The Way of Humanity: According to Chasidic Teaching

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ISBN: 978-0-88123-637-8

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Translated by Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, DHL, and Gabriel E. Padawer, ScD
Forewords by Paul Mendes-Flohr, PhD, and Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot, PhD

Martin Buber (1878--1965) was one of the most influential Jewish thinkers of the twentieth century. A philosopher, seeker, and nurturer of dialogue, he responded to the complexities of his times by affirming the fullness of interpersonal encounter and the spiritual everyday. In 1947, Buber delivered lectures interpreting six traditional Chasidic stories to a German-speaking audience, published as The Way of Humanity. In the first new English translation in over half a century, Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman, DHL, and Gabriel E. Padawer, ScD, z''l, bring the work to contemporary readers in a clear, accessible voice. The teachings within highlight the subversion and innovation of the early Chasidic masters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, while providing meaningful spiritual guidance and insight for any seeker today. Scholarly forewords by Paul Mendes-Flohr, PhD, and Rabbi Joseph A. Skloot, PhD, as well as an introduction, epilogue, and notes from the translators, place Buber's work in historical context. Timeless and enlightening, The Way of Humanity guides us to inner meaning and highlights our human wholeness.

Table of Contents
Study and Discussion Guide - Free Download
Read an excerpt from the introduction on RavBlog

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Featured on Kirkus Reviews' Best Indie Books of 2023

Martin Buber has much to say to today's generation of Jews and non-Jews, but he is not always easy to understand. We can be grateful to Mehlman and Padawer for rendering one of Buber's seminal essays into accessible English.
--Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

These gifted translators deliver Martin Buber's teaching of Chasidic tales and inspired interpretations in a gender-neutral, poetic version of The Way of Humanity that delights the mind and touches the heart. Each careful word choice enables us to appreciate anew the power of the work's soulful message. Rabbi Mehlman and Dr. Padawer combine mastery of the material with their experience as beloved educators to deliver Buber's treasures to curious learners at any level. I will use it in my own teaching. This is an exquisite new translation filled with timely wisdom.
--Rabbi Elka Abrahamson, President, Wexner Foundation

Martin Buber lived in Germany and Palestine/Israel and yet his writing speaks to Americans today. His newly translated and annotated The Way of Humanity is a brief essay that uses six Chasidic tales---like Aesop's fables---and the wisdom of many Polish rabbis to answer the question, "How should I live my life?" A deeply spiritual man, Buber concludes that "ultimately, everything depends upon this: letting God in." Mehlman and Padawer's fluid translation eases the process for achieving that end.
--Shulamit Reinharz, PhD, Brandeis University

Martin Buber's still-large voice has more importance than ever, and in this new translation, it rings with special eloquence. Through Buber---and now through Mehlman and Padawer---the wisdom of the Chasidic rabbis lives, and lives again.
--James Carroll, author of Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Martin Buber's The Way of Humanity, a genuine masterpiece of twentieth-century religious writing, is given new life in this clear and learned annotated translation by Bernard Mehlman and Gabriel Padawer. Buber's luminous insights into the life of the spirit and the human condition, grounded in the simple yet profound wisdom tales of the Chasidic masters, are now made accessible to new generations of readers. The introduction of Mehlman and Padawer frames Buber's gem in its postwar historical context, uncovering new aspects of his triumphant achievement.
--Rabbi Dr. Nehemia Polen, Hebrew College

In this wonderful edition, Martin Buber speaks in warm and personal voice as a spiritual mentor to a beloved listener.
--Rabbi Dennis S. Ross, author of God in Our Relationships: Spirituality between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber

Taken as a whole, [Buber's] meditations on these tales articulate an openhearted philosophy of living centered on service, and Mehlman and Padawer have followed his lead in crafting this very inviting translation. The syntax they use is elegantly simple, and contemporary readers will appreciate their use of gender-neutral language. ... Two forewords, a translators' introduction, and a substantive and fascinating epilogue offer valuable guidance and context--even to the reader who may already be familiar with this work. Timeless wisdom made fresh and accessible.
-- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In the introduction to their new translation of Martin Buber's The Way of Humanity, Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman and Gabriel E. Padawer list the three reasons why they embarked on this project: to provide a clear and elegant translation that avoids ungainly solecisms; to use gender-neutral language; and to offer readers a scholarly text complete with endnotes and explanations. The authors are successful on all three counts. This translation serves as an excellent introduction to Buber's thoughts and ideas. For those who have wrestled with the difficult language of Buber texts like I and Thou, this short collection of Hasidic tales and commentary is delightful in its clarity.
-- Josh Hanft, Jewish Book Council

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ISBN: 978-0-88123-637-8
Copyright © 2023
5.5 x 8.5
0.38 lbs
Pages: 88