Title: The BIG Picture: 36 Sessions to Intellectual and Spiritual Clarity
Author: Pinchas Winston
The BIG Picture: 36 Sessions to Intellectual and Spiritual Clarity deserves to sell at least as many copies as the Tanach. It’s a classroom for spiritual growth.
The “chapters” are 36 short, powerful clarifications of teachings in kabbalah, Chumash and Talmud that resolve ethical and spiritual dilemmas regarding spirituality, God and reality. Those issues are clearly stated in the book’s Introduction, in excerpts from Time magazine’s December 28, 1992 article “What does Science Teach us about God” plus remarks by physicist Steven Hawking and other scientists.
The first God-Science resolution appears on pages 20-21, courtesy of what the Ramchal calls “knowing something in relation to its context within its framework.” Pinchas Winston brings this to an easily understood point: We’re better off heeding the findings of objective scientists who admit to the pattern of Godliness in the Divine design of nature rather than siding with scientists who don’t grasp the big picture. Do you find that hard to grasp or boring? You have one pleasant surprise coming up.
Session 7 teaches the average shnook how to bring more kedusha into the world. Session 8 clues us in to Hashem’s “thinking process.” Though mortals tend to find suffering to be an unjustified experience, the Holy One thinks in terms of “alah b’machshavah l’fanai” (Menachot 26b).
Winston brings pieces of this psycho-spiritually agonizing “The Evil Prosper as the Good Suffer” puzzle together with relevant passages in Brachot 7a, Shemot 33:20, Shaarei Leshem page 3, Brachot 10a, Tehillim 66:5 and other sources.
The BIG Picture, curious classmates, is that Hakadosh Baruch Hu has a pretext for creation, a master plan unfolding as we stumble along within it. Learn the relationship of concepts “Olah b’machshavah,” “kavshei rachmanah” and “allilut” in Session 8. The result for you will be that, as page 103 states, ” the temptation to second-guess God will be no more.”
You’ll also understand why stumbling is part of spiritual development. That makes the price of the 444-page paperback well worth your investment.
Pay careful attention to repeated readings of the book to learn about multi-dimensional reality (pp 236-238) and a hint as to Amalek’s present-day identity (page 115). The interesting climax of the book is in Session 36 “The Tenth Hour.” The years 2010/5770 are in the latter half of the tenth hour of the days leading to biat Mashiach, days corresponding to the daylight hours of the first day of Creation. That’s a super-charged piece of Divine information, as subsequent pages reveal.
Expect gradual spiritual growth with The BIG Picture; it’s not a quick read. To appreciate why living life to its spiritual fullest is filled with uncertainties that pay off big-time, take notes as you study this sefer. You’ll gain insights into what today’s headlines are actually about, spiritually speaking.
Yocheved Golani is the author of highly acclaimed e-book “It’s MY Crisis! And I’ll Cry If I Need To: EMPOWER Yourself to Cope with a Medical Challenge.”