- Series: Celebrating the Many Voices Within Judaism
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Jewish Lights (November 1, 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 158023156X
- ISBN-13: 978-1580231565
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #614,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Heart of Many Rooms: Celebrating the Many Voices within Judaism
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A Heart of Many Rooms is a passionate, eloquent collection of essays that praise the diversity of Jewish experiences. Philosopher David Hartman's work is based on his conviction that "[T]he rebirth of the Jewish people in its homeland challenges us to articulate a sober and responsible religious anthropology capable of energizing Jews to assume responsibility for a total Jewish society." Education regarding the variety of religious experiences within Judaism, Hartman says, will equip Jews for assuming that responsibility. To hasten that process of education, Hartman describes various Jewish experiences and brings them into dialogue with one another--orthodox and reform, religious and secular, skeptical and faithful. Although some readers may take issue with the breadth of Hartman's inclusiveness, most will agree with his basic idea of what it means to be a Jew. "My picture of a genuinely religious person is one who is not averse to getting hands dirty," Hartman writes, "one who does not await divine intervention but who experiences God's presence in efforts to discharge the responsibilities he or she feels for the welfare of a total society." --Michael Joseph Gross --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In a series of eloquent essays, some published 30 years ago, Hartman (A Living Covenant) celebrates the great diversity that exists within contemporary Judaism. Raised as a Torah-observant Jew, Hartman learned from his early religious teachings that all human beings are loved because they are created in God's image. Early in his rabbinic career, Hartman began seeking ways to reconcile what he saw as the exclusionist tendencies of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, secular Zionists and non-Israelis. Most of the essays collected here focus on the author's "continuing belief in the possibility and necessity of building educational bridges between different sectors of the population in Israel and throughout the Jewish world." In a section on "Family and Mitzvah Within an Interpretive Tradition," he contrasts what he calls two different approaches to Jewish spiritualityATorah and secular spiritualityAand explores the great joy that Torah study brings to Judaism and to the Jewish family. In another section, "Educating Towards Inclusiveness," Hartman advocates creating a shared language for education in Israel and among the Diaspora. Other essays in the collection include a paean to Abraham Joshua Heschel, "A heroic witness to religious pluralism"; an "Open letter to a Reform rabbi"; reflections on the conversion law; and "Zionism and the continuity of Judaism." In each of his essays, Hartman's incisive wit, passionate heart and loving soul animate his desire for religious diversity and understanding.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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*In the introduction, Hartman compares Biblical with Talmudic Judaism. In biblical religion, gratification and punishment are immediate. By contrast, the Talmud states that in this world there is no reward or punishment for observing commandments.
*In his essay on "The Joy of Torah", Hartman explains not just Jewish law generally, but some of the more obscure Jewish laws and legends. For example, one text states that "even what a faithful discipline would in the future say in the presence of his master [was] communicated to Moses at Sinai." What does this mean? That every creative moment flows out of the original creative moment at Sinai. Similarly, in a later essay Hartman explains the rabbinic comparison of anger to idolatry, writing that rage precludes the appreciation of a reality beyond oneself- "the existential condition necessary for encountering God."
*In his "Letter to A Reform Rabbi" Hartman, an Orthodox rabbi, suggests that Israel would actually benefit from vibrant Conservative and Reform movements. He writes that because Reform Judaism is a non-halakhic movement (i.e. not bound by traditional Jewish law), it can serve the broader cause of Judaism in other ways- for example, by "free[ing] Jews from their embarrassment in talking about God", by criticizing the idolatrous equation of Judaism with national loyalty, and by focusing on the broader values underlying halacha. Because Conservative Judaism does seek to follow halacha (though a somewhat different version than Orthodoxy) Hartman suggests that Conservative Judaism can show "the wide range of interpretive possibilities allowed for by Halakhah...[and] that the Jewish tradition has always contained the resources necessary to meet new situations and appreciate new values."
*In his essay on "Zionism and the Continuity of Judaism" Hartman grapples with the best of Greek philosophy, suggesting that Judaism differs from, say, Stoicism, because Judaism seeks to change external reality, while the Stoics seek only to accept the inevitable with equanimity.