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On Judaism Paperback – January 13, 1996
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—David Wolpe, author of Why Be Jewish?
“When as an adult I first found myself wrestling with God, Torah, and Judaism, someone handed me these essays of Martin Buber. I found them, and subsequently all of Buber’s work, speaking deeply and wisely to my life-situation, inviting me into a conversation that has continued through the quarter-century since. To anyone who is newly attracted to, or deeply involved in, Jewish renewal, I recommend them for at least a quarter-century’s worth of wonderful exploration.”
—Arthur Waskow, author of Down-to-Earth Judaism
“How good it is to be reminded of the richness of Martin Buber’s early thought, of his passion, of his power as a teacher, even as a prophet. This collection, with Rodger Kamenetz’s foreword, will be of great value to all concerned with the revitalization of Judaism today.”
—Jonathan Omer-man, Metivta Institute
Top Customer Reviews
This seems to be the core of religious Judaism anyway. The act, the deed, the mitzvoth is performed, and it is in that performance in this world that we find G-d.
But Buber’s opus I and Thou is an opaque work, largely devoid of Jewish content. He studied Christian mysticism closely, and the work appears largely inspired by it; it also hurts the Jewish tenor of the book that many of the paraphrases are from the gospels.
That is why his collection of essays On Judaism are as helpful as they are frustrating in understanding Buber's philosophy. The groundwork for Buber’s connection and disenchantment with his religion is here laid out far more clearly that in I and Thou.
Like many turn of the century, educated Jews, Buber was disenchanted with Jewish religious ritual. He says “Increasingly, the God-permeated, commanding, creative element was being replaced by the ridged, merely preserving, merely continuing, merely defensive element of Judaism.” Buber was enamored of early Hasidism, but thought that the contemporary forms of those sects were fossilized. He had an equal contempt of the “pale, feeble attempt at reform” of more liberal Judaism.
We live, he explains “in [a] uncertain state…. The last structure of the Oriental spirit within Judaism appears to be shaken, with no foundation laid for the new one.” However he believes the foundation does exist, in the soul of the individual Jew.
So what does Buber want beyond this vague formulation?Read more ›
I want to myself look through these essays again, and see if they give new directions in regard to understanding the fundamental questions of Jewish identity and meaning in the modern world.