Majesty and Mystery:
A Commentary on Megillat Esther and The Ma’ariv Evening Service for Purim
By Rabbi Norman Lamm
Compiled and edited by Joel B. Wolowelsky
OU Press, RIETS/Yeshiva University Press (Available Spring 2012)
Rabbi Norman Lamm, one of the most articulate leaders of the Orthodox rabbinate, is legendary for his eloquent, finely-crafted derashot. Each of his sermons is a gem, and taken together are a tour-de-force of Jewish thought expressed in mesmerizing oratory. The latest in the series of Rabbi Lamm’s derashot published by OU Press is Majesty and Mystery, a collection of Rabbi Lamm’s most original insights on Megillat Esther and the holiday of Purim. Also included is a selection of Rabbi Lamm’s sermons on other holidays of thanksgiving, such as Chanukah and Yom Ha’atzmaut, which share similar themes with Purim. The volume contains the text of Megillat Esther, and the selections from the derashot on Purim are presented in the form of a commentary on the megillah. Included is the Ma’ariv service for Purim, offering the reader a convenient and practical single volume which contains the entire liturgy for the holiday of Purim.
Previous OU Press publications in this series are The Royal Table: A Passover Haggadah, edited by Joel B. Wolowelsky, and Festivals of Faith: Reflections on the Jewish Holidays, edited by David Shatz. In each case, the editor pored through Rabbi Lamm’s sermons—now archived in Yeshiva University’s Lamm Heritage web site—and selected the most appropriate derashot for each volume. While many of these derashot were written and delivered years ago, the reader will find them remarkably timely and relevant. The issues Rabbi Lamm addresses, the problems he confronts, are universal Jewish concerns, and his teachings have withstood the test of time.