What book has made a profound impact on you? In what ways?
In recent years, I think that one of the books that has made the most profound impact on me, especially in the context of my work as a Rabbi, is a spiritual memoir called 'Devotion', by Dani Shapiro. I shared something about this book in an Elul reflection posted here in 2010.
What was so profound about Dani's memoir was the intensely honest reflection on a spiritual journey that did not fit neatly into preconceived definitions and boxes. This is, in fact, the case with any personal spiritual journey. Dani's memoir demonstrates so powerfully how we can gain deep spiritual insight from the close examination of our own lived experiences, as she also explores a variety of spiritual practices that can help us to pay attention in new ways. Truly allowing ourselves to probe deeply into these experiences requires us to permit ourselves to be vulnerable. And to share these questions, observations, and insights with others can take courage. Dani doesn't preach; she simply shares her own story and asks her own questions, and leaves you to make up your own mind. Perhaps you, too, will be encouraged to reflect deeply on your own journey. Dani's experiences taught me that I could best share Jewish wisdom and spiritual practice with others by truly listening to and helping to guide people on their journeys, and only then offering the resources that our rich heritage can provide to meet the specific needs, hopes, and questions of the seeker. I'd like to think that it has helped me to be a better Rabbi.
So, What book has made a profound impact on you? In what ways?