BODY OF PRAYER
“Can one pray with no hope?” asks the French-Jewish philosopher Jacque Derrida in a conversation with Michal Govrin, traversing boundaries between religion and secularity and between thought and experience. BODY OF PRAYER presents prayer as an appeal embedded in the foundations of the body and of language: an extreme moment of belief, when the “I” is established by the very capacity of prayer for appeal. But would a prayer to an absent God be possible with no guaranty that the appeal, either whispered or fully vocalized, will be heard or accepted – a prayer erupting from the heart of uncertainty and through the scars of havoc and holocaust – as a rebellion, as insolent language or as a longing for tikkun.
BODY OF PRAYER had its origins in a discussion between Govrin and Derrida held in New York in 1998, marking the publication of Govrin’s novel THE NAME. It continued with startling confessions on motherhood and prayer and on loss and love, as well as a cycle of prayer songs. The question of what is prayer – an appeal, a beckoning, an introspection, an elegy – is infused with new meaning in this book.
Israel, HaKibbutz HaMeuchad, 2013 [revised edition]; USA, 2000, Cooper Union
“Michal Govrin’s finely-honed book broadens and excites the mind. It is a gripping textual collage that inspires in the reader an original and bold involvement with the roots of Judaism. Often a person in prayer expects God to change him, but I believe this book has the capacity to change its readers, at least a bit.” – Mordecai Geldman, Ha'aretz