Rabbi Simon S. Silas is the author of Life's Journeys, published by Aesop Publications in 2019.|
In the Preface, Rabbi Silas writes:|
The title of this book is Life’s Journeys. The Bible describes in detail the journeys of the Children of Israel during their forty years in the desert until they reached the promised land. Every stage in their wanderings is mentioned with nothing more than: ‘And they journeyed from one place and encamped in another.’
The Rabbis state that the listing of the forty-two stops was to teach that each setting out from one place and encampment at another was important until they arrived in the Promised Land.
Human life is made up of a series of journeys, and every stage is an experience and purpose in the long history of life’s challenges. But there are two journeys every person must undertake, a physical and a spiritual one; and whilst the physical one is essential there is also need for a spiritual one. The Torah as a guide enables us to attain both ends.
To be a Jew is to be on a journey and as a people we have never stood still. Judaism teaches that life is one long journey through time, and each movement and stoppage serves a higher purpose and better future.
The Torah as a moral compass enables us to go on life’s journeys and face the trials and challenges that confront us. Commenting on the verse: ‘For with wise advice you shall make your way’ (Proverbs 24:6) a sage interpreted this as referring to the art of the captain of a ship. Rabbi Yohanan said: ‘A man should ever be at the helm, like the captain on the ship on the lookout how good may best be achieved’ (Leviticus Rabbah 21:4). This work Life’s Journeys has been to me a labour of love. In this edited version of ‘Sermons and Articles’ delivered over the years to Sephardi congregations in North West London, I have quoted a treasury of statements from the Bible, Talmud, Midrash and Rabbinic literature in the belief that their ethical and spiritual themes offer wise counsel in our role as being the eternal people of God.
I hope that this work, filled with the wisdom of Scripture and Rabbinic commentaries, will inspire readers to a deeper understanding of our faith in God and direct them to face the challenges in ‘life’s journeys’.