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Witnesses to the One: The Spiritual History of the Sh'ma by [Meszler, Rabbi Joseph B.]
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Length: 176 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Contain[s] wonderful insights on the ‘oneness’ of both God and the Jewish people…. An ideal Jewish book club choice.” —Jewish Book World “Investigates the spiritual history of the Sh’ma by looking at how some key Jewish scholars and believers have interpreted the phrase…. An excellent addition to public, synagogue, and academic libraries.” —Library Journal “By presenting such a variety of approaches to the meaning of the Sh’ma, the author gives the reader a rich and full picture of what this important liturgical/biblical verse can mean. An excellent contribution to our understanding of the Sh’ma.” —Jewish Media Review

From the Inside Flap

Explore the spiritual history of the Sh'ma and be inspired to find meaning in these sacred and powerful words. Calling you to literally heed the command to "hear," this fascinating historical journey will inspire you to reflect not only on the words of the Sh'ma, but also on the stories of the people from generations past who have uttered them. By understanding the nuances behind their cries of belief in one God, you will join them in the search for meaning and move beyond just hearing the words--you will allow them to penetrate your heart.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1700 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing; 1 edition (March 2, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 2, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Q9TS9U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,526,797 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thought the book took a very unique approach. For people who know about or say the prayer it adds a great deal of perspective and insight. It makes the prayer deeper and much more meaningful. For readers who may not be familiar with the Shema, this book provides an original approach to teaching the history of the Jewish people and some of the top Jewish minds during specific eras - ancient to modern.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This translation of Amos 5:24 by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel colored the "I Have a Dream" speech of Martin Luther King Jr.

(Ravi Heschel is one of the biographical sketches contained herein.)

If any of us wonders what the Jewish connection to Sh'ma has been, how it has been connected to the world at large, Ravi Leo Baeck of the Nazi concentration camps is also given some thought in this text in a manner which I as a Christian have also been treated to among some Jewish friends. The author remarks how,

"Even though Jewish faith may have been shattered into fragments, there were those in the very heart of catastrophe who still felt God commanding them to live as righteous human beings. It is on the basis of these survivors' experiences that we are enabled to have faith as well."

For me the delivery of the Torah to the Gentiles by a roundabout way was introduced by Christian scriptures. But a comment from a Jewish carpenter to some Jews delivered in a very Euclidean formulaic expression to "search the scriptures, for in them you think, you have eternal life" seems to point to the Torah without any Christology involved.

Our book in hand quotes Amos 5:4, "Thus said YHVH to the House of Israel: Seek me, and you will live." Again a Christian gospel author includes Jesus praying in the second person for his followers, "this is eternal life, that they might know thee, the only true God."

When I read a portion from Mark's gospel where he's quoting Sh'ma, "hear oh Israel, the Lord, our Lord is one," I finally got it that the Jewish people didn't merely pray like that for the sake of a counting number. So that you can know, "Witnesses to the One" is a fine introduction to the unity of the Eternal 'one' as the people of God have seen him. Many thanks to the authors for preserving the memory of those who were willing to 'hear'.
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Format: Hardcover
Rabbi Meszler has a way of communicating with the reader in a very personal way. The foundation of this book is that in every generation, Jews must reinvent the meaning of their prayers, even if the texts remain the same; so, too, does each reader take from this book a lesson of his or her own choosing. Although the common thread in each chapter is one Jewish prayer - the Sh'ma - Rabbi Meszler uses the opportunity to tell a story about prominent movements in Judaism over the millenia, and how they each have viewed God and their religious tradition through different prisms. The interplay between tradition and innovation is fascinating, as well as the story of continuity amid massive social change among the Jews of many centuries.

I can imagine this book appealing to a range of readers, from those looking for new ways to connect with spiritual aspects of Judaism, to those who have a deep interest in ancient Jewish history and some of the great thinkers who helped make it. Even those of us who cling to the most traditional aspects of Judaism cannot ignore the progressive focus of this book: that to decide anew what being Jewish means, is in fact to follow in the great traditions passed from Moses to Maimonides, from the mystics to the ascetics, and from my generation to that of my children.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is interesting. The seller provided an excellent copy at a very reasonable price. It arrived in a timely fashion.
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