A Year with Martin Buber Wisdom on the Weekly Torah Portion

About the Book

2021 Winner, The Academy of Parish Clergy’s Top Ten Book List for Parish Ministry for  “display[ing] excellence and helpfulness to clergy, who are encouraged to add the books to their libraries”

The teachings of the great twentieth-century Jewish thinker Martin Buber empower us to enter a spiritual dimension that often passes unnoticed in the daily routine. In A Year with Martin Buber, the first Torah commentary to focus on his life’s work, we experience the fifty-four weekly Torah portions and eleven Jewish holidays through Buber’s eyes.

While best known for the spiritual concept of the I-Thou relationship between people, Buber graced us with other fundamentals, including Over Against, Afterglow, Will and Grace, Reification, Inclusion, and Imagine the Real. And his life itself—for example, Buber’s defiance of the Nazis, his call for Jewish-Arab reconciliation, and his protest of Adolf Eichmann’s execution—modeled these teachings in action.

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross demonstrates Buber’s roots in Jewish thought and breaks new ground by explaining the broader scope of Buber’s life and work in a clear, conversational voice. He quotes from the weekly Torah portion; draws lessons from Jewish commentators; and sets Buber’s related words in context with Buber’s remarkable life story, Hasidic tales, and writing. A wide variety of anecdotal illustrations from Buber as well as the author’s life encourages each of us to “hallow the everyday” and seek out “spirituality hiding in plain sight.”

“This fresh innovative approach to the Torah portion of the week is appealing and insightful, which is why I carry it with me to read in synagogue on Shabbat mornings, either before or after the reading of the Torah portion. It enlightens and enervates my Shabbat morning experience.”—Rabbi Ron Kronish, Jerusalem Report

“Rabbi Ross superbly distills the theology of Martin Buber . . . , a consequential Jewish thinker whose focus on making human interactions meaningful influenced Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail.’ . . . An invaluable entry point to a humanist thinker who sought to identify, build, and preserve ‘holiness in our daily routines’ by putting people, rather than objects, first.” Publishers Weekly

“Ross makes Buber’s writings eminently readable even as he treats them with full scholarly integrity. And by bringing himself into the story, Ross allows us to go from pure text study to an individual life, as Buber himself would have wanted.”—Rabbi Thomas M. Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim in Franklin, Massachusetts

“What a pleasure A Year with Martin Buber is! People of all faiths with an interest in the Bible and bringing ‘divine wonder to the routine of daily life’ will delight in having this inspirational book as a companion.”—Rev. Debra W. Haffner, Unitarian Universalist Church in Reston, Virginia

“This richly textured book will send the reader back, time and again, to revisit its teachings and insights.”—Rabbi Bernard Mehlman, senior scholar, Temple Israel in Boston, Massachusetts

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross

Rabbi Dennis S. Ross serves as an Intentional Interim Rabbi in the Greater New York City area. He is the author of several books, including God in Our Relationships: Spirituality between People from the Teachings of Martin Buber and All Politics Is Religious: Speaking Faith to the Media, Policy Makers, and Community.

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