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Israel: An Echo of Eternity (Jewish Lights Classic Reprint) [Paperback]

By Abraham Joshua Heschel (Author) & Abraham Rattner (Author)
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Item Number 104368  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   233
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.94" Width: 5.44" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.73 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 1997
Publisher   Jewish Lights Publishing
ISBN  1879045702  
EAN  9781879045705  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Outline ReviewIsrael: An Echo of Eternity is a philosophical history of the past, present, and future home of the Jews, written by Abraham Joshua Heschel following his visit to Israel just after the Six Days' War in 1967. Illustrated with beautiful line drawings by Abraham Rattner and written in Heschel's characteristically pithy and penetrating style, the book is implicitly critical of secular Zionism for its lack of interest in Judaism's religious teachings. "We do not worship the soil," Heschel writes (meaning that the land is not holy; it is, instead, a site where holiness is to be created). Therefore, Heschel also refuses easy interpretations of the creation of the state of Israel as recompense for the Holocaust. "It would be blasphemy to regard it as compensation. However, the existence of Israel reborn makes life less unendurable. It is a slight hinderer of hindrances to believing in God." Heschel's observations about religion and politics are extremely durable. Referring to Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, he avers that religion cannot ever be an excuse for racism: "You cannot worship God and at the same time look at man as if he were a horse." Even as an account of one man's relationship to the Holy Land, this book is of lasting value. To arrive in Jerusalem, Heschel writes, is to be joined in "streams of endless craving, clinging, dreaming, flowing day and night." --Michael Joseph Gross

Product Description
Israel "the promised land," the "holy land," has long played a central role in Jewish and Christian thought. Now, in the closing few years of the twentieth century, politics and prophesy coincide. The Israeli-Arab peace process unfolds; messianic concepts of the role of Israel at the millennium and the end of days are receiving great attention. In Israel: An Echo of Eternity, one of the foremost religious figures of our century gives us a powerful and eloquent statement on the meaning of Israel in our time. Heschel looks at the past, present, and future home of the Jewish people. He tells us how and why the presence of Israel has tremendous historical and religious significance for the whole world. This classic, originally published in 1967 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, is now updated with an important introduction by Susannah Heschel, his daughter, who holds the Abba Hillel Silver Chair in Jewish Studies at Case Western Reserve University. Illustrated with line drawings by Abraham Rattner.

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More About Abraham Joshua Heschel & Abraham Rattner

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Abraham Joshua Heschel was internationally known as a scholar, author, activist, and theologian. He was Professor of Ethics and Mysticism at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Abraham Joshua Heschel was born in 1907 and died in 1972.

Abraham Joshua Heschel has published or released items in the following series...
  1. I Asked for Wonder Ppr
  2. Modern Spiritual Masters

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
context may have changed, but the lessons remain the same  Apr 17, 2010
Israel: An Echo of Eternity is a remarkable text from Heschel. Although it was not what I expected, I find that it offers a very unique insight into Jewish thought, from a very specific time and place, and from a very distinguished human being.

Heschel visited Israel right after the Six Day War in 1967, and what this book offers is his interpretation of "what Israel means" to the world, for both Jews and non-Jews. I expected something closer to a journal, detailing his thoughts and observations from his visit. What Heschel provides is more of an outline of Jewish philosophy, in the context for a 1967 audience. It is rare to find such an articulate encapsulation of the perceptions "the day after" such an historical event.

This is not a history book. If anything, it is more like an emotional time capsule. The Israel of 1967 is very different from the Israel of the 21st Century, but the hopes and aspirations of what Israel can mean for our lives and to the future is still present throughout this book. Heschel's words are a snapshot of his own perceptions of Judaism, politics, philosophy, and the evolving State of Israel.

There are two very poignant items that struck me in this book: his notion of paradox and his observations of regional politics.

Early on in the book, Heschel addresses the idea of paradox as an inherent part of religion (for example, religions teach us to treat all people equally, but we are also commanded to hold special attention to our mother and father). I can only imagine the paradox that Heschel must have felt in 1967. The State of Israel only survived out of the violence inherent in war, but Heschel's own philosophy is so deeply rooted in the tenants of non-violence.

In the context of discussing the regional conflicts, Heschel clearly states "We (Jews) abhorred and continue to abhor violence." The strength of the Jewish connection to Israel is driven by Hope. Heschel's words clearly state that "Hope cannot stand alone. It must be morally substantiated, faithfully attended."

The words balancing "hope" and "morality" of Israel's actions had very specific meaning in 1976. The same words, however, raise different challenges today, when addressing the politics of the region in the 21st Century. Heschel also states "[peace] is our hope, our prayer, our goal. The six days of war must receive their ultimate meaning from the seventh day, which is peace."

Heschel admits that "We must not expect history of politics to read like the history of theology," but he also does not shy away from the importance of the political realities that challenge Israel then and today. The book not only addresses the desire of Jews to connect with Israel, but also addresses the importance of Israel to Christians and Arabs as well.

Balancing the needs of humanity is the ultimate challenge that Heschel attempts to address - "How to unite the human and the holy?" For Heschel, the Bible is still an unfinished drama, and all people --- Jews, Christians, and Arabs --- have an obligation to fulfill the promise of expectation in Israel.

The bottom line is that this work does a wonderful job of summarizing Heschel's observations of Jewish thought in the 1960's. The context of his words may have changed since then, but the lessons he teaches are just as relevant today.
confused and uncertain  Oct 29, 2009
Simply put, this work does not present Heschel at his best. He has no real insights as a secular historian, and his observations about Jewish history, the Jewish state and Zionism, are one sided and unfair. But Heschel being Heschel, the work does have much to offer. When he sticks to some of his topics which are well worn, like notions of Jewish time and space, the work shines with the special sanctity of his mind and his sparkling insights. But even this is not enough to save this work. It is both vague and pointedly polemical; its clumsily drawn conclusion don't have enough punch.

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