Rabbi Daniel Cohen is a popular motivator, mentor, and inspirational speaker and has served in the rabbinate for over thirty years. He currently serves as senior Rabbi at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, the largest modern orthodox synagogue in New England.
As we move into the holiday season, now is the time to reach higher in our lives and embrace what really matters and is meaningful.
Jason Robinson: Rabbi Cohen, how do we access real light in our lives?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: Well, let me ask you a question first. What if we could feel and see the divine right here in our midst? How would we treat one another? How would we speak to one another? What if we act like that right now. Let’s treat one another that way right now. Let’s treat everyone we come across as if they matter. As if every moment matters. Because every moment does matter.
Jason Robinson: Rabbi Cohen, you have a brand new book out called The Secret of the Light. Can you share with us what this book is about and why you decided to write it?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: Thank you so much for asking. I am speaking to you from the spiritual center of the universe, Jerusalem. It is the bridge between Heaven and Earth and a symbol that God is everywhere if we let Him in.
The Secret of the Light is a true story that happened to me a number of years ago. I met with a mystic in Jerusalem who gave me the answer to the question, “How do we access the divine?” He opened up my eyes to an ancient roadmap for living – The Secret of the Light and, in particular, the power of Psalms. I will never forget his words to me. King David experienced the peaks and valleys of life but never lost faith in knowing that God may be hidden, but he is ever present in the world. That is as true today as it was then. We simply need to know this and call upon it.
You see, every one of us can tap into this secret and reveal the Divine light even in the darkest of times and places. The Secret of the Light will show you how to access that light. It is a book of hope, love, and courage.
Jason Robinson: What must we do first to understand and live the secret?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: The key or the secret is to see the face of God in every human being and anticipate opportunities for eternal impact every single day. In a world filled with despair and darkness, the Secret ignites hope and light. If we lived The Secret of the Light, the world would be an infinitely brighter place, but it takes each of us to practice this.
Jason Robinson: Can you share with us a little more about the story in the book?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: Yes, I would be happy to. One of the common elements for each of us as we live life on Earth is the experience of loss. In the face of tragedy and torn between the pressure of his father and the temptations of a mysterious woman, Caleb Uriel is unanchored and lost. Caleb is a budding young lawyer and observant Jew in the 1980s in New York City who struggles with his faith and direction in life. The sudden death of his mother awakens an inner earthquake and reveals the fragile nature of his beliefs.
A chance meeting with a street sweeper and hidden mystic named Elijah in Times Square, though, proves to be the spark to set him on a path for personal discovery and renewal. Elijah reveals to Caleb the existence of an ancient document, The Secret of the Light, whose substance and relevance can only be discovered through a journey to Israel and the power of Caleb’s choices.
Through the halls of a high-powered New York Law Firm, the cobble stones street of Safed and much more, Caleb learns, as do we, the timeless principles of the light and how we all possess the power to reignite our inner light and share it with the world. He discovers an ancient and timeless road map to restore his faith and ours in God, ourselves and humanity and that no time, person or place is devoid of God’s light.
This is the thing to remember: We are all on a journey. The Light is truly everywhere, and The Secret of the Light can help us to see it, and to reveal it. I cannot reveal the light on my own; we all need to reveal it. The World needs your light now more than ever, so I invite you to join me on this journey.
Jason Robinson: What is this Light Brigade that you speak of?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: The Light Brigade is the name given to those who feel motivated to spread and reveal the Divine light everywhere. The book contains the principles of the secret. One of its foundational principles is that no human being possesses the exact same set of gifts, experiences and opportunities to reveal the light. As such, to make the world a brighter place full of love and hope, we all have a role to play.
Jason Robinson: How does The Secret of the Light address grief and loss? I know the main character, Caleb, experiences a tragic loss. How does his story guide us?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: One common experience we all have is the loss of loved ones. First losses might include grandparents, a beloved pet, and other relatives. No one lives without a brush with mortality and the fragility of life. Yet, Caleb learns that the soul lives on and it is possible to feel your loved ones presence always as Caleb does with his mother. The Secret offers comfort and strength.
Jason Robinson: The holidays are a time when people feel the loss of loved ones who are no longer at family celebrations. How does the Secret offer wisdom to transcend sadness?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: Caleb learns that we all have a choice – We can lament the darkness or increase the light. This message is a reminder not to be overwhelmed with grief but harness the memories of loved ones to increase that person’s light in the world. When we do that, our loved ones will live in us and through us always.
Jason Robinson: Why is the message of The Secret of the Light important for our society right now?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: In a world moving too fast, the Secret inspires you to slow down time and create eternal memories. In a world of divisions and demonizations, the Secret awakens you to see the face of God in every human being. In a world filled with darkness and despair, the Secret serves as a beacon for humanity to live life with joy, kindness, courage, and hope. If we lived the Secret of the Light, the world would be an infinitely brighter place.
Jason Robinson: Do you have any final thoughts?
Rabbi Daniel Cohen: The Secret of the Light is meant to help us live in the light that is here and all around us. You simply have to tap into it. Read the story of Caleb and it will inspire you to see God in the darkest of places and spread the light all over the universe.
About Rabbi Daniel Cohen:
Popular motivator, mentor, and inspirational speaker, Rabbi Daniel Cohen’s unique blend of authenticity, humor, wisdom, and insight helps anyone better navigate contemporary society and lead a life of legacy. Rabbi Cohen has served in the rabbinate for over thirty years and speaks nationally on leading a life of legacy and is currently working on another book with former NBA All-Star and Olympic Gold medalist Allan Houston on their shared faith and its benefits for leading a meaningful life. He is co-host with Reverend Greg Doll of the nationally syndicated Radio Show, The Rabbi and the Reverend. Rabbi Cohen is the author of The Secret of the Light and What Will They Say About You When You Are Gone? Creating a Life of Legacy.