitzky state, "the first time chasidic insights have been brought to a liberal context without compromising either ideological framework."

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I'm on my second copy.Have added personal notes to each chapter.Can't imagine the weekly parsha without this book.

Contents

600000 Letters
3
The Argument for Truth
5
A Real Partner
6
Paralysis in the Middle
8
Exiled to Safety
10
Two Pockets
12
Abraham Saves Terach
14
High Test
16
The Red Thread
142
Sorrow Not Impurity
144
Dying to Serve
145
Jewish Clothes
146
By What Do You Live?
147
Begin with Parents End with Shabbat
148
Communal Holiness
150
Misusing Your Heart
151

Two Kinds of Horror
17
Awakening Above from Below
19
Body Parts
21
Satan on Jewish Survival
23
The Best Years of Life
25
Veil of Twins
26
The Letter Vav as Ego
27
Son Fathers Child
29
Deep Water
30
Freedom from Parenthood
32
SelfAnnihilation
34
The Light of a Holy Place
36
The Great Truth of Reverence
38
Engraved on a Throne
40
Esaus Head
42
Whats It to You?
43
25 Vayeshev What Are You Looking For?
44
The Wisdom of Reverence
46
27 Vayeshev Being There
48
Dream World
50
Clean Thoughts
51
Fancy Dresser
53
Draw Near to Yourself
54
Teshuvah as Rewriting the Past
55
Dont Quarrel with the Way
57
Exile of the Spirit
58
Revealing the End
60
Returning to Your Source
62
EXODUS
63
37 Shemou The Seed of Redemption
65
38 Shemou A Little SelfEsteem
66
How Good It Will Be
68
Patient Slavery
71
Strong Leadership
72
If He Only Had a Heart
74
Your Humble Servant
76
From Rosh HaShanah to Pesach
78
Light at the End of the Tunnel
80
Miracle without Song
81
47 BeShallack The Very First Shabbos
83
Something New Every Day
85
Godtalk
86
The Distance between Heaven and Earth
87
Coverings Promise
88
Hearing What You Do
89
Being Where You Are
91
Creations Prejudgment
93
Self Set Apart
94
The Proper Order
95
The Menorah Makes Itself
96
Jump Start
98
Memory and Redemption
100
The Job of the Tzaddik
102
Shabbat
103
Shabbos at Home
105
Monday Morning Quarterback
107
65 VaVakhel 66 VaVakhel One Congregation
109
The Rest of the Fire
111
Daily Bride Price
113
Gifts of Ecstasy
115
Holy Artisan
116
Jewish Job
117
LEVITICUS
118
Money Food and Sex
121
Humility and Arrogance
123
Ultimate Sacrifice
125
73 Tzav Sacrifice Study
126
Raising AshesThe Conservation of Spiritual Energy
127
Unleavened Behavior
129
The Tabernacle of Creation
130
Happy without Wine
132
Lower than Angels
134
Torah Chuppah and Good Deeds
136
The Fourth Path
137
Showing the Priest
139
Sacred Speech
140
91 Emor The Leader Is Blind
152
92 Emor Material Relations
153
93 Emor The Sixth Day of Creation Was Sukkot
154
94 BeHar Beginning with Trust
155
95 BeHar Strangers on Earth
157
96 BeHar Buy Low Sell High
158
Learning to Do
160
Speaking of Pain
162
The Cause of All Causes
163
NUMBERS
165
100 BeMidbar Places of Power
167
101 BeMidbar Tzaddik Drinking Coffee
169
102 BeMidbar The Place of the Tabernacle
171
103 Noser All from God
173
The Name of Love
175
By the Grace of God
177
Craving a Craving
179
Secretly Following Orders
181
This Light Is Forever
182
Women Who Love the Land
184
Hard Truth
186
How Do I Look?
188
Every Man for Himself
189
The Mouth of the Earth
190
Overcompensation
191
The Torah Is Like a Cow
192
Breaking Vessels
194
The Sin of Sharp
195
Balaks FortyTwo Sacrifices
196
Treasuring Amorite Words
198
Beware of Good News
200
Accidental Zeal
202
Deserving Priesthood
204
Fingers in Their Ears
205
The Power of Holy Words
206
Escape Route
208
Cleaning Your Brain
210
On the Road
211
Places to Hide
214
Brains before Beauty
215
DEUTERONOMY
217
You Hear Who You Are
219
Teshuvah before Torah
220
Sichon and Og
222
The Reward of I Am
224
Your Money or Your Life
225
Public and Private
227
136 Ekev Spiritual Hunger
229
Leave Laughing
230
A Joy to Serve
231
All of One
232
The Maskilim and the Kotzker
233
City of Happiness
235
Leaders of the Time
237
Rabbinic Security
239
Holiness Everywhere
240
Turning Captive Sins into Free Merits
241
Not from Vengeance
243
The Easiest Mitzvah
245
Returning to the Source
247
Doing and Remembering
249
Garment of Lights
250
Levels of Turning
252
Covenant without Romance
254
Movin Along Standing Still
256
The Last Attainment
258
The Worst Secret
259
Defense Witness
261
157 Haazinw The Future of I
262
158 Haazinw Heaven and Earth
263
Rain and Dew
265
A Secret Burial
266
Index of Names
267
Index of Biblical Verses
271
Index of Talmudic Verses
275
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Lawrence S. Kushner is on the faculty of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, New York.

Bibliographic information