Judaism, Human Values, and the Jewish State

Front Cover

A biochemist by profession, a polymath by inclination and erudition, Yeshayahu Leibowitz has been, since the early 1940s, one of the most incisive and controversial critics of Israeli culture and politics. His direct involvement, compelling polemics, and trenchant criticism have established his steadfast significance for contemporary Israeli-and Jewish- intellectual life. These hard-hitting essays, his first to be published in English, cover the ground Leibowitz has marked out over time with moral rigor and political insight. He considers the essence and character of historical Judaism, the problems of contemporary Judaism and Jewishness, the relationship of Judaism to Christianity, the questions of statehood, religion, and politics in Israel, and the role of women. Together these essays constitute a comprehensive critique of Israeli society and politics and a probing diagnosis of the malaise that afflicts contemporary Jewish culture.

Leibowitz's understanding of Jewish philosophy is acute, and he brings it to bear on current issues. He argues that the Law, Halakhah, is essential to Judaism, and shows how, at present, separation of religion from state would serve the interest of halakhic observance and foster esteem for religion. Leibowitz calls the religious justification of national issues "idolatry" and finds this phenomenon at the root of many of the annexationist moves made by the state of Israel. Long one of the most outspoken critics of Israeli occupation in the conquered territories, he gives eloquent voice to his ongoing concern over the debilitating moral effects of its policies and practices on Israel itself. This translation will bring to an English-speaking audience a much-needed, lucid perspective on the present and future state of Jewish culture.

 

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User Review  - nproenza - LibraryThing

Yeshayahu Leibowitz doesn't hold back in this book providing his perspectives on Eretz Yisrael, Torah, rewards and punishment (Lishmah), origins of antisemitism, fallacy of the term Judaeo-Christian ... Read full review

Contents

The Meaning of Halakhah
3
Of Prayer
30
The Reading of Shema
37
Fear of God in the Book of Job
48
A Maimonidean View
54
Lishmah and NotLishmah
61
The Uniqueness of the Jewish People
79
The Individual and Society in Judaism
88
A Call for the Separation of Religion and State
174
After Kibiyeh
185
Jewish Identity and Israeli Silence
191
The Jew in His Community on His Land and in
205
The Religious Significance of the State of Israel
214
THE POLITICAL SCENE
221
Right Law and Reality
229
Occupation and Terror
237

Ahistorical Thinkers in Judaism
96
Redemption and the Dawn of Redemption
123
Religion and Science in the Middle Ages and in
132
The Social Order as a Religious Problem
145
The Crisis of Religion in the State of Israel
158
JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
249
The Common JudeoChristian Heritage
256
Notes
265
Sources and Translations
280
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