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To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility Hardcover – October 11, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Schocken; 1ST edition (October 11, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805242414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805242416
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #981,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Although written by a rabbi, this powerful, biblically based plea for ethical behavior will appeal to non-Jews as well as to Jews. The erudite author, the chief rabbi of Great Britain, contends that all people have to be both ethically and socially responsible, and supports this through examples of people he's met or read about as well as through biblical and Hasidic tales. His analysis of these stories and their lessons is beautifully informed by philosophy, psychology, theology, poetry and literature. Sacks's wide-ranging scholarship is evident in the authorities he cites, including Plato, Karl Marx, Victor Frankl, Joseph B. Soloveitchik, William Wordsworth, Rashi, Maimonides, Jean-Paul Sartre, John Donne, Erich Fromm, Sigmund Freud and many others including Talmudic and rabbinical sources. Sacks claims that he "tried to make the book as simple and readable" as possible, but it is at times somewhat heavy-footed. Patient readers will be rewarded by exposure to a great intellect who demonstrates how his knowledge and experiences have led him to the conclusion that each individual has responsibility "to heal where others harm, mend where others destroy, [and] to redeem evil by turning its negative energies to good." (Oct. 11)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Sacks, the author of 12 previous books, is chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth. The ethics of responsibility, so he posits, is the idea that God invites us to become "his partners in the work of creation." The theme of his book is that life is God's call to responsibility. Citing the twenty-first-century's challenges of a scale and scope that seem to defy solutions--environmental and political problems and the growing inequality between rich and poor--Sacks insists that it is up to us to make a difference, "to mend the world one life at a time, one act at a time, one day at a time." Drawing on traditional interpretations of the Bible, Jewish law, and theology, he analyzes the essence of morality and moral behavior. He is one of the most eminent religious scholars of our time, and his book should interest Jews and non-Jews alike. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks

Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has been Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth since September 1, 1991, the sixth incumbent since 1845.

In July 2009, appointed to the House of Lords as a cross-bencher.

Prior to becoming Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Sacks served as Principal of Jews' College, London, the world's oldest rabbinical seminary, as well as rabbi of the Golders Green and Marble Arch synagogues in London. He gained rabbinic ordination from Jews' College and London's Yeshiva Etz Chaim.

His secular academic career has also been a distinguished one. Educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he obtained first class honours in Philosophy, he pursued postgraduate studies at New College, Oxford, and King's College, London. Sir Jonathan has been Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, Sherman Lecturer at Manchester University, Riddell Lecturer at Newcastle University, Cook Lecturer at the Universities of Oxford, Edinburgh and St. Andrews and Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. He is currently Visiting Professor of Theology at Kings' College London. He holds honorary doctorates from the universities of Bar Ilan, Cambridge, Glasgow, Haifa, Middlesex, Yeshiva University New York, University of Liverpool, St. Andrews University and Leeds Metropolitan University, and is an honorary fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, and King's College London. In September 2001, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred on him a Doctorate of Divinity in recognition of his first ten years in the Chief Rabbinate.

At his installation as Chief Rabbi in 1991, Dr Sacks set out his vision of a reinvigorated Anglo-Jewry and launched it with a Decade of Jewish Renewal, followed by a series of innovative communal projects. These included Jewish Continuity (a national foundation funding programmes in Jewish education and outreach), the Association of Jewish Business Ethics, the Chief Rabbinate Awards for Excellence, the Chief Rabbinate Bursaries, and Community Development, a national programme to enhance Jewish community life. In 1995, he received the Jerusalem Prize for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life. In September 2001 the Chief Rabbi began his second decade of office with a call to Jewish Responsibility and a renewed commitment to the ethical dimension of Judaism. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in June 2005. A notably gifted communicator, the Chief Rabbi is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the national press. He frequently delivers BBC RADIO 4's THOUGHT FOR THE DAY, writes a monthly CREDO column for THE TIMES and delivers an annual Rosh Hashanah message on BBC 2. In 1990 he was invited by the BBC Board of Governors to deliver the annual Reith Lectures on the subject of THE PERSISTENCE OF FAITH.

The Dignity of Difference was awarded the 2004 Grawemeyer Prize for Religion, and A Letter in the Scroll a National Jewish Book Award 2002.

Born in 1948 in London, he has been married to Elaine since 1970. They have three children, Joshua, Dina and Gila and three grandchildren.

