By: Jerry Pollock
Publisher: Shechinah Third Temple, Inc.
Publication Date: January 2009
Reviewed by: Miriam Leventhal
Review Date: November 24, 2008
A man struggling with his internal demons and imperfections is vetted for the position of positions, to become the Messiah of Israel. If chosen, our protagonist will assist G-d in deciding who will enter the second Garden of Eden. The Messiah Interviews: Belonging to G-d by Jerry Pollock is one man’s journey to find spiritual meaning.
The author begins with an autobiographical summary of his early years. Pollock, who in this account is represented as Yoseph, recaps his time with his twin brother Yinnon. Yoseph and Yinnon attend the same schools, marry and divorce at the same time, vacation in Israel together; in fact, their daily schedule is synchronized. There is only one major difference between the two, while Yoseph is able to get through life basically unfettered, Yinnon is a tormented soul -- emotionally traumatized, suffering from bouts of depression, and later diagnosed as bipolar. We learn that the root cause of this suffering is an emotionally detached father and a cruel and hurtful mother. By the end of the autobiography it becomes apparent that Yoseph and Yinnon are one and the same, and in the second part of the book the brothers meld into one character, Yoseph. While this might be temporarily confusing, the psychological comportment of the character carries meaning as the story progresses.
In the following fictionalized part of the book, we find that Yoseph has been selected to interview for the position of the Messiah. Because G-d has never shared with the general population the identity of the person for whom he intended to fill this job, it is open to speculation. Yoseph, blemishes and all, is considered for the post and interrogated before a tribunal of Old Testament high rollers, the Seven Princes. During this phase, Yoseph (and by extension, the reader) is questioned as to his values, his spirituality, and his views of mankind. The fact that G-d gave man free will to choose whether or not to follow the Ten Commandments is a pivotal part of this discussion. With all our shortcomings, it is fair to say that most of us have broken at least one or two commandments, Yoseph and the sages being no exception to this rule. Yoseph readily confesses to his limitations, making amends for past indiscretions, and what follows is a poignant discussion that challenges us to look honestly at our flaws, examine our beliefs, and be guided by a higher source.
The sage’s questions are relentless; however, Yoseph successfully walks through these land mines, explaining the difference between transgressions and iniquities, how science and faith can coexist, how Yoseph, if selected, will help judge those to be admitted to the new kingdom, and why an imperfect man might be the perfect candidate for Messiah. In addition to these ethical issues, there is a substantial amount of information about the Third Temple and the rudiments of Judaism.
In telling this story, Pollack explores both his intellect and his heart. This engaging conversation will encourage the reader to examine his/her own values and assumptions. If this leads to personal growth and reflection, then The Messiah Interviews has fulfilled its goal.
Quill says: A book that asks us to reflect on our values and make a positive contribution to the world.
For more information on The Messiah Interviews, please visit the author's website at: Shechinah Third Temple, Inc.