The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto

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Jason Aronson, 1994 - Religion - 208 pages
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The Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto is a journey into the mind and spirit of a sublime hasidic master in his moments of joy and tranquillity, and later, in his time of personal and communal catastrophe. The reader takes a voyage into the rich and variegated world of twentieth-century Hasidism in Poland, a world destroyed by the Holocaust. This is a volume inspired by a deeply sensitive and poetic individual of faith who is grappling with an unfolding disaster. While the Holocaust has engendered a voluminous body of religious and philosophical writings attempting to probe the issues this unfathomable period raises in all their enormity, virtually all were written after the war, when a modicum of distance and reflection is possible. Contemporaneous diaries and chronicles written as the events were happening concentrate on the descriptive accounts of the horrors. The Holy Fire, however, engages a sustained theological reflection and stands alone as an extended religious response from within the heart of darkness itself while the catastrophe takes place, and is, for this reason, an extraordinary document and an astonishing personal achievement. In The Holy Fire, Rabbi Nehemia Polen analyzes the social and spiritual anguish of war-besieged Warsaw and of Eastern Europe's last hasidic master. Polen's research articulates Rabbi Shapira's realization that the theological garment, however holy and true, is acknowledged as inadequate for understanding the atrocities with which he is confronted. Faith, the author suggests, involves a mystical, participatory relationship with God, leaving no room for a realm isolated from divinity. Humanwill, power, mind, and heart are all gifts from God and are all surrendered fully to Him. In this consciousness, one arrives at a view of the world beyond judgment, beyond evaluation, beyond criticism or the need for explanatio

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Review: Holy Fire: The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto

User Review  - Denise DeRocher - Goodreads

Heartbreaking philosophical musings from a brilliant man... Read full review

Contents

General Characteristics of Esh Kodesh
15
The Transformation of Suffering
36
Faith Secure Faith Transfigured
70
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (1994)

Dr. Nehemia Polen is associate professor of Jewish Thought at Boston's Hebrew College.

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