God, Torah, and the Meaning of Life

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About the author:
Rabbi Barry Leff is a "businessman by day and rabbi by night."  He lives in Jerusalem, and is active in human rights and interfaith work.  He has been thinking seriously about the meaning of life since he was 18 and living in Thailand.



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God, Torah, and the Meaning of Life

Musings on the things that matter

By Rabbi Barry Leff

Excerpts from God, Torah, and the Meaning of Life:

On faith:
"People who have a deep faith in God seem different than other people. They are more at peace, better equipped to deal with the ups and downs that life throws their way. Having faith in God can totally transform your life. But is there a way to cultivate faith in God if you don't already have it? You can. But it's not easy."

On God:
"God loves you. But I don't blame you if you don't know it. Most rabbis forget to point this out to their congregations."

"Even intelligent designers can sometimes do things that are pretty random, or that fail. Look at the Edsel! Or as God (played by George Burns) put it in the movie "Oh, God!" "Avocados. I should have made the pits smaller."

On the Messiah:
"Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, teaches that the Messiah will not come until we have done "tikkun olam," healing or repair of the world. There is a teaching that says the Messiah will not come until three days after he is no longer needed. According to this view of the Messianic age, the Messiah doesn’t come to make everything perfect -- instead, the Messiah's arrival is sort of a "graduation ceremony," an acknowledgement that we created the kind of world into which the Messiah could come."


Rabbi Barry Leff has an extraordinarily diverse background that he brings to life's most fundamental questions. He learns about the nature of God from the Bible and Greek philosophy; he learns about our relationship with God from flying. His teachings on ethics are informed by his PhD in business and his service in the US Army Security Agency. In answering questions about the nature of God, Torah, and the meaning of life, Rabbi Leff weaves in sources including the Hebrew Bible, the Koran, the New Testament, Star Trek, Sting, Einstein, the Dalai Lama, the Talmud, Kabbalah (Jewish Mysticism), Midrash, 19th century Chasidic teaching tales, medieval rabbinic commentaries, contemporary philosophers, scientists, rabbis, priests, cinema, and his five daughters, from whom he has learned much. The book covers everything from God's love, prayer, charity, and the Sabbath, to Israel, homosexuality, torture, business ethics and finding your mission in life.

Publisher: The Neshamah Center Press, Jerusalem