I love this book. Have been reading it and can not put it down. Basically it is the experiment of a ethnically Jewish, agnostic, New Yorker trying to live out faithfully, all 613 commandments of the Old Testament for a year. His journey is full of funny stories and interesting moments in which you see his search for belief in the infinite. He is a writer and editor for Esquire magazine. I have so much I want to write on this book, but just do not have the time right now. The truth is the book has brought me more insight into the mind of an unbeliever than just about any Christian book I can remember. Plus his orthopraxy and religious dedication are astounding and convicting for anyone who calls themselves a person of faith.
Not only is that Orthodox Jew, but that is one sweet beard!
Big idea of the book is cognitive dissonance and you get what you give. Cognitive dissonance is the idea that if your behave in a certain way your beliefs will eventually come into alignment. This idea is fascinating in itself and possibly says much about the wrestling of faith and sanctification. But reading it play out in AJ’s prayer life and personal beliefs in the arena of faith is a great joy. Second you get what you give: this guy goes all out in obeying the LAW. He gets his own portable chair so that when in public he will not sit on any seat that has been made unclean by a menstruating woman. He stones an adulterer in a New York park. He builds a hut in his living room, and endlessly struggles with anger and coveting. Oh and here is an awesome passage in the Scriptures that even made me laugh.
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall have no pity. (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)
AJ says this is one of the five most perplexing commands and one he hopes he does not have to fulfill. I was intrigued by what this could mean for Ultimate Fighting, hey maybe this could be a new spin for them.