"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."

I believe in God.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review: The Bamboo Cradle

Allow me to start off by saying that The Bamboo Cradle did not turn out to be the book I expected it to be, and I was disappointed by that. It focused less on the actual adoption of the daughter (which is why I bought the book in the first place), and more on the transformation of the parents from secular Jews to Orthodox Jews.

Another problem for me was that some of the ideas of Orthodox Jews, and especially Ba'alei Teshuvah (those who "repent" and become religious), quite frankly offend me. I cannot recall any specific examples now, but I know that I was bothered in several places. One other thing that bothered me was the fact that the girl's parents did not seem to try hard enough to honor and help her connect with her Chinese roots.

That being said...

It was so nice, so nice, SO nice to read something by a fervent, passionate Jew. Interfaith dialogue is great and I love it, but there is nothing like "meeting" passionate members of one's own faith. I really needed that.

Throughout the book, I found many inspirational quotes. I will provide some of them below.

"Every mitzvah we perform takes place only because we are first granted a gift by Hashem."

"While the ability to speak properly and render admirably written characters is the sign of a cultured Chinese, the ability to use language to extol God's virtues and acknowledge our indebtedness to Him is one of the signs of a good Jew."

"I eventually realized that although there was a final destination in the form of a conclusion and in some cases a point of law or halachah, what mattered more was the journey itself and not the destination....The jewels were meant to be gathered along the way."

"The moment they were touched by a spark of Torah, they literally burst into flame."

"Secular studies were a window into heaven and an entranceway to Torah."

"Now, ensconced in this quiet capsule of time, I understood what our Sages intended when they taught: 'Wealthy is he who is happy with his lot.'"



I find the book to be a nice, wholesome story that would be encouraging to Jews attempting to grow in their faith and religious practice. Although I wish that it had focused more on the adoption process, I realize that that was not the point of the story. As a non-Orthodox Jew myself, I was somewhat uncomfortable with some of the attitudes and events in the story, but that is my problem.

Would I read the book again? Yes, probably, although not for a while. It is, after all, a good Jewish story.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry for commenting all on your blog now; I guess procrastinating on studying has gotten to me.

    But 'Teshuva' in that context connotes return far far more than it does repentance. And in general my impression is that 'Baalei Teshuva' do feel as if they've returned to their heritage and religious home. Not sure if you find the term at all offensive or just the book's attitude/narrative regarding that, or if this affects your perspective at all.



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I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!