If you were cast away on a desert island with just one Jewish text for company, which would it be?
This week, Robin Ashworth-Steen, student rabbi at Leo Baeck College, selects Rabbi Lionel Blue’s The Godseeker’s Guide
“Dance a BIT like King David.” It is for sentences like these that I have chosen to take the book The Godseeker’s Guide by Rabbi Lionel Blue to my desert island.
This book was written as a kind of spiritual how-to manual. I read it when I was applying to rabbinic school at Leo Baeck College and it has shaped how I view the world around me.
On my desert island, I will need companionship and I can think of no better friend than Rabbi Lionel Blue. Lionel (for if he is to be my companion, we should be on first name terms!) writes informally and with a great deal of humour – and I will certainly need humour if I’m to get through the experience of being alone on a deserted island.
I am also hoping Lionel will help me with the inevitable doubts that will arise upon being stranded. Although, in his book, he does not attempt to give answers to any of life’s big questions, he acts as an excellent guide.
He shares his understanding of God, who he calls Fred, and explains that: “quite often we do hold hands and sit in companionable silence”. I remember being reassured and happily surprised by Lionel’s view of God. For him, God isn’t the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-kind God we so often hear about, but rather, God is a good friend.
Lionel’s emphasis on compassion, humour and his thoughts on being silent would be perfect in keeping me sane and content.
His teaching that “heaven happens frequently in life” would help me to see my new-found world in a positive light. With
Lionel, Fred and some good jokes, I think I will manage quite well on a desert island and am actually quite looking forward to it.