Sara and Reb Zalman

Sara and Reb Zalman

Sara Davidson is the New York Times best-selling author of Loose Change, Leap! and Joan: Forty Years of Love, Loss and Friendship with Joan Didion.

A few years ago, she was surprised by a call from Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a colorful and brilliant rabbi of 89, asking her to talk with him about the December Project. “When you can feel in your cells that you’re coming to the end of your tour of duty,” he said, “what is the spiritual work of this time, and how do we prepare for the mystery?” She jumped at the chance to spend time with him, and they met every Friday for two years. Read More

 

“Thoroughly engaging, this book about the winter season of life glitters with insight and wisdom – for all our years.”  —Andrew Weil, MD
More Endorsements

Sara's Blog

Your Crazy Time?

There was a story Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi told me that I wasn’t able to include in The December Project. It’s about Maimonides, the venerated rabbi, physician, astronomer and philosopher of the 13th century who’s considered one of the key Torah scholars in Jewish history.

Maimonides

Maimonides

Reb Zalman first learned about Maimonides at 14, when he’d just escaped from the Nazis with his family, stealing over the border to Belgium.  After the horrors he’d witnessed, he thought that the God he’d been taught to believe in at his yeshiva had “finked out.” Zalman could no longer accept that there was a “world to come,” when the Messiah would resurrect the dead, the rivers would flow with wine, and bagels would grow on trees.

He was angry and wanted to fight, and since he couldn’t fight God, he was looking for a stand-in. He visited a Torah class and called out, “Do you really believe that when the Messiah comes, the dead will crawl out from their graves to be resurrected? This is stupid! Opiate of the masses. Rob the people in this world but promise they’ll get something in the next.”

Read more…