Page 38 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
and Thou
(Scribners, 1970); Nahum Glatzer,
FranzRosenzweig: His
Life and Thought
(Schocken, 1972); Mordecai Kaplan,
Judaism as a
Civilization
(Reconstructionist Press, 1957); Abraham Joshua
Heschel,
God in Search ofMan
(JPS, 1956) and Fritz Rothschild’s
anthology
Betwen God and Man
(Harper and Row, 1959); Joseph
B. Soloveitchik,
Halakhic Man
(JPS, 1983) and his essay “The
Lonely Man of Faith,” in the magazine
Tradition
V II, 1-3
(1964-65); Emil Fackenheim,
God’sPresence in History
(NYU Press,
1970); and for a recent important work David Hartman,
A Living
Covenant
(Free Press, 1985).
This is, as I have said above, an ambitious reading plan, per­
haps even a “lifetime” plan. But, these matters are complicated by
other factors as well: one book may lead the reader into a new
direction and onto another path. People will develop their own
areas of special concern and large sections of the plan will then
become irrelevant. Even more powerful may be the influence of
teachers, for as we have seen, reading and Jewish study are not
always one and the same thing. In this regard we might do well to
consider the following remarkable quotation which I recently
came upon. In his
Shirat Yisrael,
Moses Ibn Ezra, the great 12th
century Spanish Hebrew poet, had the following to say about the
reading of books: “A wise teacher and skilled instructor should be
more dear to you than books. Turn to the books only if you can
find no teacher.” Even today, in an age of rapid communication
and numerous publications, these words may have something to
say to us.