Book Reviews

“In The Birth of a Stone: A Journey of Discovery Peter Simon Mond leads his reader to the realization that “above” and “within” are synonyms. The beautifully written meditations that go into this journey are divided into two parts: Connections and Reflections. Both run deep, with the second part pursuing ramifications of the first in ways that are articulate, eloquent, and accessible. The entire volume is deeply informed by the Jewish mystical tradition, from Shimon bar Yochai to Rabbi Baruch Shalom Ashlag; Mond also turns to the wisdom of other traditions, from the Far East to the Enlightenment West, on the fundamental question of meaning in life. His anecdotes from those traditions, as well as from his life in Tsfat (Safed), are reminiscent of Chasidic tales and are just as inspiring.
In the Jewish tradition we are taught that all things derive their being from a continuous divine utterance; therefore, even in the smallest, most mundane details of life there abides a divine word, a divine utterance, in short, a divine Torah or teaching. Martin Buber has said that the thundering revelations upon which the great religions are founded are basically the same as the quiet ones that happen everywhere all the time and all around us, if only we can hear it. Peter Mond has a very refined faculty of hearing. Indeed, the Hebrew word for “meaning,” mashmaut, is a cognate of the word for “hear,” shema. Mond is able to hear the voice from the texts before him, from the dreams within him, and from the details of the life surrounding him. It’s not for nothing that one of his chapters is titled “Seeing is Hearing.” He makes his reader a better listener as well.
And the birth of a stone? It is the birth of his soul, which, as for all of us, is couched in his name: Peter. His middle name, Simon or Shimon, derives from shema, to hear—not so surprising, from what has been said here. And Mond? It means “world.” As we are taught, the birth of a soul upon the divine utterance of its name transforms the world. It is, indeed, the birth of a new world.”
David Patterson
Bornblum Chair in Judaic Studies, University of Memphis, U.S.A

“The Birth of a Stone is an interesting and compelling book, in which Peter Simon Mond chronicles his personal spiritual journey. Mr. Mond shares not only the details and course of his journey, but also the insights and understanding he has acquired along the way – not least of which is the knowledge that his journey was guided by a Divine hand that accompanied him and pointed out the way forward, “holding his hand” along the long and winding path.
The Birth of a Stone is an invaluable resource for those seeking spiritual enlightenment, especially those who feel they have been traveling alone. In thoughtful but straightforward prose, Mr. Mond’s sensitivity to spirituality comes shining through.
What is more rare, though, is the ability of The Birth of a Stone to teach this sensitivity, and to leave the reader more aware of their own unique spiritual life, more appreciative of their own unique journey.”
Rabbi Ari Kahn
Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Director of Foreign Student Programs, Bar-Elan University, Israel.

“I have had the pleasure to read Peter Simon Mond’s book The Birth of a Stone and found it to be a fascinating spiritual and physiological journey guided by Torah inspiration and concepts. Based on his own real life predicaments, this short but profound book represents dilemmas and challenges that every person faces and is thus very easy to relate to. The author’s journey to self-awareness and ego clarification is described in refreshingly honest terms, as is his growing realization of the worth and wisdom of Torah as a guide to a life of meaning and purpose. I highly recommend this book for those of any background, as it speaks to both mind and heart, and is a practical manual for real spiritual growth.”
Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman
Director, Ohr Chadash: New Horizons in Jewish Experiences, Moshav Meor Modiin, Israel.

 

“As we travel on the journey of life different events happen to us, some more challenging than others, but all needing to be related to. Peter Mond shares the transformation of his outlook from seeing these happenings as coming from chance, to regarding them as having an innate wisdom enabling him to grow in his search for wholeness.”
Yedidah Cohen, author of the “The Tapestry of the Soul.”

 

“Peter Mond writes with the quiet confidence of an assured story teller with a message worth hearing. He takes everyday life, with its triumphs and tragedies, its small joys and frustrations, and shows us how each moment offers a chance for spiritual learning and growth. Placing events of his own life into the context of psychology, theology, and mysticism, he weaves a story that provides insight into the process of living and becoming. This is not self-help, but a book about helping the self to become what it is meant to be. With humility and clarity, Peter Mond shows us not a path, but how to find a path. Readers will learn from it and be able to apply the lessons from the book to their own lives.”
Michael Dickel, Ph.D., Poet and Essayist.