Page 19 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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13
F
r iedm a n
— M
a rt in
B
uber
persecute me do so out of an evil heart,” he says to a disciple.
“The fundamental motive of their persecution of me is to serve
Heaven.” He does not leave the evil of the world unredeemed:
he brings the tragic contradiction into his relationship with God.
For the Yehudi reality is found in the everyday itself. One re-
unites God with his Shekhinah, his exiled immanence, only
through the way in which one responds to what one meets on
the road of life.
The road of the world . . . is the road upon which we all
fare onward to meet the death of the body. And the places
in which we meet the
Shekhinah
are those in which good
and evil are blended, whether without us or within us. In
the anguish of the exile which it suffers, the
Shekhinah
looks at us and its glance beseeches us to set free good
from evil.
In a vision the Shekhinah says to the Yehudi:
One cannot love me and abandon the created being. I am
in truth with you. Dream not that my forehead radiates
heavenly beams. The glory has remained above. My face
is that of the created being.5
The W a y of M an
Buber’s most concentrated and comprehensive image of man is
his classic little book,
The Way of Man according to the Teach
-
ings of the Hasidim.
On the basis of Hasidic tales, Buber ex-
pounds six stages that point the way to authentic personal
existence and to the life of dialogue. In the first, “heart-search-
ing”—God’s “Where art thou, Adam?”—is seen as the question
which breaks in on every man who has turned his life into a
system of hideouts, the question which asks him where he is in
his life. Only when he has begun to respond to this question
with his existence will his life become a way. But this question
is not introspection of any sort. It is, on the contrary, the voice
of otherness that brings the self-encapsulated man back into
dialogue. There is a demonic question which says, “From where
you have got to, there is no way out.” This is a sterile heart-
searching “which leads to nothing but self-torture, despair and
still deeper enmeshment.” The true heart-searching, in contrast,
means that response to the address of the other which helps one
find one’s particular way. “If a man does not judge himself,”
says the Hasidic Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, “all things judge
מ Martin Buber,
For the Sake of Heaven,
trans. from the German by Lud-
wig Lewisohn (New York, Meridian Books, 1958), pp. 25, 229.