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Jewish Wisdom: Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers Hardcover – October 21, 1994
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Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The full title of the book gives a greater sense of the scope of this 650+ page book: `Jewish Wisdom: Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers'. This statement in the subtitle comes very close to an encapsulation of the Jewish faith for me -- it is an ethical way of life; it is a spiritual way of life; it is a way of life with high regard for history; it is a way of life with high regard to teaching and learning; it is a way of life that has accomplished great works and produced great thinkers. All of these things benefit the whole of humankind. `Two thousand years ago, when a non-Jew asked Hillel, the leading rabbi of his age, to define Judaism's essence, the sage could have responded with a long oration on Jewish thought and law, and an insistence that it would be blasphemous to reduce so profound a system to a brief essence. Indeed, his contemporary, Shammai, furiously drove away the questioner with a builder's rod. Hillel, however, responded to the man's challenge: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour: this is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary; now go and study" -- a model statement that has defined Judaism's essence ever since. As Hillel knew, the right words at the right time can inspire people for generations.'
Rabbi Telushkin has written or edited literally hundreds of books, and many of them consist of collections of writings or quotations.Read more ›
I feel that somehow this whole magnificent compendium of Jewish wisdom has behind it this central purpose. And that Rabbi Telushkin in making this anthology is working to make us all wiser, which means ' better' people.
The anthology covers a great variety of aspects of life and experience, and also touches upon major events in Jewish history.
It could not be more highly recommended.
If you want to know about how an assortment of Jewish luminaries think and feel about a particular ethical, spiritual or historical issue, the chances are that you can find it in Telushin's book. As an author, I sometimes use this book to bolster my own writing projects. In fact, I recently picked out a portion from the book to be read at my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. Trust me -- it's quite a gold mine.
What's frustrating is that I know of no comparably complete and well conceived work for other religious traditions. If anyone is aware of such a book, do tell.
Just to give one tiny example that sticks in the mind two months after reading it: Telushkin explains the importance of the sabbath-- to give a day of rest even to slaves and beasts of burden, to remind their owners that they should be treated with as much kindness as possible, and not worked to death. And another that I will never forget: Telushkin explains that the language in the Torah is different when forbidding cruelty to the elderly, disabled and children. Each commandment about these ends with "but you shall fear your God", a way of saying that those people can not revenge themselves on you for cruelty, but God can and will.
A wonderful, wonderful book. Profound wisdom from cover to cover. Buy it and live well.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Open it anywhere. It's full of wonderful nuggets of wisdom, ethics and tradition.Published 23 days ago by Kenneth Hirsch
I am a huge fan of Rabbi Telushkin. I have never read a book of his that i did not enjoy. This is a great source of wisdom and general information.Published 1 month ago by Joshua Moore
Not only is this book entertaining, there are many passages that really make you think.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
While I have read most of this and greatly admire it, I find chapter 27 ` a Jewish alternative to Jesus` command, "love your enemies" fascinating. Why? Read morePublished 5 months ago by SpiritWynd
Telushkin is a superior, knowing and deeply thoughtful writer--all of his texts are superior for all needs and all circumstancesPublished 6 months ago by Rev. Elliot
As always, Rabbi Telushkin's writing is wonderful, this time bringing us Jewish wisdom from a wide range of sources. Read morePublished 8 months ago by ravads
Solid, comprehensive overview in an easy to read format.Published 8 months ago by lucea suzan kedron