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Discover how relevant these sermons of a hundred years ago are today. Learn why thousands came each Sunday morning to hear and see Rabbi ...
Discover how relevant these sermons of a hundred years ago are today. Learn why thousands came each Sunday morning to hear and see Rabbi Hirsch preach. Find answers to your questions about life, death, religion, God and country.
Posted April 15, 2003
Rabbi Emil Hirsch, The Jewish Preacher, was truly a brilliant writer and orator. I just finished reading his works and though his sermons were delivered over 100 years ago, I found them to be as profoundly true today as they were then. No matter what your religion, this is a dynamic book. I highly recommend The Jewish Preacher because it speaks to everyone of us with thought provoking subjects, ideas, suggestions and lessons for living a more enlightened life.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 7, 2003
'The Jewish Preacher' is a collection of sermons from the years before and after the turn of the nineteenth century, a very troubled time, just like ours. The book paints a picture of those times through the voice of a man, who was given all kinds of superlatives by his contemporaries. One hears about social upheavals, strikes, misery in the mines about sweat shops, floods of immigrants escaping from Russia and other East European countries and finally about the anxiety of war. Through all this the great Jewish Reform Rabbi Emil Hirsch leads his affluent congregation in Chicago, at a time when the Reform movement is barely fifty years old and being challenged from all sides. Yet this strong man, standing foursquare into the wind, exhorts the members of his congregation to be the Jews that he envisions them to be and to give full measure to their mission in life, namely to increase righteousness and justice in the world. Repeatedly we hear him challenge them to bring social justice to the people near them, in their factories and offices and to encourage it also in the world around them. All through his sermons, which are not arranged in any chronological order, his strong voice rings out for the betterment of humanity and for the need to strive for a higher ethic and more knowledge. He debunks the myth of the ideal of equality, saying that it is no great achievement when it puts everyone on the lowest denominator. There is nothing wrong with wanting to know more, to achieve more or to earn more. If you know more, you can teach others; if you earn more you can give to those, who need; if you are a better organizer, you can improve society etc. For a non-Jewish reader as myself the sermons are inspiring also in that they reveal a religion of tolerance, which encourages cooperation. Rabbi Hirsch stresses that all religions are true because they all originate and grow out of man himself. At the same time he points out that they are not equal in that they have evolved to various degrees. He discusses evolution and strives to make the members of his congregation understand how evolution and all of science are well compatible with religion. At the same time he encourages them to remember their history and to pass it on to their children, to make them understand that they are Jews because of their history. Again he points out inequality - each nation has its own history and people are what they are because of their history - yet being different they can still live and cooperate with each other. Altogether this thought-provoking and powerful book lets the uncommented sermons slowly build up in the reader's mind the picture of an important man and his time and then augments this portrait with a short biography written by his son and followed by a moving eulogy, delivered at the time of Emil Hirsch's death by one of his many influential friends and followers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.