Tuesday, August 18, 2015
A Book About You
A Book About YouRabbi David GreenMosaica Press / 224 PagesI was really excited to see the release of my friend David Green’s new “A Book About You”. Rabbi David Green, a laid back veteran kiruv worker with a spiritual twist and a cool life story, has taken his success in helping people discover who they are by now making "the journey" available to all. A bit about David's beginnings:
When I started to become my true Jewish self, one of the things that really bothered me was what seemed to be the lack of personality and individuality in the religious world. So many people dressed the same and talked and walked to the same boring melody. I was not ready to abandon my true inner uniqueness for the sake of becoming a Jewish soldier dressed in uniform. As I started learning some of the deeper Torah sources, I saw how being a robot in my observance was the last thing God wanted of me. My unique qualities were supposed to blossom within the framework of a life of Torah and mitzvos.
As Green explains, not only is loving oneself critical in our Torah observance, but it is essential for expressing true Jewish unity:
So where must we start in creating such unity? The first person whose uniqueness you must appreciate is your own. It’s only when each of us knows which piece of the puzzle we are meant to fill that the whole picture can be completed. If the violinist decides to pick up a trombone, the whole orchestra is in big trouble. Knowing who we really are as individuals is therefore essential to our unity as a nation.
Implicit in this statement is that the more you love yourself, the more you will love your neighbor. The reason for this is twofold. One reason is that the more you appreciate yourself, the more you believe in what you have to offer others. The second advantage is that the same system you will use to understand yourself better will enable you to see what makes other people think and act the way they do. You will start to appreciate how different people have been blessed with individual attributes that are meant to help and challenge them in fulfilling their purpose.
The book is divided into three units: “Who Are You?”, “What Are You?” and “Making It Real.”
“Who are you” starts with three primary personalities based on the Chessed of Avraham, Gevurah of Yitzhak and the Tiferes of Yaakov. Bringing these attributes down to earth, the reader gets a description of a number of important positive qualities and vulnerabilities that come as part of the package. There is also practical advice on defining one’s unique purpose in the world and choosing a career.
“What Are You” moves into getting more in touch your soul both on a theoretical and practical level. This includes some basics in kabbala…topics that I have never really taken to (I guess I’m a real “gevura” personality!). Nevertheless, there is a great overview and explanation of the Ten Sefirot and five levels of the soul that is perfect for someone like me with little knowledge of the subject. In a chapter entitled “Back Down to Earth,” Green discusses using both suffering and blessings as a means to inspire us with more soul awareness and happiness.
“Making It Real” is about making choices and moving forward, with the knowledge gained from the book, of who and what one really is.
A Book About You is different, refreshing, informal, and fun. The identification of different personalities is impressively accurate. At the end of many chapters there is a journal where one can jot down one’s thoughts, and at the end of the book there is a personality quiz based on the three personality types discussed at the beginning. The material is spiced up with excerpts from the classics, such as Nesivos Shalom, Piasezna, Rav Tzadok HaCohen, and others.
Ever the artist, David is also a talented musician whose engaging music and lyrics, quoted throughout the book, is also about individuality and soul awareness. Here’s my favorite: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4otHxzPggs.
In the E-book version, all you have to do is click a link and the related song starts to play.
To order A Book About You: http://www.amazon.com/Book-About-You-David-Green/dp/1937887502/ or visit www.realyouproject.com.