Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Happiness Prayer by Evan Moffic

Moffic takes us through a Hebrew prayer that has made a profound difference in his life. The Eilu Devarim is ten short verses written some two thousand years ago. Moffic has been saying the prayer and living the ten practices for the last eight years.

The prayer reveals spiritual truths that will benefit all people, Moffic says. “No one religion is the sole path to happiness,” he writes. (13-14) Each of us can make the choice to live these practices, making us happier. These practices include gratitude, kindness, learning, celebration, forgiveness, and more. Moffic offers many stories from his own life and the lives of others to illustrate the benefits of the prayer.

Moffic is a Jewish rabbi. The happiness prayer, the Eilu Devarim, is based on the Jewish understanding of God. Moffic does not recognize the saving and sustaining faith of Jesus Christ nor the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. For Christians, this book lacks the essential truths about happiness and inner joy taught in the New Testament.

Moffic has included questions for personal reflection or for discussion in a group. One minor irritation for me was that Moffic made reference to authors and studies, such as the benefits of journal writing, for example, but provided no bibliography for our further study. (This, even though “keep learning” is one of the wisdom practices.)

I recommend this book to readers who are not Christians yet are looking for wisdom practices to increase their happiness and enjoyment of life. You will also find out quite a bit about Jewish tradition and contemporary practice.

Food for thought: “Happiness begins in the mind.” (62)

You can find out more about the book at

My rating: 4/5 stars.

Evan Moffic leads Congregation Solel in suburban Chicago. A graduate of Stanford University, Moffic was ordained as a rabbi in 2006. He speaks at book festivals, religious groups, and organizational gatherings across the country. He appears regularly on cable news stations as a commentator on religious events. He and his wife have two small children.

Center Street, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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