Tonight we light the 5th Chanukah candle. Here’s tonight’s question:
What are 5 books that have been influential or made a difference to you this year?
This year, my selections represent the kind of learning and comfort I needed.
Here is my list for this year with a quote from each one:
Braiding Sweetgrass, Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer
“The question of the goldenrod and asters was of course just emblematic of what I really wanted to know. It was an architecture of relationships, of connections that I yearned to understand. I wanted to see the shimmering threads that hold it all together. And I wanted to know why we the most ordinatry scrap of meadow can rock us back on our heels in awe.” page 46
Torah in a Time of Plague edited by Rabbi Erin Leib Smokler
“It seems to me that the pandemic of Covid-19 has pushed all of us to live in close proximity to death, to viscerally and continually contend with the hair’s breadth that stands between wellness and illness, order and disorder, coherence and incoherence.” page 3
The Jewish Book of Days, A Companion for All Seasons by Jill Hammer
“The candle we use to light the other candles of the menorah is called shammash or “sun.” The eternal lamp is a sign of the ever-renewed sun. The light seems to die at this winter season, yet it always comes back. The Divine provides a daily miracle: The light of a star burns for millennia and warms the earth so life can survive here.” page 120
When Things Fall Apart, Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chodron
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be no room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” page 8
Jewish With Feeling, a guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi with Joel Segel
“We connect with this holiness every time we lift our gaze fro our immediate self-interest to the public good. Washng your hands before you cook is a greater mitzvah (commandment) than washing your hands before you eat: more people are involved. If we avoid jay-walking across a dangerous intersection, ethat’s good. If we avoiud jaywalking across even a quiet intersection in order to set an example for a child who may be watching, that’s better.” page 126
Now it’s your turn. Please share in the comments:
What 5 books or movies have been important to you this year?
— I’ll be posting a new question each day with a photo of our precious #Bo, our Labradoodle. For my favorite potato latkes recipe click here. For the Chanukah candle blessings, click here.
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A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light. —Moshe Davis & Victor Ratner
sylvia m conant says
My list: 1) The Sabbath, Abraham Joshua Heschel (I read it about once a year); 2) Day of Atonement, Faye Kellerman which brought me, through how devastatingly lost the boy was (felt), to a visceral realization of how lost I had been in my life. I sobbed what can I say? I’m not lost now so I could experience those feelings. 3) Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde, 4) Night, Elie Wiesel and 5) Man’s Search for Meaning. Victor Frankel.
Ellen Morrison says
I appreciate your list, Rabbi Jill. I have the book, When Things Fall Apart, and the quote from page 8 has a small error that gives a different meaning to the sentence. The last sentence should read, “The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
Thank you for your thoughtful list. I plan to read Jewish with Feeling: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice.
Rabbi Jill Zimmerman says
Thank you Ellen! I will look for that typo 🙂