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The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living Hardcover – February 22, 2000

4.8 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Book of Jewish Values requires great commitment from its reader, and it promises great reward. "[F]or ethical teachings to carve a way into our hearts, we must study and practice them ... day after day after day," explains Rabbi Joseph Telushkin in the book's introduction. The book is structured as a daily guide to living, with scriptural lessons, meditations, and exercises covering topics ranging from "the first trait to look for in a spouse (Day 17)" to "how to change negative patterns of behavior (Day 150)." At the end of each week, Rabbi Telushkin provides a special Sabbath review of the prior six days' teachings, to ensure continuity among the book's many lessons. This simple, straightforward approach to religious and ethical teaching is an ancient and proven one. As Rabbi Telushkin points out, great teachers through the ages have always said that diligence is the beginning of virtue. (Consider, for instance, Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav: "If you are not going to be better tomorrow than you were today, then what need have you for tomorrow?") --Michael Joseph Gross

From Library Journal

Rabbi Telushkin, author of ten previous books, has offered 365 nuggets of rabbinical advice on everything from anger to Maimonides to the telephone. This is the latest of many recent publications to address the resurgence of Jewish spiritual life, and it is one of the more appealing entries; for many readers it will feel like a few minutes a day on the synagogue steps with a favorite rabbi. For collections where there is a significant Jewish readership.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony; 1 edition (February 22, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609603302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609603307
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Rabbi Telushkin has done it again. Already the premier author of a collection of books that amount to desk encyclopedias of Jewish Humor, Jewish Wisdom, Jewish Literacy, and Biblical Literacy, Joseph Telushkin now adds this wonderful volume on practical ethics. The book presents ethical issues - one for each of six days with a time to review on the Sabbath - that weave current and historical illustrations of important ethical principles. What distinguishes this "day at a time" ethical compendium from others like it is the strength of the stories which illustrate each principle. These are deep and complex practical applications, neither contrived nor saccharine.
Readers who are not Jewish will also be interested in this book. The lessons here are not related to any particular sectarian view but apply to all those who feel that a religious life must be an ethical life if it is to be meaningful and authentic.
The publishers are to be commended on the beautiful presentation of this book. It should grace the shelves of anyone who wants a realistic guide to a more ethical life.
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Format: Hardcover
Joseph Telushkin is the premier ethicist of our time. Even though this magnificent book is informed by Jewish ethical values, it truly speaks to all people, regardless of race, religion or creed. It is a superior combination of scholarship, insight, humanity and warmth, which reflects off every page. For those who want to evolve spiritually, become better human beings, this is a must-read. It is written in a very cogent, lucid, readable and accessible style. A veritable gem!
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Format: Hardcover
The inches devoted to Telushkin books on my shelves are growing. Who is the better person? The person who performs a holiday ritual to perfection, or the person who is ethical and helpful. Which is the better "personal ad"? One that lists that the suitor has a DDS or JD degree, or one that states that the person is a 'mensch'? A co-worker used to correct me if I said, "I have time to kill." He said, "make time to live." Or when a flight was delayed, rather than be irritated, he thought, "oh, more time to read or meet someone." He tipped the chambermaid big even though they never met. Jewish Values are similar. We need to seek not to be annoyed, but to empathize, to connect with our neighbors, to heal, to help, and to praise. This insightful book of 313 teachings reminded me of our greater purpose; and its daily 2 page format made it easy to assimilate the information and advice and attempt to apply it in everyday life.
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Format: Hardcover
I cannot think of a more superb book to inspire contemplation of ethics, spirituality and values. I was already a fan of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's writing when a long-time buddy of mine gave me "The Book of Jewish Values" as a gift. Before I even opened it, I knew I had a gem.
Very simply, Rabbi Telushkin's writing is direct, concise, up-to-date and easy to understand. Also ... important! You don't have to be Jewish (I'm not) to appreciate the relevance of the ethical guidelines on which the author elaborates. For each day of the year (excluding the Shabbat) one of a broad range of issues is discussed and highlighted either anecdotally through quotes by other noted Rabbis or supported by reference to important Jewish literature (e.g., the laws of the Torah and Talmud). You probably won't find 300+ issues applicable to your life, but every page is worthwhile reading nevertheless. The most pertinent and/or interesting topics to me were the ones involving relationships, charity, kindness, and speech.
The book's format is suited to every kind of reading habit, so go at whatever pace you like. Each day is comprised of 1-3 pages, with cross-referencing where related discussion appears elsewhere in the book. Also, footnotes can be found on the same page where a reference is cited (I appreciate this) so you don't have to turn to the back of the book to check a source. In the event you do turn to the back, you'll find a decent glossary, bibliography and index.
Whether your intention is to learn or to simply bolster your moral convictions, I give this book my highest recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover
Six lessons a week, for 52 weeks. Each lesson is one to two pages; R. Telushkin often hints at the complexities involved in each lesson (usually, each lesson has some "unless," "but," or something else to make it less than black-and-white). Each lesson has a short title that helps jog your memory if you do the "shabbat recap." Each is illustrated with words from the sages of the ages, or sometimes more modern sources. They're simple, thought-provoking, and I now put aside a few moments each morning to read the next one, write the title in my planner, and think about it during the day.
Pluses: topic index, full index, extensive bibliography, glossary of Jewish texts. Lessons are short, easy to digest, memorable.
Minuses: perhaps each lesson is too short. The Shabbat recap is just a list of the previous six lesson titles; it doesn't really add to the book. I think I would have liked to see the lessons for each week be of the same subject. But maybe not. I'm still not sure.
BUY TWO. Share.
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