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

4.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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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
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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: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks

A global religious leader, philosopher, bestselling author and moral voice for our time, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks is currently the Ingeborg and Ira Rennert Global Distinguished Professor of Judaic Thought at New York University and the Kressel and Ephrat Family University Professor of Jewish Thought at Yeshiva University. He is also Professor of Law, Ethics and the Bible at King's College London. Previously, Rabbi Sacks served as Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth between September 1991 and September 2013, only the sixth incumbent since the role was formalized in 1845.

Described by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales as "a light unto this nation" and by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as "an intellectual giant", Rabbi Sacks is a frequent contributor to radio, television and the press both in Britain and around the world. A visiting professor at several universities in Britain, the United States and Israel, Rabbi Sacks holds 16 honorary degrees, including a Doctor of Divinity conferred to mark his first ten years in office as Chief Rabbi, by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey.

In recognition of his work, Rabbi Sacks has won several international awards, including the Jerusalem Prize in 1995 for his contribution to diaspora Jewish life and The Ladislaus Laszt Ecumenical and Social Concern Award from Ben Gurion University in Israel in 2011. Rabbi Sacks was named as The Becket Fund's 2014 Canterbury Medallist for his role in the defence of religious liberty in the public square. He was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 2005 and made a Life Peer, taking his seat in the House of Lords in October 2009.

The author of 25 books, Rabbi Sacks has published commentaries to the daily Jewish prayer book (siddur) and has completed commentaries to the Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Pesach festival prayer books (machzorim) to date. His most recent book, Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence, which tackles the thorny issue of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God, was published in June 2015 and was a bestseller in the UK. It is set to published in the United States in October 2015. His book The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning, published in July 2011, received widespread praise for articulating a way for religion and science to mutually coexist.

A number of his books have won literary awards, including the Grawemeyer Prize for Religion in 2004 for The Dignity of Difference, and a National Jewish Book Award in 2000 for A Letter in the Scroll. Covenant & Conversation: Genesis was also awarded a National Jewish Book Award in 2009, and the Koren Sacks Pesach Machzor won the Dorot Foundation National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience for 2013. His Covenant & Conversation commentaries on the weekly Torah portion are read by thousands of people in Jewish communities around the world.

Born in 1948 in London, Rabbi Sacks attended Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, receiving honors in philosophy. He continued his studies at New College, Oxford, and King's College London, where he earned his doctorate in 1981. The same year he was ordained at Jews' College and at Yeshiva Etz Chaim, both in London. He served as the rabbi for Golders Green synagogue and Marble Arch synagogue in London. Before taking the post of chief rabbi, he also was Principal of Jews' College, the world's oldest rabbinical seminary.

In 1970, Rabbi Sacks married his wife, Elaine, and they have three children, Joshua, Dina and Gila and several 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)
A Letter in the Scroll (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)
Covenant and Conversation: Genesis (2009)
Covenant and Conversation: Exodus (2010)
The Great Partnership; God, Science and the Search for Meaning (2011)
The Koren Sacks Rosh Hashana Mahzor (2011)
The Koren Sacks Yom Kippur Mahzor (2012)
The Koren Sacks Pesach Mahzor (2013
Lessons in Leadership (2015)
Covenant and Conversation: Leviticus (2015)
Not in God's Name (2015)
The Koren Sacks Succot Mahzor (2015)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Format: Paperback
A good grasp of fundamental concepts for the modern world concerning Jewish life.
Very inspiring, his breadth of knowledge and compassion knows no bounds.
Highly recommended for all levels of Jewish education..
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