Jewish Wisdom: Ethical, Spiritual, and Historical Lessons from the Great Works and Thinkers

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-11-06
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publications

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When, if ever, should lying be permitted? If you've damaged a person's reputation unfairly, can the damage be undone? Is a person who sells weapons responsible for how those weapons are used? if the fetus is not a life, what is it? How, as an adult, can one carry out the command to honor one's parents when they make unreasonable demands? What are the nine biblical challenges a good person must meet?What do the great Jewish writings of the last 3,500 years tell us about these and all other vital questions about our lives? Rabbi Joseph Telushkin has devoted his life to the search for answers within the teachings of Judaism. In Jewish Wisdom, Rabbi Telushkin, the author of the highly acclaimed Jewish Literacy, weaves together a tapestry of stories from the Bible and Talmud, and the insights of Jewish commentators and writers from Maimonides, Rashi, and Hillel to Einstein, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and Elie Wiesel. A richer source of crucial life lessons would be hard to imagine.Accompanying this extraordinary compilation is Teluslikins compelling commentary, which reveals how these texts continue to instruct and challenge Jewsand all people concerned with leading ethical livestoday As he discusses these texts, Rabbi Telushkin addresses issues of fundamental interest to modern readers: how to live with honesty and integrity in an often dishonest world; how to care for the sick and dying; how to teach children to respect both themselvesand others, how to understand and confront such great tragedies as antisemitism. and the Holocaust; what God wants from humankind. Within Jewish Wisdom's ninety chapters the reader will find extended sections illuminating Jewish perspectives on sex, romance, and marriage, what kind of belief in God a Jew can have after the Holocaust, how to use language ethically, the conflicting views of the Bible and Talmud on the death penalty, and much, much more.Jewish Wisdom adds a new dimension to the many widely read contemporary books that retell the stones and reveal the essence of classic religious and secular literature. Possibly the most far-ranging volume of stories and quotations from Jewish texts, Jewish Wisdom will itself become a classic, a book that not only has the capacity to transform how you view the world, but one that well might change how you choose to live your life.

