Orientation to Text

Logotherapeutic orientation is the assumption that there is always meaning in life.

Similarly in Logotherapeutic Torah Dialogue a particular orientation is taken. (As an aside, we can alternatively call it Logotherapeutic Textual Dialogue, for a wide range of texts and not only Jewish ones.) Textual material always has meaning. How can it be otherwise? The difference in the logotherapeutic application is that it is not only a meaning that speaks objectively, on its own terms and to no one in particular nor is it not a meaning that the reader fabricates for his own purposes.

There is a transcendent meaning or voice coming through the text. It holds objective truth while carrying a personal message at the same time.

There are probably some similarities here to Bibliotherapy yet my suspicion is that in the same way logotherapy is set apart by its meaning-centered focus, here too the meaning-centered focus creates a subtle difference. The text does not serve to heal me but rather to demand something of me, and in that demand that I respond and fulfill my given tasks and fill my place in the world, the healing comes on its own.

Textual messages of wisdom expand our consciousness to a heightened awareness of the questions life is asking us through the text.

As I am developing this workshop my sense is I know it works, I’ve experienced it, and it happens quite naturally. The work is to go back and sort out the process when it does happen naturally to find out exactly what is happening there. What sorts of questions are we asking when my friend Rivkah and I study together?

I will look more closely at this a few days from now. In the meantime, here are some questions that I’ve started to piece together.

When reading a text, ask yourself:

When, in the past week, did I feel I very much needed to hear this?

What in my life aptly illustrates this phenomenon or concept?

Which values are revealed through it? What are the conditions for making their fulfillment possible?

How does my life experience explicate the text and how does the text explicate my life? What, as a result of learning this, can I learn about myself?

Which statement most stands out for me and why?

What is this saying about who I am and who I can be?

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