By Rabbi Stephen Lewis Fuchs (2014, ECKO Publishing)
A review by Rabbi Yitzchok Adler
Rabbi Stephen Fuchs has presented his readers with a modern medrash (homeietic story) that strives to empower every reader. The chapters are not simply contemporary interpretations of ancient texts, they are challenges to all of us to dare to be interpretive ourselves.
At first, I did not know what Rabbi Fuchs meant with the subtitle Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives; but as I flipped the pages, I became ever more empowered to allow my own mind to intermingle personal thought with biblical theory. The timelessness of Torah is self-evident; yet, it is a challenge of every generation to find relevance and individual meaning in the stories.
For me, ‘finding ourselves in Biblical narratives’ means allowing myself to project the humanity and psychology and politics of real life on my understanding of the biblical history. The patriarchs and matriarchs of Judaism come alive when the reader imagines them grappling with the same family and community dynamics that challenge us.
King Solomon wrote that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Rabbi Fuchs has recaptured that spirit in showing his readers how modern living can impact our comprehension of ancient texts, and how ancient texts have lessons that can aid in the pursuit of meaningful lives even in the 21st century.
Rabbi Yitzchok Adler is spiritual leader of Beth David Synagogue in West Hartford.
Rabbi Stephen L. Fuchs is rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel, West Hartford and the former leader of the World Union for Progressive Judaism.
For more information or to order What’s in It for Me? visit www.rabbifuchs.com. What’s in It for Me? is available through Kindle or Nook, and in hard copy at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as by request in bookstores everywhere.