Boredom is a crisis of our age. In religious terms, boredom is sapping spirituality of its mystical and wholesome benefits, slowly corroding our ability to recognize blessing and beauty in our lives, to experience wonder and awe. What happens when our need for constant newness minimizes our interest in prayer, learning, and the mysteries of nature?
This intriguing look at spiritual boredom helps you understand just what this condition is, particularly as it relates to Judaism, and what the absence of inspiration means to the present and future of the Jewish tradition. Drawing insights from psychology, philosophy, and theology as well as ancient Jewish texts, Dr. Erica Brown explores the many ways boredom manifests itself within Judaism--in the community, classroom, and synagogue--and shows its potentially powerful cultural impact on a faith structure that advises sanctifying time, not merely passing it.
"Erudite, passionate, illuminating, inspiring, and, above all, Jewish. Here one of the foremost Jewish educators of our time takes aim at spiritual boredom, and points the way to a life of wonder, creativity and engagement."
--Jonathan D. Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University
"Erica Brown's Spiritual Boredom has the wrong title; it should be called Resurrection of the Dead, that is: bringing what appears to be lifeless back to life. She, of course, is talking about Judaism as it's currently practiced in far too many places. Her book is an excellent critique of and a remedy for our present malaise. And that is anything but boring."
--Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, Emanu-El Scholar at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco; author, The Way Into Jewish Mystical Tradition and many other books
Take Control of Your BoredomTake Control of Your Boredom
We all have moments when we feel as if we have nothing new to contribute to the world, when the monotony of routine minimizes our intensity for learning, prayer, and our hunger for wonder. We may even feel as if we are subjected to boredom at every turn because of the impossibility of newness. But there is a way to use our boredom as an invitation to revisit our expectations and our responsibility for self-engagement.
Exploring spiritual boredom through the lenses of psychology, philosophy, and theology, as well as Jewish prayer, community, and education, Dr. Erica Brown demonstrates how we can recast our ability to create, invent, and discover that which is new by following the teachings of Judaism--to stop and take note, to reflect in community and in private prayer, and most importantly, to act.