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Unread 11-09-2009, 02:03 PM   #1
Fern Sidman
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"search judaism" - by: Rabbi yitzchok fingerer

SEARCH JUDAISM

Judaism's Answers to a Changing World

BY: RABBI YITZCHOK FINGERER

Reviewed by: FERN SIDMAN

The words that we utter each and every morning in our daily prayers were written by the wisest of all men, King Solomon. "The beginning of wisdom is the acknowledgement of G-d." It is a sublimely simple statement and one that has sustained the Jewish people throughout the millennium. There is little doubt, however, that in our hedonistic culture; saturated with skepticism and replete with atheists of all stripes, there any many who find themselves in a quandary about the veracity of G-d's existence and wrestle with questions of morality and ethics as they attempt to navigate the vicissitudes of life.

"Search Judaism" by Rabbi Yitzchok Fingerer (Targum Press) is a scrupulously researched repository of exceptionally enlightening information culled from both religious and secular sources on the eternal questions of moral relativism, free choice, pleasure and happiness, good and evil, the meaning of modesty, reincarnation, why bad things happen to good people, divine revelation and the essence of our souls and more importantly, how they play a major role in our lives. This cogently written book is not specifically geared for intellectuals of the secular humanist genre but for all thinking individuals; irrespective of background and level of observance. Its pages are punctuated by poignant stories and pithy anecdotes, as Rabbi Fingerer posits himself as an erudite raconteur and courageously offers a refreshingly honest treasure trove of answers to such questions as "Does G-d exist?", "Is our free choice pre-determined?" "Did a Divine revelation really take place?", Whose morality do we follow?", among others of this archetype.

As a student of Rav Avraham Pam, zt"l, Rosh Yeshiva of Brooklyn's Torah VaDaas, Rabbi Fingerer's stellar intellect virtually leaps forth from the pages of this book as he weaves together an indisputable and inexorable thesis for the existence of G-d. His concrete evidence is predicated upon numerous corroborative scientific, psychological and academic studies; all examined under the light of a Torah perspective. Utilizing a plethora of Torah and Talmudic sources along with the timeless wisdom of our Rabbinic sages as a solid foundation, he explores the findings of such psychologists such as Yale professor Stanley Milgram, repentant atheists as British professor Antony Flew and controversial figures as Harvard professor of ethics, Bertrand Russell. Analyzing their reports and results, Rabbi Fingerer proves that true morality cannot be self-defined, that despite critical scientific modalities for research, the omnipotence of G-d is readily apparent and that the Torah is not just a isolated study in ethics in which one can divorce himself, but a genuine, hands on "roadmap to life" that, if studied properly, becomes infused in the fiber of our very beings.

This compelling and powerful page turner will most assuredly keep the reader absorbed as we remain transfixed on a trajectory of personal and collective self-discovery. "Judaism is about searching and investigating in order to passionately live and learn the truth" says the author. We are taught that when we learn Torah we must ask pointed questions. We know that the language of the Torah is Hebrew and we also know that it is a definitive language and every word, every letter, every punctuation mark is laden with hidden meaning. Just as we peel away the layers of an onion, we must assiduously search for answers to the questions of life. "Search Judaism" will facilitate our innate quest for truth and this book, undoubtedly, will play a pivotal role in bringing our lost brethren back to Hashem.
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