During sermons, worshippers will often hear from the rabbi the words, “And the Talmud says…” The Bible may lay down the laws, but the Talmud, comprised of oral law based on ancient practices, provides a guideline for how to apply these laws. However, many of these worshippers may be surprised to learn there was once a struggle between two competing Talmuds after rabbis and Talmudic scholars abandoned the Holy Land to make their way in what came to be known as the land of the Diaspora.
The book explains how these Babylonian scholars created their own interpretation of the Torah that grew to take precedence over the Jerusalem scholars and how these scholars justified ignoring the biblical injunction that Jews must live in the land of Israel as well as their appropriation of religious rule.
It’s a fascinating book, I enjoyed listening to it multiple times. I would recommend this to everyone that’s interested in the history of Judaism.
I am an author, currently at work on two books concerning the way individuals and groups grapple with globalization. I read and listen to about 150 non-fiction books a year and hope to guide listeners to works that are deep and meaningful and that might make the world a better place. Hopefully I can be of service.
I and Thou is a classic as it deserves to be. Like many classics, it is an unusual book. It is about connecting directly with the God in each being we encounter. It is about how we might share in deep and genuine connections with our fellow humans and how we might find God within the world of human relations.
At its best, the book succeeds in laying out a new paradigm of spirituality, one that is neither focused on some externalized God, nor the God within, nor the God of unity. For Buber, God can best be sought in each if our relations, in the way we relate from moment to moment.
It is a beautiful book, imbued with Buber's own unique language. The only problem is that Buber's language is not always easy to understand. Part of the reason for this may lie in the translation; philosophical works in German are notoriously difficult to comprehend. There is also a long tradition of philosophical obscurantism amongst German philosophers of which Buber is sadly a part. But it is a language and phrasing that marches to its own inner rhythms, and it is as unique as its message. Altogether, it is a beautiful book to which one might do yoga or tai-chi or take a walk in the woods.
Martin Buber is an early-to-mid twentieth century German-Jewish philosopher. He wrote like Heidegger at his best before Heidegger. And he was one of a small handful of Jewish immigrants to Israel, before it was Israel, who advocated for a one-state for Jews and Palestinians to share. This was before the one-state solution was being advocated as an alternative to the two-state solution, which came after the solution was ethnic cleansing. Whereas Heidegger was a Nazi, Buber was a genuine humanitarian, and it shows in his work. Buber was far ahead of his time; hence, it should not surprise us that he wrote such a timeless classic.
The reader stays out of the way, not interfering with the text, so that it might speak for itself. Altogether, the result is a beautiful experience that can be returned to repeatedly.