The Inspiring Truths From an Inspiring Book Martin Buber is the author of an inspiring and very informational book entitled, ?The Way of Man, Ten Rungs.? People of all ages, all religions and all races would be able to connect in some way, on some level to the themes and discussions in this short book. Many sections of the book are extremely noteworthy, and a few are discussed further below. ?The Way of Man/Ten Rungs? is a book about the strength of Judaism as a religion and as a way of life. It helps the reader understand many faces of Judaism and help interpret what the most important parts of the Jewish lifestyle may be. The book is split into chapters, or rungs, that each Jew considers an important way of life. These rungs are all different and have distinct meaning. Some quotes seemed more important, and are discussed. PG. 88 ?The world is a spinning die, and everything turns and changes: man is turned into angel and angel into man, and the head into the foot, and the food into the head. Thus all things turn spin and change, this into that, and that into this, the top most to the undermost and the undermost to the topmost. For at the root, all is one and salvation inheres in the change and return of things.? This quote depicts how the world seems to always be changing, but really it all revolves into a cycle. This can easily be seen when looking at seasons, especially in Michigan. The year begins with winter and snow, and then transforms into spring, then comes summer, autumn and then back to winter. A normal day also follows a cycle. The day begins when the sun comes up and you wake up. You take a shower, eat breakfast and then go to work. You work all day, come home, eat dinner and relax. Later, you go to bed. When you wake up, the daily routine starts all over again. This is also a cycle. Many daily, weekly, monthly and annual activities also can be translated into cycles. Even the sunlight follows a cycle. The sun rises in the morning, goes through the sky throughout the day, hitting the peak in the middle around the middle of the day, and setting in the evening. The same cycle is followed by the moon as soon as the sun finishes its cycle. There are many cycles followed throughout life, and this quote seems to piece that together very well. Pg 45 ?God hides in two ways. One way is that God hides so that it is very difficult to find him and yet he who knows that God is hiding from him can advance toward him and find him. The other way is that God hides from a man the fact that he is hiding and, since the seeker knows so little about God, he cannot find him. It is this that is referred to in the words: ?I shall hide, hide.? God hides the fact that he is hiding, and then those from whom he is hiding do not know him?the hidden one.? This quote really stuck out to me while reading through ?Way of Man/Ten Rungs? for the first time. I began to wonder whether God is hiding from me in the second way. This means that it got me to wondering whether God hides from me the fact that he is hiding because I do not know him. I grew up with a love for dance. My parents always believed that they should let their little girl grow up doing the things she loves best, so long as those activities were not harmful to myself or others. Dance was my passion, and I continued to dance for 15 years after falling in love in my first class. Dance turned into a Sunday activity once I graduated into the advanced program, but this was not a problem for my family because we did not attend church on a normal basis. Personally, I do have beliefs, I just choose not to associate myself with one religion in particular, because I would like to believe in everything I want to believe in. I feel as though ?assigning? myself a religion would not be in my best interest. I really do not have an interest in becoming a certain believer, I would just like to remain my own type of belief system. This quote made me wonder though, whether I believe in God is not the factor being discussed here, but I began to wonder whether God is hiding from me because I do not associate myself with a particular religion or faith. I do find religion interesting, and I have beliefs, but is that enough for me in particular. I will not ask a member of the church this question because based on previous experience, I will be told that yes I need to be affiliated with a particular church and I really would fit in with that particular religion. This was told to me from multiple churches, so obviously I fit in everywhere. Another reason I enjoy this quote is the section about ?since the seeker knows so little about him, he cannot find him.? I enjoy this section of the quote because it really makes sense to me. If I am so interested in finding God, I would really have to learn and absorb what God is exactly, and what he has been through and understand characteristics about him, just to be able to find him. This would show my dedication to God, and therefore, He would possibly show himself to me. Pg 52 ?but the truth of the matter is that the ?likeness as the appearance of a man? is wrought by us. It is the form we shape when we serve with true and fervent hears. Such service shapes a human form for our Creator, to whom no one is like or equal; it shapes him, blessed be he and blessed be his name, in the semblance of man. When a man is charitable and gives a service of love, he contributes to God?s right hand. And when a man fights in the ranks of God and drives evil away, he contributes to the form of his left hand. In class, we discussed the different ways that God is envisioned. Many see God as the figure of a man, having a body and a mind and a voice. We discussed the voice in particular during class time. In prayer, followers believe that they are telling God what they wish, and they believe that God can hear them and their wishes. They believe that by telling Him, that He will grant their wishes and help them along their path towards their dreams. This also leads to the belief that God has a human like body. If they believe that He can hear them, that leads to the assumption that He has ears. This also goes back to the discussion in class concerning whether or not God has a ?body?. Many picture Him in a human form, to make him feel more available and believable, but there has been no confirmation that He has a human form. This quote touches on the fact that humans are the contributing factors to making God into a human like form. It states that ?When a man is charitable and gives a service of love, he contributes to God?s right hand.? I like this statement because it makes more sense than just assuming He keeps a human form. This makes it more realistic to me because this would me that all of the good deeds that humans do every day are what contribute to God?s form and livelihood. Pg 57 ?When a Jew is about to say: ?Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the world,? and prepares to utter the first word, the word ?blessed,? he shall do so with all his strength, so that he will have no strength left to say ?art thou.? This general topic was discussed in class many times while talking about Judaism and prayer. Talking about prayer was a new topic for me, considering I am not experienced in a religious sense so far in my young life. While in class, it was mentioned that practicing Jews start their prayers with the same line, in order to bless whatever it is that needs to be blessed at the moment. A large part of the Jewish religion is to bless as many objects and people as possible, as all of life is a blessing. This quote really shows readers how Judaism is really about putting everything else at a higher level than yourself and blessing everything. Pg 68: ?If we could hang all our sorrows on pegs and were allowed to choose those we like best, everyone of us would take back his own, for all the rest would seem even more difficult to bear.? I feel like this is an extremely true statement. When considering what Buber is saying, it really makes sense. All of the problems that we complain about on a daily basis seem like the worst problems in the world. We feel like all the little things that make up our day are major issues and as humans, we tend to believe that our problems are almost more important than everyone else?s. This is most likely because these are the issues that are at the forefront of our mind. We know, internally, that other humans have problems and we may even recognize what those problems are, but ours still seem to be more important than others? problems. Is this a negative characteristic of humans? Who can really say? If we should always put others first, will we ever truly be happy beings? This can be viewed from two different perspectives. On one end, yes it is better to put others first. To always think of others before you think of yourself. There will always be someone less fortunate than you, which means that there is always something you can give, no matter how small. Then again, you may also be in need, and giving more away than you are able could be bad. In situations such as these, it is more important to put yourself first. This discussion also resembles another quote from the Buber book: PG 113: ?Do not tell yourself in your heart of hearts that you are greater than your neighbor, because you serve God so very fervently. You are no different from the rest of the creatures who were created for the service of God. And how could you be more admirable than the worm? For it serves its Maker with all its power and strength.? Although everyone has different situations and livelihoods when it comes to each individual, this does not make you ?better? than the person next to you. Your differences are what set you apart from others, but this in no way probes that you are more important than any other creature on earth. Those that follow the Jewish religion very closely can see this is a very special way very easily. Jews eat Kosher foods, and this has to do with the slaughtering of animals. Animals must only be slaughtered to be eaten and they must be slaughtered in the most humane way possible. This shows that they put animals high up in importance. So, as the quote asks, ?how could you be more admirable than the worm?? PG 119: ?Everyone of Israel should know and consider the fact that he, in the particular way he is made, is unique in the world, and that no one like him has ever been. For if someone like him had already been, there would be no reason for him to be in this word? As mentioned in class, every individual human being on this earth has two things; a body and a self. Although the body can technically be the close to the same in multiple beings, the self is an extremely personal ?thing?. The self is what defines who we are as an individual. It includes our likes, dislikes, thoughts, and most importantly, our personality. This is what separates us from the rest of the population of human beings on earth. Do not take this quote to contradict the previous quote, this does not mean that some individuals are ?better? than others, it just means that there are differences between each person and the next. Also, there are many personality traits in the world, and a combination of all of them is what makes us who we are. There is not one quality assigned to one person and that is the whole self, it is the amount of each trait on a normal basis that contributes to the self. The Way of Man/Ten Rungs displays many different themes throughout not only the book as a whole, but really on every section of every page. A few of Buber?s quotes have been mentioned and summarized by one reader?s perspective. Each reader will have their own connections and memories about each section of the book, and therefore, may have different opinions on the same sections highlighted in this short essay. ?The Way of Man/Ten Rungs? is a book about the strength of Judaism as a religion and as a way of life. Everyone can take at least a small piece of the book and apply it to their own beliefs and theories. This can be seen as not only an inspiring, but also universal book.
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