Every­thing is God: The Rad­i­cal Path of Non­d­ual Judaism

  • Review
By – September 9, 2011

It seems to be a core belief among many Jews — and peo­ple from oth­er monothes­tic faiths, as well — that God is an enti­ty entire­ly sep­a­rate from our­selves. This type of dual­is­tic think­ing holds that we are souls down here watched over by a Supreme Being who resides some­where up there. 

In this com­pelling book, one that jolts us from such an ego-cen­tered illu­sion of sep­a­rate­ness, Jay Michael­son takes us on a fas­ci­nat­ing mag­i­cal mys­tery tour to a dif­fer­ent place of know­ing, one where there are not sev­en degrees of sep­a­ra­tion between us and God. 

Instead, God is pre­sent­ed as a spir­i­tu­al ener­gy that is part and par­cel of all of us — a holy light which sur­rounds, illu­mi­nates, and imbues every­thing, from the mol­e­cules of the page you are now read­ing to every synapse in our brains.

Michael­son, an inno­v­a­tive writer and teacher of spir­i­tu­al­i­ty, Kab­bal­ah, and med­i­ta­tion as well as a colum­nist for the Huff­in­g­ton Post, the For­ward, Tikkun, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions, tack­les the enor­mous task of con­vinc­ing his read­ers of this truth. He does so con­vinc­ing­ly, pre­sent­ing lofty Kab­bal­is­tic ideas and com­plex the­o­log­i­cal texts to sup­port his posi­tion in a down-to-earth manner.

In the course of doing so, the author presents Jew­ish, Bud­dhist, post­mod­ern, and even pop cul­tur­al sources to demon­strate that such a non­d­u­al­is­tic view of God is not a new rad­i­cal Jew­ish view of the Cre­ator but, rather, one which for cen­turies has been a close­ly-held secret among the Jew­ish mys­tics known as Kabbalists. 

And while many tra­di­tion­al Jews, baby boomers or old­er, might balk at such a shake­up in their think­ing, the author’s lan­guage of one­ness is cer­tain to res­onate with a younger gen­er­a­tion of spir­i­tu­al seek­ers who are more open to a con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish cul­ture that includes writ­ers like Michael­son, inde­pen­dent prayer com­mu­ni­ties, Bud­dhist Jews, and a grow­ing num­ber of non-denom­i­na­tion­al Jew­ish per­form­ers such as Matisyahu and the Balkan Beat Box who are cre­at­ing new forms of music. 

Every­thing Is God is a mys­ti­cal Pandora’s box. Open the book and out pops a genie who may very well trans­form a reader’s cos­mic view. But the book is more than sim­ply a call to open our eyes to a new way of think­ing about God; it is also filled with prac­ti­cal infor­ma­tion about how this non-dual­is­tic way of approach­ing God can improve our every­day lives and even bet­ter the world. 

Reli­gion, sug­gests the author, is not about belief, but love. Med­i­ta­tion is not about spe­cial states of mind, but learn­ing to accept every­thing in life — includ­ing suf­fer­ing, pain, and injus­tice — as God. It is also, Michael­son argues, about involv­ing one­self in social action and social jus­tice, which is impos­si­ble to ignore if we tru­ly under­stand that Every­thing (and, thus, every­body) is God.

Every­thing Is God is both a schol­ar­ly work (Michael­son is com­plet­ing his Ph.D. at Hebrew Uni­ver­si­ty) — and, at the same time, an easy-to-under­stand approach to the sub­ject of non-dual Judaism.

Les­ley Suss­man is the author of more than 20 non-fic­tion books — includ­ing two on Kab­bal­ah. He is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and pub­li­cist who lives and works in New York City.

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