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Souls on Fire

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  349 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters, Elie Wiesel reenters, like an impassioned pilgrim, the universe of Hasidism. "When I am asked about my Jewish affiliation, I define myself as a Hasid, " writes the author. "Hasid I was, Hasid I remain." Yet Souls on Fire is not a simple chronological history of Hasidism, nor is it a comprehensive book on its subje ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 6th 1982 by Simon & Schuster (first published 1958)
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Anne Hamilton
For over ten years, I've absolutely loved Charles Osborne's Souls on Fire, an orchestral rendering of this book. It's splendid, glorious, inspiring.

However, in finally getting around to reading the book which had been the spark behind Osborne's symphonic song suite, I find myself curiously disappointed. Maybe I set myself up for it: there are many gold nuggets here but the song is missing.

In other circumstances, I might have rated it much higher... but in the end, it seemed fragmented. It held o
If, as I did, you expect this to be a scholarly work of carefully researched historical accuracy, you will be sorely disappointed. However, if you pay attention to the title (portraits and legends), you will get exactly what you are expecting. I should have known, from reading earlier Wiesel, that this would be more along the lines of 'Sages and Dreamers' (and even includes some of the same stories). There are many ways to tell truth, and this is truth as much as anything, it just wasn't what I ...more
I asked a friend for a good book on the history of the Hasiidic movement, and he gave me this. What a gem. Wiesel writes
with a magical blend of poetry and scholarship, but above all, he writes with his heart.
Jonathan Meola

Just re-read this over Shabbat - This book is a compilation of lectures by Prof. Elie Wiesel on the beginnings of modern Chassidism in Central and Eastern Europe starting in the mid 1700's.

Prof. Wiesel starts with the legendary founder, Rebbe Israel Baal Shem Tov, whose whole existence is cloaked in mystery - and progresses through his students to the 2nd and 3rd generations of rebbes and chassids, including such luminaries as Rebbe Nachman of Breslev and Rebbe Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev.

This is a truly inspirational book. It is a rough chronology of the hasidic movement in Judaism built around vignettes of the lives and tales of the hasidic masters. The one disappointment is that is mentions several times in the context of other masters but never profiles Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Chabad.

The tales of Nahman of Bratslav were covered extensively, as were the lives of several compelling figures such as Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk and Levi-Yitzhak of Berditchev.
Jacob Lloyd
Elie Wiesel's telling of the lives and tales of the Hasidic masters is at turns beautiful and unsettling, humorous and poignant. The lives and tales themselves call to mind the sayings and stories of the Christian Desert fathers. Wiesel's own voice, and his largely implicit foregrounding of the tales against the backdrop of a post-Auschwitz world, add a modern literary layer to these essentially spiritual tales.
Would have been helpful to read the afterward first. It took me a bit to get my bearings in the book. Then it was an interesting and enjoyable read. I can see why some say it gets repetitive by the end, but I didn't mind that.
Sharon Porter-Moxley
Elie Wiesel survived the Holocaust and later wrote about the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. In Souls on Fire he continues to explore the Jewish past with passion and poetic prose.
Kressel Housman
Elie Wiesel is a great humanitarian, but this book was so disjointed, I had to give up in the middle. My husband says it's not an accurate history of Chassidus either.
David Amsel
Smooth and surprisingly linear for a book on Jewish Mysticism. Great personal stories from Elie about his family and personal struggles with the legends.
This book has affected me more deeply than any other I can think of.
Andy Fraenkel
Beautifully captures the early Hassidic masters and the stories they told.
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Eliezer Wiesel is a Romania-born American novelist, political activist, and Holocaust survivor of Hungarian Jewish descent. He is the author of over 40 books, the best known of which is Night, a memoir that describes his experiences during the Holocaust and his imprisonment in several concentration camps.

Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "
More about Elie Wiesel...
Night (The Night Trilogy, #1) Dawn (The Night Trilogy, #2) Day (The Night Trilogy, #3) The Night Trilogy: Night/Dawn/The Accident Open Heart

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