Thursday, August 6, 2015

A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism

A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways into Judaism, by Rabbi Mike Comins, purports to offer new ways for Jewish people to find a Jewish identity outside the (sometimes) stifling confines of the synagogue or domestic routines.

In this effort alone, the book is an admirable venture.  Judaism has far too long been shackled by a formulaic approach to it religious elements ---   fixed and immutable, indoors, related to study and practice.  Often good, but not merely enough for a fully engaged religious life; sure, here and there in the history of Judaism, individuals have ventured forth into the wilderness to find G-d.  If we bracket off the obvious examples in the bible, and the holiday of Sukkot, we have such people as Safed group of mystics in the seventeenth century, singing int in the fields to greet the Sabbath Bride, or Rebbe Nachman sitting in the woods in the nineteenth century, talking passionately to G-d.

But A Wild Faith really is not about such “casual” encounters with G-d as found in nature, and nature as found in G-d.  Rabbi Comins has a program for finding the divine outside the walls of the synagogue, no doubt bolstered, informed, and even propelled by his Torah Trek program. 

I simply do not think a Jew needs such a book or program to go out into nature and experience G-d.  One does not need to be guided toward this path, only opened up to the option that you can put down the siddur, look out the window at clouds, and think about our place in the world.

It is as easy as that.  What comes next is a hard, lifelong pursuit, but you do not not need a view of the Grand Canyon or have an experienced wilderness guide to find God in nature.  Rabbi Comins book may help many people along this path --- but seemed superfluous to me.

No comments:

Post a Comment