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The Earth Is the Lord's: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe
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The Earth Is the Lord's: The Inner World of the Jew in Eastern Europe

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Powerfully and beautifully portrays a bygone Jewish culture.

The story about the life of the Jews in Eastern Europe which has come to an end in our days is what I have tried to tell in this essay. I have not talked about their books, their art or institutions, but about their daily life, about their habits and customs, about their attitudes toward the basic things in life,
Paperback, reprint, 128 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Jewish Lights Publishing (first published 1949)
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I liked this book, which was recommended to me by a retired rabbi I hang out with sometimes. I am a little sceptical about the romanticisation of the lifestyle and treatment of Jews in Eastern Europe that led to this. But on the other hand, it is a beautiful depiction of the rewards of intellectual and religious commitment, and the writing is as always lovely.


"What [the Ashkenazic moralist or Hasid] sought was boundless fervor, praying and learn
So, about 15-16 years ago, I was extremely interested in mysticism, including the kabbalah. A friend recommended a couple of books by Heschel, The Sabbath, which I liked reasonably well, and this, which is self-congratulatory bullshit propaganda. I guess there's a chance I would have liked it OK if I'd gotten around to reading it when I bought it in 1998.... But I hope I would have known even then what's wrong with passages like this:

It was not by accident that the Jews of Eastern Europe thought
Adam Glantz
Best viewed as a series of essays, which don't always integrate perfectly with each other, though common themes are present throughout the book. Heschel conveys the value and power of Ashkenazic spiritual culture in terms that are usually comprehensible and always sincere. This culture produced no architectural monuments, and its great literary works are difficult to comprehend by students from other backgrounds. But it grew at its own pace and according to its own norms for many centuries, and ...more
Lewis Weinstein
The overwhelming impression from this book is the passion with which Eastern European Jews experienced God. This was an every day matter for them, and involved every action of their lives. Their constant tension was to honor God, and not to slip by failing to observe with enthusiasm all of God's commandments. This was literally the purpose of their lives.

Heschel writes beautifully and clearly. His other books - in particular The Sabbath, Between God and Man, and God in Search of Man - are all mo
Oleg Kagan
A readable, but highly rhetorical series of essays extolling the virtues of the (Ashkenazi) Jews of Eastern Europe. The text is inspiring, if not especially educational, and the wood engravings by Ilya Schor are very effective. I'm not sure whether the intended audience for this book are Jews or non-Jews; on one hand it gives some insight of Eastern European Jews, on the other it 'diefies' the Jews to such an extent that non-Jews may be slightly embarrassed reading it.

I finished this short book
This is a great book that serves as an introduction to Heschel's thought. He admits that life for Eastern European Jews did not always look like how he portrayed it. There was mass persecution and poverty, but he wanted to focus on the spiritual fullness of the people. Unfortunately this life that he was raised in was completely wiped out during HaShoah. Well worth a read.

Read a second time in May-June 2011.
A profound little book. The beauty of holiness, the idea of our lives being the song and our deeds singing to the world ... or creating havoc and chaos. I think there is much there for a Christian to face. Especially the meaninglessness that many feel about their lives in our times.
AE Reiff
Always the tribes and folk peoples know the first priority is to survive, to live. If this is not a good time to mention this I apologize. In the first principle of survival, "...our people attained the highest degree of inwardness."
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Heschel was a descendant of preeminent rabbinic families of Europe, both on his father's (Moshe Mordechai Heschel, who died of influenza in 1916) and mother's (Reizel Perlow Heschel) side, and a descendant of Rebbe Avrohom Yehoshua Heshl of Apt and other dynasties. He was the youngest of six children including his siblings: Sarah, Dvora Miriam, Esther Sima, Gittel, and Jacob. In his teens he recei ...more
More about Abraham Joshua Heschel...
The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man God in Search of Man: A Philosophy of Judaism The Prophets Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion I Asked For Wonder: A Spiritual Anthology

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