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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word- awesome
Reverence and awe are what come to mind when I discuss Heschel, and this work in particular. He was an incredible scholar, steeped in multiple cultures (Eastern European Hasidism, Early twentieth-century Berlin, post WWII America) and he embodied so much. He was a poet as well, which is why this book, while an explication of Jewish philosophy (which can be complex at...
Published on May 10, 2000 by M. Stein

versus
16 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-rationalism taken too far
I started reading this book as part of an effort to get a better understanding of Jewish intellectual history. Heschel is routinely mentioned as one of the great Jewish philosophers of the 20th century and so I was excited to delve into this, one of his "greatest works". I could hardly have been more disappointed.

Heschel is a mystic and as such, eschews...
Published on March 27, 2011 by Amazon Customer


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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a word- awesome, May 10, 2000
By 
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
Reverence and awe are what come to mind when I discuss Heschel, and this work in particular. He was an incredible scholar, steeped in multiple cultures (Eastern European Hasidism, Early twentieth-century Berlin, post WWII America) and he embodied so much. He was a poet as well, which is why this book, while an explication of Jewish philosophy (which can be complex at times), is also beautifully written. If you want to understand the worldview of the Hebrew Bible, God in Search of Man is a must read. If you want to understand Judaism (and to a certain extent Christianity and Islam) this book will help you. The book is so powerful because Heschel wrote it in such a way as to evoke the very emotions (and lessons) that he felt the Bible was trying to teach.
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79 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside of the Mind of someone who knows God, July 20, 2001
By 
Steven Marks "Prog Harpo" (Petaluma, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
Heschel is simply amazing. It was not until his 40's that he learned English. His precision of writting in English (this is not a translation!) is amoung the best in the world.
This book is both a philosophic/logical progression as well as poetic gem.
This book changed my life. My father was Jewish, my mother not. When I got to a quote from Exodus (Sh'mot) "This is my God and I will glorify Him; The God of my father and I will exalt Him." I made up my mind to convert from nothing to Judaism.
The idea of repair of the world, Tikkun Olam,is well and alive: "It is in the employment of his (a Man's) will, not in reflection, that he meets his own self as it is; not as he should like it to be. Heschel marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and inspired many Jews to fight for the rights all all citizens in the USA.
This book is thoughtful, makes one reflect and is filled with poetry from end to end. Examples. "The heart is a often lonely voice in the marketplace of the living." "Halacha (laws) without agada (heart / self transformation) is dead, agada without halacha is wild."
As a practicing Scientist I agree with, "God is not a scientifc problem, and scientific methods are not capable of solving it."
Great book, super inspriring.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A profound exposition of God, Revelation and humanity, December 30, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
"God in Search of Man" combines scholarship with lucidity, and reverence and compassion as Heschel elucidates the nature of religious thought, how thought becomes faith, and how faith creates responses in the believer. Section one discusses ways to God's Presence, and the legacy of wonder that religion gives; the sense of divine mystery; the illusion of nature worship; man's metaphysical loneliness; God in search of man and the concept of "the chosen people". Section two of this book is concerned with the idea of Revelation, a study of what prophetic inspiration is, and the mysery and paradoxes of revelation. He discusses revelation as a process as opposed to an event, Israel's committment to God, and the principle of revelation. Section three discusses a Jew's real life response to the Jewish Religion, and looks at Judaism as a science of deeds; There is a study and rejection of the idea that mere faith (without law) alone is enough, yet there is also a cautioning against of those rabbis that add too many hedges to the law, who mistakenly act as if all Jewish law was revealed at Mount Sinai. It discusses the need to correlate ritual observance with sprituality and love, the importance of kavanah (religious intention) when performing mitzvot , and a discussion of religious behaviorism - in which people strive for external compliance with the law, yet disregard the importance of inner devotion. A classic work of theology that has been accepted by Conservative, Orthodox and Reform Judaism.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More insightful, wise, and human than a book should be., August 4, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
My room abounds in books that all promise their little secrets and yet there is just one always near me. One book that is exalted in my eyes despite the unassuming cover that adorns it. I am referring to God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism by Abraham Joshua Heschel. I recommend anything by this man whom Martin Luther King Jr. called a prophet but this has to be the deserted island pick. There is simply no book that has calmed me through a sleepless night so reassuringly, that has peeled more scales off my eyes and heart, and has had more to speak to the questions I'd just as soon forget than this work of religious art.
Don't let the title ward you off, by the way. This book is accessible to those who know nothing of philosophy, to Jews and non-Jews alike, to everyone who still feels awe at the great mystery of existence. I recommend it with great pride
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Wherever we let God in", July 11, 2005
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
The general assumption of people of the modern era has been that we must look for and search for and wait for God. The image is of Beckett's 'Waiting for Godot'. God has disappeared and is not part of our lives and we have to wait for God to return. Or if we are real searchers we would not wait, but would make the effort ourselves looking in various aspects of our experience to find the ultimate religious meaning.

But Heschel's premise here is the opposite one. God is actually looking for us. God wants us. I remember speaking with one of the most loving teachers of Hasidism of modern times, the late David Herzberg of blessed memory. When I asked him about the meaning of the religious concept 'Avodat Hashem' service of God' His answer surprised me because it was different from anyone else's. He said it was God's service, God's work what God does to help and connect with us. This is very much like what Heschel is saying here. God is calling out to us ,God is Present as the Kotzker Rebbe says 'wherever we let God in'.