Publications:

Tradition in an Untraditional Age (1990)
Persistence of Faith (1991)
Arguments for the Sake of Heaven (1991)
Crisis and Covenant (1992)
One People? (1993)
Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren? (1994)
Community of Faith (1995)
Faith in the Future (1998)
The Politics of Hope (1997)
Morals and Markets (1999)
Celebrating Life (2000)
Radical Then, Radical Now (2001)
The Dignity of Difference (2002)
The Chief Rabbi's Haggadah (2003)
From Optimism to Hope (2004)
To Heal a Fractured World (2005)
The Authorised Daily Prayer Book: new translation and commentary (2006)
The Home We Build Together (2007)
Future Tense (2009)

Customer Reviews

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Rabbi Sacks speaks much in this book about responsibility.
Shalom Freedman
My wife, a social worker, bought this book, but I started reading before she did, and I couldn't put it down till I'd read it from cover to cover.
sandgroper
I would recommend this book to anyone who has a thirst for knowledge.
daryl rasuli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written and inspiring work. It is rich in personal anecdote, story and example. It teaches the essence of Jewish ethics as a way of living in the modern and post- modern world. Rabbi Sacks speaks much in this book about responsibility. He speaks much about the world having gone to far in concentrating on individual development alone, without demanding connection and contribution to family and community. His message is that the Jewish covenant with God is one for recreating the world as better place, for improving the situation for others. He is concerned here with social justice and with righteousness. He believes that the seperation of the ethical from the religious is like separating two different parts of the brain that are meant to work together. He believes the Jewish imperative is to be both holy and good. And also he teaches this means finding a way to make tikkun olam and improve the well- being of all of mankind.

Rabbi Sacks tells us inspiring stories of people who have suffered and somehow managed to in that suffering still give to others. He tells us about many of the people who do goodness and acts of kindness for others modestly. He says that when he as a young person a young Rabbi first began to officiate at funerals he discovered that what relatives wanted said about the person who was gone, was nothing about their wealth power achievement in the world, but rather about their kindness and goodness to others.

His message is that each individual human being can by being good to others help mend the brokenness of the world. It is not that he is naive or believes that all the problems of this world, many of which he discusses in detail in this book can be instantly solved by such goodness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J Wilson on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility

This is a beautifully written and thought provoking discussion of the ethical responsibilities that we all have to ourselves, each other, and to society as a whole. It is written from the Jewish perspective, but as my Sunday school class has discovered, is an excellent launching pad for Christians, as well. It is a perfect addition to the study of Leviticus, for example.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By sandgroper on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback
I found this book inspirational. Rabbi Sacks' draws from millenia of literature and philosophy, including the Torah and famous Jewish sources but also from current literature and events. He writes with a magnetic charm and eloquence.
My wife, a social worker, bought this book, but I started reading before she did, and I couldn't put it down till I'd read it from cover to cover.
I commend it to you without any reservation whatsoever.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Julia Wyndham on January 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I think this book should be required reading for all those in our government who are looking for and working toward a peaceful solution to the war in Iraq. Rabbi Sachs draws on his deep understanding of the Torah and of human nature in discussing the basics of a religious perspective on the seemingly irreconcilable problems of relationships in the middle east. He has moved beyond the political, geographical, religious discussion of the issues which create enmity and sets our thoughts on basic theological components which we must consider if we are serious about healing our divisions. He takes us deep into our own hearts and challenges us to heal our own hearts first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Linda Abraham on April 28, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed R. Sachs's work. He draws on his rich knowledge of classic Jewish sources and secular philosophy to craft a beautifully written work that is both insightful and thought-provoking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Donald W. Clark on April 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very thoughtfully and well-written book by a highly respected UK Rabbi. He is mainly writing to assist Jewish people who seek clarification of their views on what Biblical (Old Testament) books should mean to those alive today. His main emphasis is that the stories of the Bible teach all humans, not just Jews, what our creator expects of us in living our daily lives to be partners with God to bring about fairness, justice, caring, love, support to our families,our neighbors,all humans and the flora and fauna of our world. While our perception of reality and truth must come individually, we are all in this life together and need to spend our lives learning how best to do it. We must do the work since we are empowered to do so by our very nature.We cannot sit back and leave everything to God (or, for Christians, to Jesus) to handle our problems.
We take our inspiration from our creator, but our actions are up to us.
Dr. Donald Clark
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shalomy'all on December 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This deeply thoughtful book is a mind-opener about how Judaism approaches being a good person and therefore contributing to shalom - understanding, peace, less conflict, on planet Earth. I consider it a must read for anyone who can just be reasonable about religious divisions and look at the big picture - human caring, compassion, and thoughtfulness about all humankind.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Lewyn VINE VOICE on November 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
After a decade of growing anti-Semitism, some Jews seem more willing then ever to retreat from the secular and non-Jewish world. Sacks's book is a ringing rebuttal to this view, quoting a variety of Jewish sources. For example, he quotes the Talmud: "for the sake of peace, the poor of the heathens shall be supported as we support the poor of Israel..."

By and large, this is not the sort of book that imparts new information so much as the sort of book that tells us what we already know- a kind of pep-talk for burnt-out, bummed-out Jews. I liked it, but thought it was a bit too long for its message.
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