Meaning must be found; it cannot be given. And it must be found by oneself, by one’s own conscience.… A doctor cannot give meanings to his patients, nor can a professor give meanings to his students.… The answer to the question of what is the meaning of life can be posited only out of one’s whole being — one’s own life is the answer to the question of the meaning of life.” It is brilliant philosophical gems like this, studding a series of otherwise sober and professional psychological texts, that make the late Viktor Frankl a source of profound yet accessible wisdom about psychotherapy. While this book is denser and more challenging than Frankl’s iconic Man’s Search For Meaning, it is no less stunning. Perhaps it is the philosophical, existential nature of Frankl’s logotherapy that makes his writing on it so deeply indebted to and useful in Jewish thought and practice. Or perhaps it is the nature of Frankl himself that forges the connection so adroitly. In any case, this is an invaluable resource for Jewish thinkers, rabbis, Jewish social professionals, and anyone interested in introspection and self-actualization.
Amitai Adler is a Conservative rabbi. He teaches and writes in Los Angeles, CA, and has been published in Sh’ma and Jewish Bible Quarterly.