Monday, July 1, 2013

Everything is God, Again; Rabbi David Aaron's God Powered Life

Rabbi David Aaron propounds a non-dualist form Judaism, making him one of the few writers to do so openly.   

Along with Rami Shapiro, Arthur Green, and Jay Michaelson, he writes more from the prospective of the self-help genre, with a bit of a New Age style and feel.  Shapiro writes self-help books, but they are evidently less New Agey, while Michaelson, in his one full length book on the topic, is deeply influenced by eastern religions in his view of non-dualistic Judaism.  Green, the elder statesman of the group, is the most deeply “Jewish” writer, sticking to traditional texts and genres that are familiar to readers of Jewish written tracts (like his translation and commentary on Sefat Emet, but updated for our time.

This brings us to Aaron’s The God Powered Life: awakening your divine purpose.  The book is simply written, and its ideas clearly conveyed.   This does not make is simplistic; what Aaron preaches is very hard to both conceptually swallow, and put into practice.  The idea that God is One, and that God is everything, and that everything is a manifestation of that Oneness (including you and me) is easy to say but harder to envision.   Such a view must debunk the common perception that we are separable beings, living lives estranged from each other.

Rabbi Aaron’s book takes an admirable crack at this lunatic notion that we are alone, and approaches it from many styles.  He can be a bit hoaky, which may turn off some readers.  And toward the end he veers off into some very Kabbalah specific psychologizing that may lose some readers, but stick with it; the book is worth it despite this meaningful digression.  He does great work in helping to dissolve the bonds of self in a very Jewish context.

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