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A Code of Jewish Ethics: Volume 1: You Shall Be Holy Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 7, 2006
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“Rabbi Telushkin’s masterwork is a gift to humankind. In a time of encroaching darkness, it demonstrates that the light of Torah and Judaism’s teachings lead to a life of wholeness that advances humanity and civilization. It is a wonderful and instructive reminder that this complex legal system is so much about people and filling our sacred spaces with meaning.” —Richard Joel, president of Yeshiva University
“Rabbi Joseph Telushkin displays the vast ethical resources contained in classical Jewish religious texts and demonstrates how these teachings can apply to the daily personal and communal challenges that confront us all. The book speaks to everyone concerned with leading a virtuous and meaningful life and deserves a wide readership by Jews and non-Jews alike.” —Rabbi David Ellenson, president of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“In every decade, there are a handful of truly great works, and this is one of them. Joseph Telushkin lifts up the ethical content of our tradition in whatever form it appears—distilled law, interesting anecdotes, historical events, or moral fable. To these he brings his modern sensibilities, deep wisdom, and the common sense of a master teacher. I predict this book will be required reading for my grandchildren, and for all others who want to improve themselves and repair the world.” —Blu Greenberg, author of How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household and On Women and Judaism
“With all his characteristic grace and humanity, Rabbi Telushkin has produced a masterwork, vast in scope, rich in wisdom, engaging, lucid, and profound. Read it and you will be inspired. Live it and you will be transformed.” —Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
“This remarkable guide to goodness shows how holiness begins in decency. It is a treasure-house of Jewish spirit—compelling, readable, supremely wise, and sometimes even funny.” —Rabbi David J. Wolpe, rabbi of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles, and author of Making Loss Matter
“Judaism has the most sophisticated system of moral theology, or ethics, of any world religion, which has been evolving for four millennia. This is the most comprehensive introduction to Jewish ethics to appear for many decades.” —Paul Johnson, author of A History of the Jews
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Top Customer Reviews
A particularly lovely touch to this book is that with every piece of advice, there is an explanation, an example, or an anecdote - something to tie the subject in to our every-day lives. For example, the section on common sense and tact quotes the late Jewish humorist Sam Levenson in saying "It's not so hard to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and don't say it." This seems like such a small thing, but this little bit of humor stays in my mind better than any lecture, and is just enough to remind me that I mean to improve. Other such anecdotes show that some of the "impossible" expectations through the book are in fact anything but.
So many "self-help" and "self-improvement" books are easy to skim through, more fluff and cheery stories than content. While many books on living the good life have passed through my hands, no other has lingered quite as well as this one. Every time I open it I am reminded of some aspect of life that I should focus more on, and I expect it will be on my shelf for a very long time.
1. To help yourself give other people the benefit of the doubt, think of rationalizations that might help, just as if you were making excuses for yourself
2. Praying for others when they are sick is a fine thing, but why not go further by praying for those with other problems such as financial or relationship issues?
3. When visiting friend you haven't seen in awhile, say the Shecheyanu prayer to thank God for the privilege;
4. If someone is getting on your nerves, think of ways in which they might be superior to you;
5. Chant "Do not be easily angered" (al tehi noach lekos) to calm yourself down if you feel yourself getting angry.
Although I am not sure yet which (if any) of these ideas I will have the self-discipline to put into practice, this book has already inspired me to do a little beyond what was directly suggested.
Since this time of year is (for Jews) a propitious time for reforming oneself, I think this book is especially useful this time of year.
Concededly, a few of the book's suggestions seemed a bit overly ambitious to me- but my feeling is that if this book inspires me to do just a few small things differently, than it is worth the time I invested in it.
Amy Hirshberg Lederman,([...] author of "To Life! Jewish Reflections on Everyday Living" and "One God, Many Paths: Finding Meaning and Inspiration in Jewish Teachings."
The Rabbi discusses virtually all aspects of human relations, and the rules that should govern them. Many of these are common sense (prohibitions against stealing, murder, coveting), while others that should be common sense are widely violated; an example would be the prohibition against idle gossip. This would seem to be self evident, but it is surprising how many people routinely violate it, often with disastrous results. Telushkin sets out these rules of ethical behavior and backs them up with examples, anecdotes and scriptural, Talmudic and other Judaic writings.
This book is appropriate for both Jew and non-Jew alike. If everyone followed these rules of ethical behavior, I would hazard to guess that there would few wars, few divorces, no feuds, and virtually no politics. It may not be a utopian world, but it would be far closer to this ideal.
I purchased the Kindle edition. The only criticism I have with this version is that footnotes and references are not easy to view and then return to the place from which they were refer. For this reason alone, one might consider buying a hardcover edition.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book. The only thing I did not like was that the pages were not trimmed. It looks like a bargain bin book.Published 5 months ago by Robert F. Smith
Probably one of the best books I have ever read! The book reads almost like a guide for daily life.Published 5 months ago by MickeyFan
First off, in my opinion, anything written by Rabbi Telushkin is worth reading. I have several of his books and all are well written and the subject matter is explained extremely... Read morePublished 9 months ago by prophet
Found this very informative and especially well presented by Rabbi UlmerPublished 16 months ago by sylvia gleason
An excellent jumping off point to Jewish ethics. This will help build a foundation for a reader to move forward into deeper questions.Published 21 months ago by Laura
Excellent book. It compiles different sources (Torah, Ethics of the Fathers, Talmud, etc.) which is great. It is very clearly and very well written. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Camelia
This is a great book. I am studying Ethics and this is very helpful, not only in the study but also in personal application to every day life. Read morePublished 22 months ago by itsseweasy
It is a pretty good summarization, but I do not agree with all of the examples that the author puts forth. Just a little TOO idealistic for the real world... Read morePublished 23 months ago by kitchen witch