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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Jewish Wisdom: Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers Hardcover – October 21, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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  • Jewish Wisdom:  Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers
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  • The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living
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  • Jewish Literacy Revised Ed: The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People, and Its History
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Rabbi Telushkin provides a lively companion volume to his popular Jewish Literacy (Morrow, 1991) in this collection of hundreds of influential quotations taken from the Jewish religious and secular canon dating from the Talmud to Isaac Singer and Amos Oz. Organized by theme-from prayer and the essence of Judaism to wealth, old age, and suffering-and accompanied by Telushkin's clear and insightful comments, the mostly brief quotations give an excellent overview of the ideas and texts "that have shaped Judaism's and the Jewish people's responses to the key issues in their lives and in their history." While Joseph Baron's Treasury of Jewish Quotations (Jason Aaronson, 1985), with its vast collection of 18,000 quotations, remains a better reference resource, this book makes a valuable and informative browsing item for both adults and young adults. Highly recommended.
Marcia Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Organized by subject, this is a collection of teachings and quotations from the Talmud, the Bible, rabbinical commentaries, and ancient and modern religious and secular writings. Writers include Elie Wiesel, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Hebrew poet Hayim Bialik, Cynthia Ozick, Emile Zola, Albert Einstein, Bruno Bettelheim, Gertrude Stein, Irving Howe, and Maimonides. In commentary that explains why these teachings remain meaningful to Jews today, Rabbi Telushkin addresses such issues as relationships between people; individuals and their quest for meaning; what God wants from us; the modern Jewish experience; and Jewish values as they confront the Holocaust, Zionism, and Israel. Telushkin's commentaries are especially helpful because of the myriad quotations from the Talmud. There are also anti-Semitic quotations from Pharaoh and Haman (the first two recorded anti-Semites), from Voltaire, Hitler, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, H. L. Mencken, Gen. Ulysses Grant, Henry Ford, Charles Lindberg, and Louis Farrakhan, to name a few. But there is much wisdom here. Jews--and even non-Jews--will find the book a treasure. George Cohen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 688 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1st edition (October 21, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688129587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688129583
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,159 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like many of my most valued books, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's `Jewish Wisdom' arrived by accident, not through deliberate choice, but rather as a result of my having missed the reply deadline for one of my book clubs.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an incredible resource for those who are interested in hearing different oppinons on issues concernibg Judaism today. I cannot put the book down. From the Holocaust, to Kashrut, all the way to Inter-Marriage, and back to the Covanent... This book is amazing.
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Format: Hardcover
In one section of this work Rabbi Telushkin asks the question, "What does God want of us?" The primary answer from the sources he cites is that God wants of us ethical behavior, the acting toward others with goodness, kindness and consideration. This is the walking in the way of God, that will bring about 'tikkun olam' or 'improvement of the world'.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
This book contains many excellent anecdotes and commentary from some of the greatest Jewish thinkers of all time. Topics covered in this book range from the Holocaust, to anti-Semitism, to Philo-Semitism, to modern issues like abortion. The book is excellently written and is a must-have in any Jewish library. It allows the reader to understand a complex and fascinating religion through wonderfully told stories and commentary.
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Format: Hardcover
I love reading and this book is one of the best ones I have ever read. It teaches the heart and essence of Judiasm on a vast amount of topics. What a wonderful book!
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Format: Hardcover
Jewish Wisdom is a marvellous resource for anyone who is interested in Judaism. In it, you will find quotations and stories from a wide range of sources, as well as commentary from the author.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I love and have learned a great deal from Dennis Prager, who is a friend of the author. This is the best "how to be a decent person" book I have ever come across. It actually helped me resolve some dilemmas I had in my own life. I'm a Christian, but I envy Jews if they are taught these things as children. I know now why two of the gentlest, kindest, people I ever knew were Jews. I hardly know how to praise it. I wish I had come on it earlier in my life.

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.
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