There is more to this book than just a cool title.
My friend Janel had this book at her apt when I went to visit in January. I had just started reading through the Bible doing B90x (which I'm still doing by the way) and this aided in my understanding of some of the Jewish laws. With all the fun that we had that wknd, I only got about halfway through it before I left (I'm not a fast reader). But, I was so intrigued by it that I had to pick it up later and finish it. I just did.
This book was helpful in learning more about the laws and customs of Judaism, modern and ancient. This was helpful in seeing a Christian Jew live out her faith but not be under the obligations of the law. Helped to see how community and the law are so important to folks who are devout Jews.
Winner covers many different aspects: food, the sabbath, hospitality, death, doorposts, weddings, candles, etc. All offered insight into what was practiced, what is still being practiced, and how a Christian can incorporate these practices into her life.
On Fasting: "People who have fasted for years tell me there will come a time when I look forward to fasting." (88). Man - this is hard. I remember in recent churches I have been in when the pastors would call the church to a corporate fast. I would try to do it. Most of the tie, I did it out of trying to please certain pastors. Not in an effort to pray and seek the face of God as part of the beautiful Bride of Christ. So, I did it more out of pride, man-pleasing, and legalism and I always failed at it.
On Fasting: "When I am sated, it is easy to feel independent. When I am hungry, it is possible to remember where my dependence lies." (91) This applies to more than just food. Yes, food is the way Lauren talks about it here - but more recently I come to recognize this in finances and material goods. God has been more than gracious to me in so many ways and there is nothing for which I want. But, even toward the end of the month where I have to be more careful and rely on him for guidance on spending and scheduling - I realize that I need to do that all through the month and not just the last week. God is good.
On Aging: "Christianity and Judaism both offer narratives that make sense of death." (101). A few months ago I thought about this paragraph (yes, before I read it). There were a coupld of deaths in my life that occurred all in a short span of time. And I was also helping others through greiving, etc. I started to think that we would never understand death. I came to the conclusion that we were never meant to understand death because we weren't created with death in mind. Adam and Eve were created to live with God in the garden in perfect harmony forever. Then...SIN. Sin is what brought death. God made a way to conquer death - but He never said he would explain it to us.
On Candles: "Even when I am lighiting two thin tapers over dinner, I like to think about the light of Christ rectifying the sin by which came death to the world. The Light of Christ, I sometimes say to myself, Thanks be to God." (119) Most of the time when we have lit candles in our homes they are to create ambience or help eliminate odor. I wonder what would happen if Glade or Yankee Candle Co started marketing to Christians as way a remember this Light of the World. Probably what would be the result is some cheezy fish candle or cross candle just like Testamints or other silly things like that. But, what would happen if we lit candles in our home and made it an intential part of that lighting to thank God for sending the Light of the World to use so that we could behold his glory and truth?