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God in Your Body

by: Marcus J Freed - Last updated: 2007-08-19

God In Your Body

God In Your Body

Jay Michaelson has achieved a coup de Torah with God in Your Body: Kabbalah, Mindfulness and Embodied Spiritual Practice.

His book is the one of the first contemporary publications that comprehensively explores a wide range of Jewish sources to cover all aspects of daily life. Eating, sex and going to the toilet are all topics that are discussed and elevated in this well-written work.

The publishers are Jewish Lights who continually present a high standard of creative and engaging books about Jewish practice. There aren’t any illustrations or photographs in the book, but their absence gives the reader free reign to imagine various different applications of Michaelson’s well-developed ideas.

The book has a mixture of theory and practice and one chapter begins by outlining a kabbalistic meditation before applying it to jogging. Although it is tempting for runners to distract themselves “with headphones, or conversation, or, in the gym, by watching television…I’ll imagine myself as a kind of hunter, or even as an animal, with focus dead ahead and determination moving every step. The inner stillness that arises is truly astonishing: the combination of fatigue and energy really silences the mind while maintaining an absolutely crisp and sharp perception”. Paula Radcliffe, hang up your trainers; this rabbi is getting ready to outrun you.

One section I particularly liked was the chapter on fasting, because although most Jews go without food at least once a year on Yom Kippur, it isn’t a subject that is often taught in synagogues. “Fasting is conducive to finding direction”, explains the author. “I am ‘led’ by fasts to places that are often achingly beautiful. I find myself more loving, more accepting, more grateful”. The author combines facts with poetry and the book is enlightening to read.

If you ever questioned whether your body is a temple, here’s your proof.

God in Your Body is available at www.jewishlights.com