The Pearl and the Flame:
A Journey into Jewish Wisdom, Ecological Thinking
& Healing in a Fragmented World

(forthcoming from Albion-Andalus Books, 2022)


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Woven through with stories of the author’s journey from a secular upbringing in Honolulu to Orthodox Judaism in Jerusalem, and back to his own spiritual path, The Pearl and the Flame brings a new integration of ecological thinking and core Jewish concepts. This new integration puts Judaism at the forefront of our struggles against current crises such as climate change, the culture of addiction, and social fragmentation. For centuries, Western civilization has controlled and manipulated the world by breaking things down into smallest parts. This approach has led to many amazing achievements of the modern world, but it has now brought us to the brink of environmental destruction and social fragmentation. In response, people have started turning to more holistic modern approaches such as ecology and systems thinking. Yet, these modern approaches can’t, by themselves, heal us. Judaism, along with other Indigenous and traditional cultures, has preserved the seeds of ways of thinking that existed before we learned to dissect the world: understanding through seeing patterns and relationships. The Pearl and the Flame offers a timely integration of old and new, helping us to move from isolation to connection.


Rabbi Natan Margalit is a rabbi and scholar with 30 years of experience in teaching, writing, organizing and congregational leadership. Raised in Honolulu, as a young adult he spent 12 years in Israel where he received rabbinic ordination. He returned to the U.S. and earned his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies at U.C. Berkeley with focus areas in Talmud, Literary Theory, and Anthropology. He has taught at Bard College, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Hebrew College Rabbinical School, and now is chair of the Rabbinic Texts Department at the Aleph Ordination Program. He is also Director of the Earth-Based Judaism track of the A.O.P., and is founder of the non-profit Organic Torah. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.  


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  • Book Testimonials

    “A fresh and inspiring perspective for the special time in which we live.” — Rabbi Arthur Green

    “Now that technology and reductionist thinking have brought us to the edge of extinction, what we humans most need is to find ways to relate to the whole. Margalit suggests that Jewish tradition, which sees all sacred stories as connected and all individuals as part of a community can support this paradigm shift and promote a needed ecological revolution.” — Rabbi Jill Hammer

    “As I read The Pearl and the Flame, I felt that I was sitting at the feet of a sage. It is filled with gems…” — Christopher Ives, Professor Religious Studies, Stonehill College, author of Zen on the Trail: Hiking as Pilgrimage

  • More Praise for the Pearl and the Flame!

    “There aren’t too many rabbis who can weave together pieces of wisdom from Wendell Berry (poet/philosopher), Mary Douglas (social anthropologist) and Kalonymous Kalman Shapira (the rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto). It reflects the genius of a book that is an antidote to an ever more fragmented world. Reb Natan’s vision of integration, of cosmic wholeness, of, what Margalit also calls “the Holy Source of All” is the kind of Torah we need in our world today.”–      Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow, Hazon; author, Judaism and Justice: The Jewish Passion to Repair the World

    “Rabbi Margalit reveals the root cause of all our suffering, environmental and social: the mistaken notion that we humans are apart from rather than a part of a greater wholeness. Drawing on contemporary science and ancient wisdom, The Pearl and the Flame, introduces us to a vibrant Judaism that overcomes this existential error and offers us a way to embrace all life in the greater Aliveness that is God.”– Rabbi Rami Shapiro author of Judaism Without Tribalism

    “The world is slowly coming to realize that nothing is separate from anything else, and more importantly, no one is separate from anyone else. In this wonderful book, Rabbi Natan Margalit catches the spirit of this growing movement and provides a profound articulation of our underlying unity.”– Rev. Jon Paul Sydnor, PhD, Founder, The Nondualism Project