To read Floating Takes Faith is to taste a bounty of perfectly ripened fruits with intriguingly delicious flavors that linger on your tongue. The book is a compilation of thought-provoking 200-word essays that Rabbi David Wolpe wrote for The Jewish Week over the course of five years.
Using short, punchy sentences, Rabbi Wolpe distills to their essence deep and complex ideas about God, Jewish community, Israel, marriage, family, leadership, spiritual growth, learning, virtues, vices, anti-Semitism, death, and afterlife. Rabbi Wolpe generally uses his essays to tackle a “big” question — “What do we need in order to live?” “Can feelings be legislated?” “Are we truly at home in this world?” He often includes a quote or two from diverse sources, such as the Talmud, philosophers, Hasidic masters, poets and comedians.
The title essay focuses on an apparent contradiction about Shabbat: On one hand, we are supposed to strive for spirituality on Shabbat, which takes work. On the other hand, we are not supposed to work at all. The author solves the dilemma using a swimming analogy. Swimming requires us to kick, stroke, and move, he says. Floating asks us to be still, to trust the buoyancy of the water. In the ocean, the swimmer propels his or her body under the wave. The floater rises on the crest. “Similarly, the one who works on himself or herself all week should aim to float on Shabbat. Floating will carry you higher than the often-strenuous effort of the week…Shabbat asks us to trust the wave of God’s world.”
Reading an essay in Floating Takes Faith is an effective way to elevate your soul — in 60 seconds or less.