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A Passion for Truth (Jewish Lights Classic Reprint) Paperback


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A Passion for Truth (Jewish Lights Classic Reprint) + Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity: Essays + Man Is Not Alone : A Philosophy of Religion
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Product Details

  • Series: Jewish Lights Classic Reprint
  • Paperback: 366 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing (April 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879045419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879045415
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #254,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

LJ's reviewer asserted that at the time of its publication this was "probably the best book on Hasidism to appear in the English language." Though it is not for the casual reader, those who undertake it "will be charmed by the work's depth of feeling and comprehensive scope" (LJ 8/73).
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

A Passion for Truth presents a surprising parallel study of two figures, the Hasidic tzaddik(righteous man, spiritual leader), Reb Menachem Mendl of Kotzk (1787-1859), and the Christian mystic, father of existentialism, Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855)...Rabbi Heschel is never heavy and all that he presents in this aphoristic, quotable book is cast in terms that touch all our lives. -- Edmund Fuller, The Wall Street Journal

Probably the best book on Hasidism to appear in the English language. -- Library Journal, September 15, 1995, and August 1973

More About the Author

Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-72), one of the foremost Jewish savants of our time, was internationally known as scholar, author, activist, and theologian.

Customer Reviews

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So, as comparisons go, we don't have much at all.
Eric Maroney
One of the most important things in this book is the link that Heschel establishes between the Kotzker Rebbe and the Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard.
Joshua Kullock
Putting doctrinal Jewish and Christian differences aside Heschel focuses on the great similarities between these two truth- seekers.
Shalom Freedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Hoffman on October 1, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book analyses the thoughts of the Kotzker Rebbe by contrasting and comparing him to the Danish theologian and philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. Few men could ever have conceived and written such an incisive work; no one else could have approached it with such an inner feel for the Hasidic tradition and yet, with a mind open to the teachings of Christian theologians.
Every thought resonates with Heschel's major "popular" statements of religion and Jewish philosophy, "God in Search of Man', and "Man is not Alone". It is obvious from reading this work that Heschel's own philosophy drew heavily on the Kotzker Rebbe's teachings - strip away the adornments and seek the essence and truth.
It is quite unfortunate that Heschel's major work on the Kotzker was never translated from the original Yiddish. Until such translation is published, this book alone provides both an incisive look at theological radicalism and a sense of the misdirection of most modern theories of religion.
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Format: Paperback
This book is built around two sets of comparison. In the first the Baal Shem Tov is compared to Menahem Mendl of Kotzk. The sharp contrasts between the two are highlighted. The Baal Shem came to the world to bring it light and blessing. He raised the spirits of the disheartened and depressed Jewish people, and gave them a new hope, a new sense of joy, a new sense of their own value a new sense of their love of God and God's love of them. The Kotzker came into the world in search of truth. The expansive generous all - inclusive spirit of the Baal Shem is contradicted by the harsh truth- seeking sarcastic and often bitter soul of the Kotzker. As the Baal Shem opens worlds the Kotzker closes them. The Baal Shem spread joy and the Kotzker lived the last twenty years of his life in the seclusion of his own depression and disappointment.
The second part of the book compares the Kotzker with Kierkegaard. Putting doctrinal Jewish and Christian differences aside Heschel focuses on the great similarities between these two truth- seekers. Sarcastic at times, filled with irony towards themselves and humanity they each in his own way seek a religion of Truth. They both seek a religion of higher purity. Kierkegaard condemns Christendom as making little room for the true individual inward subjective Christian- the Kotzker cuts himself off from the masses seeking his guidance, and searches for truth by himself alone. These two individuals each of whom praises a kind of solitude and solitary quest for truth set themselves apart from the mass of mankind. Kierkegaard's renunciation of ordinary married life, his rejection of his fiancee Regina , are paralleled by the Kotzker's withdrawal into his own study away from the ways of the world. Still there are strong differences between the two.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Kullock on March 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
There are a lot of books about Chasidism, but not about this interesting character. In "A Passion for Truth", Abraham Joshua Heschel shows the deep and intricate personality of one of the most significant Chasidic Rabbis: Menajem Mendl of Kotzk. One of the most important things in this book is the link that Heschel establishes between the Kotzker Rebbe and the Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard. Throughout this amazing book, Heschel shows the semblance and differences of these two important figures of the Nineteen-century. "A Passion for Truth" is a book that everyone who wants to know about Chasidism and the Kotzker-trend system has to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elisheva Levi on August 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a magnificent study of the life of the Kotzker. There was a bit too much about the life of Kiergegaard included but it was interesting nevertheless. One odd thing is that the book makes reference in several footnotes to a work of AJ Heschel's solely on the Kotzker that I don't believe was ever published due to Heschel's sudden death. There should be an editor's note explaining this to readers. I have searched and searched for it and can't find it so I can only imagine that he died before it was published. But if you are interested in the life and times of the Kotzker, definitely buy this book - it will move you immensely.
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