Heschel was a great poetic and religious soul , who feels and teaches God's searching for , and connecting with us.

This is a tremendously inspiring and thought- provoking work.

I will only say one more word. That as a ' poetic thinker' Heschel's meaning is something suggested and sublime, something we cannot be sure we understand.

What we can understand is the underlying tone of holiness throughout this work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Again I must say Heschel was a Hebrew of Hebrews, May 27, 2009
By 
Daniel Pollin (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
This book should be read in conjunction with Man is not alone. Both are remarkably rewarding books. I am an evangelical Christian, yet what I learned from Heschel, and yes I DID learn many things, was powerful. His insights to the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament, shaped and increased my understanding of the New. Much can be learned from this unique man. I heartily recommend you to embark on the Journey with him.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good man with great wisdom, January 31, 2007
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This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
Plato wrote that virtue is knowledge and knowledge is virtue. If Plato's Republic was to succeed, society needed all of its citizens to be like Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. This, of course, was not the case in Plato's time - and most definitely not the case today. The wisdom of Heschel, as he so eloquently expresses in this timeless book, is needed now more than ever.

Heschel did not wait for God to give him grace, because he knew that his actions were more important than words. Heschel felt compelled to act upon his commitment as a citizen and as a Jew. The result being that Heschel's spiritual life set an example for his generation and generations to come.

In Heschel's own words: "Religion becomes sinful when it begins to advocate the segregation of God, to forget that the true sanctuary has no walls. Religion has always suffered from the tendency to become an end in itself, to seclude the holy, to become parochial, self-indulgent, self-seeking... ."

Each page and every word in this great work gives us important wisdom. Heschel challenges us to strive for the ideal but insists that we never forget the realities and injustices that surround us. (Jerry Marcus is the author of three novels: "Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Zev," "The Salvation Peddler," and "The Last Pope.")
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Life-changing, November 3, 2008
By 
Bookworm "jcc" (Colorado Springs, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
This book shifted my perspective 180 degrees on many issues. As a Christian student of theology and philosophy, I had acquired a number of stereotypical notions about Jewish thinking. This book blew me away. My thinking has been forever altered.
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33 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AWE-INSPIRING, CAPTIVATING, ENLIGHTENING, CRYSTALCLEAR TRUTH, August 21, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
DON'T LET THE TITLE SCARE YOU. I THOUGHT IT WAS WAY ABOVE MY HEAD AT FIRST TOO. HOWEVER, NOW, AFTER FIVE YEARS OF "DIGESTING" THIS BEAUTIFUL PICTURE OF WHO GOD REALLY IS, I FIND THAT NEXT TO THE BIBLE, IT STANDS ALONE AS MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK.
I recommend you start with Chapter 7 "AWE" - first. ...you'll be delighted with the gems, such as "to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal."
My favorite quote in the entire book is on page 290 - it reads: "WE LIVE BY THE CONVICTION THAT ACTS OF GOODNESS REFLECT THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF HIS HOLINESS. HIS LIGHT IS ABOVE OUR MINDS, BUT NOT BEYOND OUR WILL. IT IS WITHIN OUR POWER TO MIRROR HIS UNENDING LOVE IN DEEDS OF KINDNESS, LIKE BROOKS THAT HOLD THE SKY."
Sit and absorb the phenomenal richness in that one paragraph.
I've asked the Lord, "Where did he get this wealth of insight", which by the way seems so sadly missing in most people truly seeking to know God today...and the answer I got was, "He got it by simply spending time in the Presence of God".
I especially recommend this book to CHRISTIANS. It is unfortunate that many will not pick up this book because they first of all assume that since it is written by a Rabbi it will not have much for a Christian to absorb. WRONG!!!! In my heart of hearts, I am convinced that Heschel "knew" Jesus - he just didn't know Him by that name. The same thread of truth that is woven through the Old Testament, as it unveils the awesome beauty of our Creator, is the same beauty that is woven into Heschel's writings, and on into the New Testament. It is the SAME Spirit.
I encourage you to get this book and ignore your fears. I had to look up almost every word when I started...yes He is very scholarly, but if you allow you mind to be broadened, the words he uses become familiar to you in time, and you too find yourself asking God to allow you to become one of those who mirrors His unending LOVE in deeds of Kindness...like Brooks that hold the sky!!!!
God Bless You!
I welcome correspondence with any Christian, or Jewish believers!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Centering Experience, November 23, 2001
By 
This review is from: God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism (Paperback)
The philosophy and theology of Judaism in this work are wonderfully user-friendly. More importantly, if the reader approaches this book slowly, a little at a time, he or she will be profoundly engaged by the God of Heschel. It is poetry masquerading as prose, touching the soul and strengthening the faith no matter what religious tradition one does or does not espouse. Chapters 7, 13, 41 and 4 are my favorites. I read a few paragraphs from one or the other every day and just sit with it for a while before going to work in a transitional program for individuals leaving prison wanting to change their lives. This book teaches one to listen and not get in the way of grace.
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God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism
God in Search of Man : A Philosophy of Judaism by Abraham Joshua Heschel (Paperback - June 1, 1976)
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