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Your Word Is Fire

The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer

Edited and translated with a new Introduction by Arthur Green and Barry W. Holtz

6 x 9, 160 pp, Quality Paperback, 978-1-879045-25-5

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The power of prayer for spiritual renewal and personal transformation is at the core of all religious traditions. Because Hasidic literature contains no systematic manual of contemplative prayer, the texts included in this volume have been culled from many sources. From the teachings of the Hasidic Masters—the Ba’al Shem Tov, the Maggid Dov Baer of Meidzyrzec, and their immediate disciples—the editors have gleaned “hints as to the various rungs of inner prayer and how they are attained.”
Hasidism, the Jewish revivalist movement that began in the late eighteenth century, saw prayer as being at the heart of religious experience and was particularly concerned with the nature of a person’s relationship with God. The obstacles to prayer discussed by the Hasidic masters—distraction, loss of spirituality, and inconstancy of purpose—feel very close to concerns of our own age. Through advice, parables, and explanations, the Hasidic masters of the past speak to our own attempts to find meaning in prayer.
“According to Hasidism, the authors tell us, ‘There is no higher sacred act than that of helping another to discover the presence of God within his own soul.’ Green and Holtz have themselves performed just such an act.”
Lawrence Fine, Judaism
“Opens up some of the more accessible realms of the Jewish inner life.”
Eugene Borowitz, Sh’ma
“Elegantly constructed…a work equally useful to the scholarly and general reader.”
Joel Rosenberg, genesis 2
“A new generation of Jewish scholars has endeavored to make both the spiritual contents and the religious setting of Hasidic teaching accessible to the modern student and seeker…. This fine book…belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in a Jewish understanding of prayer as a way of knowing God.”
Ya’Qub ibn Yusef, Gnosis Magazine
“[They] have translated the Hasidic masters with sensitivity and honesty; they do not attempt to blur or avoid the often highly erotic imagery…. By making the words of the Hasidic masters accessible in English [they] have added new wings to our prayer.”
James B. Rosenberg, The Jewish Spectator

 

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