Mensch Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi

by Joshua Hammerman

Book, 2019



Call number

220 HAM


Deerfield Beach, FL Health Communications, Inc. 2019


The Talmud states, In a world that lacks humanity, be human. In a world as untethered as ours has become, simply being human, a good person, is a measure of heroism. At a time when norms of civility are being routinely overwhelmed, it may be the only measure that matters. Mensch-Marks represents Rabbi Joshua Hammerman's personal Torah scroll--the sacred text of his experiences, the life lessons he has learned along his winding, circuitous journey. Mirroring 42 steps Israel wandered in the Wilderness, Hammerman offers 42 brief essays organized into categories of character or mensch-marks, each one a stepping stone toward spiritual maturation. These essays span most of Rabbi Hammerman's life, revealing how he has striven to be a mensch, a human of character, through every challenge. Central to his stories weaves the question, What does it mean to be a mensch? Hammerman answers that it is to be fully human--to be fallible and imperfect while striving to do better. There is a gallantry in overcoming everyday challenges--Hammerman calls it the Nobility of Normalcy, which enables us to become everyday heroes. He writes, If by sharing what I've learned, I can add a modicum of generosity, honesty and human connection in a world overflowing with cruelty, loneliness and deceit, then I'll have made it to my personal Promised Land. I'll have done my job. But even if the task of world-repair seems daunting, being a mensch carries its own intrinsic value. It's like the story of the man outside the gates of Sodom, warning the people to stop their sinning. 'Why bother?' he was asked. 'You're not going to change anyone!' 'Maybe so, ' he replied. 'But if I continue to do the right thing, at least they will not have changed me.' Rabbi Hammerman, ever the optimist, believes that we can turn things around, one mensch at a time.… (more)


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