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07/25/2023 06:51:24 PM


Finding wisdom in books other than the Torah

Many years ago, a well-meaning congregant asked if he could share a comment that he overheard about me. With some trepidation I said yes. He told me he heard someone say, “I like Rabbi Goldberg, but he is always talking about the Torah.” Upon hearing this I replied, “Guilty as charged.” I do love studying and talking about the Torah. But I also enjoy other sources of wisdom, including recent books. One such book is Neil King Jr’s American Ramble. The book records a walking trip he took recently from D.C. to New York. This journey took him into the backroads of America, and his reflections are spiritually uplifting and full of insights into the rural spirit of our country.
Neil King Jr. is a former national political reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal. He was deeply involved in the coverage of 9/11 that won the Journal the Pulitzer Prize. He has also written for the New York Times, The Atlantic, and other publications. His trek was in part inspired by two recent bouts with cancer. The realization of life’s uncertainty played a part in the tone of the book. I particularly enjoyed the history lessons along the way. What I liked the most was a spirit of friendliness, inquiry, and curiosity that the author brought with him on the trip. He was like a modern-day pilgrim, in search of enlightenment in the small pleasures away from the highways, fast-food emporia, and neon lights.

If you are traveling this summer, please enjoy. But if you want to travel without leaving your comfy chair, this book provides a way. It is not Torah, but it is wisdom.

Wed, February 21 2024 12 Adar I 5784