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The People of the Book

צילום: פלאש90

Mazal Tov. Shavua HaSefer (lit.: The Week of the Book - a nationwide, week long book fair) for the People of the Book, begins today in Israel. 8,571 titles were published in Israel, this year alone, a 35% rise over the last decade. For those who are looking for the force which pushes hundreds of thousands of Israelis to go to the bookfair, here is a deep explanation provided by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks:

"It is incredible! Already 2,000 years ago the Jews established a compulsory education system in Eretz Israel. We have been a Nation whose heroes are teachers, whose fortresses are schools, whose passion is for studying and having an intellectual life. Just for comparison, reading became common in England only in 1870. Young Jewish children knew Torah, Mishnah and Talmud when a considerable part of adults worldwide were illiterate. Therefore, when they call us 'The People of the Book' it is an understatement, because it is even more than that: We are a People only thanks to the Book. This is the Jewish revolution: to have a society who all of its members read and write, a society who is literate, in its entirety. Only in a society in which all strata of population can read and write, does one recognize that all humans are made in the image of G-d. The language, the studying, the prayer, the reading - this is that 'very narrow bridge' which bridges for us over the abyss between man's finality and G-d's infinity. Even in exile we were one People only because we had a Book. A People that continued to exist thanks to its clinging to the Book. We lost our home, but thanks to our connection to the Book - we also merited to return home, and keep reading and living the Book here."


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