Table of Contents

Between People: How to Be a Good Person in a Complicated World
Does Judaism Have an Essence?p. 3
When to Give, What to Give, How to Give: Why Tzedaka Is Not Charityp. 11
Helping the Helpless: What Are Our Obligations to Society's Most Vulnerable Members?p. 26
Mensch - Nine Challenges a Good Person Must Meetp. 33
Honesty, Dishonesty, and the "Gray Areas" in Betweenp. 46
"You Must Pay Him His Wages on the Same Day": Between Employers and Employeesp. 54
Truth, Lies, and Permissible Liesp. 58
"Sticks and Stones" and Words: The Ethics of Speechp. 65
Arguing Ethicallyp. 70
The Obligation to Criticize, How to Do So, and When to Remain Silentp. 76
When Life Is at Stakep. 80
"It Is As If He Saved the Entire World": The Infinite Value of Each Human Lifep. 88
"All Jews Are Responsible One for Another": Communal Responsibilitiesp. 91
Models of Leadershipp. 99
"Listen to Her Voice": Conflicting Biblical and Talmudic Views of the Character of Womenp. 104
"It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone": Jewish Perspectives on Marriagep. 118
"For Love Is As Strong as Death": Romantic Lovep. 128
Sex: The Commanded, the Permitted, the Forbiddenp. 131
"Be Fruitful and Multiply": The Duty to Have Childrenp. 143
Between Parents and Childrenp. 147
If the Fetus Is Not a Life, What Is It?: Judaism and Abortionp. 161
"Even the Altar Sheds Tears": Divorcep. 168
"Love Your Neighbor"p. 174
"Either Friends or Death": Friendshipp. 178
"When I Was Young, I Admired Clever People. Now that I Am Old...": Kindness and Compassionp. 182
"What Does a Good Guest Say?": Good Mannersp. 187
"If You See Your Enemy's Donkey": A Jewish Alternative to Jesus' Command: "Love Your Enemies"p. 191
The Terrible Toll of Hatredp. 196
Good Advice on Fifteen Subjectsp. 199
Personal Issues: Judaism and the Quest for Meaning
Human Nature - A Somber Lookp. 207
The Human Condition: Four Parables and a Bushel of Quotesp. 216
On Sufferingp. 222
"One Does More, and One Does Less": Humilityp. 225
"Did You See My Alps?": Against Asceticismp. 230
"What Have I in Common with Jews?": Alienationp. 239
"A Person Is Always Liable for His Actions": Free Will and Human Responsibilityp. 243
Old Age: Anguish and Opportunitiesp. 248
"The Anniversary of a Death, That a Jew Remembers": Death and Mourningp. 255
"A Sentinel Who Has Deserted His Post": Suicidep. 271
The Afterlifep. 276
"Who Is Rich?"p. 279
Between People and God: What God Wants from Us
Godp. 283
Is God Necessary for Morality?p. 290
Idolatry and Its Attractionsp. 294
Chosen People: A Beautiful, but Often Misunderstood, Conceptp. 298
Jews and God After the Holocaustp. 303
How Does One Sanctify God's Name? How Does One Desecrate It?p. 316
Martyrs: Those Who Died at Kiddush ha-Shem (to Sanctify God's Name)p. 320
Mitzvah (Commandment) and Some of the Distinguishing Characteristics of Judaismp. 329
Studying Torahp. 336
"How Can We Tell When a Sin We Have Committed Has Been Pardoned?": On Repentance and Sinp. 345
Prayerp. 356
Rabbisp. 371
"Your People Shall Be My People": Convertsp. 374
"You Shall Rejoice in Your Festival": A Few Scattered Thoughts on Jewish Holidaysp. 382
Between People and the World: Jewish Values Confront Modern Values
"People Would Swallow Each Other Alive": Against Anarchyp. 393
"Let the Law Cut Through the Mountain": Jewish Principles of Justicep. 398
Murder and the Death Penalty: The Conflicting Views of the Bible and Talmudp. 407
"Must the Sword Devour Forever?": Jewish Reflections on Warp. 417
Against Utopianismp. 425
"Poverty Would Outweigh Them All": The Curse of Povertyp. 427
"A Physician Who Heals for Nothing Is Worth Nothing": Medicine and Doctorsp. 433
"For There Will Be No One to Repair It After You": Toward a Jewish Ecologyp. 438
"His Mercy Is upon All His Works": Jewish Ethics Toward Animalsp. 444
Modern Jewish Experience: Major Themes
Antisemitismp. 457
Antisemitism and the American-Jewish Experiencep. 480
Philosemitismp. 496
Assimilation and Intermarriagep. 503
A Miscellany: On Sports, Jewish Denominations, and Communismp. 508
The Holocaust
The Holocaust: A Prologuep. 515
What the Nazis Saidp. 517
The Experience of the "Final Solution": Six Stories out of Six Millionp. 522
Before and During the Holocaust: Reactions in the Westp. 528
"Like Lambs to the Slaughter": Why Did More Jews Not Fight Back?p. 532
"Then They Came for Me, and There Was No One Left": Heroic Words and Tragic Quotesp. 536
"Let Them Go to Hell": Jewish Rage at the Nazisp. 542
"Let Not the Murderers of Our Nation Also Be Its Heirs": The Debate over German Reparationsp. 545
"As Your Sword Has Made Women Childless...": The Eichmann Trialp. 550
"That Place Is Not Your Place:" Ronald Reagan and the Bitburg Controversyp. 552
On Holocaust Deniersp. 554
The Holocaust and Its Meaning for Christiansp. 557
"One, Plus One, Plus One": Six Final Quotes on the Holocaustp. 561
Zionism and Israel
The Land of Israel in the Bible, the Talmud, and Jewish Lawp. 567
Theodor Herzl: Zionism's Founderp. 572
Chaim Weizmann and the Balfour Declarationp. 579
Vladimir Jabotinskyp. 584
David Ben-Gurionp. 588
Golda Meirp. 593
Menachem Beginp. 596
"It Is Good to Die for Our Country": Other Zionist Leaders and Other Quotes About Israelp. 601
Anti-Zionism and Antisemitismp. 607
On Being a Jew: Modern Reflectionsp. 613
Bibliographyp. 619
Indexp. 638
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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