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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

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  11 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, 116 pages
Published March 1st 1995 by Jewish Lights Publishing (first published 1949)
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3.98  · 
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 ·  82 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sheila
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
Sep 30, 2014 rated it did not like it
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: Its Meaning for Modern Man , 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
Jan Peczkis
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jewish Particularism and Aggressive Jewish Nonconformism Were the Main Drivers Behind Jewish Anti-Assimilationist Tendencies

My review is based on the original 1950 edition. In common with many Jewish authors, author Abraham Joshua Heschel emphasizes the role of learning in Jewish life. Almost every Jewish home, no matter how poor, had books. The Jew studied the Torah, Talmud, and various kinds of rabbinical literature. (p. 42).

Members of various professions, be they bakers, butchers, shoemakers,
Maurizio Manco
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Un mondo è scomparso. Tutto ciò che rimane è un santuario nascosto nel regno dello spirito. Noi di questa generazione ne possediamo ancora la chiave, [...] la chiave del santuario che è anche il rifugio delle nostre anime abbandonate. Se noi smarriremo la chiave, sfuggiremo a noi stessi. [...] Noi siamo gli ultimi ebrei oppure quelli che consegneranno l'intero passato alle generazioni future. O perderemo l'eredità secolare o l'arricchiremo." (p. 103)
Adam Glantz
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A series of essays united by a common theme. Ashkenazic culture produced no architectural monuments, and its literature is difficult to comprehend by those from other backgrounds; but it grew at its own pace and according to its own norms, and was therefore authentic. Its values were egalitarian, emphasizing spiritual nourishment for all, rather than a grandeur only attainable by an elite few. Its mysticism colored all life's experiences and found many avenues of expression: the rationalism of p ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: heschel, judaism
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.
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is quite possibly my favorite book to date, that being said books that put you in a mystical state such as this one are all on that level. I am literally shocked that the Hasidim would reverberate with me personally on such a deep level. The mystics of judaism and islam are very similar. I want all muslims to read this book, yes I dream.
A.E. Reiff
Feb 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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."
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
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.
Jean Kelly
Nov 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
A memorial really to the murdered Eastern European Jews and their way of life.
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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