Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Einstein and the Rabbi

Einstein and the Rabbi

Searching for the Soul

Rabbi Naomi Levy

Flatiron Books

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A bestselling author and rabbi’s profoundly affecting exploration of the meaning and purpose of the soul, inspired by the famous correspondence between Albert Einstein and a grieving rabbi.

“A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separate from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness...” —Albert Einstein

When Rabbi Naomi Levy came across this poignant letter by Einstein it shook her to her core. His words perfectly captured what she has come to believe about the human condition: That we are intimately connected, and that we are blind to this truth. Levy wondered what had elicited such spiritual wisdom from a man of science? Thus began a three-year search into the mystery of Einstein’s letter, and into the mystery of the human soul. What emerges is an inspiring, deeply affecting book for people of all faiths filled with universal truths that will help us reclaim our own souls and glimpse the unity that has been evading us. We all long to see more expansively, to live up to our gifts, to understand why we are here. Levy leads us on a breathtaking journey full of wisdom, empathy and humor, challenging us to wake up and heed the voice calling from within—a voice beckoning us to become who we were born be.

EXCERPT

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Meeting the Soul

WAS YOUR FATHER A RABBI?

When I tell people that I wanted to be a rabbi from the time I was four years old they always ask me that same question. No, my father made women’s clothing,...

Reviews

Praise for Einstein and the Rabbi

“Drawing on poignant personal stories, Jewish life andtraditions, and a spiritual letter from Einstein to a grieving father, NaomiLevy’s book outlines an inspiring guide on how to live a meaningful andconnected life.” —Alan Lightman, author of Einstein’s Dreams

“Rabbi Naomi Levy shares her loving spirit, herinspirational stories of Einstein and the rabbi whose grief he sought toassuage, and her lessons on hearing the voice of your soul. This remarkablebook spoke to me as I am sure it will speak to you.” —Susan Cain, author of Quiet

“It is the task of the rabbi to articulate the wisdom and power of the Jewish religion in all its profundity, mystery, and earthy relevance. Naomi Levy performs the task spectacularly; she speaks from deep within the Jewish soul and gives the spiritual gifts of Judaism not only to Jews but to the world at large. It is difficult to overestimate her contribution. Einstein and the Rabbi is worthy of the matriarchs from whom originated the blessing of Jewish womanhood and who continue, through such as her, to bless it still." —Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love and Everyday Grace

“[Levy] is a gifted storyteller—courageous, daring, witty and wise…. She brings not only eloquence and wisdom but also a wry sense of humor and the deepest compassion to her writing. Yet [Einstein and the Rabbi] achieves something even more exalted, an intimate revelation that rings with courage and authenticity. The reader surely will come away from Levy’s latest book with that sense of spiritual fullness she seeks to impart in everything she does.” —Jewish Journal

"Engaging...genuinely moving." —Publishers Weekly

“Everyone needs to read this book. It is a book for the times we live in now...capturing the human spirit through historic journeys, present-day gestures of kindness, and understanding. Naomi Levy writes with a clear, easy style that allows us to fall into her narrative, bearing witness to the soul life.” —Julianna Margulies, actor/producer

“With keen insight, an open heart, and the graceful, accessible wisdom for which she is widely known, Rabbi Naomi Levy has written a book that will be a balm and a provocation for all who read it. It made me cry. It made me think. To read it is to be gently guided into a deeper place.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion and Hourglass

“Throughout, Levy comes off as a trustworthy guide, with just the right leavening (or perhaps unleavening) of humor and endless compassion.” Kirkus Reviews

“Spiritual seekers of any faith should find guidance and comfort in these intricately woven stories of love, loss, suffering, and success.” Library Journal

"Part candid and moving memoir, part accounting of an inspiring spiritual quest. This unusual volume is also a page-turner." —Wendy Mogel, Ph.D., author of The Blessing of a Skinned Knee

"Do not miss this unique work combining wisdom, inspiration, a mystery about the world's greatest scientist, and a modern search for the soul. The combination will enchant your mind and make your spirit sing." —Rabbi David Wolpe, author of David: The Divided Heart and Making Loss Matter: Creating Meaning in Difficult Times

"Naomi Levy examines life's polarities: birth and death, love and loss, faith and doubt. With keen insight, she shows how each duality is connected by the vital force we call 'the soul.' This is a lovely, tender book that will illuminate and inspire." —Jerome Groopman, Recanati Professor at Harvard University and author of The Anatomy of Hope

“Naomi Levy writes from my heart. She brings together my Judaism and my social science and my current spiritual path of love.” —Ram Dass

“Read about Naomi Levy's spiritual journey at the risk of having her take you deeper into yourself. Einstein and the Rabbi takes you on the journey of journeys.” —Norman Lear

“What is the soul?’ This question has been on the tips of the tongues of seekers, saints and prophets from the beginning of time. ‘Are there words to describe the ineffable?’ This question has been on the tips of the pens of poets across the ages and the continents. Rabbi Naomi Levy takes on these questions in Einstein and the Rabbi, and she does so with humility, mastery, and poetry in a book that reads like mystery novel. I couldn’t put it down.” —Elizabeth Lesser, author of Broken Open and Marrow, and cofounder of Omega Institute

"Rabbi Naomi Levy has done something extraordinary. Inspired by one of the most famous letters written by Einstein, she has, through meticulous research uncovered the utterly unexpected background to Einstein’s letter, words written to a saintly rabbi who had just undergone the worst suffering a parent can experience. Naomi Levy, who decades earlier had undergone the worst suffering a child can experience, has united the words of Einstein, the story of Rabbi Robert Marcus, and of herself and her own father in a way that makes us all realize that the soul truly can see what eyes cannot. With Naomi Levy as our guide we too can learn to see with our souls, and thereby bless the lives of those around us and our own lives as well." —Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, author of Jewish Literacy, Rebbe, and Words that Hurt, Words that Heal

"Levy offers us a blessing—which indeed comes true as one travels through her luminous book: 'I am praying that something sacred will happen to you. Something unexpected. A turning. An awakening.' And it does; all of that and more." —Abigail Pogrebin, author of My Jewish Year and Stars of David

“In these bewildering and often implausible times, Naomi Levy’s book provides a vital and necessary antidote. Without stooping to easy remedies or spiritual jargon and drawing on centuries of Jewish thought, Levy shows us a soulful way to navigate a materialist world. Einstein and the Rabbi is a heartwarming and lucid reflection on balancing your life and schooling your heart.” —Daphne Merkin, author of This Close to Happy: A Reckoning with Depression

“A great read both for those who love the science of Einstein and the soul of the Zohar. The history of Einstein’s correspondence with Rabbi Marcus is fascinating and brings together science and soul.” —Alan Dershowitz, author of Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law

“Naomi Levy weaves together a series of stories from her perspective as a rabbi, her personal journey through illness, and a remarkable search for a letter to Einstein that results in describing the indescribable—the nature of our souls.” —Stephen Tobolowsky, actor and author of My Adventures with God and The Dangerous Animals Club

"You will be moved by Levy's ability to weave personal memoir and philosophical discourse so accessibly and emotionally." —Tom Allon, Huffington Post

About the author

Rabbi Naomi Levy

NAOMI LEVY is the author of the national bestseller To Begin Again, as well as Talking to God and Hope Will Find You. She is the founder and leader of NASHUVA, a groundbreaking Jewish spiritual outreach movement based in L.A. Levy was named one of the top 50 rabbis in America by Newsweek and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, and on NPR.

Naomi Levy

Jay Lawrence Goldman