Israel: An Echo of Eternity
is a philosophical history of the past, present, and future home of the Jews, written by Abraham Joshua Heschel following his visit to Israel just after the Six Days' War in 1967. Illustrated with beautiful line drawings by Abraham Rattner and written in Heschel's characteristically pithy and penetrating style, the book is implicitly critical of secular Zionism for its lack of interest in Judaism's religious teachings. "We do not worship the soil," Heschel writes (meaning that the land is not holy; it is, instead, a site where holiness is to be created). Therefore, Heschel also refuses easy interpretations of the creation of the state of Israel as recompense for the Holocaust. "It would be blasphemy to regard it as compensation. However, the existence of Israel reborn makes life less unendurable. It is a slight hinderer of hindrances to believing in God." Heschel's observations about religion and politics are extremely durable. Referring to Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, he avers that religion cannot ever be an excuse for racism: "You cannot worship God and at the same time look at man as if he were a horse." Even as an account of one man's relationship to the Holy Land, this book is of lasting value. To arrive in Jerusalem, Heschel writes, is to be joined in "streams of endless craving, clinging, dreaming, flowing day and night." --Michael Joseph Gross
From Library Journal
Heschel here addresses the Jewish people's fidelity to Jerusalem. LJ's reviewer stated that "although brief [the book] is studded with scholarship; [Heschel's] rapture with the Holy City and its importance to the Jews is apparent on every page" (LJ 2/1/69).-- is studded with scholarship; [Heschel's] rapture with the Holy City and its importance to the Jews is apparent on every page" (LJ 2/1/69).
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